Day 1: Arrival in Matera
We’ll meet in Matera for the trip briefing and to supply your bikes and GPS navigators.
Day 2: From Matera to Putignano / Castellana (60/70km)
Today’s ride brings you to Putignano.
After passing the countryside out of Matera, you arrive in Gioia del Colle, the town is famous for its ‘mozzarella Fior di latte’ (made only with cow’s milk), but also for its burrata. After a break, you start cycling again arriving in Putignano, after 23 km ca. Putignano, has become famous over the years for its picturesque carnival, Once you get there, we recommend you lose yourself in its marvelous historic center, once protected by mighty walls with three gates that allowed entry: Porta Barsento (towards Alberobello), Porta Nuova (towards Castellana) and Porta Grande (towards Noci – Goia del Colle).
Day 3: Around Putignano: Conversano, Castellana and Polignano a mare (64 km) – option short ride (45 km) – Option longer ride, including Monopoli (82 km).
Today’s tour take you to some of the towns in south-east of Bari, such as Polignano a Mare, where you can taste the typical Octopus sandwich and have a swim in its beautiful sea; Conversano is well known for cherry production; in fact , in spring, you can see the cherry trees in bloom, and in early summer just eat them (don’t worry if you’re doing this tour in fall you will have figs trees everywhere!). Finally Castellana Grotte, where it is possible to visit some astonishing caves, a complex of underground cavities of karst origin.
Day 4: From Putignano to Locorotondo (45 Km)
The tour, at this point, brings you to the area known as Valle D’Itria.
Firstly, passing by Noci , which is probably the least known and least touristy of the towns in the Itria Valley, but worth a visit and a stop for a coffee. Gentle hills bring you to Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 thanks to its 1.500 “Trulli” (typical houses with conical roofs).
Day 5: The surroundings of Alberobello (45 km)
A day spent discovering the Valle d’Itria. Leaving Alberobello the first stop is Martina Franca. Less touristy than Alberobello, it has retained its own particular charm. The old town is surrounded by stone walls with baroque gateways, leading to the main square. You can visit the Ducal Palace or taste the famous capocollo of Martina Franca, a Slow Food Presidium.
Leaving behind Martina Franca you will find yourself back in the gently undulating countryside, heading towards the ‘Pomona’ botanical conservatory: a real biodiversity sanctuary where they have hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an amazing collection of more than 400 varieties of figs). Next stop is Locorotondo, which has been nominated one of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’, charming for its architecture and famous for its wine, white and slightly sparkling. Walking through the picturesque old town you can admire the architecture of the ‘cummerse’: the rectangular buildings with sloping roofs made of chiancarelle. Moving from Locorotondo, crossing vineyards dotted with trulli, you will find yourself back in Alberobello.
Day 6: From Locorotondo to Avetrana (60 km)
The longest section of the trip will take you up to Avetrana, crossing the border between the Valle d’Itria and Salento: you will notice the change in the landscape around you during the day. Passing by Martina Franca, you’ll travel along a short section of the ‘Aqueduct Cycleway’, a path along the aqueduct of Puglia (which brings water from Campania all the way down to Salento). Then you’ll go on to Ceglie Messapica, a city known for its bread, that you can try in one of the oldest bakeries in the city, located in the old town. In Francavilla Fontana you can visit the Basilica Minore of the Holy Rosary and Argentina Palace. Next stop is Oria, ‘city of witches’. Leaving Oria, and passing by Erchie, you’ll have your overnight stay at a farm in the countryside of Avetrana (or in a B&B).
Day 7: From Avetrana to Lecce (60 km)
On this, the final day, you’ll head towards the ‘Florence of the South’: the city of Lecce. Along the way, you pass through the fascinating ghost town of Monteruga, founded in the 1920s and completely abandoned in the 1980s. This is the area of ‘Salice Salentino’, whose vineyards produce a DOCG wine very popular around the world. You’ll go through a few small villages where, all year round, you’ll find the squares filled with elderly residents, hats pulled down against the sun, discussing politics and agriculture, and it seems that time has stood still. Later in the afternoon you’ll reach your destination, the City of Lecce.
Day 8: Departure from Lecce