Da Matera a Lecce: tra trulli, vino ed olivi
Ecco il nuovo viaggio di Salento Bici Tour per scoprire le bellezze nascoste del Sud Italia in bicicletta. Si parte da Matera, una città unica al mondo, totalmente scavata nelle rocce, e che sarà capitale europea della cultura nel 2019. Tra dolci colline e campagne olivetate si arriva in Valle d’Itria: terra dei “trulli”, singolari costruzioni in pietra col tetto conico, che sembrano case di folletti. Via via che scendiamo più a sud, verso il Salento, il territorio si fa più pianeggiante, la vegetazione sempre più brulla, e pedaleremo tra vigne e muretti a secco. Non mancherà una visita alle spiagge più belle della regione, in provincia di Taranto. Durante il percorso numerose tappe degustazioni per assaggiare i migliori formaggi, vini e prodotti da forno di quest’area. Si arriva a Lecce, la “Firenze del sud”, che vi incanterà con la sue architettura barocca e l’ospitalità dei suoi abitanti.
Day 1: Arrival in Matera
We’ll meet in Matera for the trip briefing and to supply your bikes and GPS navigators.
Day 2: The surroundings of Matera (50 km)
You will spend this day exploring the surroundings of Matera choosing between two alternative itineraries:
- A short trek in Matera's Murgia, a hilly area that surrounds the city, visiting the ‘gravine’, full of caves inhabited since prehistoric times and used in the Middle Ages by Byzantine monks as a place of worship;
- A bike ride up to Miglionico, a village 20 km from Matera, with a detour to visit Lake San Giuliano, the WWF nature reserve and crossing point for many migratory birds. After a visit to the imposing Castle of Malconsiglio and the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, you will return to Matera for the night.
Day 3: From Matera to Alberobello (75 km)
Pedaling towards Alberobello, the first town you come across is Gioia del Colle, known for its mozzarella and its burrata: definitely worth a stop to sample these, as well as to visit its twelfth-century castle. Moving on from Gioia del Colle, you enter the Valle d’Itria, characterized by the unique architecture of the trulli, the peculiar stone buildings with conical roofs. Next stop is Noci, where – through the narrow streets of the old town – you can bask in the light of the sun reflected off its lime-white roofs. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in Alberobello, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, thanks to its 1,500 trulli.
Day 4: 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 5: From Alberobello to Avetrana (80 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 6: The surroundings of Avetrana (55 km)
The journey to discover the surroundings of Avetrana will take you towards the sea, the long seaside bordered by the dunes of Torre Colimena, where you will have the chance to visit the Salina dei Monaci and also, if you like, do some birdwatching. Cycling along the coast heading north, you will reach San Pietro in Bevagna, where a crystalline sandy beach – totally deserted in the spring and autumn – will allow you to sunbathe and swim in the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea. From San Pietro in Bevagna you’ll head to Manduria where you can visit an ancient archaeological site of the Messapica era and the Primitivo Museum (primitivo is a high-alcohol red wine). You’ll return to Avetrana in the afternoon.
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
670 euro a persona
- 7 pernottamenti in masseria, 3/4*** hotels or B&B;
- 7 colazioni;
- 2 degustazioni di vini, formaggi e prodotti locali;
- Bici (trekking bike 21 marce);
- Trasporto bagagli
- Navigatore GPS con le mappe dell’itinerario;
- Itinerario con tutte le informazioni culturali e suggerimenti sul percorso;
- Assistenza sul percorso h24.
Partenze ogni sabato. Su richiesta anche altri giorni della settimana.