Apulia is a region in south-eastern Italy that includes the heel part of Italy’s boot, suspended between the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. The region is characterised by endless olive groves, long fields of grain and vineyards. We start cycling in Matera, UNESCO world heritage site with its “sassi” and European capital of culture 2019, and arrive in Lecce, also known as “Florence of the South” because of its magnificent baroque architecture. This bike tour will lead you into a region of scenic beauty, which is, by today’s standards, still unspoiled by the unattractive aspects of tourism and still retains testimony of its great and ancient culture.
Itinerary – 8 days – August 24th-31st, 2019
Individual arrival. Over millennia, inhabitants of the region have carved dwellings directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called “Sassi”, today a World Heritage site.
Day 2. Matera – Alberobello (70 km/42 mi)
You cycle to the famous “trulli” which were generally constructed as dwellings or storehouses. Alberobello is situated upon two hills. On the eastern hill is the new town. On the western hill, the trulli are lined up in an urban conglomeration, subdivided into two districts: Monti and Aia Piccola, both World Heritage sites.
You cycle through the countryside to Ostuni, which is reputed as an architectural jewel, and is commonly referred to as “the White Town” for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture.
Day 4. Ostuni – Lecce – Gallipoli (70 km/42 mi by train + 50 km/30 mi by bike)
After a short train transfer and a few kilometres through the town of Lecce, you go deep into the “salentinian countryside”, before approaching the Ionian coast and your daily destination, Gallipoli.
Note that the 6 day version of the route starts in Lecce and follows along the days below
Day 5. Gallipoli – Santa Maria di Leuca (50 km/30 mi)
Cycling further along the coast you will reach Santa Maria di Leuca. Its name was given by the ancient Greek sailors who came from the East. They saw this place lightened by the sun and therefore called it “leukos”, meaning white. The town is today a famous seaside resort.
Today you will cycle northwards along the Adriatic coast to Otranto, the most eastern point of Italy where you can visit the beautiful Cathedral and the great Aragonese Castle.
Day 7. Otranto – Lecce (55 km/33 mi)
Riding along the Alimini Lakes and their unique Mediterranean bush you will enter Lecce. Thanks to its Baroque style, it has earned the nickname of Florence of the South.
Day 8. Lecce
Departure after breakfast.
Total length: 330 km/205 mi
Total vertical up: 1,540 m/5,050
Terrain: 99% tarmac, 1% unpaved
Train connection among the overnight stays: NO
Possibility to shorten the itinerary by taking the train: day 3.
Mostly in the lowlands, sometimes hilly. Traffic is almost non existent in Apulia except during the high holiday season. The route includes very beautiful stretches on the coast.
Matera is connected with the following airports:
Bari: 70 Km, Brindisi: 140 Km. Bus services are available from each.