Start Matera. We recommend to arrive a day early and explore at your own pace this fascinating town, or book a guided excursion.
On leaving Matera we pedal through what makes this town so special. For millenia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwelling directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called 'Sassi' and are as today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago. Heading towards Alberobello, we pass the famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made the historic centre of this town a recognised UNESCO world heritage site. Distance: approx. 70km
We cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria and one of the prettiest cultural landscapes of the south past more trulli houses to the picturesque hilltop village of Ostuni. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo, one of the most beautiful towns in the province of Bari. After sampling some of the local wine, the route heads to the white city of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. Distance: approx. 45km
We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the charming town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, a popular destination among Apulians for a day trip, famous for its 13th Century's Castle and delightful historic centre, characterised by cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and beautiful architecture. We continue through the countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and our accommodation for the night. En route we have the opportunity to taste the famous primitivo wine, which is produced in the area (optional). Distance: 73km
From the Masseria we cycle towards the Ionian coast and the beautiful town of Gallipolli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky island and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The town itself has many churches, narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th centuries. Weather permitting, today there are plenty of opportunity for swimming in the crystal-clear Ionian sea. Distance: approx. 40km
Our route continues along the south of the peninsula and the impressive stretch of coastline leading to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto. The old town is surrounded by a mighty wall containing the impressive Hapsburger Castle. En route to Otranto there is the opportunity to visit the famous Grotta Zinzulusa, the only coastal grotto that is open to the public and also the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme. Distance: approx. 73km
We follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to the Baroque metropolis of Lecce. A relaxing way to end the week is at the beach of Torre dell'Orso surrounded by limestone cliffs and with many ancient caves to discover. The final destination is Lecce, the capital of Salento, and as well as being home to over 30 churches and countless palaces, there is an ampitheatre and Roman theatre dating back to Emperor Augustus. Distance: approx. 50km
End Lecce. We recommend to spend an extra day in Lecce to soak in the atmosphere of this elegant city, home to outstanding architecture.