Fly to Catania; transfer to Palazzolo Acreide, a charming maze of narrow streets and Baroque churches built after the 1693's earthquake on the site of the Greek Akrai, which was founded in 664 BC. The town is situated in the heart of Iblean Mountains, overlooking the upper valleys of Anapo and Tellaro rivers, which helped the Corinthians control a broad swathe of Sicily.
We start our exploration with a ride through the beautiful lower valleys of the Iblean Mountains, passing olive plantations and dry-stone walls that characterise this area. We then climb into the highlands to the delightful town of Ragusa Ibla, built over three hills separated by a deep valley, and home to beautiful Baroque churches and buildings. After visiting Ragusa, we cycle to the town of Modica, another gem of the Sicilian Baroque, perched high on a rocky hill. Distance cycled: 65km
Before leaving Modica, we have the opportunity to taste its famous chocolate with chilli, which is still prepared using the original Aztec recipe, brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500s. We leave Modica behind and ride along a ravine with a downhill bias until we reach another outstanding example of Sicilian Baroque, Scicli, where the popular Inspector Montalbano TV series has been filmed. From here, we move to the picturesque fishing village of Marzamemi with its numerous cafés and restaurants.
Distance cycled: 65km
A circular ride takes us through the wetlands of Patano Longarini and Patano Cuba, a favourite spot among migratory birds that are attracted to the unique ecosystem of this area on their journey between Africa and Europe. Following the coastline, we reach Sicily's southernmost point: Isola delle Correnti, where the waters of the Ionian and the Mediterranean seas merge.
Distance cycled: 60km
A short cycle ride brings us to the beautiful Vendicari Nature Reserve. This narrow stretch of marshy coastline provides a rare and now completely protected habitat for migratory species and for the local flora and fauna. There are some beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for a swim in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As we leave the reserve behind, we head north to the elegant town of Noto, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Noto is an absolute gem, a planned town in the unique Sicilian baroque style, and all built in a beautiful honey-coloured stone. A must try in Noto is the delicious almond granita (similar to a sorbet) with brioche, typical of the area! Distance cycled: 40km
We ride through the small hamlet of Testa dell'Acqua and visit the archaeological site of Noto Antica, the original site of Noto. This ancient town was completely destroyed by the 1693 earthquake, which is why the new Noto town was built 10km away. Following a gravel road, we reach the ancient ruins of the castle through Porta Reale gate, where we are rewarded with a panoramic view of the surrounding area. A few miles further along is the dramatic canyon of Cavagrande del Cassibile. There's a café on the hill above the canyon and if you're feeling very energetic you can walk to the river, 300m below. We then have an excellent winding descent to the coastal plain and the sea at Syracuse, the Capital of Magna Graecia.
Distance cycled: 55k
A short final day riding through Syracuse to the Ciane River. Syracuse, founded originally by Corinthians from Greece in 733BC, was once one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, home of Aeschylus and Arichimedes among many others and even briefly capital of the Byzantine Empire. There's much to see from Greek period right up to the Sicilian baroque, and the afternoon can be spent wandering around the narrow streets of Ortigia, the island where the city was founded, or exploring the superb Parco Archeologico. Distance cycled: 25km
Transfer to Catania; fly to London.