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Italy: A Bike Tour of Puglia and Basilicata

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 12 people
Destination(s): Italy  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring   Sightseeing  
Season: May - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 3695 Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4395 Canadian Dollar (CAD)

This quiet and peaceful region remains seemingly untouched by mass tourism, and is an insight into ways of life that have been maintained in Southern Italy for centuries. The terrain is bicycle-friendly, and the climate is perfect for spring and autumn visits. The inns are welcoming, and the dining divine! The adventure takes you first to Matera where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the Sassi – century old caves, carved from rock cliffs and lived in up until the 1950’s. From there you will ride into the lush Val d’Itria to stay among olive groves at a converted farm, then to Otranto, whose castle inspired the first Gothic novel. The last ride is along a gorgeous coast road overlooking the Adriatic Sea. As you ride your bike through this calm and mysterious region, and sample its exquisite cuisine, you will often feel as if you are traveling back in time, experiencing an Italy that is very different from the well developed and busier tourist routes found in the northern parts of the country.

Day 1.
You will be collected in Bari and transferred about 60 minutes to Matera where you’ll spend the following two nights in the UNESCO recognized Sassi district - one of the oldest inhabited human settlements in the world. Your guide will meet you at 18:00 for a welcome briefing before dinner. (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfasts). L’Hotel in Pietra, Matera. (D)

Day 2: 66km (41 mi.)
Today you will ride along the wonderful deserted road around San Giuliano Lake, a peaceful natural oasis and the destination of many African migratory birds. If you take some time for bird watching, you’ll spot grey herons, cormorants, storks and fish hawks. Continue back to Matera to spend some time exploring the unique Sassi district. Matera has been the filming location for a number of well-known films, including Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Same lodging. (B)(L)(D)

Day 3: 65 km or 95 km (41 or 60 mi.)
Ride to Pezze di Greco, through Gioia del Colle, Noci, and Albarobello. This is the fertile valley of Itria, and is famous for its 1500 Trulli – pretty circular stone houses and barns originally used as field shelters but now adapted to beautiful houses, shops, restaurants, and lodging! Lodging: Masseria il Brigantino, or Masseria Monte Napoleone, Pezze di Greco. (B)(L)(D)

Day 4: 65 or 95 km (41 or 60 mi.)
A day filled with delights! Your first destination is the sunny seaside town of Polignano a Mare, where you will immediately understand why it has been inhabited since early Greek fishermen pulled their boats ashore in tiny coves between the limestone cliffs. From there, you will ride to the caves at Castellana Grotte, Putignano, and Albarobello. Try keeping count of the trulli you pass! The day’s short option requires a 15-minute train ride, with your bike. Same lodging. (B)(L)(D)

Day 5: 33, 75 or 100 km (20, 46, or 62 mi.)
Today you will ride south, stopping to enjoy the view from the ancient white town of Ostuni to the azure Adriatic Sea it overlooks. Today’s shorter options include a train ride. You will finish near Lecce, the cultural capital of Puglia, whose baroque architecture and warm sandstone buildings appear golden in the afternoon sun. Masseria Giampaolo, Lecce. (B)(L)(D)

Day 6: 65 km (40 mi.)
Ride through San Foca to Otranto on the Adriatic coast, whose castle was the setting for a book by Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto. It is considered the first gothic novel, and inspired Shelley’s more famous Frankenstein. Today’s fishermen and surfers create a much more pleasant setting for your next two nights’ stay! Masseria Panareo, Otranto. (B)(L)(D)

Day 7: 50 or 100 km (31 or 62 mi.)
Ride the fantastic coast between Otranto and Marina di Leuca, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. This remote promontory is where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet – the true heel of Italy’s boot, where serpentine clifftop roads lead to pretty seaports and astounding views. The destination is Santa Maria di Leuca, an archeological treasure, and Italy’s most important lighthouse at its port, Marina di Leuca. There are a profusion of options for lunch before riding or transferring back to Otranto. Same lodging. (B)(L)(D)

Day 8.
Following your breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the train station, Lecce, or the Bari airport. (B)

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Guided Cost: $3825 per person
Price Includes:
- 7 breakfasts, 6 light picnic lunches, 7 dinners
- guide
- van support
- maps and route notes
- luggage handling
- transfers on Days 1 and 8
- taxes

Self-Guided: $3195 per person
Price Includes:
- 7 breakfasts
- transfer from Bari airport to Matera
- essential transfers
- welcome briefing
- emergency support
- luggage transfers
- detailed maps and route notes
- taxes

Single Occupancy: $595; Bicycle Rental: $235.