In the deep south of Italy,  nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, lie the captivating regions of Puglia and Basilicata. This extensive itinerary explores the very best selection of all the cultural and natural treasures found here. Materas fascinating Sassi houses and the UNESCO 'Trulli houses of Alberobello set the scene for the journey to come. After passing through idyllic countryside and the 'white city' of Ostuni, the route veers towards Gallipoli and the dramatic Ionian coastline. While riding across the famous Salento Peninsula, we immerse ourselves in the charming laid-back Italian way of living and explore a landscape made of olive orchards, limestone cliffs, crystal waters and Baroque towns.*Temporary changes due to COVID-security measures.Last updated: 17th August 2020*At Exodus we acknowledge our responsibility to have the most up to date information on anything that will affect our customers on holiday, and to communicate this to our customers as effectively as possible.Our general global COVID security measures are described in ourTravel">https://www.exodus.co.uk/travel-safety-charter">TravelSafety Charter, and changes will be made to these measures as required by the global pandemic situation.However, we also expect there to be requirements, measures and sometimes itinerary changes that apply to certain trips only, and may well be temporary measures. We have highlighted all known changes in the section below.*Entry requirements.*For all trips, having the correct documentation and visa, if required, remains the customers responsibility based on their own nationality. We therefore encourage all travellers to check entry requirements using the travel advice of their home nation for the relevant destination. For UK passport holders that ishttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-adviceIn">https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice">https://www.gov.uk/foreign-tra... order to meet the new immigration requirements for Italy you should note the following:-Pleasecomplete a self-declaration form for all international arrivals into Italy. The form you will need can be found following this linkhttps://www.esteri.it/mae/resource/doc/2020/08/self-declaration_in_case_of_entry_into_italy_from_abroad_-_form_14_08.pdfThis">https://www.esteri.it/mae/resource/doc/2020/08/self-declaration_in_case_... self-declaration cannot be filled out online, so you will need to download and print a paper copy to complete.-All visitors entering Puglia must also fill in the self-report form found herehttps://www.sanita.puglia.it/web/pugliasalute/autosegnalazione-coronavirus-">https://www.sanita.puglia.it/web/pugliasalute/autosegnalazione-coronavir... Keep for 30 days the list of places visited and people met during the stay- You will be required to go through a temperature test.*Local COVID restrictions.*Local regulations or guidelines in Italy require visitors to:- Wear face coverings at all times in shops, public transport and all in indoor areas- Maintain social distancing where possible, at a standard distance of 1 metre.- Visitors should note that certain restrictions are in place for restaurants and shops- Your leader will reconfirm the latest local government advice and requirements on arrival.*Itinerary changes*There are/no planned itinerary changes/. However, customers should be prepared for occasional short notice changes as required by local authorities or recommended by the Exodus Leader to maintain COVID-security for the group. taxonomy/term/310
The trip starts in the town of Matera, a real jewel of Southern Italy. The hotel is located within walking distance to the historic centre. There is usually time in the afternoon to wander through the narrow alleys of the towns famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city.
On leaving Matera we pedal through the area that 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 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. Today's ride is mostly hilly with gentle ascents to be expected throughout, as we cycle on quiet rural roads amongst the picturesque Apulian countryside towards Alberobello. En route we pass the lovely towns of Noci and Gioia del Colle as well as some famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made the historic centre of Alberobello a recognised UNESCO world heritage site. Overnight in Alberobello. Cycle approx. 70km (ascent +659m; descent -648m).
Today we cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, one of the prettiest cultural and natural landscapes of southern Italy, to the hilltop village of Ostuni. The route is undulating throughout but much shorter than yesterday's ride. This allows us to enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace with plenty of opportunities for rest stops.Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo and Cisternino, both known for their historic centres filled with whitewashed houses, narrow streets, churches and elegant piazzas. In the afternoon we reach the city of Ostuni, known as the 'white city' thanks to the dazzling effect of its white buildings.Overnight in Ostuni.
We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria. A popular destination among Apulians, Oria is famous for its 13th century castle and delightful historic centre of 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.The masseria is still a working farm and most of the produce grown here, from vegetables to olives and wheat, is used daily for the preparation of local dishes.Before dinner we will have the opportunity to taste some organic olive oil produced by the family that runs the farm and accommodation.Overnight in Avetrana.
From the masseria we cycle towards the Ionian Coast and the beautiful town of Gallipoli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky island offering fantastic views both to the north and the south. The town itself has many churches and 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 opportunities for swimming in the Ionian sea near the popular seaside resort of Porto Cesareo.Overnight in Gallipoli.
Our route continues along the south of the peninsula and the impressive stretch of coastline leading to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto, the easternmost pointin Italy. Before dinner there will be time at leisure to explore the towns mediaeval centre. Here the interesting architecture, views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches make it one of Puglia's most picturesque towns.Overnight in Otranto.
Today we follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to Lecce, the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy, in the heart of Puglia. Sometimes described as the 'Florence of the South', the city is an architectural gem, boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches. Today's ride is relatively short and easy, giving us time to stop en route for a last swim (seasonal) in Torre dell'Orso, a lovely bay surrounded by limestone cliffs with many ancient caves to discover. In Lecce there will be some free time to explore the historic centre before an optional farewell dinner.Overnight in Lecce.
The trip ends in the morning of day 8. We recommend spending an extra day in Lecce to soak up the atmosphere of this elegant Baroque city, home to outstanding architecture. Exodus can arrange post tour accommodation for you if needed; please contact our Sales or Operations team for a quote.
- Ride from the stunning UNESCO town of Matera
- Enjoy gentle cycling through olive groves and past white-coned trulli
- Sample fine seafood and wine from the famous Salento coast
- Stay in charming accommodation bursting with character