An Italian language course by bike?! We do that too!
It is a guided cycling holiday dedicated to those who really want to get in touch with the territory, the local culture and its people. This is a full-blown bicycle trip with guided tours, stops at the sea, tastings ... and moreover an intensive Italian course, held by professional teachers. The teachers ride all day with you and allow you total immersion in the Italian language. To participate, it is not necessary to have studied Italian first, you can also be totally beginners (during lessons the group is divided into two: beginners and medium / advanced), you just need to want to learn and laugh at yourself.
Lessons are held in the pine forest, in the olive groves, on the terraces of the farms, in an informal atmosphere. It is perhaps the best way to learn Italian and to discover Italy!
DAY 1: WELCOME TO OTRANTO
Arrival: participants will reach Otranto (or Lecce). Initial briefing of the trip.
DAY 2: SURROUNDINGS OF OTRANTO (29 KM)
Today, our fist bicycle excursion on the soundings of Otranto.
Riding along the little river “Idro” (“water”in latin), that gives the city its name, we visit an ancient Byzantine crypt
from the 13th century and then we arrive in Casamassela, where ancient looms
are still being used nowadays at “Le Costantine” foundation. In Giurdignano, we cross a Bronze age megalithic garden
, where to observe closely its “dolmen” and “menhir” - prehistorical monuments.
Among huge stones and majestic olive trees we do the first test for the division of the group into levels.
For lunch, visit and tasting
in one of the most characteristic bakery in the region, where a farming family has decided to transform ancient grains into baked goods with an ancient flavor.
Return to Otranto and free afternoon to visit the city. Possibility of a horse ride at sunset.
DAY 3: FROM OTRANTO TO CASTRO (30 KM)
This day is dedicated to one of the most fascinating side of the Italian coast: of remarkable beauty is the Palascía lighthouse
, extreme east of Italy, and a unique lake emerged in a disused bauxite quarry
of considerable beauty.
We are at the most eastern spot of the peninsula: when the sky is clear you can see the mountains of Albania and Greece across the bay.
We ride just in the morning. In the afternoon we have Italian classes on the roof of our hotel.
DAY 4: FROM CASTRO TO SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA (27 KM)
We carry on through the Otranto-Leuca coast, where different fortified towers
, dating back to the XVI century, rise facing the sea.
At the arrival in Marina Serra, an Italian lesson takes place in a coastline pine forest and we have the opportunity to chat with our friends of Coppula Tisa - an association of active citizenship.
In the early afternoon, we rest by a picturesque bay (where it will be also possible to swim), told by the writer Mario Desiati in this nice podcast: https://www.raiplayradio.it/audio/2019/01/LE-MERAVIGLIE---Marina-Serra-raccontata-da-Mario-Desiati-e177c80f-e380-48e9-80ff-30ab3e311432.html)
.In the late afternoon we reach Santa Maria di Leuca
, enjoying the sunset over the Ionian Sea.
DAY 5: RELAX DAY SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA
Today is a relaxing day, without bicycle.
After breakfast, Italian lessons in an ancient villa from the early twentieth century, which hosts our group.
In the late morning boat trip
with lunch on board!
DAY 6: FROM SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA TO GALLIPOLI (61 KM)
Today will be jam-packed of Italian lessons while you cycle across the villages around the astonishing area known as “Capo di Leuca”.
We visit ancient towers
, underground oil mills
, the ruin of a pre-Roman city, a Mausoleum
that holds traces of Byzantine frescoes, a semi-abandoned castle and an ancient pilgrims station with its incredible immense underground, used by the pilgrims to rest...; all while having a continuous Italian lesson with our teachers!
In the afternoon, we reach again the ionic coast until the St. Andrew’s island and Punta Pizzo Netural Park. In Gallipoli you could enjoy an aperitif on a terrace overlooking the sea. located on an island, this small fisherman village is striking by its light, its alleys and its fish market.
DAY 7: AROUND GALLIPOLI - COOKING CLASS (39 KM)
Today the final test of our Italian course: cooking lesson
and family lunch in a local farmhouse, where the mother of one of our partners teaches us (in Italian, of course!) to cook some of the typical specialties of this region.
We start in the morning from Gallipoli and in a few kilometers we reach Alezio
(ancient Messapian city
, where there is an interesting museum on pre-Roman civilizations) and then Sannicola. Then we reach "Tenuta mamma Anna
" - a family-run “agritourism
” where cooking class will take place. The products are harvested directly from the family garden and then move on to the preparation: "pitta di patate
" (a kind of potato gateau, with a stuffing of tomatoes, olives, capers, onion and tuna), "pittule
" (some fried dough balls), filled with tomatoes and capers, or empty to taste with honey) and hand-made orecchiette
(a typical local pasta, shaped like an ear, prepared with fingers and a knife), the "pasticciotto cake
" (a cake made with shortcrust pastry, filled with chantilly cream); These are some of the dishes that will be prepared. Following family lunch and way back to Gallipoli.
DAY 8: GOODBYE!