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: 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 sailing trip
with lunch on board!
DAY 6: FROM SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA TO CAPILUNGO (32 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!
For lunch we reach the Pescoluse beach, better known as "the Maldives of Salento"
. We have time for a long break at sea.
Before reaching our final destination, in Capilungo, we stop at the best ice cream shop in Torre San Giovanni for a refreshing break.
DAY 7: FROM CAPILUNGO TO SANTA CATERINA (28 KM)
Today, the Italian lesson takes place in a coastline pine forest, next to one of the most famous beaches of Italy.
After lunch we will visit Gallipoli
, an ancient city from the Roman era, that stands on an island, which is, currently populated by fisherman. Towards sunset we ride towards Santa Caterina, where we will stop for the night, in a B&B with view of the sea.
DAY 8: AROUND SANTA CATERINA - COOKING CLASS (16 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.
In the afternoon we go (on foot or by kayak) to the natural reserve of Porto Selvaggio: a wood by the sea.
DAY 9: FROM SANTA CATERINA TO LECCE (42 KM)
Today is a day entirely dedicated to cycling.
We go up towards Lecce
through cultivated countryside and admiring the numerous fortified farmhouses
and nineteenth-century villas that characterize the landscape of this area, until we reach Nardò
to visit its remarkable Baroque-style historic center.
On the way back, we stop in a renovated farm for an olive oil tasting
Then, stop in Copertino to discover its imposing Norman Castle and the stories of the patron saint: St. Joseph, "the saint of flights".
In the late afternoon, arrival in Lecce and return of the bikes.
DAY 10: GOODBYE!
In the morning, guided visit of Lecce
on foot and departure.