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From Matera to Lecce

Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Matera
We will meet in Matera for a briefing on the trip and to meet the group and the guide.
Welcome Dinner!
 
 
Day 2: from Matera to Gioia del Colle (35 km)
In the morning, there is still  time for a walk in the historic center of Matera, since today's stage is short. The landscape is that of the Murgia area characterised by rolling hills, cultivated with cereals or pasture land. Destination of the day is Gioia del Colle, known for its mozzarella and burrata: you will have time to taste these, as well as visit its 12th century castle.
In the afternoon, there will be a wine tasting directly from the producers in an establishment in the countryside of the city, or a tasting of local products from our friend Cosimo, in the center of town!
 
 
Day 3: from Gioia del Colle to Locorotondo (35 km)
Leaving Gioia del Colle, we enter the Itria Valley, characterized by the unique architecture of the trulli, the unique stone buildings with conical roofs.
The first stop is in Noci, where - through the narrow streets of the historic center - you can bask in the sunlight reflected off its whitewashed roofs. In the town square, always very lively, you can buy almonds and dried figs, which you will need during the trip. We cross the well-known town of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, thanks to its 1,500 trulli. In the afternoon we arrive in Locorotondo, named one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of Italy", fascinating for its architecture and famous for its wine, white and slightly sparkling. Walking through the picturesque old town you can admire the architecture of the "cummerse": the rectangular buildings with sloping roofs made of chiancarelle. 
 
 
Day 4: The surroundings of Locorotondo (35 km)
A day dedicated to the discovery of the Itria Valley. The first stop is Martina Franca. Less touristy than Alberobello, it has retained its slightly decadent charm, with its Baroque palaces consumed by time in a maze of narrow streets that eventually lead to the main square, home of the Palazzo Ducale. Martina is famous for its capocollo, a Slow Food Presidium.
Leaving Martina Franca behind, we find ourselves in the gently rolling countryside, heading towards the "Pomona" botanical conservatory: a true sanctuary of biodiversity where they have hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an extraordinary collection of over 400 varieties of figs!).
The next stop is Cisternino, where we stop for a coffee and to get lost in its fascinating historical center. Passing through vineyards dotted with trulli, we return to Locorotondo.
 
 
Day 5: from Locorotondo to Manduria (70 km)
The longest leg of the journey will take us to Manduria, crossing the border between Itria Valley and Salento: you will notice the change of the landscape around you during the day.
Passing through Martina Franca, we'll pedal along a short section of the "Ciclovia dell'Acquedotto", a route along the aqueduct of Puglia (which brings water from Campania to Salento). We continue - then - to Ceglie Messapica, a town known for its bread, which you can taste in one of the oldest bakeries in town, located in the old town.
In Francavilla Fontana you can visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Rosario and the Palazzo dell'Argentina. Next stop is Oria, "city of the witches" and home to one of the most important Jewish quarters in the region. Arrival in Manduria in the afternoon.
 
 
Day 6: The surroundings of Manduria (45 km)
The journey around Manduria takes us towards the sea: here there are some of the most beautiful beaches in Puglia and a Nature Reserve "la Salina dei Monaci" where you can easily spot pink flamingos.
Pedaling along the coast in a northerly direction, you can reach San Pietro in Bevagna, where a crystal clear sandy beach - totally deserted in spring and autumn - allows you to sunbathe and maybe swim in the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea. Back in Manduria, you can visit an ancient archaeological site of the Messapic age and the Museum of Primitivo wine, where you will have a tasting of the wines of the area.
 
 
 
Day 7: from Manduria to Lecce (52 km)
In this last day, we will head towards the "Florence of the South": the city of Lecce.
Along the road, wel cross the fascinating ghost town of Monteruga, founded in the 20s and completely abandoned in the 80s. This is the area of "Salice Salentino", whose vineyards produce a DOCG wine very famous all over the world. We will cross some small villages where, during the whole year, squares are full of old residents, hats pulled down against the sun, discussing about politics and agriculture, and it seems time has stopped.
Later - in the afternoon - we will arrive at our destination, where a farewell dinner awaits us!
 

Day 8: Departure 

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