Our trip starts from the Masseria Casale del Murgese, located 15 km from Monopoli. The nearest train station is Fasano and if you are traveling by train from Rome or Bari, it is the stop after Monopoli. The shuttle from Fasano takes 5 minutes and we will meet you on arrival. If you are considering arriving a day early, consider our Extension with a night in historic Monopoli at the Palazzo Indelli, where you can stroll to restaurants and cafes.
STRAIGHT TALK: Puglia has finally been discovered and it is one of our most popular trips, for lots of reasons. Like much of southern Italy, there is some grit amongst the beauty. Many of the hotels we use (except for in Ostuni) are located in the countryside. Many of these were previously farms which were fortified and are known as Masserias. They were constructed of whitewashed tufa stone quarried locally. Historic details such as high vaulted ceilings, stone fireplaces, and alcoves are often present. The interiors typically combine local materials with international touches, creating a welcoming, contemporary take on what was once a modest property. We choose each taking into consideration its location, amenities and management. Each is unique and we hope you will enjoy. *For private groups upgrades to more luxurious properties may be possible in the Monopoli area as there are several ‘ultra-luxurious’ properties there.
Savelletri di Fasano
We’ll meet at our first hotel anytime after 1pm. You can reach Fasano on a train that departs Rome at 8:05am and arrives to Fasano at 13:06 where we (or hotel staff) meet you at the station and whisk you to the hotel, where lunch awaits!
Let’s go cycling! The ride on this day is a loop ride to Egnazia, a Roman port city dating to the 5th century, where remnants of the ancient road to Rome, a beautiful Acropolis and other monuments still exist – we’ll visit the museum here to learn about this fascinating history. Take a swim at the hotel late afternoon and then join our wine reception before dinner.
Distance: 20 km, elevation gain 53 m or 30 km, gain 130 m.*
Savelletri di Fasano
There are several options today; each of these starts by taking you to historic Monopoli which boasts a charming historical center and a vibrant port where fisherman bring in the day’s catch. Visit the impressive 16th century castle, and shops and restaurants in the center. A short option leads from Monopoli west through small villages with a lunch option at a favourite restaurant before coasting back to the hotel. Prefer a longer ride with some moderate hills? Polignano a Mare and/or Conversano are both worth visiting with historical centers and excellent restaurants to temp. We will done tonight at a sea-food restaurant popular with locals. Distance: 50km; 400m or 64km; 500m or 78km; 570m *
We’ll cycle to the Unesco World Heritage site of Alberobello which boasts over 1500 trulli, distinctive round stone buildings with conical slate roofs. We’ll join a local guide here to learn the secrets of this fascinating town on a walk followed by lunch together. It’s an easy ride to Locorotondo, known as the Balcony of the Itria Valley for its stunning views. Puglia produces 17% of Italy’s wine and the whites produced here are very popular. A longer option will take in the Bosco delle Pianelle Nature Reserve. We’ll stay at a charming truli-style hotel with a large swimming pool and lush grounds. We have a cooking course this evening where you will learn the finer points of Italian cooking. Distance: 47km, elevation gain 700 m or 80km; 955m*
This is an easier day, so feel free to sleep in some and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We start our day cycling to Martina Franca, an ancient city with stone walls, stunning piazzas and tiny winding streets. En-route you’ll pass through olive groves, vineyards, and forested lands on quiet roads with very little traffic. Midway, we’ll have time to explore Cisternino, with great cafes and restaurants and then stop to visit an olive oil production facility, where you will taste the finest olive oil in the region. We’ll finish the day in Ostuni, known as the “white city” with its Arab influenced architecture and a labyrinth of streets designed to confuse invaders. Distance: 40 km, elevation gain 530 m (longer distances possible).*
This day will start with a transfer by local train to Squinzano for a coastal ride that is the flattest of the week, with the aquamarine Adriatic at your side. The sea-side town of San Foca awaits you for lunch and afterwards we’ll continue south to historical Otranto, the most eastern point on the Italian peninsula and one of our favorite cities in the region. Like much of Puglia, Otranto had a colourful past with Greek, Byzantine, Roman, Aragonese influences. We’ll stay at the luxurious Masseria Montelauro, located just outside of town. Tonight will be a free night for dinner and there are many excellent restaurants to choose between in town. Distance: 70 km, elevation gain 240 m.*
We save the best ride for last! Cycle south along the dramatic coastal road to Grotta Zinzulusa, a dramatic seafront cave system hung with colorful rock formations & teeming with marine wildlife. This stretch of coastline has unsurpassed architectural and natural beauty (and numerous swimming opportunities) in one of Italy’s most serene locations. You can ride back to Otranto for lunch and spend the afternoon exploring Otranto’s Castello Aragonese, a mighty fortress castle that formed the defense of the city. If you have a century ride on your Puglia bucket list, you could continue all the way to Marina dei Leuca at the ‘southern tip of the boot’ and back. Either way, allow some time to enjoy the fabulous hotel and swimming pool. We’ll finish by hosting a wine tasting with a local sommelier followed by a celebratory dinner in the dining room of the hotel. Distance: 35 up to 112 km, elevation gain 238 up to 1516 m.*
Departure: We offer transportation to the Lecce train station by 10am. Should you wish to depart at a different time, this can be arranged through your guides or the front desk of the hotel. Transfer time to Lecce is about 40 minutes and to Brindisi airport from Otranto would be closer to 70 minutes.
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.