Frank Yantorno & Dana Geraghty: Bike Across Southern Italy
Buongiorno a tutti!
Greetings from the great white north (of Italy!). It’s Dana here – with Frank looking over my shoulder – writing to you from our digs here in Bolzano, deep within the Dolomites. We skied in Colorado for a bit and it was wonderful since the snow in Europe hasn’t been great this year. Otherwise, we can’t complain: spring is in the air and we’ll be on our bikes shortly!
You’re probably deciding what trips to do in 2019. As you peruse the new Ciclismo Classico catalog, or as you scroll the new website, take a look at our Bike Across Southern Italy. Guests rave about it, guides love it, and it’s one of the trips Frank and I will be guiding this year.
There is a lot about this departure that makes it a “must do” on everyone’s bucket list.
Here are just a few things we love about Ciclismo’s BASI tour:
These days it’s difficult to find a quiet road in Tuscany or a romantic café in Venice. Ciclismo’s twelve-day adventure takes you through authentic southern Italy like no one has ever done before. We ride through the most charming and characteristic villages in four different regions of southern Italy. The cultivated fields of Castelmezzano, the chestnut forests of Rofrano and the beauty of the Pollino Natural Park are just a hint of the untracked Italian territories you will pedal through on this unique journey. And only Ciclismo Classico offers this itinerary! Once again, Ciclismo Classico doesn’t copy: we have led the way in Italy since 1988.
Trulli: A Wonderful Time.
Anyone who has traveled to Puglia has seen the astounding local structures called trulli: small, conical buildings, popular in Alberobello and in other villages of the Itria Valley. These constructions have prehistoric origins. These are Tholos, spreading over the countryside and used to bury the dead. Over the course of the ages, the local inhabitants used these buildings as homes and no longer as simple necropolises. Today, it is a curious site to ride through the countryside and see these spiraling points on the tops of these heavy stone houses. The ancients never used mortar or cement: they built these structures with limestone slabs without using cement. The inhabitants of the farmland dismantled their homes to avoid the rule of tyrannous authority (and taxes). So no cement is a good thing! But trust us: the trulli in Alberobello are here to stay!
Matera: Getting Sassi.
Matera is the third oldest city in the world. The village has always had inhabitants since the Paleolithic Age. However, the sassi of Matera are of significant importance. These are houses – or rather caves – cut directly into the limestone massifs. The townspeople constructed these dwellings for the city’s poor and unfortunate. Now they are prime real estate and protected by UNESCO since 1993. Through a mix of valleys and caves, these sasso caveoso dwellings have been left entirely intact.
Now awarded the European Capital of Culture for 2019, Matera is on everyone’s bucket list. The village itself suggests ancient religious sites, and has earned the nickname, “The Second Bethlehem.” In fact, you may remember that Mel Gibson filmed his acclaimed The Passon of Christ right here in town. One night in Matera is enough to make you a believer of its awesome beauty.
Palinuro and the Italian’s “Amalfi”.
The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful part of the world. If you go to the Cilento Coast, you’ll never go back to Amalfi. We stay two nights in this enchanting part of Italy – far from the chaotic madness of Amalfi. With our hotel right on the beach, you can get a boat to explore Italy’s most extensive network of underwater caves. Virgil’s Aeneid gave the town its name. Palinurus, tossed from Aeneas’s ship, washes up on shore at the cape. The Sybil announces the construction of a new village named in his honor. Roman and Greek history abound here and there is a lot to do and see. Or, choose to do absolutely nothing at all.
We could go on: the water views at Lago di Giuliano; the Benedictine abbey of St Michael at Montescaglioso; wine tasting at Cantina Albea. Our list of favorites could go on forever.
Come with Frank and me and find your favorite part. As one of the least traveled areas of Italy, you’re bound to have your own adventure. Let us be there to share it with you!
Ciao for now! See you in Italy! Andiamo!