Bike Across Southern Italy

Traverse Italy from heel to toe on this award-winning bicycle tour!

Fueled by the success of our most popular bicycle tour—Bike Across Italy—which crosses central Italy from Fano to Porto Ercole, director Lauren Hefferon designed the perfect complement: Bike Across Southern Italy, a 12-day adventure traversing the Italian peninsula east to west through the enchanting regions of Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, and Calabria. See and experience an Italy you never imagined, as our bike trip takes us from Puglia into the trulli region with its captivating clusters of conical trulli structures, and across the Basilicata region to Matera, the famous city of stone. We’ll ride through Castelmezzano’s vast cultivated fields, natural preserves, lava formations, and tiny ancient towns, and pedal the breathtaking coastline of Campania’s Cilento peninsula, equaling the natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast, but without the crowds.

Discover an Italy you never imagined on this magical cycling trip. Deluxe accommodations await at the end of each day’s adventure on our cycling tour. We’ll spend a night each in Palinuro and Maratea, two of Italy’s most beautiful coastal towns, so you can enjoy the area’s forests and beach coves, friendly residents, and welcoming trattorie and seafood restaurants. Our route also takes us to Pollino National Park, a World Wildlife Foundation protected forest of pine trees and eucalyptus, and through the tiny hilltop Albanian villages of Calabria, founded some 500 years ago and still maintaining their own language and traditional dress. The grand finale of this sentimental biking vacation is a ride to Cittadella del Capo, a city which epitomizes the ecco la bella vita (here is the beautiful life) style. You’ll carry it home in your heart and soul!

Highlights

  • Enjoy the captivating clusters of conical "trulli" structures, the region’s typical architecture
  • The constant perfume of orange and eucalyptus
  • Amazing guided visits of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
  • Experience “Old World” hospitality from Italian natives
  • Breathtaking rides along the cliffs of the Cilento Coast
  • Sampling freshly-made Mozzarella and fresh peperoncini

Trip Details

Price
$5,795
*Call for 2019 pricing
Single Supplement
$900
Length
12 days / 11 nights
Level
Advanced
Total Mileage
385 miles
Daily Average
39 miles
Terrain
Hilly
Start/End Locations
Polignano/Cittadella del Capo
Trip Dates
09/25/18 - 10/06/18
05/14/19 - 05/25/19
06/11/19 - 06/22/19
08/27/19 - 09/07/19
09/24/19 - 10/05/19

Make this tour Private or for more information, call:

800.866.7314

Itinerary

Polignano al Mare

Welcome to Polignano! Today we meet the group at 12:30 pm in the hotel lobby for intros and a light lunch. After lunch, we will have time to change into cycling gear for a bike fitting and short safety talk before our warm-up spin along the stunning Adriatic Coast and up to the Murgia. We conclude our evening with cocktails, dinner, and a leisurely walk around this lovely seaside town.

Polignano al Mare to Alberobello

We’ll ride on rolling, narrow roads lined with stone walls as we travel through a strange fantasyland of conical-shaped houses called trulli. We’ll stop for lunch in Locorotondo and then continue to Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to over 1,000 trulli. We’ll also visit the Cantina Albea for a wine tasting. This winery is located just a short walk from the center of Alberobello and hosts a wine museum that explains the winemaking traditions of the local farmers. Dinner is a great feast of typical, seasonal dishes.

Alberobello to Matera

Today’s ride is one of the flattest, but with several long stretches of very straight road. We continue to see more of the dry stacked stone walls, and they are also far more manicured than the tiny farms we passed in the Trulli land between Alberobello and Martina Franca. We stop in Mottola for views of the Ionian sea and a Ciclismo picnic at an Agriturismo where our friend Giaccomina runs her family’s farm and prepares for us a lunch made with ingredients produced on her farm. The afternoon ride presents vast, less inhabited lands where you can imagine some of the spaghetti westerns being filmed. Finally, we arrive in Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a truly unique experience.

Rest Day or Loop to Montescaglioso

A good day to rest and explore Matera or take a short spin to Montescaglioso, a hilltop town with an important ancient abbey where we’ll take a quick visit to the Monastery. This ride provides a preview of the climbs to come during the next days of the tour. We’ll be back in Matera for lunch. In the afternoon we’ll meet with a local guide for a walking tour of this unique 8,000-year-old city.

Matera to Castelmezzano

Today is a spectacular roller coaster ride which rolls through the hilly basilicata landscape. We start with a descent to the Bradano River Valley to Lago di Giuliano. We’ll ride through this World Wildlife Foundation-protected forest of pine and eucalyptus trees. Here we enjoy breathtaking views of the Lago di Giuliano and several of the hilltop villages written about by Carlo Levi in his historic novel Christ Stopped at Eboli . We pass through one of the once important Roman outposts Tricarico, where we’ll have lunch. We then descend with great views of the Piccolo Dolomiti and finish the day climbing to the mountain of Castelmezzano.

Castelmezzano to Padula

Starting at approximately 3,200 feet we will actually continue climbing as we leave Castelmezzano. Most of today’s ride follows virtually un-trafficked roads. We encounter a spectacular descent to our lunch spot in Viggiano. Then again we continue to descend until we arrive at the base of our “Cima Coppi”, the most challenging climb of the tour, but oh what a climb and what a view. We will descend through a sweet-smelling pine forest to the town of Padula.

Padula to Palinuro

Today’s ride starts out rolling and without significant elevation gains in the Tangaro Valley. From Sanza we enter the Cilento Park and we start with a climb that begins gently but finishes a bit steeper as we arrive at the top of Passo Inferno “Hell Pass.” After Passo Inferno, we enjoy a long cruising descent to Rofrano followed by another climb passing through Chestnut forests to our lunch spot in Montano Antilia. From here we start to see, more olive trees again—from which comes the prestigious Cilentano Olive oil—and the Tyrrhenian Sea! The end of today’s ride rewards us with an incredibly blissful 12-mile descent to the coast.

Rest Day or Palinuro Marina di Pisciotta Loop Ride

Optional rest or ride day! The hotel has a private beach and the crystal clear waters are certainly inviting. Lunch and dinner are on your own so you may choose to eat at the beach or there are several places in town to go to. Or you can get a small boat to pick you up at the beach and take you to the famous “grottos” of the area.

Palinuro to Maratea

Today’s ride is beautiful and scenic, as we travel along “the other Amalfi Coast,” the stretches of beach that Italians prefer to the more famous and touristy ones farther north. First we head towards Marina di Camarota and Sapri. Then in the afternoon, we ride along the narrow cliffs of Cersuta, and just a couple of miles before Maratea we come to a narrow stretch of road known as “Passeggiata Apprezzamo L’asino.” Once in Maratea, a charming place known as the “town with 44 churches,” we head to the center for a tasting of local products.

Maratea to Morano Calabro

Today’s route starts with some climbing from the sea. We have a second climb to Lauria, where the 1989 Giro d’Italia started. After Lauria, we continue to climb and eventually enter the Pollino National Park, in Calabria. You’ll notice the elevation change as the lush, green landscape turns stark and mountainous. In the evening we’ll be entertained by Bruzi. Bruzi is the ancient name of the Calabrese people. This evening we’ll also be treated to a mozzarella-making demonstration and tasting.

Morano Calabro to Cittadella del Capo

Today’s route is extremely curvy with some difficult climbs as we continue to travel on the periphery of the Pollino National Park. The riding is great fun though! We will pass through some of the small towns settled by Albanians who fled from the Turks over 500 years ago. Many of these communities maintain their own language and traditional dress. We’ll pass through Firmo, Lungro, and Acquaformosa, all of which are examples of characteristic Albanian villages. The ride finishes with a truly spectacular descent from Passo Scalone, at 2,500 ft all the way to the sea!

Arrivederci!

After breakfast around 9 am, we provide one group shuttle that will take you to Lamezia airport (2 hours from the hotel, airport code SUF). Expect to arrive at the airport around 11 am.



What's Included

Trip Planning

  • Use of a carbon road bike equipped with Garmin Edge Touring GPS
  • Informative tour leaders throughout the program
  • Ciclismo jersey and water bottle
  • Shuttle at the end of the tour

On The Tour

  • Van Support
  • Guided walking tours of the Trulli of Alberobello, the Sassi of Matera and the “Certosa” monastery in Padula
  • Wine tasting and visit to a cantina

Accomodations & Meals

  • All accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 1 lunch and 2 picnic lunches
  • 9 dinners

Meet the Guides