Check in around 14.00 at your charming hotel in Lecce. There will be a briefing, bike fitting and the tour organizer explains the coming itinerary of this road cycling trip. Airport transfers (on request).
Gallipoli and the west coast 50 km
Early in the morning you will reach Gallipoli with private transfer. Its old town is enclosed in a rocky island that is accessed by an 18th century bridge. The village is a real “gallery” in Baroque style adorned with Neapolitan and Apulian paintings. Hence the use of local stone, carparo, did not allow the same decorations that the stonecutters were able to make in Lecce. So Gallipoli has its own Baroque, whitewashed and painted gold on precious wood in Rococo style.
Clean facades of the many churches hide sumptuous and magnificent interiors. The history of this town is tied to its “green gold” and you will discover it in one of the many oil mills that the old town still preserves under its palaces.
Left Gallipoli you will drive along a stretch of coast up to Porto Selvaggio Reserve; from here you will ride in the hinterland discovering the city of Copertino, home of the Holy Flying, and Nardò, popular due to its wine cellars and its beautiful historic center.
Back in Lecce we advise you to try a delicious ice cream at the “Gelateria Natale” near Sant’Oronzo Square, really famous in Lecce.
Lands of Acaya 40 km
Today’s itinerary is dedicated to Le Cesine nature Reserve and the fortified village of Acaya.
You will drive along the “Fondone”, a long road leading up to Le Cesine. Within the reserve there is a provincial highway now become a long cycle path surrounded by olive trees and reeds. You will then reach the sea, where it will be easy to find a shack near the shore for a break before or after a dip in the beautiful sea adjacent to the reserve.
Again on the bike to return to the city. The route includes a stop almost mandatory in the small and enchanting village of Acaya. Here if you are lucky you will find open a tiny bar/grocery where you can find almost everything. After visiting the Castle which houses a Byzantine fresco still being studied, you will take the road to Lecce.
Sun, sea and … Rustico! If you want to taste a typical Slow Street Food, we recommend the traditional Rustico Leccese. The historical origins of this goodness are uncertain, but the recipe is well known by many bakeries, bars or takeaways in town, so it will be easy to find it everywhere, even in the early hours of the morning. Enjoy your meal!
On the Francigena way 45 km
After breakfast you will leave Lecce following Via Vecchia Frigole. First stop will be at “Lu Furnu” in Masseria Giammatteo, big agricultural centre during the Second World War. Here you can have excellent bread, sweet and spicy lace, cakes and, above all, the unbeatable “pittule“, very good especially if still hot.
After having enriched the palate, continue towards sea and reach the Adriatic coast. The last stage today, purely historical, will be dedicated to Santa Maria in Cerrate, Medieval abbey commissioned by Count Tancredi and now reassessed by the Italian Environment Fund-FAI. After the visit you will back off Lecce trying to follow the roads once traveled by pilgrims heading to the ports of Otranto and Leuca, from where they embarked to the Holy Land.
Otranto and the East coast 55 km
After breakfast by private transfer you will get to the Blue Lake, an incredible place that preserves an emerald pond in bright red soil. From here you will begin to pedal backwards along the coast. In the blink of an eye you will reach Otranto, a city always stretched between East and West, that you cannot fail to visit.
Left Otranto behind you will cycle on a coastal road from which it will be easy to see and reach beautiful creeks: the Bay of the Turks and its cliffs; old Roca and its Cave of Poetry; St. Andrea and its stacks. Sun, sea and…Pasticciotto! If you have not already done so, just returned to Lecce taste the delicious local sweet, a single-portion pie made with pastry and stuffed with custard.
Departure day…..Time to say goodbye, a good flight back home or a pleasant stay in Italy. Transfers upon request.