A journey through South-East Italy, in a region blessed by the sun and two superb seas. Eccentric land in the Mediterranean, since always stretched in between West and East, borderland where people from different origins and cultures have left signs of their passage, a land of warmth and hospitality. Experience the unique light shining on this place, a light reflecting on crystal clear waters as well as on the white stones many ancient buildings are built with. Here the stories from fishermen and farmers cross with the ones coming from a thousand flavors this land and sea still have to offer to their visitors. We will stick around Lecce, also known as “Lupiae” in Roman times, “Florence of the South” or “Athens of Apulia”. The unique baroque style of this city is characterized by the use of local stones, out of which brilliant chisel artisans bring to life outstanding artworks. Starting from this city, we are going to explore the surroundings taking time to discover tastes and flavors of this land.
“Maybe you don’t know that Lecce is a gentle city, with a nice language, hometown of a baroque style that makes it look like a Spanish city. And maybe you don’t know much more. Nor even can you imagine…” Lecce is still nowadays a very pleasant city, able to conquer its visitors with its tasting cuisine, made of simple and genuine food. After meeting your tour leader, an introduction to the trip and a stroll around the city center, we will be ready to start our gourmet tour with a dinner in one of the most renown taverns in town: Osteria da Angiulino. Simple dishes made with love, one for all “pezzetti di cavallo al sugo” (horse stew), a true specialty.
Today’s itinerary is dedicated to the Sustainable Food Community “Le Cesine”, born from a recent collaboration between Slow Food, WWF and five local farms. We will then pay a visit to a farm called Li Scucchi, where to find “eggs-to-drink”, cereals and cheeses produced with the milk from their cows. Next stop will take place at Masseria Fossa, up on a rocky hill few kilometers away from the city and the sea, where an equestrian center is hosted too. We will taste some of their products, “good, clean and fair” food, the result of a masterly work by generations of families who carry on with perseverance their small farming activities. We cannot miss a stop at the fortified village of Acaya, to admire its imposing castle, and a quick lunch break at the Masseria Cupertino, where only Slow Food products are served. Slowly getting back to the city, we will have the time to taste a delicious cotognata (quince jam) at the Franchini confectionery, while dinner will take place in a typical pizzeria where local people gather.
After breakfast we will jump on our bikes heading towards the Ionian sea, riding through “Arneo’s Land” to discover ancient country houses and autochthonous vineyards. Just a few kilometers outside Lecce we will visit the lab of Antonio Bisconti, one of a few local artists still devoted to the ancient art of working with the clay. We will then follow country roads and ride among secular olive trees to get to Copertino and Nardò, historical villages with a great tradition of vineyards still run by small local farms.
Comparing a couple of Wineries, we will understand how the mild climate of this land allows the production of wines with great personality, turning the Salento region in a must-see for this sacred drink lovers: well known Negroamaro and Primitivo are here native grapes of excellence. To follow, we will ride till we get to Santa Maria al Bagno: a final effort to taste a delicious ice-coffee with almond milk before we take a private transfer back to Lecce. Last dinner together will be delighted by a pasticciotto, typical one-portion cake made of shortbread filled up with custard… and have a good night!
After breakfast we will follow the old road to Frigole. First stop will bring us to Lu Furnu (the oven) at Masseria Giannoccaro, main agricultural centre of the village, home base of different agricultural services in the years following the World War II. Here we are going to taste bread in all its shades: salty, sweet, stuffed… not to miss the insuperable pittule, a true specialty to be tasted when still warm. After this tasty break, we will head towards the sea to join the coastal road for an appetizer with fresh fish and a glass of wine. A touch of history before we put an end to this day: Santa Maria di Cerrate, a medieval abbey erected by Count Tancredi and cared for by FAI (Italian Fund for the Environment) deserves a visit. We will then return to Lecce following the tracks once beaten by the pilgrims heading to the Holy Land with ships leaving from Otranto or Leuca harbors. Dinner in a fish restaurant in the town centre.
End of services after breakfast. If you still have some spare time, we suggest you to look for a souvenir in the many artisan shops in town. Haven’t had enough of the regional food? Try the traditional rustico (stuffed salty pastry). The origins of this specialty are still uncertain, but its recipe is well known in town and it won’t be difficult for you to find it in one of the many bakeries or bars in town. Enjoy your meal, and we hope to see you again soon!
Price per person based on two sharing
Daily High Season from 01.07 to 31.08.2016; from 20.12 to 10.01; Easter Holy week.
5 days / 4 nights
This tour is available to anyone with a minimum of habit to cycle. Daily mileage is about 40 kilometers a day, with scheduled stops for visits and refreshments. The route is focused on typical food and wine of the Lecce area. The bike will be a way to dispose of the good food and enjoy the many landscapes that this land offers. There will also be cultural moments and the opportunity, if possible, for a good swim in the clear Salento sea.
En suite rooms in charming central B&B. 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners and mentioned tastings included. Drinks are not included during dinners and lunches.
One of our expert tour leader will be with you for the whole trip. Sharing with you the love of travel and nature and a great knowledge of the territory, you will live an authentic holiday full of fun and relax.
37 years-old, lots of white hair and a little common sense: this is what Marco says about himself. After graduating in Economics of Tourism and a Research Thesis in a place almost unknown in the middle of Brazil, he decides that working in responsible tourism can be a way to put into practice his studies in harmony with nature, culture and traditions. Passionate about history and incurably nostalgic, he never gets tired to listen to his grandparents’ million stories whether sitting around a table or going with them in the fields. In love with racing bikes until he got badly hurt and switched to a slower city bike. Having worked around for a while, he moved back to his hometown, where he founded the tour operator Slow Active Tours.
We organize your holidays in Italy: tours by bike, trekking, snorkeling, cultural trips preferring public transportations instead of private ones. We propose holidays “with a slow pace”, because we need to taste every instant of a good trip, to recapture calm and peace, to smile and think, to admire what nature offers, to chat together with locals, to have a direct approach to local cultures and to travel responsibly and sustainably.