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      our holidays > Cycling Holidays > Italy & its islands > The South > Vineyards & Castles of the South

Vineyards & Castles of the South

Unspoiled Basilicata & Puglia
Extend your stay
We also offer the 9-night Vineyards, Castles & Trulli, which finishes at an elegant hotel in Noci, giving you the chance to cycle to Alberobello and the Itria Valley.
Starting point:

Hotel San Paolo al Convento in Trani, a historic port with a handsome Old Town, Romanesque cathedral and a Swabian castle protecting the harbour.

Day 1
Trani to Montegrosso: 54km

Leaving Trani, you head through countryside planted with grapes, figs, cereals, olive and almond trees. It is worth pausing in Andria, a busy market town famous for its wine, olive oil and almonds, to take in the ducal palace and cathedral, complete with a 7th-century crypt. Back in the saddle, you continue uphill to Castel del Monte, which is visible for miles around. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the most important medieval castles in Italy, famed for its octagonal towers. Take time to visit before cycling the last leg to the Masseria Lama di Luna, Montegrosso, in the La Murgia National Park.

Day 2
Montegrosso to Venosa: 51km

The highlight of today’s cycle ride is reaching the historic town of Minervino, which perches on an escarpment, earning it the name the ‘balcony of Puglia’. The views are remarkable, and there are several other sights worth seeking out, namely the Norman cathedral, the castle and, just outside the town, St Michael’s Cave. From here, you head south-west, ascending into the higher Basilicata region, where you find your hotel for the next two nights, Hotel Orazio, in the centre of the Roman hill town of Venosa, birthplace of Horace.

Day 3
Circular route via Melfi: 51km
Circular route via Maschito: 30km

You could spend the day exploring the many Roman archaeological remains in Venosa, but if you would prefer more cycling, we provide a choice of two circular routes. The first, the hilliest of the two, takes you through rolling countryside to the historic town of Melfi, complete with a castle, lying in the shadow of Mount Vulture. The second is a more leisurely ride with an opportunity for wine tasting along the way (you will need to pre-book), before continuing via the intriguing town of Maschito back to your hotel.

Day 4
Venosa to Genzano, ending with a transfer (recommended option): 35km
Venosa to Grottole: 87km

After an initial descent from Venosa, you rise through rolling countryside and past a lake to the town of Genzano, from where you are transferred with your bikes to the Agriturismo Bufalara, near Grottole, for a wonderful dinner in a homely house-guest setting. If you choose, you can cycle the entire route – from Genzano it is downhill all the way, except for the last short leg to the agriturismo.

Day 5
Grottole to Matera: 41km

You cycle alongside tranquil Lake San Giuliano, a protected oasis that is home to great white egrets, purple herons, cormorants and storks, among other species. From here, you make a gentle ascent into amazing Matera, where alleys, houses and churches all blend into the hillside. Among them you will find your fascinating hotel, the Locanda di San Martino, where you spend your last two nights.

Day 6
Circular route via rock churches (recommended option): 43km
Longer option via Montescaglioso: 54km

Take your time to cycle along the valley of the intriguing Chiese Rupestri (rock churches) Park. You could choose to detour uphill to the hill-top town of Montescaglioso, dominated by its enchanting 11th-century Benedictine abbey, before returning to Matera for your final night.

To find out more or plan your trip

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  - Moderate cycling - Grade 2-3 Cycle
Local Map
More about your rented bike
Type: hybrid
Gears: 27
Tandem? yes (subject to availability)  
Helmets? yes (request at time of booking)
Electric bikes? yes (see price panel)
Accessories: waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; lock
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