Cycling in Valle d’Itria or by the sea means amid trulli and olive trees mostly feeling the myriad colors of nature and the deep blue of the sky.
Starting from the effortless plain of Montalbano, the bike tour enters olive groves and winds down the dirt tracks which border wide fields dotted by trees and covered with spontaneous greenery. Organiser and tour guide Daniele infuses everything he does with a profound love for his land and a desire to make the
surrounding country well known to visitors.
Daniele tells about meeting an English gentleman who, inspired by a medieval tradition, walked from Canterbury to Brindisi, passing via Rome. In fact, according
to a medieval tradition, pilgrims from all over Europe used to reach Rome first and then Puglia to embark for the Holy Land. Speaking with that gentleman made
Daniele reflect on how important it is to look around and to catch the details of
the beauty that surrounds us.
In fact, one of the bike tours follows part of the old ‘via traiana’, the old road that
used to connected Rome with Brindisi. This road goes through one of the oldest
olive groves in Puglia where it is possible to admire gigantic and fascinating
thousand-year-old olive trees.While biking and chatting, people stop to look at the view, rest under a fig tree and enjoy fruit directly from the plant and share friendship and closeness with the rest of the group. After a few kilometers, they reach a fortified and deserted ‘masseria’, a fascinating building that still suggests how life was structured in older times, when the products of the earth were the only source of livelihood.
The next stop is the famous Montalbano monolith from the Bronze Age (2 nd -3 rd millennium BC), which the English often associate with their mysterious Stonehenge. Biking, using the only strength of one’s legs, allows the best connection to the area. While pedaling, Daniele tells about the history of this land, demonstrating his deep knowledge and competence, sustained by his double majors in international Relations and Economics.
Groups and families, curious about our region and willing to explore it, join Daniele and through his passion see the beauty of our land. The bike tour proceeds happily from one stop to another, tasting locust beans, picking wild herbs such as arugula, marigold, asparagus, and wild garlic. The many tours planned by Daniele are all listed on the MADERABIKE web site. They are all different and there is something suitable for everybody’s tastes and level of fitness: easy ones on flat track for families, others more challenging, covering up to 30 kilometers and including some steep hills for those who are more fit. However, the spirit that moves MADERABIKE is not in covering long distances but rather in discovering a land which offers so much to see, such as parks with sandy dunes, underground tombs, nature, sea and caves.
Speaking of caves: a mandatory stop is the San Giacomo cave. The keeper of the cave is Ginuddo, an energetic 80-year-old farmer who charmingly welcomes visitors with a glass of wine.
Upon request, the MADERABIKE tour stops in a ‘masseria’ for a break of focaccia
and panzerotti or a light vegetarian lunch with a local olive oil tasting. At the end of each tour, whoever came as a simple foreigner leaves as a new friend and with hopes of meeting again for another emotional adventure, another bike tour.