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Puglia
The regions of the Giro

Puglia

Territorial Promotion and Sports Initiatives

Open air vacation packages benefit from cycling routes, also on e-bikes, discovering colors, scents and histories that make this land unique, preserving its identity across the centuries. Farm resorts, associations and institutions offer excursions in national parks and protected areas, like the Gargano National Park, the Alta Murgia National Park, the Bosco di Ischitella forest in Carpino, the Falascone State Natural Reserve in Monte Sant’Angelo, and the WWF oasis “Le Cesine” in Vernole.

Cycling up and down Puglia helps discover marvelous examples of spontaneous architecture, where bare stones are the essential element for masserie and rural churches. History and nature are intertwined, ensuring a sense of tranquility. Bike tours are organized along gentle, almost flat country lanes with little or no car traffic, suitable for everyone.

Puglia offers a wide range of diverse cycling routes: as part of the Bicitalia cycle network, they are linked with cross-regional trails:

There are two Apulian legs of this challenging trail: one towards Gargano, and another one all the way south to Santa Maria di Leuca across the Acquedotto Pugliese aqueduct route.

From Otranto to Sapri. Pedaling from the Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas across Puglia and Basilicata prairies up to the slopes of Pollino, travelers reach the crystal clear sea of the Gulf of Sapri. Otranto is the easternmost location in Italy, and leaving its Adriatic coasts bikers head west towards Nardò and Gallipoli, thus reaching the Ionian Sea and then easily proceeding through traffic-clear roads up to Taranto.

Linking Trieste with Leuca, this is a virtually endless coastline road reaching hundreds of different beaches all along eastern Italy.

When reaching Puglia, around the tranquil roads of Chieuti and Lesina, the path has a new, difficult but wonderful start from Gargano, crossing the coastal towns of Barletta, Trani, Bisceglie, Molfetta, Giovinazzo, and Bari, then reaching Brindisi and Lecce, finally landing at Otranto and Leuca across fascinating coastal roads.

This is a short course of 11 kilometers, but a quite unique one: it is the first and most famous Italian aqueduct path. Pedaling through long and grassy routes over the aqueduct pipes, built in 1906 to solve the drought problems affecting Puglia: nature is majestic here, embellished by unique Mediterranean Maquis and cultivated fields. For long stretches, man and nature have shaped the landscaped in a harmonious way, for the enchantment of cycling travelers.

This route is called “Via dei Borboni” and links Naples with Bari. The path connects Bari, Bitetto, Ruvo, Castel del Monte and Minervino in Puglia, with a detour until Matera, and reaches Naples after 334 kilometers.

The main route of this path is the Italian leg of the European EuroVelo Route n. 3, bearing the Latin name of Via Romea Francigena.

Heading south from Rome, it follows the Appian Way to Melfi, Gravina, Matera, Taranto, and Brindisi, where the two Roman columns mark the route – and Appian Way – final destination.

Valle d’Itria Detour: besides the Taranto route along the Appian Way, there is also the Brindisi alternative path crossing the UNESCO world heritage site of Alberobello and trulli. Gioia del Colle, Alberobello, Cisternino and Ostuni are among the main towns along this path.

However, two-wheel lovers have much more to choose from: several associations promote cycling paths unearthing quiet back roads across breathtaking landscapes.

Sports & wellbeing are essential for several trekking trails across this territory: nature routes discovering archaeological and religious tracks around Gargano, crossing Mattinata, Vieste and the Foresta Umbra forest. But there is more: natural landscapes and cultural heritage will be the centerpiece of several cycling and mountain bike activities around the province of Bari, the Murgia hills and Valle d’Itria, ranging from Stone Age dolmen to cathedrals, tracing the relics of the “Altamura Man”. It is also possible to join horseback tours along country roads across the provinces of Brindisi and Lecce along the Alimini Lakes down to the sea, where sand dunes are surrounded by Mediterranean Maquis.

Marinas and tourist harbors are easily at hand in Puglia, where favorable winds make for an easy sail along its coasts to explore enchanting seabeds.

Gargano is an ideal destination for sailboat lovers thanks to its windy coasts and several tourist marinas along the coastlines, an unmissable chance to discover wonderful sea grottos all the way down to the Tremiti islands. Aquatic sport lovers can practice windsurfing and kitesurfing, explore seabeds in Ugento, Porto Cesareo, Gallipoli and Monopoli thanks to many local diving centers. Golf lovers find in Puglia fascinating golf greens immersed in nature: 18-hole courses, quality equipped fairways and comfortable guest houses are to be enjoyed in Fasano, Casamassima, Castellaneta, Vernole and Gallipoli.

One of the key assets of the regional sports programs in Puglia benefit from a particular “sports tourism” promotion, including events and happenings aimed at adding value to this territory, as well as attracting prospective stakeholders and future investments. This is part of a long term strategy aimed at organizing big events and high quality shows, at a national and international level, in order to foster the Apulian territorial promotion. Here are the most important up-coming events:

  • Redbull Cliff Diving, the summer high-diving competition is set across the breathtaking scenario of Polignano a Mare, the spearhead of Puglia’s amazing rocky seascape. This is definitely one of the most exciting sports, a spectacular discipline where athletes dive from 27-meter (men) and 20-meter (women) platforms (three times the Olympic height!).
  • Calaponte Triweek, the Olympic Triathlon endurance race is held in May across the splendid setting of Polignano a Mare, gathering around 700 athletes from 109 world-wide sports clubs (Australia, Canada, Spain).
  • The Brindisi-Corfu International Regatta is the Puglian sailing festival held in June, this year celebrating its 35th edition and signifying the Mediterranean bond between Italy and Greece, and the passion for sea sports.

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