Depart from the U.S.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight
itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Savelletri
You arrive at the airport in Bari, Italy,
where a VBT representative meets you and helps you transfer (approximately 1
hour) to your first masseria in Savelletri.
Upon arrival in Savelletri, you have the rest of the day
free to discover the peaceful countryside and relax at our luxurious 5-star
deluxe masseria where there area number of amenities to take advantage of. You
can play golf at the 9-hole course, get a massage at the Aveda hotel spa, spend
the afternoon relaxing on the private sand beach or stroll through the large
orchards, vineyards and olive groves. By contacting the hotel in advance, you
may also book a cooking class, rent a boat or practice outdoor sports like
tennis, sailing and horseback riding. Whatever you choose, you will be amazed
by the simple and quiet rhythm of life and the friendliness of local people
Note: On some dates we are using Masseria Cimino. This property is a 4 star
hotel part of the 101 best hotels selected by Tatler.
VBT Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.
Day 3 - All guests meet in Bari/Transfer to Savelletri
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 2
p.m. in the lobby of our first masseria. To get to the masseria, we suggest
that you contact the hotel and ask for their shuttle. The shuttle is available at
special rates for our guests, and must be booked in advance, directly with the
hotel. If your arrival at the masseria is scheduled later than 2 p.m., or if
you are delayed, please contact the hotel and the staff will pass your message
along to your VBT Trip Leaders. A taxi to the masseria from the Bari railway station is approximately 100 euros/$150 USD;
from the Bari
airport, the cost is approximately 110 euros/$165 USD. Alternatively, you may
consider traveling from Bari (or even Rome) by train. The closest
railway station to the masseria is FASANO. Note that if you take a train from Rome to Fasano you may need to connect in Bari. Once in Fasano call the masseria to
arrange for a taxi or shuttle pickup (approximately a 10-minute drive). VBT
highly recommends flying to Italy
at least one day before the tour begins; this allows you to rest and recover
from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: This morning
continue exploring the surroundings on a self-guided walk, or maybe join in an
optional cooking class organized by the masseria. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at
2:00 p.m. in the main lobby; they will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please
plan to eat lunch before you meet them.
The Masseria Torre Coccaro, and its sister Masseria Torre
Maizza, are 5-star deluxe resorts set alongside each other on the kind of
historic fortified farms for which this region is known. Masseria Cimino, that
we use on some dates, is a 4-star hotel part of the 101 Best
hotels selected by Tatler. Masseria is the local name for these large farms, which were
fortified around the 16th century to ward off attacks by pirates and brigands.
Masserias feature high boundary walls, angular towers, drawbridges and watchtowers.
Inside the walls, families worked and lived alongside their own church, oil
mill and oven to bake bread. These farms would also house cisterns for water,
storage rooms for tools and hay, stables, and everything else needed for
day-to-day life. In a separate section of the farm, their padrone, or master,
lived in a more comfortable house.
After meeting your VBT Trip Leaders, join them for a safety
and bike-fitting session. Then take a short warm-up ride along quiet country
roads past 800-year-old olive groves to Egnatia, an ancient Messapican (and
later Roman) coastal town of great economic and military importance in the 10th
century. A short stop at its archaeological museum reveals precious finds such
as sculptures, jewels, funeral equipment and the particular pottery produced
here, called gnathia.
Later, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on the elegant
hotel patio. Dinner is at the hotel restaurant and is prepared with local
products and herbs produced on the farm.
Day 4 - Cycle to Savelletri and Monopoli
After breakfast we cycle along the coast on quiet roads,
completely surrounded by ancient olive trees. Puglia
ranks first in Italy
in the production of olive oil, wine, and hay, and second for tobacco and
almonds. Continue to Monopoli, where you stop to visit the beautiful cathedral
and the fish and fruit market. Spend free time here exploring and eating lunch
on your own. Walk the maze of pedestrian streets in Monopoli's old city center
and see why they make the city so intimate and unique.
In the afternoon, cycle along the coast to your beautiful
hotel and enjoy its numerous amenities. Tonight, dinner is in the hotel
Day 5 - Cycle to Ostuni
This morning, ride along the coast toward the whitewashed
city of Ostuni.
On your way, visit a fortified masseria that houses the Church of San Lorenzo
and an olive oil museum. Built in the 17th century by the Cardinal Rocco, this
farm hosts an interesting collection of ancient oil-making tools.
For lunch, we visit Armando and his wife, Rosalba at Il
Frantoio, a family-run masseria. The estate extends over 150 acres and includes
a “secret garden” planted with orange and lemon trees, and a well-preserved
underground oil mill. Our hosts have collected many interesting novelties over
the years. From ancient dresses and hats to precious books and a gramophone,
each piece has its own story.
Lunch is prepared using produce grown on the farm and we'll
have the opportunity to try a sampling of five different extra-virgin oils that
Rosalba uses to flavor her focaccia, pickles, preserves, and delicious laganari
pasta. Afterward, shuttle or continue cycling to your hotel in Ostuni.
This evening, you are free to stroll Ostuni's narrow,
whitewashed limestone streets before having dinner on your own. Admire the
graceful towers, staircases, arches, balconies and carved doorways, many of
which are adorned with colorful pots of flowers or garlic and tomato crowns
left to dry in the sun.
Day 6 - Alberobello/The Itria
This morning we shuttle to Alberobello in the Itria Valley,
through a region dotted with trulli houses. A trullo is a unique type of building,
characteristic of this region, consisting of a whitewashed, cylindrical
roundhouse topped by a large cone of local stones -- all assembled without
mortar. It is believed that trulli originated as storage sheds built for
agricultural implements. Much later, they became dwelling places, with
adjoining buildings added as families grew. Many trulli are still used and
inhabited today, and some of their roofs show mysterious chalk marks, either to
protect from evil or to bless the house. The trulli of Alberobello in
particular have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After our visit to Alberobello with a local expert, we cycle to Locorotondo, where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, continue cycling
mostly downhill through the gorgeous countryside, back to Ostuni. Tonight
dinner is at a local trattoria.
Day 7 - Cycle to Otranto/Discover Otranto
Leave Ostuni and take a morning shuttle further south to
discover another area of Puglia,
Salento. Begin biking at Melpignano. In Curzi, notice the impressive quarries
where big ivory sandstones (called chianche in the local dialect) are extracted
for use in local construction. Continue your ride into a quiet park, shaded by
big olive trees and old oaks, as you head toward the sea to Otranto. Lunch is
on your own in Otranto, in one of the many simple fish restaurants or
After lunch, discover this picturesque town on the Italian
coast. Founded by the Greeks, Otranto is surrounded by great ramparts and
walls. From late spring onward, its atmosphere is extremely lively with local
craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric and ceramics.
The city's highlight is certainly the huge, 800-square-meter floor mosaic
representing the Tree of Life, created in the year 1163 by a monk in the
After our visit, cycle flat country roads catching sight of
menhirs and dolmens, ancient monoliths and tombs before arriving at our last
masseria. After settling in, you may want to swim or relax with a good book.
This evening we shuttle to Otranto for dinner on your own at one of the many
outdoor cafés or restaurants. Or, if you prefer, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Day 8 - Discover the Coast of Salento
After breakfast we set out on one of the best bike rides in Italy. Starting
in the interior of Salento, we then continue cycling on gentle, rural pathways
through little villages to the coastal town of Castro Marina. Relax on the way
with a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders.
Continue to Santa Cesarea, a quiet town set on the edge of
the Adriatic Sea. Then follow the cliffs to
the town of Porto Badisco,
famous for its azure waters and prehistoric Cervi Grottoes. In Porto Badisco,
take time for a dip before continuing to Cape
Otranto, the easternmost tip of Italy. We cycle
back to the hotel in time to freshen up before a special farewell dinner at the
Day 9 - Transfer to Lecce/Free day in city/VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport,
arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m. Please note: For guests with early-morning
departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the
Front Desk to verify the times that breakfast is served. Important: Flight
departures from Brindisi prior to 1:30 p.m. are
not recommended; those departing earlier must make transfer arrangements at
their own expense from the last hotel in Otranto to Brindisi (approximately 1½ hours). Taxi cost
to the Brindisi
airport is approximately 80 euros/$102 USD.
VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Transfer to
the Hotel Patria
Palace in Lecce, an elegant and centrally located
5-star hotel, arriving at about 10:30 a.m. Your VBT Information Packet for Lecce includes a self-guided city walk that will help you
explore the many wonders of this beautiful Baroque city, called “the Southern Florence.” Thanks to the skill with which local
builders and stonemasons worked the soft, pink-tinged local stone called pietra
is often noted for its Baroque architecture. Explore the Piazza Sant'Oronzo, the city's main square and
the heart of local activities for centuries. The square's centerpiece is the
Roman amphitheater. From here, narrow streets fan out into the city's charming
The gem of Lecce
is Piazza Duomo, closed on three sides by the cathedral and two palaces
belonging to the church. Though this is one of the largest squares in Europe, it has an intimate feel that invites lunch and people-watching
from a local café or bakery. Tonight, dinner is on your own.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport for your
flight to Rome or your flight back to the U.S. VBT recommends that you check
the transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The
transfer is prearranged with the reception desk and is prepaid by VBT.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.