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Stay at the Hotel Borgo Pantano with VBT—One of Italy’s Top Ten Hotels

Hotel Borgo Pantano Exterior

One of the best features of any VBT vacation is the unique, local accommodations that we seek out for our travelers. We want you to have the most authentic experience as possible while on tour with us, and locally run hotels often provide just that. One of our favorites on our Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages vacation is the Hotel Borgo Pantano, located a few miles from downtown Syracuse. VBT guests will stay at this award winning accommodation—a Trip Advisor top ten hotel in Italy and ranked #22 in all of Europe— for two nights at the end of the tour. So, we thought we’d tell you a little bit more about what this fantastic hotel has to offer its guests.

One the 7th day of our biking vacation, we’ll ride the flat, scenic road that lead us to our final destination of the day: Borgo roomHotel Borgo Pantano—a tranquil 4-star boutique hotel located between the sea and the Ciane River, and surrounded by the Saline Nature Reserve. This old country estate—a former masseria—was restored in 2010 with artistic touches. The resulting décor mixes ancient and modern styles. One of its loveliest features is the large pool, which meanders like a lake along fragrant lemon and orange groves, lit at night by candles and lanterns. VBT guests can enjoy a soothing sit in the sauna, soak in the whirlpool, or perhaps treat themselves to a relaxing massage.

The Borgo Pantano also boasts a fully stocked bar and their restaurant serves outstanding Sicilian fare. After settling in and exploring the grounds, we’ll meet for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Chef Stefano bases the menu on the freshest ingredients he can find. A typical day for him starts with a morning visit to the local market where he searches for fresh fish, local meat and cheeses, and whichever fruits and vegetables are in season. While on tour with VBT, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy a post-dinner lecture right on the hotel’s grounds about Syracuse and the Greeks, followed by an orientation talk about Syracuse for VBT’s post-trip extension guests.
Borgo Pantano Pool

This is just one example of the unique and charming accommodations that you’ll stay at while on tour with VBT. To read more about our Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages vacation, please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Biking Tour of Puglia with VBT

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There are many reasons to travel to Puglia with VBT, the Italy Experts.  You’ll cycle along stunning coastal roads overlooking the Adriatic, glide past ancient olive groves and sample their oils with a local family. And off the road we’ll explore the iconic trulli homes of Alberobello and stay in cozy masserie— authentic 16th-century fortified farms. To help you learn more about this wonderful region we’ve compiled our Top 5 reasons to join VBT and uncover a part of Italy that may be less familiar—but is by no means less inviting—on our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast bicycling vacation.

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The Bike Routes
Puglia is a beautiful and scenic region located on the “heel” of Italy’s boot. The peninsula is at the convergence of the Adriatic and Ionian seas and our cycling routes offer everything from wonderful views along the rugged Adriatic coast to peaceful country roads through 800-year-old olive groves. One VBT traveler said “The last riding day, on the plateau over the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, is the loveliest route I have ever ridden.” And know that you’ll be in good hands with our expert, local Trip Leaders guiding you along the way and making sweeps along the route with our outfitted VBT support van, ready to assist in any way.

The “Off-the-beaten-path” Feel
IMG_0299Our Puglia vacation is dubbed “Italy’s Undiscovered Coast” and as one of our travelers can attest, “the trip title is very accurate—this ‘undiscovered’ area of Italy was a delight. There were few tourists, lots of contacts with local people, beautiful scenery, and great food.” Our Trip Leaders are all natives of the region and know the roads, people, history, and customs of the region like the back of their hand. Since Puglia is less of a tourist destination, you’ll be immersed in Puglian culture with enlightening interactions with the locals, homemade meals and stays in gorgeous, family run accommodations.

The Masserie
Far away from any chain hotel, the Puglian countryside is dotted with historic Coccaro doorfortified farms known as masserie, which have been renovated into amazing farm hotels and 5-star resorts.  The fortifications of the masserie originated around the 16th century as a means to ward off attacks by pirates and brigands. They feature high boundary walls, angular towers, drawbridges and watchtowers. Inside the walls, families worked and lived together with their own church, oil mill and oven to bake bread. Today, the masserie that we’ll stay at are destinations unto themselves with many modern amenities while maintaining their historic charm. “The gorgeous garden, underground spa and surrounding olive groves would all be enough by itself. But the food here takes it to another level. We took the cooking class and reveled in the delicious dinners and endless breakfast buffet,” said one VBT traveler after returning from this vacation.

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The Architecture
Although Puglia is home to ancient temples, medieval relics and early Roman castles; the region is perhaps best known—architecturally—for its trulli houses. A trullo is a unique type of building consisting of a whitewashed, round house 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 but eventually they became dwellings, 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.  One VBT traveler said “we were drawn to Puglia because of the charming, quirky trulli houses found in this region. I delighted in every one of these amazing structures I saw, whether the vast numbers in the World Heritage site of Alborobello or the unpretentious homes we rode by. My curiosity was satisfied by our opportunity to see the inside of a trullo and how the architecture perfectly suited the environment.”

The Food
agnello_060530_0032The location of Puglia within Italy directly reflects the food that the region is known for, and it even received a UNESCO heritage award for its Mediterranean cuisine. Because of the warm and sunny climate, Puglia ranks first in Italy in the production of olive oil and wine, and second for almonds.  VBT offers an unparalleled foodie experience while on the Puglia vacation. This trip features cooking classes, wine tastings and even a home-hosted lunch and olive oil tasting with a local family. A VBT traveler recalled her experience with the cuisine quite fondly, “I long for the great food we were introduced to. Breaking open fresh green pods to find sweet, tender almonds inside and feasting on olives, cheeses, seafood, and the local Primitivo red wine was just glorious. Did I mention I learned to make pasta with the master chef at the amazing masseria where we first stayed?”

You can discover your own favorite reason to visit Puglia with VBT in 2014. Simply follow the link to read what many other VBT travelers have to say about this active vacation of a lifetime! http://bit.ly/VBTPUReview

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