Puglia: Rugged, Rustic & Refined

We said goodbye to beautiful southern Italy for another year after wrapping up our Tour of Puglia – September edition. 

As yet another spectacular adventure unfolded over 8 days, it was a joy to share it with a group of guests who were excited to experience a very local side of Puglia, behind the tourist curtain.

September in Puglia is a delight.  As summer starts to fade, it’s all about the perfect combination of cooler evenings, yet still warm days on the road. 

All of our tours commence with a dinner to welcome guests to the tour and introduce them to the region. In Puglia, we kicked off the food and wine journey in style, with the local seafood being the highlight, including a tuna carpaccio, a home made pasta with zucchini flowers and local prawns, always paired with a delightful Puglian rosato.

A walk home through the cobblestone streets adorned with the lyrics in neon of the iconic homegrown song Volare, was the perfect way to wind down our first evening..

One the road, we weaved along many of the tiny rock-wall-lined backroads, dissecting the thousands of olive trees as we rolled through the many historical and beautiful towns including Alberobello and Ostuni. 

The diverse architecture provided a sharp contrast to the rugged landscape and when we timed our spin through a town with the stillness and quiet of the mid afternoon siesta, it felt like we were transported to an earlier century. It’s a truly amazing feeling to be rolling through a large clean town, where there is no movement and not a soul around.

As the k’s rolled on, we made our way to the stunning coastal roads, which in places quite literally hang off the side of the rock strewn hills…. the comments of “that was probably the best ride I have ridden” were heard amongst the group.

Each region of Italy is different. It’s really like 20 little countries under the one flag and Puglia certainly has its own unique vibe.  In September, it’s an exotic & contrasting mix of rugged, rustic and refined. It is a delight for all of the senses, with the delicate perfume of the flora and fauna in the air as we rode, the unique architecture of the trulli laden landscape of Alberobello a wonderful sight, and the different local wines including the Susumaniello and unique flavours of regional foods including little “bombette”  cooked in ancient wood fired ovens……..

We have experienced Puglia many times and in different ways, but each time it feels like every corner and every turn presents something new to see, smell and taste……

Stracciatella, Capocollo di Martina Franca, amazing figs off the tree, fresh ricotta each morning, dinner cooked in a butcher’s shop, local Gallipoli prawns….these were just some of the flavours and experiences we enjoyed across our eight days. 

In reality, our cycling Tour of Puglia is three tours in one; there is the riding adventure for the cyclists, there is the immersive cultural experience for the non-riding partners and then there is the food and wine adventure for all. It’s the experience at the end of each day, as we wind down and share our stories from the day, while indulging in an aperitivo as the sun goes down and before another dining experience to remember.

This is Puglia in September. Simply beautiful.

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