Learn Italian while cycling Puglia

10 days escorted small group tour

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Learn Italian while cycling across Puglia

10 days guided small group tour for every age and fitness

Salento is in the most south-eastern region of Italy, lying in the so-called “heel of the boot”. Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, this region is filled with memories of the different civilizations that inhabited it, from the Messapii, to the Greeks, followed by the Romans and then the Normans. Crossing Salento with a bicycle is like cycling through an open-air museum. Prehistoric Dolmen, Byzantine shrines hidden in the caves, Baroque cathedrals, secluded corners of the coast… are all but a few of the things you can see when visiting this area. Salento is also internationally renowned for its characteristic cuisine which combines flavors from the sea and the earth and the fantastic rhythm of its folk music: most notably the Pizzica

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival: Independent arrival in Otranto or Lecce . Meeting the guide and Initial briefing of the trip.

Day 2: surroundings of Otranto (+79m, 30km)
Activities:
8.30/10.30: Italian entry-level test in the school “Porta d’Oriente”; 13.00: Lunch; 14.30: Cycling tour in the surrounding area of Otranto; 20.30: Dinner
On the first cycling day we will visit a traditional craftsman fabric workshop, a few pre-historical monuments spread across the area, a marvelous botanical garden in Giuggianello, with a unique collection of Cactaceae, and to conclude the tour, a “Masseria”, (a historic fortified farmhouse that produces cheese) in Uggiano la Chiesa.

Day 3: from Otranto to Castro (+119m, 27km)
Activities: 8.30: Departure from Otranto; 10.30: Arrival in Castro and snack; 11.00/12.30: Italian lesson; 13.00: Swim in the sea and packed-lunch; 15.00: Departure with the bicycle towards the Zinzulusa cave and Aquaviva beach; 18.00/19.30: Italian lesson; 20.30: Dinner
This day is dedicated to one of the most fascinating portions of the Italian coast, where different towers, originating from the XVI century, rise facing the sea. It is the most eastern spot of the peninsula: when the sky is clear you can see the mountains of Albania and Greece across the bay. In the afternoon we will visit the Grotta Zinzulusa, a cave proceeding for metres and metres toward the heart of the earth, and the splendid Aquaviva creek, characterised by the underground fresh water river that flows toward the sea.

Day 4: from Castro to Leuca (+146m, 32km)
Activities: 8.30/9.45: Departure from Castro and arrival at Marina Serra; 10.30/12.00: Italian lesson; 12.30: Swim in the sea and packed lunch; 15.00/16.30 Italian lesson; 17.00: Departure towards Tricase; 17.30: Guided tour on foot across the historical town centre of Tricase; 19.00: Departure towards Leuca; 20.30: Arrival in Leuca and dinner
We carry on through the Otranto-Leuca coast, the so called “park-road”, with an outstanding panorama. At the arrival in Marina Serra, an Italian lesson will take place in a coastline pine forest, and then we will rest by a picturesque inlet where it will be also possible to swim. In the afternoon we will visit the small town of Tricase, famous for its churches and small lanes, then we will proceed towards Leuca, following secondary roads characterized by their century-old olive trees.

Day 5: Leuca (+134m, 19km)
Activities: 8.30/13.00: Italian lesson cycling around villages in the area; 13.30/19.30: Sailing trip, lunch served on board, and a swim in the sea; 20.00: Return to the port for a free evening where you can make your own arrangements.
Today will be jam-packed; with an Italian lesson while you cycle across the villages around Capo Leuca. We will see ancient towers, underground oil mills, the ruin of a pre-Roman city, a Mausoleum that holds traces of Byzantine frescoes, a semi-abandoned castle and an ancient church with incredibly vast sub terrains…; all while having a continuous Italian lesson with our teachers! In the afternoon, we will have a sailing trip with lunch provided on board!

Day 6: Leuca – Torre Suda (+128m, 32 Km)
Activities: 8.30/10.30: Departure from Leuca and arrival at the Sarruni Guest Farm; 11.00/12.30: snack and Italian lesson; 13.00: Lunch; 15.00/16.30: Italian lesson; 17.00/19.00: Departure from Sarruni and arrival at Alliste; 20.00: Free evening where you can make your own arrangements.
The day is dedicated to the Salentinian countryside, one of the best-kept secrets of the region defined by its olive trees and the Mediterranean vegetation. The Italian lesson will take place in the wood of an organic guest farm, where we are going to have lunch. In the afternoon, after the second lesson, we will depart once again across the countryside, where we will see the “Trulli” and the “Pajare” (ancient buildings made with dry stone) and the Tu’rat garden, of Arabian origin.

Day 7: from Torre Suda to Santa Caterina (+28m, 28km)
Activities: 8.30/9.30: Departure from Torre Suda and arrival at the park of Punta Pizzo; 10.00/12.00: Italian Lesson in the pine-forest of Punta Della Suina; 13.00: Packed lunch and swim; 15.00: Depart for Gallipoli; 15.30: Guided walking tour of Gallipoli; 18.00/19.00: Depart from Gallipoli and arrive in Santa Caterina; 20.00: Dinner.
The Italian lesson will take place in a coastline pine forest, next to one of the most famous beaches of Italy. After lunch we will visit Gallipoli, an ancient city from the Roman era on an island, which s, currently populated by fisherman. Towards sunset we will travel to Santa Caterina, where we will stop for the night, in a B&B with view of the sea.

Day 8: Santa Caterina (+64m, 16km) – Cooking Class and Final test !
Activities: 8.30-10.30: Cycling tour towards Nardó and the “masserie” (fortified farm-houses) in the region of Porto Selvaggio; 11.00: Snack; 11.30-13.30: Italian lesson; 14.00: Packed lunch and excursion on foot (or by canoe) in Porto Selvaggio; 17.00-19.00: Italian lesson in a pine forest; 21.00: Dinner.
Another full day today! In the morning a short cycle: we will visit the city of Nardó and some of the nearby “masserie”. Then we will go back to our B&B for the Italian lesson. In the early afternoon we will go (on foot or by canoe) to the natural park of Porto Selvaggio, Am forest next to the sea, where we are going to have our second lesson of the day and then a nice swim. Return by sunset.

Day 9: from Santa Caterina to Lecce (+88m, 21km)
Activities: 8.30-11.30: Final Italian language test; 13.00: Lunch; 15.30: Departure towards Galatina, visiting the historical town centre of Galatone en-route; 17.30: Arrival at Galatina and guided tour of the historical town centre; 19.30-20.30: Return to Lecce by train and dinner.
Morning dedicated to the final test of our Italian course. After lunch we will travel towards Galatone, where we will visit the historical town centre and the town castle, and then Galatina, where we will visit the church of Santa Caterina D’Alessandria, one of the most beautiful masterpieces of medieval art in the south of Europe. We will also pay a short visit to a local wine cellar, to observe the process of wine-making, ending with a wine and cheese tasting. In the late afternoon we will get the train for Lecce and we will reach the city in the evening.

Day 10:During the morning, guided visit of Lecce on foot and final departure

Hightlights and Technical Information
Highlights

Salento is a region that is almost completely flat, making the ride a pleasant journey for any level of rider. We will be cycling approximately 30 km a day (around 3 hours of leisurely cycling), mainly crossing secondary roads, with sea-breaks, guided visits and Italian lessons the tour follows the philosophy of “slow moving” to fully enjoy the surrounding landscape and culture with all its different

Technical information:

The tour is suitable for anyone with a minimum of training. Salento is a region that is almost completely flat, making the ride a pleasant journey for any level of rider. We will be cycling approximately 30 km a day (around 3 hours of leisurely cycling), mainly crossing secondary roads, with sea-breaks, guided visits and Italian lessons the tour follows the philosophy of “slow moving” to fully enjoy the surrounding landscape and culture with all its different  We will take care of your luggage while you are cycling

Dates, Inclusions, Cost , Supplements

Departure dates: 10 April 2019; 06 Septemebr 2019

Duration:  10 days / 9 nights

Price per person (min 2 people twin share): A$3150

Payment: deposit $800 per person within 7 days of confirmation and balance 60 days before departing from Australia

What is included:
  • 20 hours intensive Italian course, (with professional teachers);
  • 9 nights in either 3***/4**** B&B, hotels or farmhouse(agriturismo) ;
  • 9 lunches or dinners;
  • Wine, cheese and other typical product tasting;
  • 1 sailing trip;
  • 24-hour guide ;
  • Bicycle rental;
  • Arranged luggage transportation;
  • Guide
Not included:
  • Flights
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Other meals and drinks not mentioned
  • Hotel tourist taxes (where applicable)
  • Insurance and everything not listed as “Included”
Additional Supplements:

Cost per person (Standard/Superior)

  • single room supplement A$530
  • electric bike supplement A$240
The Teachers

The Teaching: The entry level test, to evaluate your Italian language skills, will take place in the School of Italian Porta d’Oriente in Otranto, an institute accredited from the “Universita’ per Stranieri” (University for Foreigners) of Siena and Perugia, which collaborate with us by providing part of the teaching materials. Students will be divided in to at least two groups per each level (beginner and intermediate/advanced). All participants will always travel together, but then split in to groups during the lectures. The courses will be held by professional teachers, which will cycle with the students for the whole duration of the trip, alternating lectures and spontaneous conversation throughout the journey. As well as the fundamental Italian grammar, the group will explore topics related to specific situations and environments that will be encountered through the cycling tour: vocabulary related to Italian art and culture, to the local cuisine, the bicycle, to the surrounding landscape, the music, etc. This approach will transform the whole day into a continuous Italian lesson, within a relaxed and informal environment, in a complete cultural and linguistic full immersion. This will make the learning process quicker and more enjoyable, and the holiday more interesting and unforgettable. Our lessons are predominantly held in Italian, with English support when,required.

Carla Marulo. She graduated in Languages, Society and Communication from the university of Bologna, and she has been teaching Italian to non-native speakers since 2004 in a variety of settings (notably the John Hopkins University of Bologna). She has also been awarded the Higher Level Diploma to teach Italian as a Second Language, from the university of Siena. In addition, she teaches music in workshops for both children and adult.

Carlo Cascione. He graduated in Communication Science from the university of Bologna, he has been teaching Italian in Spain and France in some private school to both teenagers and adults. He has also been awarded the Second Level Diploma to teach Italian as a Second Language, from the university of Siena. In the past he has been working as radio journalist for Italian and Spanish radio stations, as well as shooting a cycling documentary.

Accommodation and restaurants

We have selected a series of B&Bs, little hotels and ‘Agriturismi’ (farmhouse) where you will stay for the duration of your holiday offering you a welcoming and cozy environment –  as well as a broad range of  restaurants, to give you an exquisite example of the typical Italian and Salentinian cuisine and lifestyle.

Otranto:  hotel corte di nettuno (http://www.cortedinettuno.it/)  or  agriturismo palascia (http://www.agriturismolapalascia.it/) or palazzo dei mori (http://www.palazzodemori.it/it/home/)

Castro: hotel piccolo mondo (http://www.hotel-piccolomondo.it/it)

Leuca: terminal hotel (http://www.carolihotels.com/hotel-terminal/) or  hotel l’approdo (http://www.hotelapprodo.com/index.asp)

Alliste:  Il giardino dei pini (http://www.giardinodeipini.it/)

Santa Caterina: Villa li 4 fumari (www.li4fumari.it)

Lecce:  orangerie d’epoque  (http://www.lorangeriedepoque.com/home.php)

Price from: A$3,150

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