|After meeting the SFIDA Cycling team at Fiumicino airport in Rome, we will transfer to Cassino, which is a two hours drive into Lazio.
Upon arrival, our usual checking at our hotel, lunch, trip presentation and build up bikes and ready for a short ride around Montecassino.
Although the Abbey of Montecassino’s history goes back to the year 535, it was in 1944, during the Second World War, that this beautiful place become the centre of one of the most costlier battles of that war.
To think that the Abbey was destroyed during four different battles between the Allied forces and the German army, and later on, in peaceful times, rebuild to its last stone is just incredible.
These days, the Abbey can be visited, so the different war cemeteries that have fallen soldiers from each side.
Our ride will go anticlockwise, climbing up to the hill town of Terelle via Caira, where we can see the German cemetery. After we will descend back to Cassino and start our climb up to Montecassino, the climb starts just when we see the Roman Amphiteatre on our right… only in Italy do you have these landmarks before a spectacular climb…to another stunning place!
After visiting the Abbey of Montecassino area and surroundings, we will descend back into Cassino and end our first ride of the trip.
Our ride starts with a solid 23km climb and 1,000mts elevation gain to reach the small town of Viticuso, still in Lazio. From there is a short ride to cross into the Molise region.
Molise is one of the less-known Italian regions, until 1970 it was part of the Abruzzo region and since then it has become Italy’s newest region.
Once in Molise, we will descend to Venafro, here we can see the Castelo Pandone, one of the most preserved castles in the region.
After Venafro we will ride a few kilometres into Campania, we could not miss the Matese National Park and its very scenic mountain roads with the Gallo and Matese lakes included. This park is divided between Campania and Molise.
Today our final destination is Campobasso, Molise’s capital, this city has a lot of interesting places to visit, with the Castello Monforte, on the hill above the town, as the main attraction.
136km / 3,200m
CLIMBS: Forcella di Cervaro 1,050m. Sella del Perrone 1,265m.
HOTEL: Palazzo Cannavina
Leaving behind Campobasso, today’s ride will take us from Molise to Puglia province.
This is a very undulating terrain, with some interesting villages along the way.
Still, in Molise, our first stop will be in Jelsi, here we can see the Palazzo Ducale di Carafe, an example of Gothic architecture in this part of Italy.
Next is Gambatesa and its Castello di Capua, another spectacular setting in the middle of a very unknown region as is Molise.
Time to leave Molise and enter Puglia, one thing we can tell you: you gotta fall in love with Puglia!
Our first place of interest is, after a sinuous climb and descent, Pietramontecorvino, this village, part of the Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia. Its Norman tower and the remains of the Palazzo Ducale make this a worthwhile stop.
After, we will ride to Lucera, our final destination for today. This is a surprisingly interesting regional city, with the Augustan Amphitheater and the spectacular Swabian fortress as the main points of interest.
Our accommodation is outside the town, at a five start winery resort, as we are in the middle of the Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera DOC wine region. And for sure we will taste some of these amazing wines.
We are riding towards the Adriatic sea today. Our first part of the ride is flat until we reach Poste Montegranata, here we are entering the Gargano peninsula via the climb up to Borgo Celano.
After Borgo Celano our next stop is San Giovani Rotondo, this town may not be familiar to many, but since the construction of the Basilica di San Pio, it has become the second most visited place in the world by catholic pilgrims, after Lourdes in France. The old medieval town is also worth a visit, lucky this will be our mid-morning coffee stop!
Next, we will reach Carpino and Ischitella, here the landscape is dotted with white painted towns, most of them in strategic hill locations. Also, we will see a lot of olive trees during the next couple of days.
Finally, we will arrive at Vico del Gargano, another town part of the Borghi and that is an amazing place to visit, the medieval old town is simply stunning!
Today we decided on a short stage, as we “must” visit Vieste.
On the way, we will have an early coffee stop at the white town by the sea of Peschici. Here we will have time to visit the spectacular Castello di Peschici, on a cliff by the Adriatic. Stunning location!
During today’s ride, we will be able to see the Trabucci, fishing nets that are rigged onto long pine poles. This is a very traditional fishing system in this part of Italy.
We will continue our ride on the sinuous coastal road until we arrive at Vieste, which is the main city in Gargano.
One of the main attractions is the Castello Svevo Aragonese, but all the old city is well worth a visit. We aim to have most of the afternoon free to enjoy this beautiful town.
Taking advantage that
Leaving Vieste behind, we will ride south of the Gargano peninsula, this is mostly undulating and with great views over the Adriatic until we reach Mattinata, another stunning white town.
From Mattinata we start our climb to Monte San Angelo, this is a spectacular climb to a stunning place!
Monte San Angelo is one of the most surprising places we will visit during this trip. A mix of religious destinations with an amazing ambience and great places to visit, like the Castello Svevo Aragonese in a spectacular location.
After lunch and visiting Monte San Angelo, we will descend towards Manfredonia where today’s ride will end.
Today we are transferring by van to Matera. This will be a two and a half drive to another spectacular place.
We are in the Basilicata region, in Matera.
Matera was once named “the shame of Italy” as most of the inhabitants were living in caves (Sassis) in not very healthy conditions.
A lot has changed recently up to the point that Matera has become a UNESCO city, European Capital of Culture in 2019 and recently the first part of the last James Bond movie was filmed in this spectacular place.
And of course, being an ancient cave city, we will stay at one of the great cave Hotels.
Today’s ride is a loop, anticlockwise that will take us to some of the interesting places not too far from Matera. We want to have time in the afternoon to visit the old town.
In this order, we will ride towards Lago di San Giuliano, then visit the nearby Crypt of the Original Sin, before continuing on small roads around the Parco della Murgia Materana.
Today we will ride in some of the most remote areas this part of Italy has to offer. We are riding towards the Mediterranean now.
Miglionico and Ferrandina, both are impressive hill towns to start our riding, next will be Stigliano, perfectly located in the middle of our ride, lunchtime here!
In the second half of our ride, we will be in the Parco Nazionale dell’Apennino Lucano. This is a stunning part of the Basilicata.
Nothing can beat the feeling of ending an amazing trip in such a spectacular location as the Monte San Biaggio in Maratea.
But before we reach our final goal, we still have some great riding on the back roads of the Basilicata, with a couple of climbs and a lot of switchbacks.
After Castelsaraceno we will reach the summit of the Colle dell’Armizzone, this is the highest point of this part of the trip.
Later on, from the top of the Passo de la Colla will descend to sea level, already by the Mediterranean sea before we take on the last climb of the trip up to Monte San Biaggio.
Maratea is the town at the foot of Monte San Biaggio, also known as the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea. This is a fantastic place to end another incredible SFIDA Cycling trip.
94km / 2,000m
CLIMBS: Colle dell’Armizzone 1,280m. Passo la Colla 590m. Monte San Biaggio 615m.
HOTEL: Santavenere Maratea
After breakfast transfer by van to Fiumicino airport (FCO). Expect to get there by 15:00, so plan your flights accordingly.
Stay longer: Join us for our amazing SFIDA Italia Centro trip that starts just in a couple of days, check options with us.
TWIN room: 4,350 Euros pp
SINGLE Supplement: 950 Euros
Rental bike: 650 Euros
Rental ebike: 750 Euros
600 Euros when making the booking. Balance to be paid 90 days before the trip starts.
9 nights of accommodation between 3 – 5 Stars
ALL MEALS INCLUDED.
9 lunches, picnic-style on longer days.
9 dinners, including wine.
Hotel extras: mini-bar, spa, massage.
Tips for the staff.
We will have ride leaders and at least one mechanic on our trip.
Our staff/client ratio is 1:4 staff.
Our passenger vans come fully equipped with all necessary to give the best support during the rides.
We carry gels, energy bars, powder mix, water, fruit, riding food, tools, pumps, spare tubes and tyres to make sure our first-class support helps you through the trip.
Professional first aid kit.
Adapting to our current COVID-19 pandemic, and incoordination, with most of the hotel’s terms and conditions, we are adjusting our cancellation policy accordingly as follows:
If there’s a travel ban from your country to travel to the country you are doing a trip with us, you will receive a full refund on any payments you have made to SFIDA Cycling.
For any other reasons not related to COVID-19, the following will apply:
61 days before the trip starts – the return of your deposit.
60 days before the trip starts – the return of the full amount of the trip less 300 Euros cancellation fee, plus any amount that we can’t recover from Hotels and other costs that we have already incurred in the trip preparation.
Less than 30 days before the trip starts – no amount will be refunded. We will, however, try to credit as much as possible towards a future trip. This depends on the amount that we can get back from the hotels and other costs that we have already incurred in the trip preparation.
We understand that it is difficult to commit too much in advance given the situation we are all living in.
For this reason, we won’t be holding any spots until the full deposit has been paid.
Hotels are now more strict with how many rooms they are willing to have on hold for groups, so until deposit payments are made we won’t be able to confirm your spot.