Apulian cycle route from Caposele in Irpinia to Santa Maria di Leuca

An Apulian cycle route, about 500 kilometres long, follows the route of the Apulian Aqueduct, starting from Caposele, in Irpinia, and arriving at Santa Maria di Leuca, in the province of Lecce.

The aqueduct was built, between 1906 and 1915, in the section of the Main Canal, by Caposele (Av) and Villa Castelli (Br), bringing water to the city of Bari and reaching Santa Maria di Leuca, where – in 1939 – a monumental waterfall was built to celebrate the event. It is a great work that had the merit of winning what at the time was defined as the “Great Thirst of the South”. A huge work, involving up to 22 thousand workers, 60 engineers and 400 surveyors.

acquedotto pugliese
Fonte: Acquedotto Pugliese

Overall, the aqueduct – and with it the cycle route – crosses Campania, Basilicata and Puglia, connecting the Alta Irpinia, the Vulture melfese, the Alta Murgia, the Valle d’Itria, Arneo and the hinterland of Salento. An extraordinary opportunity to discover places, unspoilt nature, culture and food and wine traditions of great charm. The route is also punctuated by ingenious technical and architectural solutions at the forefront of the time, which were designed to ensure the flow of water, exploiting the force of gravity, giving rise to a kind of river bed: stone structures, bridges-canal, tunnels.

mappa ciclovia puugliese
Fonte: Alleanza Mobilità Dolce

The route currently has about 230 km of existing service tracks, so half of the route is entirely covered as a green road, and therefore closed to car traffic. The “Greenway” are those that include the stretch on the border between Campania and Basilicata, and then the one that connects Venosa (Pz) to Seclì (Le). For the rest, we follow rural and local roads, with the exclusion of state and provincial roads. Along the way there are already signs and public fountains dotting the route. In addition, the Apulian Aqueduct Cycle Route is part of the National System of Tourist Cycling – SNCT – and provides for an extensive program of technical design along the Apulian stretch.

ciclovia pugliese
Fonte: GEA progetti

1 stretch: Caposele – Calitri

A Caposele There are the sources of the river Sele, which can be visited with permission. From this point starts the first kilometre of the Apulian Aqueduct, and here is the plant that captures 90% of the river, leaving the remaining to flow in the bed of the river, which runs towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, flowing near Paestum.

Fonte: Fit & Forest

The bulkheads of the plant, still today, are operated by hand, regulating the flow of the aqueduct and that of the Sele. The route leads to Teora, where there is also a Municipal Youth Hostel, and from here it proceeds downhill, passing the Lake of Conza, from which the Ofanto River flows, passing through Cairano and reaching Calitri.

Calitri is a country that has come back to life, after the earthquake of 1980, also thanks to the Calitri Sponz Festival, music festival created by singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela. Dominated by the Borgo Castello, with its ramparts and towers and the Museum of Ceramics, the old town retains many churches, including the one dedicated to San Canio. Nearby there is an ancient water lift, now abandoned, which is one of the most fascinating examples of industrial archaeology.

Fonte: Sistema Irpinia

The culinary tradition of Calitri

Calitri is distinguished by a rich and ancient gastronomic tradition. The cingule, a type of homemade pasta similar to the cavatelli pugliesi, and the cannazze, long broken pasta, are usually served with ragù and pecorino . Acquasala, on the other hand, is a bread dish wet with salted boiling water and enriched with poached eggs and oil sautéed with garlic and hot pepper.

Fonte: Giallo Zafferano

The lagane are seasoned with tomato sauce and beans, while the “baccalà alla ualegna” is served with garlic, oil and chili sauce. Particularly renowned is the bread of Calitri, which is distinguished by its circular shape – the “wagon wheels” – and a longitudinal cut.

2 tratto: Calitri – Venous

Continuing, the road is downhill and runs along the Fiumara di Atella on which passes the bridge of the Apulian Aqueduct channel. Enter the territory of Lucania, go along Rionero, go down to the valley and then go up to Ginestra, a small town where there is a community Arbereshe, Albanian colony established in these places in the fifteenth century, and then cross fields dotted with wind turbines, in a territory that at the time of the Unification of Italy was the land of brigands. Following the Provincial Road 10 you finally reach Venosa.

Fonte: Angeloma

Venosa, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, boasts an ancient history and a remarkable architectural heritage. In the beautiful old town, to see the seventeenth-century Palazzo Calvini, seat of the City, the so-called House of Quinto Orazio Flacco, dating from the second century A.D. and the thirteenth-century Fontana Angioina, adorned with two stone lions. Above all, the imposing Aragonese Castle, dating back to 1470, built by Duke Pirro del Balzo, which now houses the Archaeological Museum. To see in the surrounding areas are the remains of the Roman amphitheater, which could accommodate about ten thousand spectators.

Fonte: Info Matera

The culinary tradition of Venosa

The cuisine of Venosa is linked to the typical Lucan tradition. Among the main dishes stand out the cavatelli and tops of turnips, fresh pasta with turnip tops and sautéed oil garlic and chili, the penne with pumpkin and tomatoes, and “u cutturidd“, sheep meat cooked with oil, lard, tomatoes, onion, potatoes and seasoned caciocavallo. Among the desserts can not miss the pizzicanell, diamond-shaped, with chocolate, almonds and cinnamon, the raffaiul, coated with white icing, and the “pecs” fried.

Fonte: Cucchiaio d’Argento

3 tratto: Venosa – Castel del Monte

From Venosa continue following the Ofantina provincial, in the direction of Spinazzola, at the entrance of which stands a plant of the Apulian Aqueduct. The road then goes into the territory of Puglia, in the direction of theAlta Murgia, reaching the majestic Castel del Monte, the beautiful fortress built by Frederick II of Swabia, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as well as king of Sicily.

Fonte: The Wom Travel

The building, built with limestone, white marble and coral breccia, stands on top of a hill, 540 meters above sea level, in the homonymous village belonging to the municipality of Andria has been included in the list of World Heritage Sites of Unesco.

4 stretch: Castel del Monte – Cisternino

Left behind Castel del Monte, we return to the road following the traces of the Aqueduct, following dirt tracks and tracks frequented by farmers and shepherds, as well as a growing number of cyclists. You enter the Park of Alta Murgia, green lung of central Puglia, through woods and meeting equipped rest areas. Along the route you will reach Acquaviva delle Fonti, Sammichele di Bari and Putignano, in a landscape marked by dry stone walls, olive groves and oak groves. The view of the first trulli announces the arrival in the Itria Valley, in the direction of Alberobello.

Fonte: 4 cycling and trek

Alberobello, real capital of the Apulian trulli, is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and has a total of 1400 trulli, located in the two districts that make it up: Monti and Aia Piccola. The history of the trulli dates back to the fifteenth century, when the counts of Conversano, lords of the area, established that it could be built exclusively dry, or without the use of mortar, so as to force the farmers not to erect permanent houses.

Fonte: Solo Viaggi Umili

The typical cone-shaped roofs were then decorated with pinnacles and decorated with symbolic or religious elements. Today, the historic center of Alberobello is entirely made up of trulli, among which the Trullo Sovrano, fourteen meters high, which hosts theater performances, concerts and cultural events during the summer. Also worth seeing is the Museum of the Territory, housed in a complex that includes 15 trulli communicating with each other.

trullo sovrano

Where to stay in Alberobello

In Alberobello, the most fascinating experience for a stay is to stay in a trullo. There are many accommodation facilities made within complex of trulli, including the Trulli della Seta, in the district of Coreggia.

alloggiare in un trullo
Fonte: trulli terra magica

The culinary tradition of the Itria Valley

The Itria Valley offers many attractions from the point of view of agri-food. Particularly renowned are the locally producedoil, the cheeses – ricotta, curd and spliced – and baked goods, such as focaccia, homemade bread , and . Cisternino is famous for its “bombette”, meat rolls filled with cheese, parsley and pepper. Important local white wines, with a particular fruity taste.

taralli pugliesi
Fonte: Non sprecare

4 tratto: Cisternino – Nardò

From Murgia , descend towards the plain, following the road and tracks that touch Ceglie Messapico and Martina Franca. You reach Villa Castelli, surrounded by olive groves, where there is the Battaglia hydroelectric power plant. From here, a dense network of bike paths created thanks to the intervention of the various municipalities on the territory, allows you to cross Francavilla Fontana, Oria ed Erchie. Between Manduria and San Pancrazio, you follow the service trail of the Arneo Reclamation Consortium, which runs along the Salento coast, until you reach Nardò.

Fonte: Vaghiso Viaggi & Turismo

The culinary tradition of Nardò

In Nardò the good food of the Salento tradition triumphs. Among the local specialties, the ciceri and tria stand out, an ancient recipe whose meaning is chickpeas and fried pasta. ” Tria“, in fact, comes from an Arabic term that stands for “fried“. It is prepared with fresh pasta, without eggs, while the chickpeas cook with tomato, garlic, onions and potatoes until they form a soup. Part of the pasta is boiled in this broth together with chickpeas, another is fried and then combined with the rest.

ceci e pasta fritta
Fonte: Ricetta Sprint

5 tratto: Nardò – Santa Maria di Leuca

After Nardò, the road leads to Galatone, where there is an ancient building of the Aqueduct, now abandoned. We then proceed towards Leuca Piccola, and then bend in the direction of Santa Maria di Leuca, ending the race to the Sanctuary. Here you can see the Monumental Waterfall of the Apulian Aqueduct, built in 1939 to celebrate triumphantly the arrival of water in the land of Salento. It has 250 meters of length and 120 meters of altitude difference, while its flow is around one thousand liters per second.

Fonte: Vivere il mare

A Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost center of the province of Lecce, you can see the Basilica of Santa Maria Finibus Terrae where, according to tradition, Saint Peter stopped during his journey to Rome, also linked to a miracle that would save some fishermen from a storm in 365.

The culinary tradition of Santa Maria di Leuca

A specialty to try is the “taieddha“, a dish made of fresh pasta cooked with tomatoes, zucchini, mussels and onion. The lucan cuisine also widely uses fish and seafood: do not miss the linguine with sea urchins, fish soup and seaweed pancakes.

Fonte: La terra di Puglia Shop

You can also try the cooked meat alla pignata, the typical terracotta pot, and the pitta, a tasty potato focaccia filled with vegetables, black olives, tomatoes and onion. Inevitable, in the end, as in all of Salento, the delicious pasticciotti, desserts made of shortcrust pastry filled with cream.

Fonte: Fatto in casa da Benedetta

Suitable equipment

The preparation for a bicycle trip presupposes a ‘careful preparation of all the tools, accessories and clothing essential to anyone who wants to face the experience of cycling tourism.

Fonte: Bike Italia

Starting with a good bicycle, the basic requirements of which are reliability, comfort and the ability to carry heavy loads in relation to long distances to travel. The types of travel bicycle are numerous, and the choice must also be determined according to the type of road that will be called to travel: asphalt or dirt. In this specific case, you can choose between some prominent models between the offer of some manufacturers that are also the expression of the best Made in Italy, such as the “Spillo” by Bianchi, the “Hobootleg” by Cinelli, or the “Travel” by Cube.

Fonte: MtbCult

Clothing, with the winter or summer variable, must above all be comfortable, breathable and durable, as well as shoes. Accessories such as helmets and glasses should also be chosen with care for their comfort and durability, without excluding windproof or anti-rain accessories if used in the autumn or winter season, but not only.

Fonte: GQ Italia

The best technologies, therefore, are those that characterize garments extremely breathable and fresh for hot periods, or the garments climacool, designed to encourage maximum evaporation of sweat. The shoes, on the other hand, must tend to be waterproof even if adequately breathable.

Cover photo: The daily fact

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