2016 May 21 to 28
A Gay Travel Bicycle Adventure in Italy
Spend a week cycling along ancient Roman lanes, coastal drives and mountain paths. Each night, relax at an authentic gay owned and operated agriturismo, enjoying a glass of wine from the villa’s vineyards, gourmet meals, and a dip in the pool, with cute locals always stopping by to enjoy the festivities. Read a personal account of this tour on our Gay Travel Blog.
If you are interested in a more leisurely experience at the Villa, consider our Puglia Culinary Tour.
Cycle along the ancient Appian Way and lightly traveled roads through countryside that reflects centuries of pilgrims, soldiers and other travelers. Stay in a villa that has stood since the 14th century (and some parts even older), which has been restored to its ancient splendor by a gay American with deep family roots in the soil of Puglia.
During our gay Italy bike tour in Puglia, we’ll have five biking days, designed in a “roller coaster” fashion, with light days in the beginning and end and harder days in the middle.
Each day you are fully supported with a van, an SUV with a bike rack and two Italian guides. Most rides take you on back roads you’d never be able to find on your own (avoiding a lot of traffic in the process), allowing you to see and enjoy the beauty of the land that few get to see. From local fishing villages to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castel del Monte to ancient Roman bridges, you’ll experience all that Puglia has to offer. Each day, enjoy the food and wine of the region, freshly prepared in the kitchen at Villa Cappelli, or at restaurants in Terlizzi and around the area.
Day 1: Welcome to Puglia!
All travelers should plan to arrive in Bari today. Upon arrival at Bari airport or the Terlizzi train station (connecting in Barletta), a transfer will be provided to Villa Cappelli, located on a quiet portion of the ancient Appian Way, a few kilometers inland from the Adriatic Sea. After settling into our rooms, a light lunch will be available for those arriving early enough for lunch.
In the afternoon we will check out and adjust our bikes so that we’ll be ready to go in the morning. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the grounds, then later to enjoy snacks and some local wine. We will enjoy our welcome dinner tonight at the villa, sampling the olive oil and other delicacies of the region.
Day 2: Ruvo di Puglia Necropolis & Molfetta
Today we ride to few neighboring towns. First, a morning bike ride through the serene countryside, orchards and vineyards to the necropolis of Ruvo di Puglia and the Jatta Museum, famous for its Grecian Urns. Many of Ruvo’s Urns are on display in the Greco-Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
Then, it’s off to Molfetta. Here, bikers, if so wishing, can dip their toes in the Adriatic. After Molfetta, we lunch together in a delightful seafood restaurant right on the water. After lunch, we’ll take a quick ride to the seaside town of Giovinazzo and explore the quaint seaport and the magnificently restored medieval town center with a quick walking tour. Then we ride back inland to Villa Cappelli. For dinner tonight, we’ll enjoy a local Terlizzi restaurant together.
Day 3: A Gravina we will go
We might need a shot of espresso with the locals to get us ready for today: one of our longer rides, from the practically “undiscovered” town of Gravina. We will bike through La Murgia with beautiful fields of grain and trulli covering the countryside. Gravina itself features a large ravine with some spectacular views and an ancient Roman bridge is right out of a postcard. After touring the city, we will ride back to the villa, stopping for a picnic lunch halfway and enjoy dinner tonight at the villa.
Day 4: Holy Cow, It’s the Holy Grail!
Today we will ride in the van to first visit Castel del Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is featured on the back of the Euro penny. Built in the 13th century by the Swabian Emperor, Frederick II, Castel del Monte is perched atop a hill, overlooking all of Puglia and the Adriatic. The castle is featured in many myths and historic accounts, including the legend of the Holy Grail. After a tour of the castle, we will hop on our bikes to ride back to the villa, stopping along the way to visit some sights. Mostly downhill, the ride features some truly beautiful scenery. We will enjoy lunch at the villa, and then dinner is on your own tonight in Terlizzi.
Day 5: Polignano a Mare & Bari
This will be our off-day from biking, offering a chance to visit the seaside town of Polignano a Mare and Bari, the capital of Puglia. We’ll travel by mini-bus and have a chance to walk the winding ancient streets of Polignano a Mare as it juts out into the sea. Then we’ll head to the nearby capital of the Puglia, where we can grab some lunch and enjoy some sites (including the church where Santa Claus, Saint Nicolas, is buried — don’t tell the kids!) and do some shopping.
We’ll return to Villa Cappelli to relax and enjoy and pizza party for dinner, featuring pizzas cooked right in the villa’s own ancient wood-burning pizza oven.
Day 6: Mama Mia, Matera
Today we jump back into the van for a quick ride to Matera. We’ll walk the winding ancient streets of this town so well preserved that it has been used as a movie set. One part of the town spills down a hillside, and another features homes, restaurants, and hotels built in caves in the soft “tufa” rock. After our morning tour here, we’ll lunch at a nearby agriturismo and then bike back to the villa through some more of the amazing countryside.
Day 7: Trani — no not that kind!
Today on our final bike trip, we head to the beautiful seaport of Trani. Traveling through the backroads full of olive trees, we’ll stop to admire some of the sites along the way. In Trani, we’ll tour the giant cathedral that sits right on the sea. After lunch in Trani, we’ll head back to the villa for our final farewell dinner.
Day 8: Homeward Bound
Today we bid farewell to our friends and to Puglia. A morning group transfer will be offered to Bari Airport for flights back to Rome and beyond. Please note that for some flight routings, an overnight stay in Rome will offer the most choices of flights heading home.
When you travel “Back-to-Back” on two or more of our tours, you are eligible for a discount!
For travelers wishing to spend more time cycling in Europe, consider staying on to join HE Travel’s Mistral Bike Tour in French Provence. Bike through Provence and visit Roman theaters, river gorges, a natural rock arch, famous wine country, and walled medieval towns on this gay France bike tour. Primarily a bike vacation, but with many other activities available, all while enjoying the cuisine for which France is famous.
Contact Us for pricing if you are interested in reserving Mistral plus Puglia Villa.
Price includes: Lodging for 7 nights in double occupancy at Villa Cappelli (some rooms share a bathroom); Limited single rooms upon request if available; All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 5 dinners, including local wine or soft drinks for group dinners at the villa or in Terlizzi; Services of HE Travel Tour Director and Local bicycling guide from Puglia; Van support to get luggage (and tired riders!) to destination; Use of bike (hybrids if available); Regional map and detailed route instructions for primary routes on biking days; Transfer from designated flight into Bari on the first tour day, and back to Bari airport for a designated flight on departure day. (Transfers at other times are on your own for the 20-minute ride between the villa and the airport.); HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from Bari, Italy; 2 Dinners and 4 lunches; Personal items such as souvenirs, snacks, faxes, telephone calls and alcohol other than at included dinners; Admissions not described as included in the itinerary; Gratuities for guides.
Optional 2016 Tour Choices:
$1600 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
$550 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom but share a bathroom)
$375 Upgrade to Garden Room at Villa
$375 Upgrade to Courtyard Room at Villa
“We all eventually started saying, “when we get back to the Villa” or “are we having dinner at the Villa tonight?” like we were Italian royalty (albeit, with helmets instead of crowns). I picked sage from the garden for our dinner table, helped at the market, and hung out with the neighbor in his cut-flower greenhouse. All this and biking, too!”—D. Henderson, Orlando, FL
“Paul and Steve, the hosts of the villa, take care of your every need. Paul is from Puglia and was able to give us a deep insight into the culture. The food was incredible and we biked off practically every calorie, so it was a win win.”—M. DuBois, Los Angeles, CA
“It was difficult leaving the villa and the new friends I made. Everyone made turning 50 the most memorable experience!”—D. Braget, Portland, OR
“I laughed more on this trip than I have in years. Paul Cappelli’s wit kept me in stitches all week. I felt a real bond with the guys on this trip and was sad to leave them all. This was my fifth [HE Travel] trip and I have enjoyed all previous guides, but Steven and Paul were the best by far…they were warm, welcoming and fun. They have a rare gift and made me feel like a part of their family for the week.” – D. Burch, Atlanta, GA
“The owners of the Villa were great but their wine and food was spectacular. The villages we cycled to on the Adriatic were so beautiful. Cycling was one of the best enhanced by perfect weather every day. The good food at the Villa was so abundant you never knew when it was going to stop. The Villa made wine, limoncella and other liquors were the best. I made a point to try everything, including horse meat tartar.” – Joe Kaiser, New York, NY
So are most of the people who travel with us. You do not need to pay extra to travel by yourself. Prices are per-person, and the single supplement applies only if you’d like a room by yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Bari, Puglia, Italy.
If flying from North America, we recommend a minimum 2-hour connection window in Rome. There is also one flight a day from Munich, Zurich and London, but by far the most connections are via Rome. If you take the train from Milan, Rome or another location, the closest train station to Villa Cappelli is Molfetta. Some long distance trains stop there, or you may need to change trains in Barletta.
This trip offers daily biking through countryside with few tourists. Roads near our villa are quite flat but longer rides in a hilly national park are available. Biking days cover 30-80 km, with options each day for longer or shorter days.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174