The bike, the new travel frontier in Salento

The bike, the new travel frontier in Salento

Slow and sustainable

The European Week of Sustainable Mobility has only just finished and the traveller is presented with numerous cycle routes for a holiday in Salento, a holiday that’s all about taking your time and respect for the environment. The bike is perhaps the means of transport most-loved by ‘slow tourism because you can still cover fair distances quite quickly but you also get to admire the natural beauty all around you at the same time. 

Bike-lovers will tell you that the bike is almost of a philosophy of life, and Salento really loves bikes. Once used by most of the population for getting around on a daily basis, when there were few cars and hardly any made-up roads, today the bike is growing in popularity again thanks to its timeless charm and to advances in bike design. 

Cycling is a great way to see the sights of Salento. There’s one route in particular that has always been top of the world’s list, a centuries-old road that continues to attract people from all over, so much so that it has become a metaphor for the meeting and mixing of different cultures. We’re talking about the extension of the Via Francigena going from Brindisi to Capo di Leuca.

There are two very special people in the saddle at this very moment, travelling this road and enjoying its splendid landscapes: the actors Jyas Youbeh and Bruno Soriato. The former is Palestinian and the other from the Venice area of Italy, both adopted sons of Puglia, who are pedalling their way from Troia (Foggia) along the Via Francigena towards Leuca. No, they’re not just a couple of mad tourists, but two artists working on the regional project ‘The journey of Darwish’. On each leg of their ride they stop to read and share poetry by the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, perhaps the greatest post-Modern poet, to reflect with others on a shared sense of belonging to the Mediterranean, wars, religions and nationalities apart. Over the 18 legs of their journey they’re bringing people’s minds back to humanity, chatting with members of the public and to curious tourists. And in the background, the magnificent Salento landscape with its olive groves, white houses, the sea and the Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca Coast Regional Natural Park. If you don’t want to miss this sharing experience, this rather ‘beat generation’ bike trip with poetry-stuffed backpacks, why not meet the two somewhere along their way, or wait in Leuca for them? They’re due to arrive on 3 October.

Whether your bike has 26-spoke wheels or 36, whether you’re seasoned cyclists, professional gear changers or simply lovers of the countryside with woolly hats and anoraks; if you want to visit all the places loved by poets and novelists like Vittorio Bodini, Michele Saponaro, Carmelo Bene and many others, then Salento is definitely the cycling destination for you. We look forward to welcoming you. There are lots of bike hire services available: our staff will be pleased to provide you with the information you need.