Bicycle the Baroque Towns of Southeastern Sicily

  • Itinerary Summary

    This bicycle tour of southeast Sicily explores the heart of ancient Magna Grecia. Beginning in Siracusa or Syracuse in English, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 3,000 years of Mediterranean history you'll discover the interior towns in the Valle di Noto. Most of which were destroyed in a massive earthquake that killed 60,000 people in 1693. Under Spanish dominion at the time architects called on two centuries of Urban planning experience and rebuilt eight towns here in the late Baroque style. You'll visit four of them, Ragusa, Scicli, Modica and Valle di Noto. All four are listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and each one is spectacularly beautiful.

    ***Continue your exploration of Sicily and join us to for the Grand Cycling Tour of Sicily which includes Cycle Southwestern Sicily's Ancient Mediterranean Cities and we'll include a shuttle to Agrigento where the tour begins.***
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    1. Day 1: Meet in Siracusa (Syracuse)

      Highlights: Ancient Siracusa, one of the oldest Greek settlements in Magna Grecia

      Arrive today in Siracusa or "Syracuse" in English. The Greek "Syrakousai" was one of the first Greek colonies in the western Mediterranean, founded in 734 BC by colonists from Corinth. By the mid-5th century BC it rivaled Athens for supremacy with a population of a quarter of a million people. Home to Archimedes (of Archimedes Principle fame) Siracusa has a wealth of ancient Greek ruins and the largest Greek theater from the 5th Century BC. Our hotel is in the center of ancient Ortigia. Enjoy a test ride around the ramparts before our special welcome dinner tonight.

      Distance: Test ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel. 2018 departures will be at the Des Etrangers Hotel and Spa

    2. Day 2: Siracusa to Noto

      Highlights: UNESCO town of Noto, country resort near the world famous Vendicari nature reserve

      Your first ride in Sicily has you pedaling through small beach and fishing towns, passing an abandoned "tonara" or tuna canning factory which was one of the biggest economic drivers of the island in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The route takes us inland to the imposing town of Noto, one of the many towns in this region rebuilt (in a new location) in the grand baroque style after the earthquake of 1693. The striking white town is perched above the valley and makes for an impressive destination as you pedal towards it. Enjoy lunch, a snack, or a walk here before continuing on to your destination: a splendid old farmhouse renovated into lodging with a swimming pool and particularly lovely grounds.

      Distance: 54 km (34 miles). Meals: B, D.

      Lodging: Hotel Corte del Sole

    3. Day 3: Noto Loop to Marzamemi and Capo Passero

      Highlights: Fishing port of Marzamemi, coastal scenery and beaches, wine tasting

      Take your swimming suit along today as there are plenty of opportunities to find an isolated beach to take a refreshing dip. You'll pass through the fishing village of Marzamemi, a village built up around the ancient tonara. The red tuna from this area are still prized in Japan for sushi. While the tonara here is no longer working, the quaint fishing village has maintained its charm with quaint buildings, restaurants, cafés and stores. From here you can opt to continue your ride along a quiet coastal road to Capo Passero, which is the furthest southeastern point in Sicily. This evening we'll enjoy a wine tasting before dinner together.

      Distance: 61 km (38 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Corte del Sole

    4. Day 4: Spectacular climb to the high plains of the interior

      Highlights: Cavagrande del Cassibile, lunch together with pool and sea view, lovely farm hotel amid almond and olive groves

      Your ride today takes you to the interior of the island through olive and almond groves. An impressive climb of approximately 400 meters (1,300 feet) up a narrow canyon that delivers stunning views into the deep canyon and far out to the sea as you summit on the plateau. Reward yourself with a pool side lunch (and perhaps a dip in the pool!) before continuing along the plateau to reach our quiet country lodge immersed in the hills and close to the expansive ruins of the old city of Noto destroyed in the earthquake of 1693. A brief stroll through Noto Antica's ruins allows you to travel back in time and imagine the large city that once dominated the area. All that remains today is scattered stones, crumbling buildings and tower ruins.

      Distance: 49km (30 miles). Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: Borgo Alveria.

    5. Day 5: Ride from Masseria degli Ulivi to Ragusa

      Highlights: Country roads, the new and old cities of Ragusa

      You are primarily on country roads today as you pedal west to Ragusa. Stop and visit an olive oil press to learn about the local olives, the local farmers, and the business of making olive oil. From there you'll continue to Ragusa which, like Noto, was rebuilt in the 17th century after the massive earthquake. Uniquely though, Ragusa was not moved to a new site. The result is a new baroque town on a ridge top next to the ancient town clinging to a narrow ridge and the valley below.

      Distance: 63km (39 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Locanda Don Serafino

    6. Day 6: Bicycle from Ragusa to Scicli

      Highlights: Lands once occupied by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Italians; water mill; archaeological site of Cava d'Ispica; picnic

      The timeless landscape of southeast Sicily comes to life today as you pedal ridges and hills toward the famous archaeological sites of Cava d'Ispica, a narrow gorge filled with grottoes which were used since Neolithic times for lodging. Enjoy a picnic lunch near a unique water mill built in a cave before continuing on to the delightful town of Scicli. Scicli is the set for the TV film series Inspector Montalbano, based on the fictional town of Vigáta. Tourism to the area has boomed thanks to this popular TV series although a guided walk through town will highlight much more than a mere TV set!

      Distance: 72km (45 miles). Meals: B, L

      Lodging: Hotel Novecento

    7. Day 7: Loop Rides from Scicli to Modica and/or Donnalucata

      Highlights: Famous chocolate town of Modica and to the seaside town of Donnalucata

      We'll mark two loop rides today to nearby Modica and to the seaside at Donnalucata. Donnalucata is the site of a decisive battle in 1091 between the Normans and the moors. It was also central to the allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. It also offers a chance for a little beach time for those so inclined. Modica is another town rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 but, as it sits astride the Modica River, it also suffered from devastating floods at the beginning of the 19th century. Modica is also famous for retaining the original Aztec recipe for chocolate imported by the Spaniards in the 16th century. We'll enjoy an aperitif this evening before our last dinner together.

      Distance: 60km (37 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Novecento

    8. Day 8: Shuttle to Agrigento or enjoy your continued travels

      Highlights: Continue your exploration of Sicily

      Your tour ends today unless you wisely decide to continue your exploration of Sicily and join us to Cycle Southwestern Sicily's Ancient Mediterranean Cities. We'll include a shuttle to Agrigento where the tour begins.

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the vale di Noto, Syracuse, Rural countryside accommodations with pools, Olive oil tasting, Beaches and swimming opportunities
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; van support; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders; all breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners with wine; cheese tasting; olive press visit and tasting; group walk Ortigia (Syracuse) and Scicli plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Siracusa (Syracuse in English) / Scicli
    • Arrive/Depart

      Catania Airport (CTA)
    • Total Distance

      360 km (222 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average per riding day 60 km (37 miles)
    • Rating

      301 Expect some climbing every day. 201 level riders can shuttle on Day 5, and do the shorter ride option on Day 7
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 23-30, 2017 USD$3750 USD$550 Space Running Out! Book it
    May 12-19, 2018 USD$3850 USD$550 Book by November 15th and save $200 Book it
    Sep 22-29, 2018 USD$3850 USD$550 Book by November 15th and Save $200 Book it

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • 2016 New Destination - Southeastern Sicily

      We interview Bea Tassinari, our Country Coordinator in Italy about our new cycling tour in Sicily

    • A Sicilian Feast

      Spaghetti alla chitarra con Pesto di Sedano e Pistacchi - Celery Pistachio Pesto

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?

      Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.

    • The Emperor and The Saint

      Paola Malpezzi Price reviews this biography of two of histories most important men, Frederick II and Francis of Assisi combined with a detailed description of history and monuments. Many of you have been to the places that the book mentions on our tours in Italy!

    • Pedaling on Pasta Power

      University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights Rick and Paola's Story

    • Trip of a lifetime!!!

      Lesley O., Cheyenne, WY - May 2017
    • It was an excellent trip. Sicily is beautiful and the tour leaders were outstanding!

      Gordon T., Calgary, Canada

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