The map says Italy. The heel of the "boot." Though you may feel you've strayed into Greece. And that's a part of Puglia's appeal. Endless olive groves. A rugged coastline and the blue-green Adriatic. The people are welcoming and down-to-earth. The cuisine rustic and satisfying. You've found your perfect escape.
1 Unbeatable views of ancient olive groves, whitewashed villages and age-old farmhouses | Journey to the World Heritage site of Matera, one of Italy's most fascinating towns | Some 9,000 years ago, humans inhabited the canyon's caves, creating what UNESCO calls the most outstanding example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean | Soak up the authentic feel of this ancient town, with its intriguing history and sublime views | Cap off your trip with a ride or a walk through Matera with a local expert.
2 Ever wondered how mozzarella is made? It's your chance to learn | Explore the World Heritage site of Alberobello with 1,500 trulli, unusual round stone buildings topped with conical gray slate roofs | Bike into the surrounding landscape, an artist's dream, with its vibrant palette of reddish brown soil, green grass and blue skies.
3 Start the day off with an espressino freddo, Puglia's delicious cold sweet coffee | Take in unbeatable views of ancient olive groves as you pedal to historic Ostuni, "the white city," which spans three hilltops and is crowned by a Gothic cathedral | Taste regional wines, learn to make pasta and enjoy home-cooked Pugliese specialties at a local masseria (fortified farmhouse).
4 Enjoy a two-wheeled journey through peaceful farmland and scenic roads down the Adriatic coast | Along the way, delight in views of the azure Adriatic and its picturesque white-sand beaches | Savor local produce, fresh seafood and regional wines.
5-6 Superb coastal vistas, extraordinary grottoes and opportunities to swim in the sea | Bike to the "heel of the boot" on a spectacular seaside ride to the tiny village of Santa Maria di Leuca | Take a final spin over undulating terrain toward Otranto | Delight in an evening of lively traditional music and folk dancing | The trip ends in historic Lecce, a city famed for its beautiful baroque architecture.