From Locorotondo to Ostuni on Mountain Bike: an arduous path to admire breath taking landscapes

Mountain biking is a way of experiencing holidays respecting the environment and its pace, to experience the concrete sense of having earned the beauty that surrounds us.

We will never tire of repeating it, the bike is one of the best ways to get around Valle d’Itria!

Riding a mountain bike, you can travel at a slow pace giving you the right time to admire the landscape, to stop when your eyes are captured by a panorama or a particularly beautiful view, like a trullo immersed in a rural landscape.

It is also the ideal way to 360° sensorial experience and feel with your body an area that alternates infinite slopes with comfortable flat roads, but above all to enjoy breathtaking views and panoramas.

Moreover, one cannot say that one has visited the Valle d’Itria, if one has not lived, even just a brief moment, suspended in the timeless present of its districts and doing it by bike makes everything unique and unforgettable.

The route that we propose can be done either on asphalt, crossing the district by district, or along a network of sheep tracks and forest roads. In both options it is a medium-high level route, which length is about 60 kilometres (calculated on the outward and return journeys), and the difference in altitude is about 500 metres.

The itinerary

We start from Locorotondo, just outside the ancient village, and we head towards Contrada Trito, crossing Contrada Papacidd. This first stretch is on asphalt, but you will still be immersed in nature, in the silences and magic given away by the continuous gait of dry-stone walls, accompanied by almond, fig, oak, vines, olive trees and prickly pears.

We continue through the first district Pasqualone, then pass Rizzo’s local road, we move on towards Contrada Zuzu, Serafino and finally Tumbinno. Continuing to follow the road we find ourselves pedaling along the local road of Cucinella. The area to be covered on this itinerary is on the border between the territories of Locorotondo and Cisternino, a tour that develops on the last ledges of the Murgian hill before degrading on the Adriatic Piana degli Ulivi.

Some challenging slopes may evoke you drop everything and go back. Do not do it! The view that will open up before your eyes is a must. The path is in fact immersed in the woods and will allow you to discover the most hidden corners of the Valle d’Itria, in fact you can find elements of archaeological and architectural value in every district, for example in Zuzu, there is a very ancient nucleus of the primitive village ( Bronze Age – II millennium BC); in Contrada Serafino you can visit the medieval site with the church of Sant’Eligio and finally in the picturesque district of Tumbinno you can admire an ancient foggia-cistern, for collecting rainwater, one of the main artefacts of the spontaneous architecture of stone.

Continuing to follow the road where we find ourselves pedalling along the local road of Cucinella, we pass Contrada Marinelli, and we reach the hilly area of Monte Pizzuto, where with a glance you can admire the whole coast, from the plain of Fasano’s olive trees until Rosamarina.

After constant of climbs and descents we pass the dsitrict of Capitolo, Via Specchia and Panza district, and we arrive at Acquarossa district, here we find numerous climbs and ascents that leaves no way out. To overcome them in an agile and fun way we need a good starting speed … So take a good run up!

Our tour goes on to the Porcara district, at km 11 we turn left onto a dirt road. Vertical signage helps us. We head towards the Sanctuary of San Biagio in Rialbo. Green valleys and dark earth now give way to rock and thick vegetation. After having made several turns in the cork oak forest, we suddenly find before us San Biagio in Rialbo, a half-cave sanctuary and half church, literally clinging to the side of a hill. These last 2 kilometres are probably the most challenging as there is a drop of about 300 metres, concentrated in just a couple of kilometres.

The sanctuary, today in an advanced state of degradation, is a destination every year of pilgrimage on the part of devotees who, on February 3rd, go to pay homage to the patron saint of the city of Ostuni. You can now enjoy an interesting appealing landscape, among other things, by a burden of enormous dimensions considered by speleologists to be the largest underground cavity existing in Puglia. From the sanctuary we observe the plain of the olive groves which covers the whole area between Ostuni and the sea. Several masserias, some remembered in medieval times, are found both on the hilly area and in the surrounding plain and form aa unique of the exceptional landscape and natural interest. We remain here for as long as necessary. No one pursues us. Let yourself be lulled by the tranquillity of the undergrowth, and then get back in the saddle and retrace your journey.

If you don’t have much time you can start the journey from Cisternino, starting from the Monte Pizzuto area, where there is a parking where you can leave the car, and continue towards the Sanctuary of San Biagio. From here the route is about 30 kilometres long (calculated on the outward and return journey).

In such a small world, just a few kilometres away, you will find varied landscapes, capable of giving you moments of wonder and serenity, thanks to the silence that has always lingered through these streets. Even when you have to necessarily stand up on the pedals. Pedal to believe!


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