1st option - Cycling about 55 Km
The ride today takes through a interesting tour into the south-east area of the region, along fascinating ancient pilgrims trails, retracing some section of the old Via Francigena. From Mesagne to Lecce, passing Casalabate, Santa Maria di Cerrate and Santa Maria d'Aurio. Here the silence accompanies the rider through majestic olive trees that protect the pace and provide shaded shelter during stops. Passing by the farms along the way: some fortified with high towers and defence walls, some others more bucolic and rustic.
The highlights of the day are the Abbey of Cerrate, which in the past was an important place of worship, nowadays in its mill has been set up a Museum of Arts & Popular Traditions of Salento, then the elegant Romanesque church of Santa Maria of Aurio.
From here you can easily reach the city of Lecce, a real gem, whose architectural style and history that never cease to amaze visitors. A stroll through the historic center of Lecce gives the opportunity to admire its churches and its cathedral, a triumph of Baroque style with its refined and noble palaces along the shopping streets.
The gastronomy Lecce offers the pasticciotto, sweet pastry filled with cream and cherry; the rustico, salty baked bread with mozzarella and tomato, the pizzo, a kind of bread with olives, onions and tomatoes. 2nd option - Cycling about 41 Km
Today the ride combines the pleasure of discovering art and culture treasures with the joy of wine tasting. Starting from Mesagne the ride goes towards the Limitone of the Greeks reaching the lands of Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia, grapes grown almost exclusively in Puglia, land of excellent world prized wines.
The Limitone of the Greeks was a legendary defensive line built by the Byzantines against the Lombards, later it was used as a shortcut to reach Lecce instead of using the Via Appia. There are many sites that can be seen on this stretch: rock-hewn churches, cemeteries, hot springs, Roman villas, fortified farms, all nestled in a picturesque rural landscape made of olive trees and vineyards that starting from September are rich in heady scents making very pleasant the ride to city of Lecce a small jewel of architecture and history that will never cease to amaze you.
Do not miss The Parco del Negroamaro: all villages inside the park are part of a territory of excellence for the production of wines. In each location you will find a wine cellar where you can stop by and taste their products. Overnight: selected B&B in Lecce