This year marks a significant milestone for the first woman-owned cycle tour company in the world. In 1989, Lauren Hefferon blazed new trails and founded Ciclismo Classico, the first company to specialize in immersive small group bike tours of Italy.
Throughout 2019, Ciclismo Classico will celebrate 30 years of inspired, passionate travel, offering dozens of active vacation itineraries in its core country, Italy, and elsewhere throughout Europe and around the world.
“Pedal Your Passion” has been Ciclismo’s rallying cry for the past three decades. Today, two bicycle adventures best epitomize the company’s deep love and appreciation for all things Italian. One itinerary, Bike Across Italy, has become Ciclismo Classico’s signature tour. Another, La Bella Puglia Mini, represents the company’s quest to enhance its menu of delicious Italian stories.
In 1989, Hefferon created Bike Across Italy, a tour that still today passes through her grandmother’s hometown in the Le Marche Region of Central Italy. Designed for intermediate cyclists who can bike on average 35 miles a day, the route ventures over rolling terrain for a total of 346 miles from Pesaro on the Adriatic to Porto Ercole on the Mediterranean. Over 11 days guests cycle through four regions (Le Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany) celebrated for their rich history, distinctive local cuisines and stunning panoramas.
“This tour synthesizes legend and history by letting guests imbibe carefully curated touchstones along an east-west trajectory around and over hills and mountains. Our routes are ancient and well-worn, as is Italy herself. We let geography and populations past and present tell her story through our beloved guides,” she said.
Some of this tour’s spectacles even lie underground. These are Italy’s largest cave system and ancient Etruscan settlements under mounds of earth. Other treasures -- amphitheaters, Roman gates and the Temple of Minerva -- await on hill tops paved with medieval cobblestones. Guests cycle on Via Flaminia, an ancient Roman road over the Apennines, an 870-mile range of mountains that create Italy’s spine from the Ligurian Alps south through the boot. Visits to such cities as Urbino disclose echoes of ducal import contained within their walls. In Assisi St. Francis shares his wisdom before a visit to one of the best-known family wineries in Umbria. On the Tyrrhenian Sea comes a stop at Italy’s most important bird sanctuary, Tombolo di Feniglia. Among the charms that distinguish Ciclismo Classico tours are including such little-known touches as Bevagna that since medieval days has plied the craft of making fine paper or swimming in a lake created from a volcano once familiar to Etruscans.
The 2019 trip dates are: May 11-21, June 6-16, July 18-28, Sept 5-15 and 19-29, and Oct 3-13. The per person double rate of $5,995 (single supplement $1,000) includes; carbon bike rental equipped with a Garmin Edge GPS, informative, English-speaking, Italian-born tour leaders throughout, shuttles, sag-wagon support, wine tasting, walking tours of Assisi and Urbino and a visit to a private underground cave in Orvieto, cooking demonstration with a master chef, visit to Frasassi grottoes and paper maker in Bevagna, all accommodations and breakfasts and some lunches and dinners. See: https://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/bike-tour-italy/
For bicycle tour newbies, La Bella Puglia Mini over six days and 157 miles (daily average 31 miles) introduces a region popular with foodies but still relatively uncrowded with tourists. Greeks, Normans and Arabs have all added their influence here. Today oils from ancient olive trees and crispy white wines from acres of vines compliment handmade orecchiette, bruschetta covered with juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers and grilled calamari – all paired with warm hospitality that’s sometimes lost in other countries.
This itinerary is south on the Adriatic, beginning in Otranto. Its complicated history showcased in architecture makes it one of Puglia’s most sought-after towns. The itinerary weaves north to Lecce, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where guests are accommodated in a building in existence since 1400.
Moving away from the coast cyclists explore an enological gem, Salice Salentino, a region that gives its name to a red wine. In Alberobello, trulli, clusters of conical dwellings, are surrounded by gnarled olive trees. Moving into Basilicata introduces Matera, another UNESCO World Heritage Site which was recently awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2019 by the Commission of the European Union. This City of Stone is renowned for its sassi (cave dwellings), where medieval monks created individual cells, tiny chapels and even spacious churches. Matera’s 155 cave churches range from primitive to exquisite. Guests overnight in the now-opulent cave dwellings. The circular town of Locorotondo, known for its white wine, Serra, overlooks Valle d’Itria before guests cycle to journey’s end in the whitewashed town of Ostuni, Città Bianca, reminiscent of Greece.
There are seven departures scheduled in in spring and fall 2019 beginning on 4/28, 5/10, 6/07, 9/06, 9/20, 10/94 and 10/18. The per person double rate of $3,795 ($600 single supplement) includes; bike rental and GPS, bilingual guides, all needed shuttles, van support, guided walking tour of Lecce, wine tasting, all accommodations and breakfasts, and some lunches and dinners. See: https://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/le-bella-pugilia-bike-tour/
For additional information, detailed itineraries, trip availability and reservations please contact Ciclismo Classico by phone: 800.866.7314 (US & Canada) or 781.646.3377 (outside of North America), or visit online: https://ciclismoclassico.com/.
About Ciclismo Classico
Small group sightseeing through Italy by bike was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in active cycle tours of Italy. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.
This company’s rallying cry then and now is “Pedal Your Passion!” Tours are led by native-born guides who on average have each served Ciclismo Classico clients in excess of 10 years. Daily rides are carefully blended with a variety of cultural and culinary experiences and served up as the Ciclismo Menu that includes musical evenings, language lessons, wine and beer tastings, personalized cycling clinics, cooking demonstrations and opportunities for spontaneous discovery and cross-cultural interaction. Guests are carefully matched with a tour style and pedaling pace perfect for them, then outfitted with a quintessentially Italian, high-performance Bianchi bike. Having now expanded beyond Italy to represent tour destinations worldwide, Ciclismo also offers hiking itineraries, private and custom trip planning, photo tours and the ease of touring by electric bike. Recognized by media icons such as National Geographic Traveler and Outside Magazine, Ciclismo Classico is widely considered to be one of the premier active travel companies in the world.