General

CROSSING SICILY. Cycling from Caltanissetta to Siracusa

On this tour you will experience a gorgeous landscape, minimal traffic and tourism, baroque towns, beautiful beaches, Michelin restaurants and the island’s best confectioneries!

The cycling route starts from BB Wine&Bike, which is located right in the center of the island, in the most archaic and authentic part of Sicily. The rest of the nights accommodation will be in the old part of small towns. If you have more days available, we recommend to stay one day more in one of the towns you pass by cycling.

Program

Day 1. ARRIVAL

From Catania airport you take the bus directly to Caltanissetta, where you will try out bikes and equipment and have welcome dinner.

Day 2. CALTANISSETTA-PIETRAPERZIA-VILLA DEL CASALE-PIAZZA ARMERINA. 55 km

In the morning you cycle eastwards on old narrow asphalt roads without traffic. The landscape is dominated by durum wheat cultivation and some shepherds with its own sheep flock. You pass the Salso river and start going slightly up towards Pietraperzia. This old town lays on a hill beneath the ruins of a castle. It is perfect to take a pause at the main square. You then continue eastwards and arrive after lunch to the Villa of Casale. This was a roman hunt castle built in the 3rd and 4th century A. D.  The mosaics on the floor are the most outstanding of that period and cover up to 3500 square meters. Then you cycle to Piazza Armerina. The town was founded by the Norman king Wilhelm II in 1163. You will stay in the old city center, where you will find good opportunities for a Sicilian dinner.

Day 3. PIAZZA ARMERINA-AIDONE-MORGANTINA-MIRABELLA IMBACCARI-CALTAGIRONE. 50 km

After breakfast, you leave Piazza Armerina and cycle eastward in the woods towards Aidone. Here you can have a look at the archeological Museum where you find the Venus of Morgantina. You can take a break in the piazza. Then you roll down to Morgantina. This town was founded by a pre-Roman Italian group known as the Morgetes in 500 b.C. You will admire a big agora and a Greek theater. The narrow road continues among almond and olive trees. The view towards Etna is perfect. You will meet the village Mirabella Imbaccari for a break. In the afternoon, the ride continues south among fruitful hills and you start going up towards Caltagirone. Ceramics has been made here since prehistoric times, and its art is famous all over the world. You will check-in to a B&B in the center, not far away from the most gorgeous flight of steps covered with ceramics.

Day 4. CALTAGIRONE-GRAMMICHELE-VIZZINI-MONTEROSSO ALMO-GIARRATANA-RAGUSA. 69 km

This day starts with a breathtaking downhill ride towards the small, but monumental village of Grammichele, having an interesting hexagonal shape. You are now in that part of the island that was hit by a strong earthquake in 1693, and was then rebuilt in baroque style. After visiting the bar on the oval square, you will continue along the hilly landscape towards Vizzini, which is beautifully situated on a ridge. Here you can take a break, before embarking on the hillier landscape to  Monterosso Almo. The landscape is dominated by cows, dry stone walls and slopes built with terraces, where animals are grazing. You are now in the so-called Iblei Mountains. After riding up a steep rise towards Monterosso, a well-deserved cup of coffee is waiting for you at the square in front of S. Giovanni church.  Then the tour takes you through Giarratana, the village which produces the best onions! And then further down towards Ragusa Ibla. Again, you will stay in a cozy B&B in the old town.

Day 5. RAGUSA IBLA–MODICA–SCICLI–POZZALLO-ISPICA. 53 km

You start cycling at the bottom of the valley along the Irminio river, and then along the hillside arriving to Modica. This town is famous for its baroque churches, but also for the tasteful chocolate production. When the Spanish came to the town, they taught the chocolate tradition they had learned from the Aztecs in Mexico. It is possible to visit a chocolate production and taste. Also, a visit to San Giorgio church is highly recommended, one of the most outstanding baroque churches in Sicily. The tour continues to Scicli, and then to the Mediterranean sea, for bathing in the amazing beach near Pozzallo. In the afternoon, you will cycle to Ispica, and stay there for the night.

Day 6. ISPICA–GRANELLI-PACHINO-PORTOPALO DI CAPO PASSERO-MARZAMEMI-NOTO. 60 km

After breakfast, you take a beautiful ride towards the beach of Granelli. Then you cycle to Pachino, a town known for growing cherry tomatoes. There are possibilities for stopping by a bar. You continue to what is considered the most southern town in Europe: Portopalo di Capo Passero. In the afternoon you ride north to Marzamemi. The activity of tuna hunt and production has been carried on since Arabs settled here in 800 a. C. Then you will continue cycling away from the sea, and take the ride up towards Noto. This town was just a big construction site after the earthquake in 1693, and some of the most famous engineers and architects of the time had space to express themselves. You will find a cozy B&B in the old town.

Day 7. NOTO–AVOLA– SIRACUSA. 40 km

First, you will cycle northwest towards the town of Avola. The center has a hexagonal form and all the area is renowned for almond production. Then you continue north along the sea, and near Fontane Bianche it is possible to have a swim. Early in the afternoon you will arrive to Syracuse: this town, according to Cicerone, was the most beautiful in the world. Syracuse was Athens main competitor regarding influence in the Mediterranean, power and prestige. You cycle inn to the island of Ortygia (the city center), and find the hotel near the Ionian Sea.

Day 8. DEPARTURE