• A MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR ALONG THE REAL RURAL HEART :

ALONG THE MOST SOUTHERN LANDS IN SICILY and etna volcano:

Fire-breathing volcanoes, sun-drenched seaside, bold Nero d’Avola wines, stately Baroque cathedrals, Aztec chocolate, picturesque vineyards – Sicily is pure magic. Positioned at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and steeped in millennia of history, the island bursts with a medley of cultures, architecture, diverse cuisine and dramatic scenery. Biking across this diverse land brings it to life. And gelato has never tasted this good!

Cycle the breathtaking landscapes around Mt Etna (an active volcano, sweeping coastal views ) and Val di Noto (a valley of lovely towns built during the flowering of the European Baroque and surrounded by wine-rich countryside).

“HIGHLIGHTS”

  • Val di Noto (a valley of lovely towns built during the flowering of the European Baroque and surrounded by wine-rich countryside)
  • cycling, through rolling vineyards, past canyon valleys and down back-country lanes
  • Refreshing swims in sparkling sea at exotic Marzememi
  • Relax over a glass of Nero d’Avola wine in Noto’s historical city center
  • Learn to cook traditional Sicilian dishes on a small farm
  • A rustic tradition of homemade farm-fresh cooking throughout!
  • Dramatic cycling along the Ionian coast, along volcano Mt. Etna, through rolling vineyards, past canyon valleys and down back-country lanes

DAY 1: SATURDAY- NOTO

 Noto’s Historical Center. The capital of Sicilian Baroque, Noto is a living art gallery. It’s historical center is  rich with churches, aristocratic palaces, stately piazzas and beautiful streets, both grand and small  which wind harmoniously about one another. Noto, along with every other city in the area, was completely  razed by a devastating earthquake in 1693, after which the noble aristocracy decided to rebuild the city stone‐for‐stone, 3km from its original site! They invited the most renowned architects  of the Sicilian Baroque, the result is a strikingly harmonious city and street‐plan. The beauty of its sumptuous facades gave the city its nickname “The Stone Garden.” You will experience your first Sicilian wines  and our first taste of Sicily’s artisan cheeses, salamis, spicy tomato crostini and salads. Then go out  and enjoy the city!

DAY 2: sunday- MTB RIDE-GRANFONDO DI NOTO MTB RACE

The ride starts from the historycal part. Hop on your bike this morning and stretch your legs on a fun uphill toward San Corrado, arriving at the ruined site of “Ancient Noto” which was leveled by the 1693 earthquake. Here the landscape begins to change, now dominated by “Sicily’s Grand Canyon,” the deepest canyon in Europe, whose steep walls descend 800 feet to a picturesque river below. The land is protected both for it’s fascinating geology and for it’s architectural remains.

DAY 3: MONDAY- NOTO’S WINE ROUTE

Terrain: mixed dirt paths, paved road, sand dunes and rock

Today  we  ride  the  valley’s  “Wine 
Route”  which  snakes  gently  through 
Noto’s  rich  countryside.  We  take  an  old  mule  path  and  service  roads  through  the  beautiful  almond  orchards,  plots  of olive & lemon trees, and lush vineyards that characterize  the  Noto  Valley.  Those  who  wish  may  stop  to  visit  the  Roman Villa  Tellaro, a  4th century partially‐excavated  palace  boasting  magnificent  floor  mosaics  ‐  they  tell  stories  of  Roman life  with  scenes of  hunting, erotic dances,  Illiad  tales,  and  unusual  geometric  designs.  Then  we  head  toward  the   sandy  beaches,  lagoons  and  African  bushes  of  the  Vendicari  Nature  Reserve, famous for it’s aquamarine water, bird‐life and diverse vegetation. After a  refreshing swim and long break, it’s time  for  vino!  Vineyard‐lined  roads  take  us  toward  the  Pachino  area  ‐  which  derived  from  ancient  Greek  means “plenty of wine”! And it’s true. You’re in the cradle of the Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s most famous  grape  variety.  All  around,  wine  cellars  appear  ‐  ruined palmentos (traditional  wine‐making  houses),

and  modern,  organic  wineries.  We  stop  to  visit  Giacomo  at  his  winery. He is passionate about all things wine and  loves to share  his  passion  with  those  who  come  to  visit.  He’ll  describe  the  Nero  d’Avola and his wine‐making process, as we enjoy tasting it! We’ll  return to Noto in the evening.

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DAY 6: THURSDAY- ZAFFERANA ETNEA AND NICOLOSI –ETNA TOUR: APPROACH THE MOUNTAIN CRATERS FROM THE NORTH OR THE SOUTH, THEN FEAST ON ETNA’S GORGEOUS FOOD AND WINE

-patrol along the quieter and more picturesque northern slopes. A two- hour trip up to Pizzi Deneri and the volcanic observatory – alternatively “Rifugio Sapienza”- pedal exploring an important wine area producing Etna DOC,a  guaranteed denomination, its numerous wineries where you can taste the local vino and other gastronomic delights as honey in Zafferana Etnea – marvel at thousand year-old chesnuts hidden in a flavouring country-side and all-around birch and larch trees.

 

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DAY 7: FRIDAY – ETNA WINE AREA AND THE NORTHERN SLOPE OF THE VOLCANO

  • The Northern slope of Etna volcano, the Alcantara river valley rich of attractions for nature lovers and foodies
  • Wide views over Nebrodi and Peloritani mountains And the smoking craters on the summit of the vulcano
  • Ancient mountain-villages on the slopes of volcano: Randazzo, Linguaglossa, Castiglione di Sicilia
  • Pedalling along wine Routes discovering wineries, farm-houses and ancient noble estates

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DAY 8: SATURDAY-ARGIMUSCO PEAKS,NEBRODI AND PELORITANI MOUNTAINS

From Alcantara valley and wine area to Montalbano Elicona, medioeval village

  • pedalling  on the ridge of Nebrodi and Peloritani mountains
  • Wonderful views over Etna volcano and Alcantara river valley
  • Argimusco peaks, a nature site made of megalites , used for religious and astronomic rituals
  • After the biking, take a break in the abandoned country-village of Borgo Schisina, built at fascism time to repopulate the area, and taste cheeses, salami and wines produced in Etna farms

 

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