This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Self guided cycling vacation in Italy
Activity: Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore we encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!) and this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and to use markets to purchase traditional handicrafts. We also use transfers and hire bikes locally, which has a positive effect on the community and small, local businesses.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: We spend 7 nights in a mixture of locally-owned hotels and guesthouses, often in renovated traditional buildings of the region. Our local partners try to ensure that the trips benefit the local communities by using mostly family run hotels that source as much produce locally as possible. Some areas also have a tourist tax applied, which is collected and contributed towards improvement of local infrastructure directly related to tourism. With only breakfasts included, there is the opportunity to eat in local restaurants and buy products from local shops along the way. Regional specialties include Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep's ricotta-cheese, aubergine and parmesan bake, roasted peppers, fresh seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), mozzarella and Caciocavallo sheep's cheese.
Local Craft and Culture: There are many opportunities for culture integrated into this trip and clients are encouraged to engage with locals as much as possible in order to get a true impression of their customs and history. Clients are free to visit the ancient ‘Sassi’ houses of Matera and ‘Trulli’ houses of Alberobello, which have made both locations recognised as world heritage sites. It is also suggested that clients stop at we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo, for some locally produced white wine and the Hapsburger Castle, Grotta Zinzulusa, and thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme on the way to Otranto. By making donations, paying entrance fees and using businesses which surround these sites, we are ensuring that the community benefits.
A Fair Deal: On the first night, a representative and mechanic will deliver the hire bikes to the hotel and go through the details of the trip. It is important to attend this as it will be your opportunity to check the bikes are all set up correctly and also to go over any questions you have about the route. Local people are employed for this role and will be able to give advice on responsible tourism issues, such as environmental protection and community support along the way. They will also be able to be able to recommend special places to eat and visit which will benefit from your business due to a more remote location.
Charity: Since 2001, our local operators have been donating 1% of salaries to Mani Tese (Hands Outstretched), which is one of Italy’s most established humanitarian charities. The organisation runs several projects in developing countries, in particular those linked to tourism. Other charities supported include Doctors with Africa CUAMM, Emergency and ViaFirenze21, a local charity for the disadvantaged in Vicenza.