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Why a Cycling Tour Is the Best Way to See Puglia, Italy

I like to ride a bike, but I’m not a maniac cyclist like my husband who is happiest in Lycra, grinding up some steep mountain hill. My bicycles usually have a basket and a bell. When we were recently planning a family vacation, he, as always, suggested a cycling trip; I, as always, shot him down. I like our vacations to have an active element, but I also believe a holiday should not be punitive.

Then he sent me a link to a ”family cycling adventure” in Puglia. Yes, it would involve time on a bike—but also epic scenery, cultural outings, and plush hotels. For our ten-year-old daughter Sylvie, there would be regular plunges into the sea, as well as pasta, pizza, and gelato. I said yes.

Puglia, the vibrant region of Italy’s heel, evokes the country’s pre-cruise ship era. It’s where Italians go on vacation, drawn by the 500 miles of coastline framed by the Ionian Sea to the East and the Adriatic to the West, unspoiled hilltop Medieval towns, ancient archeological sites, and life-changing food. Until a few years ago, Puglia’s many charms were largely a secret, which is why a fashionable crowd, from Bella Hadid to Emily Rajatkowski to native son Riccardo Tisci have been able to swim in coves and sip Calafurnia Negroamaro Rosato unbothered.

After a quick hourlong flight from Rome to the Brindisi airport, we were met in a sleek DuVine Cycling + Adventure Covan by a pair of genial guides. There was Davide, a courtly former chef who once ran a restaurant in Scotland…

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