Jagged cliffs, dry stone walls frame to monumental olive trees and old masserie: the heart of Apulia is red like primitivo wine. On the trails of the uncontested protagonist of italian and foreign tables, we discover mediterranean perfumes and a wine taste which conquer every palate. Crossroads of different people, this land has been able to transmit the love for tasting, producing a delicious wine.
Coming from Taranto (west), leave the coast road and proceed to Lizzano, where is possible to visit the historical centre rich in churches and monuments.
In the heart of Salento and on the ‘strade del vino’(wine streets) tour there are many wine cellars where is possible to taste and buy the ‘primitivo di manduria’ wine.
A wine tourism lover can appreciate the old farmers attitudes and the modern vinification technique thanks to the tour in vineyards and in the wine cellar promoted by local companies.
The sorrounding countryside invite us to the tales of bandits and secret shelters (“trullo del brigante Pizzichicchio”) enjoying a ride bike along the rural churches itineraries itineraries (38 km) which goes past to Lizzano, Sava and Torricella. The rural churches and the rock caves between religion and mithology are very important historical treasures.
We will proceede towards Torricella along the monumental olive trees street ( there is an itinerary) following the primitivo perfume mixed with the sea smell. In the welcoming atmoshere of the masserie, the vineyards, the mediterranean maquis and the cristalline waters people can taste delicious local dishes.
On the coastline between Maruggio and San Pietro in Bevagna, up to Avetrana is possible a full immersion in the mediterranean maquis itinerary (31 km).
Here, there are some treasures such as Torre Colimena, Salina dei Monaci and Palude del Conte. The natural reserve of Taranto east coast is formed by beaches and sand dunes for 3 km.In the marsh area the flow of migratory it's a show worth seeing!. Among these places, the itinerary ofnaturalisti areas, extends for 37 km.
Proceeding towards avetrana there are many itineraries. For example, the horse itinerary from Avetrana to Oria, the woods itinerary (44 km) from Avetrana up to Manduria (by bike, walking or by car) among forest, historical woods and archeological sites.
The itinerary of primitivo shrubs, (16 km by bike or trekking) is one of the most interesting route which crosses the most representative places of the territory.
A nice tale tells about a farmer who went to his vineyards and tied his donkey to a pole. The donkey got rif of the rope and entered the vineyards. Here it accidentally broke a vine. The farmer got angry but the next year he noticed that the broken vine had grown better than the other ones. Since now he started to prune the primitivo vine.
Toward north we meet Erchie, a small village whose name comes from Ercole: here the messapians created a cult place in his honour. With the Santa Lucia Sanctuary and the renowned Palazzo Ducale, Erchie is a collection of many monuments and historical and religious testimonies.
Erchie, Lizzano, Fragagnano, Sava and San Marzano di San Giuseppe are popular for the Mattre di San Giuseppe, tradition. Le Mattre di San Giuseppe are celebrated on 19th of March during the San Giuseppe feast. The term ‘mattra ‘comes from a dialectal greek word which indicate a wood cage used for making bread. During this festivity the mattre are setted up with traditional dishes offered from the most richest people to the poorest. The meaning of mattre was a propitiatory rhyte connected with the awekening of spring.
Following the traces of enogastronomic itineray we reach Torre Santa Susanna, in the north east part, crossing the dark ages (43 km by car or by bike) among Erchie, Torre Santa Susanna, Oria e Manduria). On the way, there are many farm companies and masserie which preserve the local products from generations.
Oria is another importan messapic centre with its nice historic centre rich in monuments and workshops. From here is possible to start the pilgrimage and indulgence itinerary. In the south there is Manduria, a messapic centre and the heart of the primitivo wine. This town offers many opportunities of tasting : olive oil (apulian gold) the primitivo wine, legumes, cereals, diary products and vegetables. The history of primitivo wine is deeply rooted in the antiquity. This vine was probably introduced by the Illyrians ,a balcan community who used to grow it. After then it was grown and commercialized by the Phoenicians in the whole mediterranean area.
Pliny the Elder defined Manduria ‘città viticulosa’, that is to say full of vineyards. A visit to the Museum of Primitivo Wine Culture is worth seeing because it represents a journey through the tradition and the history of this thousand year old vine.
Under nineteenth star vault we follow up to the hypogea tanks. These last are undergrounds where many farmer tools are placed. The staying is worth lenghtening in order to visit other interesting places, such as the Manduria city centre, tasting a good glass of primitivo wine.
The itinerary of contrada Bagnolo, gathers different elements of Primitivo areas. Here is possible to recognize different growing techniques of Primitivo vine. Is worth visiting the ‘masserie’, place where the tourist can learn the art of local cousine or walk trough the mediterranean maquis.
Whatever is the route crossing the Vino Primitivo places, the travel will be unique and rich in emtotions.
Total lenght: 92 km.
Mode of transport : car or bycicle
Best period : always with the exception of August because is too warm.
Lunghezza complessiva: 92 km.
Tipo di percorrenza: automobile o bicicletta.
Periodo consigliato: tutto l'anno, ad eccezione del mese di agosto, che è il mese più caldo.Versione Italiana