In April 2022 the group I was with took a hike on the Ciolo and Cipolliane trails in the Puglia area of Italy. It was a perfect day for hiking and an area I will always remember fondly.
Train Ride Through the Country
First things first though, we left our hotel in Otranto and walked through the town to the train station. We were taking the train to the town of Gagliano del Capo where we would begin our adventure.
The train was an older vintage type train and it was so fun to ride! I loved looking out the windows as we passed through the countryside and small stations along the way. All too soon the ride was over.
Gagliano del Capo
The train arrived in the town of Gaglaino del Capo where we walked to the Ciolo Trail. While walking through the town we stopped at the market and grabbed some food for lunch. The strawberries were amazing! I loved the market it was fun to see all the food displayed like this. The town was really cool to and was fun to walk through. Another place I would love to come back to someday to explore.
The Ciolo Trail
The Ciolo Trail starts outside of the town of Gagliano del Capo. Since 2006 this has been a regional park and part of the Otranto-Leuca Coastal Natural Park. The path is about a mile long and the hike is through a gorge to the sea. The hike has many steps and also the path is rocky at times. I would rate the trail moderate due to descending steps and the path itself. If you have knee or ankle problems it would not be a good choice. At the end of the trail is a coastal inlet. This is a very beautiful trail. There is so much to see and as you walk further down the trail, you can view the Adriatic Sea.
Lunch by the Ciolo Bridge
As you hike closer to the inlet of the Adriatic Sea you can’t miss the large bridge. This is the Ciolo Bridge which was built in the 1960’s connecting one side of the gorge to the other. There are many steps down to the tiny beach along the inlet. We stopped here for lunch and ate at the items we had bought from the town market. It was a very peaceful place and absolutely beautiful.
After we enjoyed a bite and a brief rest, we climbed the stairs along the bridge, then crossed the Ciolo Bridge to continue on to our hike through Puglia on the Cipolliane Path.
The Cipolliane Path
Our next path was along and above the coast. The trail was narrow at times but there was not a lot of ascending and descending. This trail is dirt packed with rocks and again I would call this a moderate trail. The trail is named after the Cipolliane Caves. There are four larger caves and also some smaller ones.
Olive Oil Tasting
After our hike of the Ciolo and Cipollaine Paths was over, it was time to go to an Olive Oil tasting at a Puglia Olive Oil Factory! From the coast, we walked on backroads and I am not joking when I say it was uphill all the way. To be honest, this was the hardest part of the day as it was hot and also the grade uphill was steep. It kind of reminded me of a hike up the Grand Canyon, complete with a curvy almost switchback road, only on asphalt and not as long.
Although I was very tired, I enjoyed the olive oil tasting and brought a couple of bottles home along with some olives. The owners were very nice and gave us a tour of their facility, Piana del Lentisco The olive oil was good and the tasting was informative.
Santa Maria di Leuca
From the Olive Oil mill we were driven to our hotel in Santa Maria di Leuca. After checking in, we again set off walking to where we had dinner. I wish I could remember where we ate because it was delicious. The food was fresh and the service fantastic. We again had typical Lecce dishes and I enjoyed the evening. After dinner, and walking back to the hotel, I was more than ready to go to bed and looked forward to the next day.
The Ciolo and Cipolliane hike in Puglia, Italy is so beautiful and I would definitely return if I get the chance. Our Italian guide did a great job leading us and I would highly recommend her company. In addition to walking tours, they also host biking tours. Check out their website here, Salentobicitour.
Data per my Fitbit
Total Steps: 26,652
Total Miles: 10.38
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