Corleone Bike Tour
Cycling in the heart of Sicily
From Palermo to Corleone, places where the Mafia was born and subsequently thrived, the winds of change are blowing. An entire generation of people have said no to the Mafia and are building a new Sicily. We invite you to explore it for yourself, our tour is the ideal way to appreciate and take in the surrounding beauty as you progress gradually through the countryside on your bike. You will feel the satisfaction of achieving your goal day after day, stage after stage.
- 5 days
- minimum 2
- on demand
- Discover another side to Sicily – one united with Addiopizzo against the Mafia
- Immerse yourself into the historic centre of Palermo, full of charm and mystery
- Enjoy a gelato on the awesome beach of Mondello
- Lose yourself in the immense vistas of the Sicilian countryside
- Let loose on the cycle paths that follow the tracks of ancient rail roads
- Try the most authentic Sicilian desserts like Cannoli
- Explore the allies of Corleone and see its spectacular canyons
- Meet hospitable and genuine people, both young and old
- Ride through the Ficuzza Forests, one of the most luscious and verdant areas of Sicily
Cycle along coastlines, country roads void of traffic, trails which give way to stunning panoramas and cycle lanes engulfed in greenery, often following the tracks of abandoned railroads.
You will be amazed by the landscapes which wind themselves round the sea, wheat fields, vineyards, forests, lakes, rocky uplands, canyons, waterfalls and picturesque villages.
You will try some of the most authentic flavours of rural Sicily: traditional dishes prepared using organic products, local wine sampled at the vineyards themselves, regional products typical of the region like cheeses and extra-virgin olive oil and indulgent desserts like cassate and cannoli which are as delicious as they are beautiful.
You will ecounter the famous hospitality of Sicilians: genuine and welcoming people, polarised between older generations, often having returned to their hometowns after long periods abroad, and younger people who are continually creating innovative ways of living and working.
Come to the heart of Sicily, and you will return with Sicily in your heart.
After the tour the travellers say:
- “What a wonderful trip – we are still talking about it and sharing it with family. Sure have changed my mind about the mafia”
From Palermo to Mondello and back - guided tour
Distance: 30 km
Elevation: + 270 m / - 270 m
Check-in at B&B in the historic center of Palermo.
In the afternoon you will meet a trip leader. In their company, you will do a warm-up ride from the city centre to the suburbs. You will ride the lush 'Favorita' park, the largest green area of Palermo that lyes just at the foothills of Mount Pellegrino, to reach Mondello. You will take a rest to enjoy the beautiful gulf with its white sand beach and to taste a delicious gelato, before riding back.
During your guided tour, you will have some additional stops to discover how Palermo is rebelling against the Mafia.
From Monreale to Ficuzza
Distance: 40 km
Elevation: +835 m / -464 m
Breakfast and checkout.
Transfer by minivan to Monreale. Free time to visit on own the Cathedral, with its extraordinary mosaics.
From Monreale you start to pedal on a path that winds gradually uphill along an abandoned railway track that once connected Palermo to the internal countryside villages. You will ride sourrounded by olive trees, citrus groves and vineyards, and through a wooded area.
You will arrive in Piana degli Albanesi, a mountain town with a very particular history. It was founded by a group of Greek-Albanian exiles in the 15th century. They has jealously preserved their traditions, language and religion. Every Sunday, the shores of the lake of Piana attract hikers and families for some relax. The gastronomic specialities of Piana degli Albanesi are the delicious cannoli and homemade bread made with wood ovens. Lunch is not included, but you will certainly not miss to taste both.
After the stop in Piana, a demanding and panoramic series of switchbacks with a view of the lake awaits you. Once at the top, you will start a long descent through the vineyards until you reach the Antica Stazione di Ficuzza, which, as the name suggests, is an accommodation facility created from an old railway station, immersed in an oak forest. It has preserved its charm: the general layout, as well as the details, will make yoiu dream about the years in which puffing steam trains crossed Sicily with their loads of goods and passengers.
At dinner, at the Antica Stazione, you will taste the best of Sicilian cuisine: genuine, authentic flavours, linked to tradition.
From Ficuzza to Corleone and back
Distance: 41.5 km
Elevation: +711 m / -711 m
The morning begins with an exciting ride through countryside surrounded by breathtaking agricultural scenery, up to Corleone.
Its name still, inevitably, evokes the infamy of the Mafia: an infamy which has its roots in real history as well as fiction. But you will discover Corleone to be different from what you expect, thanks to the visit of the local anti-mafia museum. It’s a town that has moved beyond the Godfather and all the orther clichés. A picturesque place, one with a glorious past that takes pride in its well-established anti-mafia movement. You will also enjoy the beauty of its breathtaking landscapes.
After lunch, you will immerse ourselves again in the Corleonese countryside, with its surprising rock formations and dotted with vineyards, among ancient troughs and abandoned farmhouses.
Back in FIcuzza, you can use your free time to take a walk in the wood tghat sourround your hotel. Or to explore Ficuzza, a tiny village that surprisingly host a majestic royal palace, the Bourbon "Real Casina di Caccia". The beautiful facade, framed by the cliffs of Rocca Busambra, lights up in the light of sunset.
Dinner and overnight.
From Ficuzza to Palermo
Distance: 50 km
Elevation: +592 m / -1222 m
Breakfast and checkout.
Mostly downhill, the ride begins immediately in the Wood of Ficuzza, one of the last remnants of the original forest that once covered Sicily. Surrounded by oaks, you will pedal on a sinuous unpaved path, another ancient narrow-gauge railway track.
You will cross the village of Cefalà Diana with the picturesque ruins of the Norman castle, on top of a cliff, and then descend into the valley of the Milicia river. With a stop at the 'Bagni di Cefalà' you will discover a thermal complex from the Norman age, or Arab age, according to some researches.
After Misilmeri, you will begin to gain elevation again in the direction of Gibilrossa, the place where the Italian national hero Garibaldi stopped before conquering Palermo:you will enjoy an exciting series of downhill hairpin bends, with a breathtaking view of the city and its sea. You will cycle among the citrus groves of Ciaculli, the green belt of Palermo where the lemon and mandarine groves still resisted the expansion of the city and the overbuilding of the suburbs.
The last night will be again in a B&B, in the historical centre.
Palermo - Departure
Breakfast. End of services.
This tour goes to:
PalermoIt is impossible to describe the Sicilian capital without noting its contrasts: elegance and decadence, light and shadow, rich and poor, metropolitan and provincial, joy and sorrow, perfumes and stenches, Mafia and Anti-Mafia. A city which captivates, stupefies, and sometimes shocks visitors; it certainly isn’t an experience one forgets.
CorleoneThousands of people in the world have heard about Corleone: mainly because of the mafia, and also because of Hollywood. But only a few of them have seen it with their own eyes. And who did has been fascinated by it.
MonrealeSet on the hills that dominate the Conca D’oro, the valley that surrounds Palermo, famous for its Arabic-Norman Cathedral, Monreale is at the center of an agricultural territory that today takes back and makes productive the lands that used to belong to the mafia bosses.
MondelloAn enchanting beach, a crystal clear sea, the liberty-style houses built during the first years of the 1900, and a picturesque small port that reminds of the origins of Mondello as sea village.
FicuzzaFully immerged in in the woods appears the town of Ficuzza, with a few dozens of inhabitants and a few, small houses wrapped around the majestic “Real Casina di Caccia”, a realm that used to belong to the Borbone.
Piana degli AlbanesiA Greek-Albanian enclave, this place has maintained its traditions intact. Every Sunday, the shores of its lake attract hikers and families willing to relax, as well as its famous cannoli attracts the gourmands.
During this tour you could meet:
Marilena BagarellaShe was born in Corleone and she still lives there. Manager of the "Laboratory of Legality", she mainly works on education and non-profit networks.
Libera activistsThe activists of the association created by Don Ciotti promote the social re-utilization of the goods seized from the mafia. Some of them manage first-hand agricultural companies and agritourisms built on lands that used to belong to the most powerful exponents of the mafia.