The Heart of Sicily. NoMafia Bike Tour
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.
- 6 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
- Dive into the azure waters of the Mediterranean
- 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”
Arrival - ''Palermo No Mafia'' walking tour
A representative of Addiopizzo will guide you on a walking tour through the alleyways of the historic centre of Palermo. A journey through the city, along a path that will let you discover a city that is rebelling against the pizzo (protection money). A few examples of the landmarks you will see on the tour are: the ‘Piazza della Memoria’, the old market ‘Il Capo’, the Cathedral. These places will become tangible points through which you can deepen your understanding of the Mafia.
From Cinisi to Lake Poma
Distance: 47.3 km
Elevation: +790 m / -420 m
After breakfast, you will meet a representative of Addiopizzo, who will provide all the equipment: bikes, helmets, bags, locks, flat tire kit, multi-tools, road-book and maps. Then he will take you to the close Central Station, where you will leave by train.
The bike tour starts in Cinisi. This is the town of Peppino Impastato, the activist killed by the Mafia in 1978, whose story was made famous by the film ‘I Cento Passi’ (The hundred steps).
You will start cycling in Cinisi. In Terrasini, ride along Cala Rossa, a cove made up of spectacular red rocks shot through with white veins and washed continually by a crystalline sea.
You can visit the little natural reserve of Capo Rama, a rock platform precipitous on the sea, rugged and savage, covered by a thick vegetation of cactus, agaves, and other plants that resist to sun and salt.
After leaving the coastline, the landscape will change dramatically, as you penetrate into the countryside. Try your hand at a thrilling climb by the shores of Lake Poma that will lead you to the farm “Mariscò”. A welcome cocktail will be waiting for you, as well as dinner made with the farm’s organic produce, all in the pleasant company of Mario Bargione, the owner, and his wife Concetta.
From Lake Poma to Ficuzza
Distance: 53 km
Elevation: +927 m / -678 m
The leitmotif of the day is wine, but there are other typical products that won’t fail to delight you: for example, the cannolo, king of the island’s patisseries.
After breakfast you will cycle through countryside surrounded by vineyards and peppered with wine cellars, passing by abandoned manor farms, and then follow a disused railway track that has been converted into a bike trail.
Next you’ll travel to Piana degli Albanesi, a town founded by a group of exiled Greek-Albanians in the fifteenth century that, for five hundred years, has carefully guarded the traditions, language, religion and customs of its heritage. You can try the cannoli, for which Piana degli Albanesi is famous, and rightly so.
You will travel up to the pass of Sant'Agata. From there a long descent begins through vineyards and forests in order to reach the Antica Stazione di Ficuzza, which, as the name implies, is an old railway station which has been converted. It has lost none of the charm of a railway station: the general structure, as well as the details, takes you back to a time when puffing steam engines would cross Sicily, hauling along their goods and passengers.
Ficuzza is a tiny hamlet dominated by a majestic Bourbon palace, overshadowed by the overhanging walls of Rocca Busambra and almost enveloped by the forest. You can visit the Centre for the Recovery of Wildlife, where injured birds of prey are cared for and nursed back to health before being released back into the wild.
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. Its name still, inevitably, evokes the infamy of the mafia: an infamy which has its roots in history as well as fiction. You will discover Corleone to be different from what you expect. It’s a town that has moved beyond all clichés. A picturesque place, one with a glorious past that takes pride in its well-established anti-mafia movement. You will enjoy the beauty of its environment, something often missed by tourists: a breathtaking landscape from the Saracen Tower, scenic limestone canyons and the Waterfall of Two Rocks.
Back to Ficuzza and dinner.
From Ficuzza to Palermo
Distance: 40.6 km
Elevation: +480 m / -1079 m
From the heart of the island’s interior you will turn back to the coast. In doing so you will cross one of the most wooded areas of Sicily: the forest of Ficuzza. Its preservation is thanks to Ferdinand I of Bourbon, king of Sicily at the beginning of the 18th century, whose passion for hunting led him to make the forests his own personal game reserve.
You will pass through the village of Cefalà Diana, imposingly overshadowed by the ruins of a Norman castle, and then descend into the Milicia River valley. Here you will have the opportunity to visit the Bagni di Cefalà, a complex of thermal baths in a state of perfect preservation which date back to Sicily’s Arabic era.
And this is the final challenge: climb to the pass of Gibilrossa, the door of Palermo. A very panoramic descend will take you back to the place where you started, to overnight again ath the B&B by the train station.
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.
CinisiThe city in which Peppino Impastato, young activist who rebelled against the mafia inside and outside his home, lived, and where he was killed because of his rebellion in 1978.
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.
Capo RamaThe oriented natural Reserve of Capo Rama is a rock platform precipitous on the sea, rugged and savage, covered by a thick vegetation of cactus, agaves, and other plants that resist to sun and salt.
TerrasiniPicturesque fishermen village; its beveled shore offers a continuous series of striking panoramas on bays, beaches and towers.
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.
Lago PomaAn artificial basin that has been created in the 1960s because of the will of the people, thanks to the non-violent battles of Danilo Dolci, the “Gandhi of Sicily”.
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.
Giovanni ImpastatoYounger brother of Peppino Impastato, the activist killed by the mafia in 1978, is among the founders of the “Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato”. His heart-felt and sincere voice tells the conflict of whom experienced both the mafia and the anti-mafia inside his own home, together with the story of the following battle fought in the name of the truth.