Molise riding holiday in Italy - Far and Ride
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Molise, Italy





Reviews



The generous hospitality and easy temperament of the horses induced a holiday mood. Cantering through carpets of pale yellow and purple violets with the scent of wild oregano in the air created the perfect riding atmosphere.

Helen C., Read review
Brilliant. It was all we had hoped for and more. Most relaxing and great fun. Astrid & Carmine were the perfect hosts - we were treated like friends - food was excellent and varied and the horses were stars. My riding has improved and the views and scenery were wonderful.

John B.
A very good holiday, Beautiful setting with well looked after and cared for horses and very kind hosts. The overnight stay at the lodge and sleeping under the stars with our camp fire was very special. Riding through the beautiful scenery was wonderful.

Wendy B.
Great experience with lovely hosts. Riding was a good challenge and we learnt a lot.

Simon O.
A fantastic experience, the scenery was amazing and the horses were so forward going and well behaved. I loved sleeping outside and looking up to the stars at night. Italian food, so great, and you couldn't ask for better guides.

Amanda M.
A great way to see this spectacular mountainous region of Italy. Long days in comfortable western saddles. Plenty of sunshine and fantastic food, great company and Italian hospitality. This was my first horse riding holiday and it was everything I could have hoped for. I only wish I had thought of doing this years ago - no more lying on a beach for me from now on! I felt instantly at ease on Siska who was sure-footed and great fun to ride. The hosts went to a lot of effort to ensure riders and horses were well matched. Like most of the guests, I wished I could my horse home with me!

Katy H
It was everything we had hoped for - it was great fun, relaxing with varied rides in fantastic scenery. Real Italy was brought to us on horseback. It was exciting, friendly, relaxing, tranquil, well organised and confidence-building. Beautiful scenery, lovely horses (a good mix), fantastic food and great kindness from Astrid and Carmine.

Gaynor M.
The Valley of the Bear Trail led us to a height of 3600ft into the mountains, through the Magic Forest, across flat, green valleys and even to meet some of the horses and cattle which roam wild across the lands. Astrid and Carmine bring a special something to this destination which is hard to beat. Excellent scenery, horses, food and hosts, the perfect relaxed adventure!

Holly A., Far and Ride., Read review
I had a wonderful relaxing time and Astrid and Carmine took great care of me. The horses, accommodation and food were all absolutely superb and the scenery and the variation in the trails were simply stunning. It provided the much needed escape I had been craving and was a lot of fun. I rode Elida and she was perfect, fun to ride but also very surefooted and confident.

Pippa
Intensely busy in a good way and a hugely refreshing chance to be at one with nature and to get to know a horse incredibly well. And of course wonderful hosts and food!

Helen S.
One of the best experiences of my life. A wonderful group of people, fantastic hosts and perfect horses - plus the food was great!

Sarah P.
Excellent adventure - brilliant hosts, location, horses. It was like a dream come true to be living on the trail for the week, with a great group of co-riders. Carmine, Astrid and Elio did their best to care for us. The food was simply delicious, especially Carmine's home-cooking.

Patricia N.
A beautiful adventure. Close to nature with happy, willing horses and a lovely group to share the experience.

Dawn D.
Absolutely fantastic! I loved the long days in the saddle and the scenery. Great camaraderie too. So much laughter!

Louise A.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Quarter horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Haflinger.

Nature of horses:

Kind temperament, well schooled, responsive.

Height of horses:

14 - 15.2hh

Weight limit:

90kg with a BMI less than 28.5. This destination will not take more than 3 riders at a time with BMIs over 27. To calculate your BMI, take your weight in kilos and divide it by your height (in metres) squared.

Tack type:

Western

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

A holiday at this fabulous location is ideal for those looking to get away from it all. You will be riding in a very unspoilt area of Italy, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, experiencing the companionship of other guests, your welcoming guide and the friendly and sure-footed horses. There are four trails to enjoy with varying levels of difficulty, including riding in valleys, fields, hills and mountains on lovely responsive horses, some of whom are homebred. This is a relaxed riding destination and although the terrain does not allow for galloping, able riders can enjoy lovely long canters and can test their ability on steep slopes and rocky trails.

If you are taking one of the trails then you will need to be reasonably fit, as the hours in the saddle are long, but you will be riding western style so you will be comfortable. You need to be able to mount and dismount unaided and to help groom and saddle your horse (you are shown how). Carmine is a very experienced guide whose knowledge of the area is second to none - he will show you wildlife and scenery beyond your imagination. He is a member of the FISE (Federation of Italian Equestrian Sports) and vice-president for the region of Molise. This destination sometimes provides opportunities to see wolves and bears, an unforgettable experience.

Accommodation on the trails varies from basic mountain lodges to hotels. You can be assured that at all these destinations you will be comfortable and very well fed (sometimes you can experience Carmine's delicious cooking - he used to be a chef!). The peace and tranquility of this lovely destination needs to be experienced.

Both Sue and Holly have visited this destination (Sue has stayed at the farmhouse a few times and both have escorted a trail there). Either of them are more than happy to answer your questions and to share their enthusiasm for this wonderful place.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You will stay in a farmhouse renovated sympathetically by Carmine in 2003 which now provides very comfortable accommodation for all guests. The farmhouse, dating from 1885, is almost 3000 feet above sea level and is situated on the edge of a wood and overlooking a beautiful valley. The house is not large but very comfortable. The living room has a large fire place and is a wonderful place to sit and discuss the day.

There are three guest rooms both furnished simply and authentically. Two rooms are for two guests and the other comfortably accommodates six which is, of course, great fun for a group of friends. There are two bathrooms with all modern conveniences (bathrooms are in a building just across the path). There is a large kitchen in which Carmine cooks the most amazing meals which may be eaten around the large table or out on the terrace.

If you prefer more privacy we can arrange accommodation at an agriturismo just five minutes down the road for a supplement of 50 Euros per double room per night. This is to be paid in cash when you are there.

During the trails you stay in small hotels, simple guesthouses or in the mountain lodge. The latter is very basic (no electricity!) but peaceful and a lovely stop off point during trails.

They provide clean sleeping bags and towels for the nights at the mountain lodge and small saddle bags with a water bottle.

Please note there is no wifi at the farmhouse or most of the hotels.It is not possible to use the computer at the farmhouse.

Breakfast is continental and can be eaten on the terrace or in the kitchen. The food here is wonderful with great care being taken to provide local specialities cooked with fresh ingredients. Vegetarians and those with special diets can be catered for with prior notice. Carmine used to own a restaurant and this is apparent from the wonderful recipes he shares with his guests.

Expect a lot of delicious pasta, salads, cheese and bread. You will also taste the juiciest, sweetest tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, tasty salami and other delights like tiramisu and fresh peaches. Lunchtime often consists of salami, cheese and bread for a picnic style lunch, accompanied with a glass of crisp white wine. The food tends to be simple but very tasty, with meals comprising of just few fresh ingredients.

A welcome drink is included, as are wines and beers with lunches and dinners. All other drinks must be paid for, unless the hosts arrange a 'fuondo casa' which is like a kitty. A share of this is usually about €30 for the trail weeks and covers extra drinks, ice creams etc.

You will never go hungry here! Our own testers called the food 'imaginative and delectable' and 'original and sumptuous'!

 

Activities

Walking in the surrounding National Parks where there is much wildlife to see.

 

Further Details

Languages: Carmine is Italian and can also speak English (though he is deaf in one ear).

Health requirements: Riders should be in good shape.

Age limit: 16 years for trails and 12 years if accompanied by an adult.

Tuition: No

Included: Full board accommodation including wine and beer (lunch and dinner only), all riding as per itinerary and transfers from and to Isernia Station at 19.45 on arrival day and 08.30 on departure.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance and extra drinks (these can be paid for via the kitty which your hosts will arrange - guests contribute €25 for the trail weeks and €10 for the stationary programme).

 

Travel Information

Guests are recommended to fly into Rome, although Naples can also work. They then take a train to Isernia from where a transfer is included.

Guests should not arrive at the farmhouse before 20.00 please. One transfer is included when guests arrive at 19.46 at Isernia train station and when they depart the farmhouse at approximately 09.00. Individual transfers are not possible but large groups may wish to travel by taxi from and to the airport. A minibus can be arranged - please contact us for prices.

Upon arrival into Rome Ciampino or Fiumicino you will travel by bus or train to Roma Termini (Rome's main station). From there you will take the Metro Blue Line in the direction Rebibbia, getting off at the first stop 'Tiburtina'. The journey is around 5 minutes. From Roma Tiburtina you will take the train departing at 17:30, arriving in Isernia at 19:46 (look on the display for destination 'Campobasso' as that is the final destination of this route). On arrival to Isernia at 19:46 there will be a taxi waiting for you to take you to the farmhouse. In case of delay there is another train from Roma Termini at 18:07 which arrives in Isernia at 20:55. In that case you will be charged for a taxi, approximately €25 for 1 - 4 people.

The journey from Rome to the farmhouse takes at least 4 hours, therefore the latest arrival time into Rome should be 14:00 (Naples - 15:00). Return flights should not be booked before 15:00 from Rome (14.30 from Naples) as you will not make it in time. Please leave plenty of time for this journey to be on the safe side, you can always look around Rome if you are there early and waiting for the train. The Coliseum is just a short walk from the train station.

Airport: Rome

Alternative Airport: Naples

 

Programmes


Valley of the Bear Trail



This is a wonderful trail through hills, meadows and woods in unspoilt rural Italian countryside. An opportunity to ride western style on reliable and friendly horses, all with their own character. Your trail takes you over narrow paths with magnificent scenery and you will ride through the so called 'Magic Forest', staying in mountain lodges, rural hotels and the comfortable farmhouse.

Saturday:

You are expected to arrive after 5pm on Saturday evening. In case you travel by train you can get a transfer from Isernia railway station (there will only be one transfer per day). It takes about twenty minutes by car to reach the farmhouse.

You will soon recover from your journey when you get back to the farmhouse. With the wonderful view and a drink in your hand, you will soon get to know your hosts and other guests. You can be assured of a fantastic three course dinner accompanied by tasty local wines.

Sunday:

The morning is yours if you wish to sleep late and take your time over breakfast. During this time you will unwind and take a look around or perhaps just sit in the sunshine admiring the view.

After breakfast there is a brief demonstration in western riding. After this you will do a test-ride (around three hours long) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trail. You will have another delicious dinner at the farmhouse where you will spend the night.

Monday:

At about 10am you leave the house and ride through Alto Molise with its hills, meadows and woods. You will stop for a delicious picnic in the shade of mighty oaks near the ruins of a Samnitic temple. The Samnites were the original population. It took the Romans three centuries of warfare before they finally conquered this region which then became part of the Roman Empire (79 BC).

After this welcome break you will continue riding through the endless hills and unspoilt countryside. At the end of the day you arrive at an agriturismo where dinner awaits, another regional speciality. You will spend the night here.

Tuesday:

After breakfast you continue the trail, following the old Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera. The Tratturo is a centuries-old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. After the Tratturo you reach Pescolanciano with its old castle. Here you stop for lunch. After this break you ride towards the Colle dell’Orso.

The trail gets steeper, climbing 1,800 feet to a height of 3,600 feet. The route leads you over narrow paths, through beech-woods with carpets of leaves. In the evening you reach a simple mountain lodge where you dine and spend the night. First of all the horses need to be taken care of after their long day. You sleep in dormitories.

Wednesday:

Today is dedicated to the magnificent scenery of the plateau of Colle dell’Orso and the cowboys. During this ride you will enjoy the most splendid views of the Abruzzi and Matese Mountain ranges, with peaks of appr. 6,500 feet. The most impressive scene of all is, however, the herds of cattle and wild horses in the plains. After this you return to “cowboy-land”, over the hills and through the valleys you ride as far as the so-called Magic Forest.Today you enjoy a picnic.

This piece of woodland is completely sheltered by rocks and there are but two possible ways of access, which makes the visit quite adventurous. Leaving the Magic Forest you go back to our mountain lodge, which is equipped with a shower. In the evening there will be a camp-fire or the fire will be lit in the fire-place.

Thursday:

In the morning you will once again enjoy the beauty of the Colle dell’Orso, called Magic Mountain by some. Your picnic lunch will be in the garden of a little church. In the afternoon the route descends, leading you back to civilisation. In the evening you leave the horses in a small riding stables before dining and spending the night at a cosy hotel. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Tonight, pizza is on the menu. 

Friday:

Today you are able to take it easy. First you ride through Civitanova. Then you pass a valley where the river Trigno has been dammed. You follow the Trigno to Pescolanciano, climbing the hills that border on the forest Collemeluccio. This is one of the forests protected by UNESCO. The project is called Man and Biosphere (MAB). Worldwide UNESCO protects 254 forests. Four of them are located in Italy; two of which are in Molise.

The last few miles on horseback take you over open heathland and dense oakwood. At 5pm you will arrive at Carmine and Astrid’s farmhouse. Tonight you can enjoy more excellent wines and another delicious meal which will be your farewell dinner.

Saturday:

Departure after breakfast.

N.B. Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the programme may have to be be adapted.

This trail requires that you are in reasonable shape and is also suited for less experienced riders. In this rural and unspoilt part of Italy, far from the madding crowd, “festina lente” (hurry slowly) is part of the life-style, as are late dining hours. There may not always be a strict time-table, but your hosts do hope you will enjoy the “dolce vita”, the delicious Italian cooking and excellent wines, unspoilt nature and absence of stress!



Accommodation: Your accommodation is varied on this ride as you would expect on a trail of this kind through unspoilt countryside. You will stay at the comfortable farmhouse at the beginning and end of the trail.

On the trail you sleep in a mountain lodge in dormitories (equipped with shower) for a couple of nights. The bolder of you may wish to sleep outside with your horse! Two nights will be spent at an agriturismo when you get down from the mountain.

Although the Italian law does not require that riders wear helmets, we would appreciate it very much if you bring and wear your own riding hat.
Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Must be reasonably fit and able to walk next to your horse over steep terrain. You must be able to walk, trot and canter and to mount and dismount unaided (this is easier to do in a western saddle than in an English saddle and should be relatively easy provided you are fit).
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 and a half days riding, approximately 6 hours in the saddle each day on the trail
Departure dates: 2017: 29 April - 6 May, 13-20 May, 8-15 July, 19-26 August
 
Pricing: 2017: £925 per person sharing

Price includes seven nights bed and breakfast, full board including wine and beer with lunch and dinner from dinner on the first day up to and including breakfast on the day of your departure. The price also includes transport of your luggage and five and a half days riding (5 -7 hours per day).

There is a supplement of £44 per night to book a double room at the agriturismo (instead of the farmhouse) which is 5 minutes drive away. This is to be paid in cash when you are there.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.



Abruzzo Trail



This is an adventurous trail for the riding fit. It is quite a strenuous trail but the rewards are magnificent. You ride through mountains, forests and meadows in diverse and totally unspoilt countryside. At 3300 feet above sea level you will enjoy the clean air and relax western style on responsive quarter horses. There is much wildlife to see including wolves and even bears.

Saturday:

You are expected to arrive after 5pm on Saturday evening. In case you travel by train you can get a transfer from Isernia railway station at 19.45. It takes about twenty minutes by car to reach the comfortable farmhouse where Carmine and Astrid live. After settling in you can enjoy an aperitif and get to know your hosts and the other guests. You will be assured of a delicious three course dinner - probably a regional speciality together with a good local wine.

Sunday:

This morning you may wish to lie in or perhaps you will be up early to look at the sun rising over the valley. Time to relax over breakfast and have a few minutes to yourself - a walk perhaps or maybe just sitting in the sun on the terrace. Before lunch there will be a brief demonstration in western riding. After lunch you will begin your ride to the park. 

Monday:

At about 10am you get in the saddle and follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2000 year old track that used to move cattle from the far south, where grass is scarce in summer. A picnic is taken in Montedimezzo. The hunting lodge which belonged to the royal family of Bourbon now contains a museum and the forest here is protected by UNESCO (worldwide this organisation only protects 256 forests, four of which are in Italy, two in Molise itself). You continue along the Tratturo as far as the river Sangro where you leave the Tratturo to follow small paths. Sunbathing lizards take to their heels. The air smells like an Italian kitchen, with rosemary and thyme growing everywhere. Next you climb uphill through a forest, after which you reach Roccaraso. Here you will enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night. Roccaraso is at an altitude of 3,600 feet above sea level and is a well known skiing resort.

Tuesday:

After breakfast you leave Roccaraso behind and head for the Piano delle Cinque Miglia (the valley of five Miles). Here you can enjoy a long canter! At the end of the valley the first tall mountains loom up at either side, a gravel road takes you to the Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) where benches and old oaks tempt you to stop. The narrow, stony road, going up and up, leads to a water trough where the horses can drink. You can enjoy the view over the valley and perhaps take some pictures. The trail continues climbing until, all of a sudden, there is an open space in the forest that offers a beautiful panorama.

After this you lead the horses on foot until you reach "Agriturismo Jovana" (mountain lodge) where lunch is served - the owner has won various awards for his “ricotta” (cheese). After lunch you follow the gravel road which takes you upwards to Scanno and just outside the village the horses are left in a riding centre “Il Ranch”. Enrico will take you in a minibus to his hotel. Dinner is at a restaurant in the historical centre of Scanno and after dinner you can stroll around this lovely old village.

Wednesday:

Today is going to be challenging! You leave the civilised world behind you and ride through the unspoilt nature of the mountains of the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo where no cars are allowed. With a bit of luck you should come across wild horses or some deer.

The wolves and bears keep away from the clatter of hoofs. After a long climb you halt at 6,300 feet a.s.l. and enjoy the panoramic view. The mountain peaks are covered by snow until late spring. Then you will lead the horses down on foot as it is too steep here to stay mounted. Having reached the right path you can mount again and ride through extensive forests.

In a meadow you will have a picnic and if the weather is fine you might like a nap. After this the route continues through the forests until you reach Pescasseroli. After the long ride you will need a good dinner and that is exactly what you'll have at Eleanora.

Thursday:

Today there are many miles to cover so you will be in the saddle for about 8 hours. After breakfast you soon leave civilisation and return to the unspoilt countryside. The route gets steeper and if the sun is shining everyone will be hot. Having arrived in a valley there is a long canter to enjoy. Around noon you will arrive at Val Fondillo.

There are almost four miles to be covered on foot as unfortunately this is an asphalt road. It leads to one of the most protected areas of the National Park, Camosciara, where you stop for a well deserved picnic. After many miles you see the lake of Barrea on your left. You will continue, riding this time, through a different type of forest until, most likely exhausted, you reach Sandra's riding centre. The horses are left there. Dinner is in Alfedena and you spend the night at the comfortable "Hotel Katja". You will certainly sleep well on this occasion!

Friday:

The last stage of your trail leads through Alfedena and the mountains of the Parco Nazionale are now behind you. Just outside Alfedena there is a plain where you can go for a long canter. A little later you pass Ponte della Zittola, which is the border between Abruzzi and Molise, then you follow part of the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Foggia in the foothills of Alto Molise. Having passed the hamlet of Montalto it is time for a picnic.

After lunch it takes between two and three hours to ride home. About 6pm you are back at the farmhouse to unsaddle the horses for the last time. You will most certainly enjoy the farewell dinner and a well deserved drink.

Saturday:

Departure after breakfast.

Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the programme may have to be adapted. However, the number of hours spent in the saddle and the destinations remain unaltered.

Although the Italian law does not require that riders wear helmets, we would appreciate it very much if you bring and wear your own riding hat.



Accommodation: Your accommodation is varied on this ride as you would expect on a trail of this kind through unspoilt countryside. You will stay at the comfortable farmhouse at the beginning and end of the trail. On the trail you sleep five nights in *** hotels.
Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You need to be very comfortable and experienced in the saddle for this trail. You also need to be fit because there are several occasions where you will need to walk beside your horse because of the terrain.
Type of ride: Trails
Total riding time: 7 - 9 hours per day
Departure dates: 2017: 24 June-1 July, 16-23 September
 
Pricing: 2017: £1129 per person sharing

Price includes seven nights bed and breakfast, full board accommodation including wine and beer with lunch and dinner from dinner on the first day up to and including breakfast on the day of your departure. The price also includes transport of your luggage, five and a half days riding (7-9) hours per day) and two English speaking guides.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.



Majella Trail



The trail takes you through this National Park which is protected by the WWF (the National Park is the eighth so-called Pan Park in Europe). You will ride through increasingly high mountains and large stretches of valley. Many long hours will be spent in the saddle but you will also have the opportunity to stay in some local hotels where you can rest and enjoy the delicious Italian food and wine. This rural and unspoilt part of Italy offers beauty and a relaxed way of life.

Saturday:

You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening. After a welcome drink you can settle in. In the evening you will wine and dine with your hosts who will cook delicious three course Italian dinners. No need to say that these are accompanied by local wines!

Sunday:

The morning is yours. You may sleep late, take your time over breakfast, do whatever you like. Before lunch there is a safety-briefing and a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch you set out for a test ride (three hours) to enable you to become acquainted with your horse. Dinner and overnight are at the farmhouse.

Monday:

Today you ride through large stretches of woods and fields before eventually stopping at a idyllic spot to enjoy your picnic lunch. After lunch the ride continues as you pass the remains of a Samnitic temple. The Samnites were the original population of Molise and it took the Romans three centuries of warfare before they finally conquered this region, which became part of the Roman Empire (79 B.C.). Later you arrive at the plateau of the hill where you can see the beauty of the Majella. At the end of the day you reach San Pietro Avellana, this is where you spend the night and enjoy your evening meal.

Tuesday:

Today’s destination is the small town of Pescocostanzo. The trail takes you through increasingly high mountains and at the end of the afternoon you ride through large stretches of valley. Having spent about seven hours on horseback you are bound to be longing for a drink and fortunately Pescocostanzo has a nice square with several bars and restaurants. Taking a walk in this picturesque medieval town is pleasant for everyone and a must for those who are interested in architecture. You will be staying at a ***hotel with dinner in a restaurant.

Wednesday:

The National Park Majella (75,000 acres) is one of the biggest in Italy. It is a so-called Pan Park, which means that it is protected by WWF. Today there will be a six hour long ride in the surrounding highlands and it's expected that you will be able to have nice canters here. The night will be spent at the same hotel. Dinner, however, is at a different restaurant.

Thursday:

This is going to be a demanding day spending about eight hours in the saddle. The first part of your trail takes you upwards towards a large valley whereas the next stretch is a long forest road, leading you down and down again. Part of that road must be covered on foot! In the early evening you finally reach your destination. Dinner is at a restaurant in Alfedena and you spend the night at the comfortable “Hotel Katja”.

Friday:

Just outside Alfedena there is a plain where you can go for a long canter. A little later you pass Ponte della Zittola, which is the border between Abruzzi and Molise. Then you follow part of the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Foggia in the foothills of Alto Molise. Having passed the hamlet Montalto, it is time for a picnic. After lunch it takes between two and three hours to ride home. By about 6 p.m. you are back at the farmhouse, ready to unsaddle your horse for the last time and enjoy a farewell dinner.

Saturday:

Departure after breakfast.



Accommodation: Three nights at the farmhouse and four nights at *** hotels.
Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate and fit
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 and a half days of riding (6-8 hours a day)
Departure dates: 2017: 10-17 June, 2-9 September, 14-21 October
 
Pricing: 2017: £1085 per person sharing

Price includes seven nights bed and breakfast (three at the farmhouse and four at a hotel), full board with wine and beer at lunch and dinner, two English speaking guides, luggage transfer and transfer to and from Isernia at 19:45 on arrival and departure at 08.30.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.



Monte Capraro ('Goat Mountain') Trail



An exciting  trail around "Goat Mountain" (1730m), through the valleys and beautiful forests. Here you can explore this stunning countryside from the back of a kind and easy-going horse, enjoy some delicious Italian food and make friends with your fellow riders. "Festina lente" (hurry slowly) is part of the lifestyle, as are late dining hours, and guests can enjoy the absence of stress in this wonderful part of the world.

Saturday:

You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your hosts. A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.

Sunday:

The morning is yours. You may sleep late, take your time over breakfast, do whatever you like. Before lunch there are a safety-briefing and a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch there is a test-ride (3 hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trekking. Dinner and overnight are at the farmhouse.

Monday:

After breakfast it is time to saddle up the horses (about 10am). Today’s destination is Capracotta, a little village of 965 inhabitants, which is one of the highest municipalities in Italy being situated at 5200ft. The name literally means "cooked goat".Before lunch you will ride through seemingly endless fields before it is time for a delicious picnic. After you have eaten and had a rest, you will enjoy a lengthy canter through a long valley. Capracotta can be seen looming ahead but it will take you about two hours to get there. Tonight you stay in a hotel and eat dinner at a restaurant.

Tuesday: 

Today you will enjoy a day ride to climb 'il Monte Campo', the highest point of which is 5235ft. From here you will have a gorgeous view of 'Alto Molise' and the Abruzzo. After this you follow cross-country skiing slopes, which lead through a wood of silver firs, towards your picnic stop at the Rio Verde (green river). A little later you arrive at Prato Gentile which literally means "kind meadow". In the afternoon you descend to Capracotta and ride through open landscapes with many meadows. The night will be spent at the same hotel but dinner will be at a different restaurant.

Wednesday:

Today you start with a few enjoyable canters along a gravel road which leads gradually upwards. The horses can enjoy time to catch their breath whilst the riders enjoy views over four different mountain ranges - the Colle dell'Orso, the Matese, the Mainarde and the national Parc of Abruzzo. After another tasty picnic the trail will take you towards the small village of San Pietro Avellana. Here you dine and spend the night at a little hotel which is just a few miles from the main village. Before you settle down for your evening drink you help to make a paddock with electric wire to keep the horses safely enclosed during the night. Most of the rooms offer views of the horses grazing peacefully. Tonight a simple but hearty meal will be served.

Thursday: 

After riding for around an hour you will pass Montedimezzo which used to belong to the royal family of the Bourbons. Nowadays the hunting lodge is a museum and the forest is protected by UNESCO. Worldwide this organisation protects 256 forests - four of them are located in Italy, two of which are in Molise. After this you ride to 'il re Faione' and this 'King of Beech Trees' is almost 500 years old.Maria awaits you with the lunch table set for a meal consisting of nice snacks. After this it will take around two hours for the group to ride to Littorio's agriturismo. Up until quite recently he used to keep horses of his own and so the paddocks next to his house are free for your horses to use overnight.

Friday: 

After breakfast you ride along the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera. A Tratturo is an old track, around 2000 years old, which is still used today to move cattle up from the far south where grass can be scarce during the summer. At around midday you will reach Pescolanciano where you will stop in a small restaurant for lunch.This afternoon you climb the hills which border the forest of Collemelucio, another UNESCO protected area. The project here is called Man and Biosphere (MAB). The last few miles on horseback take you over open heath land and through dense oak-woods. At about 5pm you will arrive back at Astrid and Carmine's farmhouse before unsaddling the horses for the last time and enjoying a farewell dinner.

Saturday:

Departure after breakfast.

N.B. Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the programme may have to be be adapted. The number of hours spent in the saddle, however, as well as the destinations remain unaltered.



Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Happy at walk, trot and canter in open countryside. Willing and able to help groom and tack-up.
Type of ride: Trail ride.
Total riding time: 5 and a half days (approx 5 - 6 hours per day).
Departure dates: 2017: 27 May-3 June
 
Pricing: 2017: £1014 per person sharing

Price includes 7 nights of full board accommodation (3 at the farmhouse, 4 at hotels and agriturismo), including beer and wine at lunch and dinner, 5 and a half days of riding (5 - 6 hours per day), English speaking guide, luggage transport and set time transfers from Isernia train station.

Price does not include flights, travel insurance, extra drinks.




Two Parks Ride



Trek through the National Parks of Abruzzo and Majella.

Saturday

You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your hosts/guides. A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.

Sunday

The morning is yours - you may sleep late, take your time over breakfast or do whatever you like. Before lunch there is a safety-briefing. Then the horses are groomed and saddled up, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch there is a test-ride (3 hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trek. Dinner at the farm-house.

Monday

At about 10 a.m. you mount up and follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2,000 year old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. A picnic lunch is taken in Montedimezzo which used to belong to the royal family of the Bourbons - the hunting lodge now contains a museum. This forest is protected by UNESCO, which worldwide protects 256 forests, four of which are located in Italy; two of which in Molise. Continue riding along the Tratturo as far as the river Sangro, where the Tratturo becomes very wild and overgrown meaning you start following narrow paths. The horses will be left at a riding centre, which has a restaurant - you will have dinner here and spend the night at a hotel nearby.

Tuesday

Today’s destination is the small town of Pescocostanzo. The trail takes you through increasingly high mountains and at the top of the pass you can enjoy two very different panoramas - behind you is the hilly landscape of Molise and ahead of you is Majella national park with its high mountains and vast valleys. At the end of the afternoon you canter through one of these large stretches of valley.

Having spent about 7 hours on horseback you are bound to be longing for a drink - Pescocostanzo has a nice square with several bars and restaurants. Taking a walk in this picturesque medieval town is pleasant for everyone and a must for those who are interested in architecture. You stay at a hotel in the historic town centre and dine in a restaurant close by.

Wednesday

Today you leave the Majella national park and enter the Abruzzo national park. The first part of the trail leads to the Piano delle cinque Miglia (the valley of the five Miles) - here you can enjoy a long canter! At the end of the valley, tall mountains loom up on either side and a gravel road takes you to the Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) where benches and old oaks tempt you to stop. You then turn left and the landscape changes, looking a little like the moon with a small lake. At the end of the day you descend the mountain on an old skiing track. The horses will be left at a stables whilst the riders dine and spend the night at Hotel Holidays in Roccaraso.

Thursday

In the morning, your guide Carmine, will follow the same trail towards Piano delle cinque Miglia, but will then turn onto another trail which takes you up to the Piano dell’Arremogna (called little Tibet). There are great opportunities to canter in this huge valley. After a picnic lunch in the valley you turn back towards Roccaraso for a while and then ride down the mountain along a trail which leads to the village of Castel di Sangro. The horses will again stay at a riding centre whilst the riders have dinner in a pizzeria and spend the night in a hotel.

Friday

After breakfast you will cross the Valle del Sangro (the valley of Sangro). It is followed by Ponte della Zittola, which is the border between Abruzzo and Molise. You then ride part of the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera into the foothills of Alto Molise. Having passed the hamlet of Montalto it is time for a picnic. After lunch it takes three hours to ride home and you should be back at the farmhouse at about 6 p.m., where you unsaddle the horses for the last time and enjoy the farewell dinner.

Saturday

Departure after breakfast.

N.B. Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the programme may have to be adapted, but always with your best interests at heart.



Accommodation: You spend three nights at the farmhouse and four nights at hotels out on the trail.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate but fit for long hours in the saddle
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5.5 days of riding (7 - 8 hours a day)
Departure dates: 2017: 30 September-7 October
 
Pricing: 2017:
£1085 per person sharing

Includes 7 nights bed and breakfast (3 at the farm-house and 4 at hotels). Full board with wine and beer at lunch and dinner starting with dinner on the first day up to and including breakfast on the day of departure (Excludes drinks not with meals). Luggage transport and transfers from and to the railway station in Isernia at set times are also included.

Any single supplements will need to be paid locally.