Tuscany Castle riding holiday in Italy - Far and Ride
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Tuscany Castle, Italy





Reviews



My Dad and I had a fantastic time! The horses and riding were brilliant and the food amazing (far too much). The riding was tailored perfectly for the different abilities! We met some great people and had a really enjoyable time! The owners made us feel very welcome and nothing was too much trouble, the countryside was stunning!!

Luisa M.
An outstanding honeymoon to one of the most beautiful places we have been, with exceptional horses, the most welcoming, cheerful and friendly team. Excellent tuition, fabulous food and luxury accommodation. A place to be truly proud of!

Carla and Simon A.
We had the most wonderful experience on our holiday in Italy. I dont think I can fault anything about it. Everything about the resort was brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone. The horses were really well cared for and exciting to ride, the countryside was exhilarating and the hosts were exceptional and went above and beyond what we expected. We were overwhelmed by the reception we received and we had opportunities to do almost anything we wanted. They organized a race for us, we got to ride bareback, we were taken for a personal trip on the Counts motor boat and had a picnic on a private island. Both myself and my sister were speechless with the hospitality we received. The evening we left was very emotional as it felt as though we were saying goodbye to family! I would certainly recommend this destination to anyone and it shall be an experience we shall hold on to for some time.

Morag N.
I am happy to share some thoughts on the castle trip. In short, I absolutely loved it! Cristina and Antonello are gracious and charming hosts. I felt at home immediately. I stayed in the castle just like a member or special guest of the family. The staff were all lovely. They too were like members of the family and were both professional and familiar all at once. The food was exquisite and always plentiful. The riding instructors were skilled riders and patient teachers and organized lovely hacks through the countryside. It was a wonderful week- many thanks to the family and to you for all your wonderful support in getting me and this trip organized!

Helen P.
The castle was great, I really had an amazing time. I only wish I could have stayed longer. Antonio was great and Anne Marie gave me lessons and brought me back to where my riding was a few years ago. All of the plans really did work out smoothly. All of the horses are beautiful as well.

James S.
Excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the castle. I was made to feel very welcome by the beautiful family and the riding was superb. I cannot wait for the day when I can go back again! I have so many favourite memories! Galloping through the countryside, making new friends, enjoying an Italian picnic, the glorious food, dining with my lovely hosts. I felt as if I was 'at home' and I slept very well. The food was of course AMAZING!! I ate far too much but I enjoyed every morsel! The horses Et Voila and Harry were so lovely and Kylie (the guide) was wonderful! Very easy-going. It was better than I could ever imagine.

Tilka M.
Delightful, one of the best I've been on. Beautiful setting and countryside, incredibly friendly staff and fellow guests. Right length of riding time, varied routes and terrain. Loved the food. Pasta, salad and rice - my favourite diet anyway, beautifully cooked, presented and served by the lovely Patricia and no problems being vegetarian. I rode both a large pony and Luna who was very comfortable. Both well schooled and responsive. Kylie the guide was lovely, relaxed but professional.

Jan G.
Great, we would like to return one day. (Favourite memories?): Beauty of Tuscany, friendliness of the hosts, relaxed pace of life. Felt like a big family.

Gus D.
We enjoyed it very much. The castle is beautiful and so are the surroundings. tHe rooms are large and nice and so are the facilities in the hotel. There are two large ménage and there are around 20 well educated horses. The horses were excellent and so was the equipment. Kylie was very professional as well as nice. We had a great time with her.

Dudi S. & Lea P.
FANTASTIC! Wonderful horses, such helpful friendly people, so peaceful, nice menage, loved the dogs too, didn't want to leave, wouldn't change anything! (Favourite memory?) All the riding and wine tasting trip with Tryfon and Francesca. Beautiful scenery, wonderful horses, food and wine.

Helen & Becs
We loved the riding. Fiona was a complete beginner but was put at ease quickly, loved the opportunity to help with the horses. Mix of school and rides out just right. (Favourite memory?) For me - sitting on the veranda with nothing to do, looking at this giant oak tree. For Fiona - she loved Raffa, her usual ride.

Claire B.
Was both fun and relaxing. The horses were great, the accommodation was superb, as was the food. (Favourite memory?) The ride to the lake and meeting wonderful people. (Your guide?) Superb! Kylie was confident and relaxed and inspired confidence in all rides.

Jean van Z.
I loved it all - the castle was a wonderful place to stay, the cooking was excellent and the staff looked after us all really well. The tour of the castle was also very interesting!

Louise P.
Excellent holiday, good mix of riding, spa, wine tasting, sightseeing and relaxation. Accommodation was good and the food was excellent. I rode Fred (horse) and got on well with him, he looked after me! The saddle was comfortable and all the tack clean and well looked after. Kylie and Tabby (guides) were excellent, very friendly, helpful; lots of stops to take photos.

Judith W. (Riding, Wine & Spa Week)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Primarily a mix of Thoroughbred and Warmblood crosses with ponies for children. There are also several other breeds used in the stables.

Nature of horses:

The horses are individually selected for their excellent temperaments, patience and suitability.

Height of horses:

13.2 - 17hh

Weight limit:

100 kg

Tack type:

English

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This strikingly beautiful 17th century castle, located between the rolling hills of Tuscany, Latium and Umbria, allows its guests to come in to contact with the surrounding nature, splendid setting and the best views of central Italy. With its fairytale style turret, the castle is a romantic but comfortable setting for those wishing to explore the culture and history of the land in a relaxing way. Located just one and a half hours from Rome, the castle has been the property of the noble Caterini family for generations. The family have lovingly restored the cottages and farmhouse, once used by local farmers, to comfortably house their guests and they offer a warm, friendly welcome to all. Those keen on horse riding will be delighted with this certified equestrian centre and the quality of the horses, trails and equipment.

The castle is situated on the Tuscany border and guests can experience one of the largest lakes of volcanic origins in Europe, Lake Bolsena. This is a unique and strikingly beautiful area, rich in olive trees and vineyards, charming villages, ancient churches and artistic monuments. Just 3km away lies a fascinating village of Etruscan origin, set deep into the hillside, so there is plenty to be explored! The castle was once the residence of a Cardinal who housed the Vatican's treasure here to keep it safe during the revolution in 1848... needless to say it is crammed full of fascinating artefacts. He chose the castle to be his personal residence and now his descendants, Count Antonio and his family, use this enchanting place as their country home.

The castle's equestrian centre is home to a herd of quality horses who are cared for to a high standard. There are two spacious outdoor arenas and lessons are available in both flatwork and jumping with all levels welcome. There is also a small cross country course on the estate which experienced riders can enjoy when the going is good. In 2017 we are delighted that a new instructor has joined the team. Elizabeth Rusak is a professional dressage rider and has been a rider for an Olympic dressage rider in Germany. She has great experience as an instructor in several countries and is fluent in several languages including English, Italian, Polish, Russian and Ukranian.

Miles and miles of trails surround this magnificent estate and are a sheer joy to explore on horseback with the company of the guides. The pace of the rides are matched to the ability and preferences of the riders, but don't worry, experienced riders can enjoy fast canters and interesting terrain on a forward-going horse! In the summer you can reach out from horseback and pick fresh figs, peaches, apples, pears and blackberries or even ride to the waters of beautiful Lake Bolsena for a typical Italian lunch. In spring and autumn you can make the most of perfect riding temperatures, verdant scenery and good ground for riding. You can also take part in the spectacular Medieval Castle Tour (dates to be confirmed) - a trail ride involving accommodation in castles and fortresses, a more luxurious option for the capable rider and a special way to explore this fascinating part of Italy.

Your holiday can be as active or sedate as you like as you can choose one of their flexible packages or we can even tailor make something to meet your needs. Non-riders can enjoy mountain biking which is another of Count Antonio's passions - there is a selection of bikes (including electric mountain bikes!) with well-marked trails and even the chance to meet up with riders at lunchtimes. The castle also has a heavenly pool and tennis courts, plus there is a spa nearby and opportunities for wine-tasting, golf and fishing. Lake Bolsena is fifteen minutes by car and is host to the carp fishing world championships. Needless to say this is a superb base for all sorts of holidays!

The castle was visited by Holly from Far and Ride in September 2014 and she could not fault a thing. Please do not hesitate to give her a call if you'd like to know more about this super destination.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Just below the castle stands a handsome XVIII farmhouse, the original centre of the estate's farming activities. The farmhouse has been skillfully converted with careful attention being paid to conserving the authenticity of the building, together with providing comfort and privacy. The very large farmhouse now contains eight charming apartments and fourteen bedrooms, mostly furnished with original pieces. All of the bedrooms have en suite facilities and the apartments are fully equipped for self-catering.

On the ground floor there is a large 'taverna' with brick vaulted ceilings. The space is divided into three main areas including a dining room, a billiard room with table tennis facilities and a large kitchen for guests to use which is also equipped for cooking courses. On site there is a spa where several treatments will be on offer. Stella is a fully qualified beauty therapist, aromatherapist, masseuse and pedicurist who has been practising in Italy for twelve years.

The food here is traditional Italian cuisine and includes local specialties accompanied by a few new and delicious recipes - in keeping with Tuscan style the food tends to be simple and hearty but tasty. The restaurant is located in the taverna on the ground floor of farmhouse and the chef prepares your delicious meals when you eating on site. During the summer you can often eat on the terrace overlooking the swimming pool.

If you wish to eat outside of the castle then your hosts can offer you a list (available at reception) of the restaurants in the area that they recommend. Here you can discover the warmth of the local people, their authentic and genuine hospital and of course, the fantastic local recipes.

 

Activities

The facilities here are fantastic for all the family. There are two private swimming pools, a tennis court, indoor games room and plenty of green grass and a mini soccer pitch for active children. Massages are available on site.

A vast network of country tracks, bridleways and public footpaths cover the area and are still used by farmers and shepherds. The mountain biker is allowed to cross this land freely in any direction.You can rent a bicycle from the castle and head off alone or ask for a guide and benefit from his expertise and knowledge of the area.

You can hop on one of the 4x4 guided tours following old tracks through lakes, over hills and through forests to uncover interesting and mysterious sites that even some of the locals don't know about.

You can visit the best Etruscan archeological sites as well as ruins of the ancient town of Castro and caves with carvings in the rock. In the summer it is possible to experience a unique snorkelling adventure. Beneath the water, on the beautiful southern shores of Lake Bolsena a fantastical archeological site is concealed. Plunge into the warm and crystal clear waters and with a mask and flippers you will see the remains of a human settlement from the pre-Etruscan period.

This relatively undiscovered region of Alta Tuscia has much to offer - mystical cities, volcanic crater lakes and medieval architecture.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, Italian, Polish, Russian, Ukranian, Norwegian, Dutch

Health requirements: Must be physically fit and in good health for the riding activities as described. All guests MUST wear riding helmets and must have insurance cover.

Age limit: 9+

Tuition: Yes

Included: Accommodation, meals and horse riding as described in the itineraries.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance and transfers.

 

Travel Information

There are many airlines flying into both Rome airports including Ryanair and easyJet.

Orvieto is 45 km away and is the nearest train station. It is a 40 minute drive by car. Orvieto is 1 -2 hour by train from Rome depending on the train. However, we recommend you hire a car at the airport so you can explore this wonderful countryside.

Transfers are not included in the price but in order to facilitate transportation to the castle, the owners have arranged their own transfers at a much lower price than normal taxis.
The service is available at the below prices from 1000 to 1900 from Orvieto train station or Rome airports (Fiumicino or Ciampino). The following costs apply for a car of up to 3 people:
Orvieto station (90km round trip) - €110
Fiumicino airport (300km round trip) - €220
Ciampino airport (340km round trip) - €220

Airport: Rome

Alternative Airport: Florence

 

Programmes


Golf and Riding Week



A 7 night programme combining a week of golf for one and a week of riding for the other, ideal for couples!

The castle is located only 10km away from a beautiful par 3, 18 hole golf course, set on high ground in the southern Tuscany countryside. It is an ideal course for those wishing to try their hand at golf for the first time although, experienced golfers will also enjoy themselves.

This programme includes entrance on 6 days to the practice ground and 9 hole golf course for one, as well as 6 half days tuition or trail riding for one. Transportation to and from the golf course and golf lessons are not included however, these can be arranged.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Beginners to experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 6 half days riding (2 hrs)
Departure dates: Saturday to Saturday (preferably), from 12 March - 6 November. Shorter breaks also available.
 
Pricing: 2017:
Trips are available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Rider/Golfer full board: £1060 Standard or peak season: £1179
Rider/Golfer half board: £891 Standard or peak season: £1005
Single supplement: £160 Standard and peak

Package includes 7 nights, full or half board accommodation (double room), continental breakfast, welcome drink and guided tour of the castle, 6 half days trail riding or lessons for one (2/3hrs) and 6 golfing days for one.

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are not included in the price.



Brigands Path



Explore one of the less inhabited Italian regions: Alta Tuscia. Your riding days will be spent in the territory surrounding the castle, a centuries old estate still owned by the ancient and noble family, whose new generation, with a passion for horses, has turned this into an enchanting resort.

A region rich in history proved by the many monuments, palaces and castles scattered everywhere that you will see while horse riding along the “brigands path” an old track used by local outlaws trying to avoid the law some two hundred years ago. With your horse you will cross vineyards and olive trees with breathtaking views of lake Bolsena and through chestnut woods into open plains.

Hospitality is warm and simple but authentic of a country still relying on agriculture as its main income. When possible, every long excursion will stop halfway at one of the local restaurants or “trattoria” where delicious local recipes are served.

Sample Itinerary 

Saturday: Upon arrival in the afternoon you will check in and enjoy a welcome drink at the castle & briefing with your guide/instructor about riding and accommodation details and choice of the horses for the next few days. Dinner will be delicious!

Sunday: This morning on your first ride you will easily reach the hills framing at west the plateau on which the castle is situated. A fantastic spot for a breathtaking view of the area, going from the beautiful crater of Lake Bolsena on one side to the hills surrounding the little lake Mezzano on the other side.

Provided a sufficiently clear day the sea can be seen at 40 km in the distance like a glowing mirror. Starting from the castle, after 1 km. you will reach a large track winding through the beautiful hills and small woods on a steady and soft ground perfect to let the horses canter if wanted. At the end of the track you will enter a big wood named Selva di Onano. The ride is about 18 km.

Monday: From the Castle you will ride on an old track before reaching the the hills that frame the plateau to the west. You will continue through the chestnut woods to arrive at the top to experience fabulous views from the beautiful crater of lake Bolsena to the hills of the Mezzano lake. Then, if wanted, horses can be pushed into a canter following the old track crossing the plain before the lake along the fields and vineyards.

Bordering Selva del Lamone Naturale Reserve you will stop for lunch above the lake in a magical atmosphere. A small rural restaurant overlooking lake Mezzano will provide you with a beautiful view and a delicious lunch under the shade of the trees overlooking the lake.

From June to September those who want can have a refreshing swim in the lake when the season allows it. In the afternoon you will take the horses back through the wooded hills. The trail today is about 30 km.

Tuesday

Once on the Brigands track you will go north through the hills, after crossing the provincial road. The beautiful scenery of mountains and hills in front of you will open onto a nice track which will take you around Onano. Onano is a fortified village with a medieval castle in its centre, providing an interesting site for the riders.

Centuries ago, it was an important stronghold of the Monaldeschi family who ruled this area during the middle ages. Narrow crossings will alternate beautiful open fields with a view. Once at the little medieval church Madonna delle grazie you will follow the track north through enchanting countryside back to the castle.

The afternoon ride is approximately 12 km - from the castle you will cross the hill overlooking the castle with a fantastic landscape framing the background. Mount Amiata, the Radicofani fortress, the castle of Torre Alfina are part of this wonderful picture. You will soon join a track crossing hills and valleys.

The road turns to the left and after a while the horses can be pushed at a canter on the soft but steady ground between the chestnut woods. After a few kilometres the woods give ground to the pastures full of sheep, there you reach S.Luigi a dairy farm where fabulous "ricotta" cheese is produced. From there the old estate track will take you back to the castle along the hills. Today's ride is about 20 km.

Wednesday

From the castle you will follow an old trail down through the crater of lake Bolsena, the biggest volcanic lake in Europe. Breathtaking views of the lake will accompany your excursion all the way. Here and there, scattered around the countryside, archaeological sites with Etruscan tombs will remind you how old the beautiful land is. Once at the bottom lunch will be served on the beach of the Lake in a nice typical restaurant.

A swim in the lake Bolsena (summer) can be part of the day before hopping back on your horse. On the way back the magnificent Farnese renaissance palace in Gradoli will catch your attention while crossing the village. Once at the top of the crater of the lake an old track through the woods will take you back to the castle. The trail today is about 30 km.

Thursday

Today is a day off for local excursions. The surroundings of the castle are full of interesting archeological and historical sites. Just a few suggestions - the village fortresses of Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovano. It is definitely worth visiting the marvellous Italian gothic church of Orvieto - Civita di Bagnoregio, called the ‘Dying Town’

Friday

Following an old Etruscan trail, you will ride up through thick woods to the top of the crater surrounding lake Bolsena. Here, you will enjoy remarkable scenery including vineyards, Etruscan tombs, the prominent volcanic lake and the panorama dominated by the famous Farnese palace in Gradoli. A gift made by the Pope in 1500 for his nephew for his wedding - what a present!

You will return to the castle riding through the vineyards, vegetable gardens and enchanting woods. In particular, you will enjoy a canter across a tunnel made my oak trees above an old shepherds path.

Saturday

You will check out in the morning and depart. 

The excursions can be changed according to weather, horses and riders conditions by the riding management of the castle. 



Accommodation: Accommodation is based on shared occupancy (double or twin), all with en-suite facilities in the restored farmhouse. Single supplement available.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced. Moderate pace with trots and canters. A beginners programme is also available.
Type of ride: Based trails
Total riding time: 5 riding days: 1 full day (4/5 hrs) and 4 half days (2/3hrs)
Departure dates: Saturday to Saturday from 12 March - 6 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:
Trips are available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Full board: £1133 Standard or peak season: £1233
Half board: £978 Standard or peak season: £1051
Single supplement: £114 Standard and peak
Non rider half board: £640 Standard or peak season: £685

Package includes 7 nights full or half board accommodation (double room), continental breakfast, welcome drink and guided tour of the castle, meals (picnic lunch where necessary), dinners at the nearby restaurant and taxes, 1 full day riding (4/5hrs) and 4 half days riding (2/3hrs).

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are not included in the price.



Italian Long Weekend



If you are looking for a short break in the Italian countryside and you are intrigued by the idea of staying in an ancient castle then this is the trip for you!

Abandoned Etruscan settlements, lakes formed in volcanic craters and medieval buildings all adorn this stunning Italian landscape. Located one and a half hours from Rome, the splendid 17th century castle (complete with fairytale tower) will be ‘home’ throughout your stay. The castle has two swimming pools, a tennis court and ample gardens.

Please note that this is a flexible package of trail riding or lessons or both (when possible). 

Sample Itinerary 

Thursday

Arrival day, transfers from Rome airport are available at an additional cost. After checking in you will be served with a welcome drink and then you will meet with your guide/instructor who will be looking after you throughout your stay. Today you will take part in a two hour ride through the wonderful countryside that surrounds the castle.

Friday

Today, you will head north through the hills, spectacular scenery of the castle estate and surrounding farmland will keep you company. After crossing the provincial road, the trail will lead you towards magical scenery made by the tuscan mountains towering in front of you.

The trail carries on around the vicinity of Onano - a fortified town of the Middle Ages. Your guide will show you medieval castle dominating the ancient town - an important stronghold of the Monaldeschi family which ruled the area in the Middle Ages.

You will keep on going through old farmers tracks, up into open fields, past the delightful church of St Maria delle Grazie and then back home to the castle.

Saturday

Today, once you have left the castle, you will make your way to a plateau from which breathtaking views can be seen. You will see lake Bolsena on the southern side and the hills surrounding little lake Mezzano on the northern side. On a clear breezy day, the sea can be seen 40 km away to the west like a glowing mirror reflecting the sun.

You will then ride up through the valleys and hills onto a plateau to take in more spectacular scenery, including the towering Mount Amiata, the Radicofani fortress and the distant castle of Torre Alfina. From the hill, you will follow a large track winding through the fields to take you back to the castle.

Sunday

Sadly today is time to bid farewell to your castle home. If time allows you may ride out this morning, or if you would prefer you may take a lesson in the arena.

The excursions can be changed according to weather, horses and riders conditions by the riding management of the castle. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Beginners to experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 3 riding days: 1 full day ride (4/5hrs) and 2 half day rides (2/3hrs).
Departure dates: Departure dates from Thursday to Sunday from 12 March - 6 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:
Trips are available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Full board: £594 Standard or peak season: £621
Half board: £521 Standard or peak season: £548
Single supplement: £69 Standard and peak
Non rider half board: £320 Standard or peak season: £329

Price includes 3 nights accommodation in twin rooms with en-suite facilities, full or half board (picnic lunch on some rides), welcome drink and guided tour of the castle and 2 half days of riding (2 hrs per day) as well as 1 full day ride (4/5 hrs per day) with multi-lingual guide. Less experienced riders will be offered 3 lessons and 2 half day trails instead.

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are NOT included in the price.





Mid Week Italian Break



The perfect midweek break riding on horses chosen for their excellent temperaments, their patience and their delight for traveling through this enchanting countryside!

Sample Itinerary

Sunday

Afternoon arrival (transfers from Rome airport available at an extra cost, but car hire is advisable in order to explore the area).

After checking in you will be served with a welcome drink and then receive a briefing from your guide\instructor who will be looking after you throughout your stay. During low season they often introduce you to your horse for a short assessment ride (20 - 30 minutes) today, but during peak season riders are assessed before the first main ride on Monday. 

Monday

Once you have left the castle following an old track, you will reach the hills framing a plateau to the west. Through the chestnut woods, you will arrive at the top where you will have a breathtaking view of the area from the beautiful crater of lake Bolsena on the southern side to the hills surrounding little lake Mezzano on the northern side. On a clear breezy day, the sea can be seen 40 km away to the west, like a glowing mirror reflecting the sun.

You will then ride up through valleys and hills onto a plateau to take in the spectacular scenery, including the towering Mount Amiata, the Radicofani fortress and the distant castle of Torre Alfina. From the hill again, you will follow a large track winding through the fields, taking you back to the castle.

Tuesday

This morning you will be heading off along The Brigands Trail as you ride north towards the fortified village of Onano. Centuries ago this fortified village was an important stronghold of the Monaldeschi family who ruled this area throughout the middle ages. You will return to the castle in time for a delicious Italian lunch.

This afternoon you can either relax at the castle or explore this historical area by yourself, where you will find sites dressed with beautiful views.

Wednesday

Today you will follow an old trail down towards the crater of Lake Bolsena, the biggest volcanic lake in Europe. Breathtaking views of the lake will accompany your excursion all the way. Scattered throughout the countryside, you will find archaeological sites where Etruscan tombs will serve to remind you of how ancient this beautiful land really is.

Today lunch will be served on the beach in a typical local restaurant and again there will be the opportunity to swim in the lake.

Thursday

Sadly today it is time to bid farewell to your castle home. If time allows you may ride out this morning, or if you would prefer you may take a lesson in the arena. 

Please note, the excursions can be changed according to weather, horses and riders conditions by the riding management of the castle. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Beginners to experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 4 riding days: 1 full day (4/5hrs) and 3 half days (2 hrs).
Departure dates: Departure dates Sunday to Thursday from 12 March - 6 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:
Trips are available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Full board: £749 Standard or peak season: £795
Half board: £640 Standard or peak season: £713
Single supplement: £69 Standard and peak
Non rider half board: £347 Standard or peak season: £407

Price includes 4 nights accommodation in twin rooms with en suite facilities, full or half board (picnic lunch on some rides), welcome drink and guided tour of the castle, 1 full day riding (4/5hrs) and 3 half days (2 hrs) with multi-lingual guide. Less experienced riders are offered a mix of half day trails and lessons rather than the full day trail.

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are NOT included in the price.



Medieval Castle Tour



During this beautiful Italian trail ride you stay in two different medieval castles and a fortress: Castle Santa Cristina, the Fortress of Sorano and Castle Proceno. The first castle is a country castle, placed outside of the village and surrounded by agricultural terrain. The main house is still inhabited by the owner who also keeps horses. Your room here is in the restored farmhouse by the castle and your room will be romantic, with the outer walls covered with green ivy, and you will have a view of the swimming pool and its surrounding vegetation. 

The Fortress of Sorano is located above this unique Etruscan town and the fortress walls which surround your rooms are more than one metre thick. The rooms have a panoramic view of the town and the canyon which originally provided protection from attacks. You can take just a few steps downhill to talk through the town centre with its narrow streets, passage gates, arches and small steps. The second castle is located in the little town of Proceno - parts of it form the town's defensive walls and the castle has its rooms on different levels along the only passage through the village. The swimming pool is situated just outside the castle wall on spacious grounds with wide panoramic terraces. 

This dreamy Italian holiday allows you to experience medieval surroundings but with the touch of modern comforts. You will eat the freshest, traditional, homemade cuisine and drink fine local wines. The Tuscan cuisine and hospitality bear witness to the long history of agriculture in the region. 

Sample Itinerary (timings are approximate!)

Day 1 - Arrival:

Transfer from airport or train station as required (additional cost) and arrival to the 17th century castle of Santa Cristina. You will be accommodated in the restored farmhouse on the estate grounds, below the castle, and will meet the staff and enjoy a welcome drink as you talk about the coming days. If time allows, you can enjoy a guided tour of the castle with the owner, Count Antonio Mancini Caterini, who has organised your riding adventure. Dinner and overnight at Santa Cristina. 

Day 2 - Santa Cristina Castle to Lake Mezzano

08:00 - Breakfast is served in the old stable room in the castle.

09:00 - You will meet down at the yard, ready to start your ride. The trail begins following an old outlaw track known as the 'Brigands Path' and will lead you to Lake Mezzano which was once a volcanic crater, formed 400,000 years ago. You will ride through farmland and in the wooded hills which surround the village of Onano, enjoying some canters on the natural passages between the oak woods. Upon reaching the top of the plateau you will have the chance to admire some spectacular scenery, overlooking several extinct craters, and perhaps even to the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west if you are lucky! Riding onwards you will descend through ancient chestnut woods and into the open plain of the Mezzano crater. 

13:00 - Today's delicious lunch is served at 'Fra Viaco', a rural restaurant which overlooks Lake Mezzano. All the food prepared here is locally sourced and made on site. After you have eaten, you can take a short walk of a few minutes down to the lake's clear waters for a swim or just to enjoy your picturesque surroundings. Lake Mezzano was the site of human settlements dating back to the pre-Etruscan era (c. 2700 years ago), confirmed by the finding of various pots, swords and other tools at the bottom of the lake. These archaeological treasures were submerged during earthquakes and were only discovered in the late 1980's.

15:00 - The ride home heads through the marshlands and vineyards which surround the lake. Your group will ride along the edge of the Selva del Lamone natural reserve, keeping watch for the wild boar and deer that inhabit the area. As you near to home there are beautiful panoramic views of Lake Bolsena which you will be visiting tomorrow. 

18:00 - Arrival back to Santa Cristina. The first thing is to untack and wash down the horses and to debrief after the day of riding, then you can enjoy a shower, drink or perhaps a swim before dinner. 

20:00 - Dinner in the vaulted taverna of the main farmhouse where the cook will have prepared an authentic meal for you. 

Day 3 - Santa Cristina Castle to Lake Bolsena: 

08:00 - Breakfast.

09:00 - Meet at the yard, ready to ride again. Starting out in the neighbouring farmland and chestnut woodlands, using an ancient shepherds' track, you will make your way toads Lake Bolsena which is the largest volcanic lake in Europe. Along the way there are some incredible views of the lake and its two islands - Isola Bisentina and Martana. As you descend into the crater, you will pass through well-maintained vineyards and agricultural lands, spotting Etruscan tombs along the way. Some of these are now re-used by farmers as cellars for their wine, but they still serve as a reminder of the ancient history of the area. 

13:00 - Lunch today is prepared by Antonietta, the cook, and served in a typical trattoria on the lake front. There is time to relax and swim before the ride back. 

15:00 - The trail back to Santa Cristina passes through the archaeological area of Pianezze which houses many Etruscan tombs dating back 2600 years. You will ride through the 'Valley of Tears' where a Roman village was attacked by barbarians, invading Italy from the north, after the fall of the Roman empire. Later you will be able to water your horses at an ancient fountain. Following a windy path up to the necropolis you can enjoy some exciting canters on woodlands tracks before rejoining the shepherds' trail back to Santa Cristina. 

18:00 - Time to untack and hose down the horses before preparing for dinner. 

20:00 - Dinner in the vaulted taverna of the farmhouse.

Day 4 - Santa Cristina Castle to Vitozza Castle Ruins to Sorano (Orsini) Fortress: 

08:00 - Breakfast followed by packing your bags ready for them to be moved on to Sorano. 

09:00 - Meet at the yard, ready to ride on to Sorano! You will follow the 'Brigands Path' again today, riding on tracks which are carved into the area's volcanic rock. Views of the Tuscan hills include the towering Mt Amiata, Radicofani Fortress and also the distant castle of Torre Alfina. Eventually you will reach a deep gorge where you must dismount and lead your horses through the heavily wooded and steep trail. Once through there are panoramic vistas of the Tuscan countryside to be enjoyed as a reward. From here it's a short ride on to the small village of San Quirico and the medieval settlement of Vitozza.

13:00 - Today's lunch is a picnic alongside the remains of the main church in Vitozza. The settlement dates back to the 12th century and once formed part of a large fiefdom including fifteen castles. It has been defined as the largest rock settlement of central Italy, second only to that of 'Sassi' in Matera (in the south). After your picnic you can take a walk through the woodlands to discover the remands of two castles and more than two hundred caves carved into the tufa rock, once used as stables, storerooms, workshops, water cisterns and homes for the medieval residents. If you are up for a challenge then you can walk down to the river, past the amazing Roman columbarium, to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls there. 

15:30 - On leaving Vitozza you will ride on towards Sorano, allowing the horses to settle into a few nice canters along the way. As you approach the Amiata Mountains you can look ahead to your riding route for the next day, negotiating another two gorges as you follow the path of the river Lente. Passing the natural thermal springs you will cross the provincial road and arrive at 'Maneggio Belvedere', a riding centre which will be home to your horses for the night. 

17:00 - On arrival to Maneggio Belvedere you will tend to your horses before taking a short drive, around five minutes, on to the Sorano fortress where you will spend the night. The Orsini Fortress XVI century takes its name from the noble family who built it. It dominates the village of Sorano which is built on tufa rock and features various medieval buildings. Incredibly your accommodations are right inside it, offering wonderful views on the gorge below. There is some time to relax and explore the village. 

20:00 - Dinner at a local restaurant in Sorano, sampling more traditional Tuscan cuisine. 

Day 5 - Sorano (Orsini) Fortress to Proceno Castle:

08:00 - Breakfast followed by packing of bags to be moved to Proceno. 

09:30 - You will meet down in the courtyard of the medieval fortress to be driven to your horses. Once everybody has tacked up and is ready to depart, your ride will begin with a descent into a gorge to meet the River Lente. You will follow the river to its source, a spring in the woods which once supplied Sorano and places further afield with water. On crossing this first gorge you will find yourselves on the outskirts of Sorano. Your group will navigate the medieval cobblestone streets, winding your way through the town before emerging at the Porta dei Merli, the old medieval gate of the town which is still complete with slits for a drawbridge! On rejoining the River Lente at the bottom of the valley you will ride through the ancient 'Vie Cave' - these are roads constructed by the Etruscans, caved between two walls of tufa rock. The path of the river will lead you through undulating chestnut woods, past the remands of abandoned aqueducts and buildings, an on to the springs at its source. Climbing out of the gorge will bring you to farmlands and a dairy farm, your lunch spot. 

13:00 - Lunch at the dairy farm, sampling local cheeses, meats and various jams and honey. 

14:30 - The ride continues on heading east across farmlands and offering panoramic views of Mt Amiata which dominates the countryside. You can look towards the distant fortress of Radicofani, which overlooks the Tuscan borderlands, as you ride for the Castle of Proceno which once guarded Lazio from ancient invasions. As you pass through the Montorio Game reserve you may even be lucky enough to see wild pheasants, deer or boar. Crossing the Stridolone River, you head towards the hilltop fortress of Proceno. 

18:00 - Arrival to the fields below Proceno where you will untack and settle the horses for the night. You will then carry on up to the accommodation in Proceno with time to explore the medieval town, overlooked by the castle. Dating back 2700 to its original Etruscan inhabitants, this town marked the border between the Vatican State of Lazio and the Siena and Tuscany state territories. 

20:00 - Dinner at the castle restaurant, enjoying the simple, fresh and seasonal ingredients of the region. 

Day 6 - Proceno Castle to Santa Cristina Castle: 

08:00 - Breakfast and packing of bags, ready to return to Santa Cristina. 

09:00 - This morning you will take a personalised, guided tour of Proceno Castle with countess Cecilia Cecchini whose family have owned the castle since the 17th century. She will share some of the castle's fascinating history with you and show you some of the artefacts it houses, including Etruscan vases, ancient instruments and the ancestral robes of a cardinal. 

10:00 - Meet at the horse fields ready to ride back to Santa Cristina. The path today takes you back across Stridolone River (the border of Lazio and Tuscany) and again through the Montorio Game Reserve. Following an old farmers' trail through vineyards and fields you will ride by a former convent from the 18th century which has a sad history. 

15:00 - On arrival back to Santa Cristina you will sort out the horses before tucking into a well-earned lunch. The rest of the day is yours for relaxation or further exploration of the estate grounds. 

Dinner and overnight at Santa Cristina. 

Day 7 - Departure:

After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to new friends and depart. 



Accommodation: Accommodation is in two medieval castles and a fortress: Santa Cristina Castle (double room in the restored farmhouse, bathroom en-suite), Orsini Fortress in Sorano (double room in the fortress, bathroom en-suite) and Proceno Castle (double room in the castle, bathroom en-suite).
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong intermediate and above - riders should be comfortable in walk, trot and canter in open spaces. The ride is of a moderate pace with trots and canters.
Type of ride: Trail rides, sometimes returning to the base accommodation and sometimes staying out elsewhere.
Total riding time: 5 full riding days (approximately 4 - 5 hours per day).
Departure dates: 2017: 14-20 May, 11-17 June, 28 June-4 July (Weds start), 16-22 September (confirmed), 21 - 27 October.

Other dates are sometimes possible for a minimum group size of 4 riders - please ask us.
 
Pricing: 2017:
£1553 per person
Single supplement: £228

Price includes 6 nights of accommodation (twin/double room), all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day and 5 riding days.

Flights and travel insurance are not included in the price.



Riding, Wine and Spa or Cooking Week



The perfect week long break for both riding and relaxing. This programme includes 4 riding days as well as a guided tour and wine tasting at a local wine cellar and half a day at Sorano's Thermal Baths and Wellness Centre or a 2 hour Italian cooking lesson.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Beginners to experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 4 riding days: 1 full day (4/5hrs) and 3 half days (2 hrs).
Departure dates: Saturday to Saturday (preferably) from 12 March - 6 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:
Trips are available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Full board: £1142 Standard or peak season: £1242
Half board: £927 Standard or peak season: £1051
Single supplement: £114 Standard and peak
Non rider half board: £694 Standard or peak season: £781

Price includes 7 nights accommodation in twin rooms with en suite facilities, full or half board (picnic lunch on some rides), welcome drink and guided tour of the castle, 1 full day (4/5hrs) riding and 3 half days (2/3hrs) riding with multi-lingual guide, guided tour and wine tasting at Pitigliano/Sovana local cellar and half a day at Sorano's Thermal Baths and Wellness Centre or a 2hr Italian cooking lesson.

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are NOT included in the price.



Self Catering Riding Holiday



A flexible based stay allowing you to rent a beautiful, self-catering cottage below the castle and develop a tailor-made riding programme to suit your preferences. Ideal for families or groups of 4-8.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Beginners to experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: Flexible
Departure dates: Departure dates to suit.
 
Pricing: 2017:

The weekly cost of a self-catering apartment ranges from £640 to £3042 depending upon the season and the number of beds. Please contact the office for prices.

A tailor made riding programme can be arranged for an additional cost.




Riding and Wellness Week



This seven night programme combines riding with the benefit of a healthy and relaxing massage at the end of the day. Each day will offer a riding excursion exploring this land full of history and natural beauties, or a lesson if you prefer. You will have four days of half-day rides (2-3 hours duration) and on one day will be offered a full day ride with picnic lunch (4-5 hours duration).

Massages are offered in the afternoons after your riding activity and lunch. You can choose the massage you most prefer and 2 x 25 mins plus 2 x 50 mins massages are included. The spa is situated in a wooded area above the swimming pool and is perfectly located for relaxing. The spa has a terrace where you can sunbathe too. You have the choice of the following massages:

Relaxing Massage; Candle Massage; Foot Reflexology; Therapeutic Massage; Shiatsu Massage; Manual Lymphatic Drainage; Microcirculation Massage.

Further details on what each massage involves will be available at the spa to help you with your choices.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Beginner to Experienced
Type of ride: Based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 5 riding days: 1 full day (4/5hrs) and 4 half days (2 hrs).
Departure dates: Saturday to Saturday (preferably) from 12 March - 6 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Available from 12 March to 6 November, with peak season pricing operating 18 June to 16 September.

Full board: £1119 Standard or peak season: £1224
Half board: £991 Standard or peak season: £1096
Single supplement: £91 Standard and peak
Non rider half board: £681 Standard or peak season: £777
Non rider full board: £809 Standard or peak season: £904

Price includes 7 nights accommodation in twin rooms with en-suite facilities, full or half board (picnic lunch on some rides), welcome drink and guided tour of the castle and 3 half days of riding (2/3 hrs per day) as well as 1 full day ride (4/5 hrs per day) with multi-lingual guide, 2 x 25min massages and 2 x 50min massages.

Flights, transfers, room cleaning and travel insurance are NOT included in the price.