Western Adventures in Tuscany riding holiday in Italy - Far and Ride
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Western Adventures in Tuscany, Italy





Reviews



We have just arrived back from our holiday and I just wanted to let you know that it was fabulous! The food is excellent, the people so friendly and caring and the horses were just amazing, something for everyone.

L. Radda
It is a wonderful and peaceful place - the staff are truly kind and professional, the food is delicious and served with generosity and the horses are well-trained. For me, it was perfect... looking forward to the next opportunity!

Moran B.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Haflingers, Appaloosas, Paints, Maremmanos and Arabians.

Nature of horses:

Well-trained, reliable and good-natured.

Height of horses:

14 - 16hh on average.

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs

Tack type:

Western.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This welcoming, friendly destination specialises in western riding and was founded by three passionate horsemen who have been organising riding programmes for more than 25 years. With a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful Tuscan surroundings, all riders are given a warm welcome and encouraged to explore the delights that a western-trained mount can bring you. There are a wide range of programmes to suit all levels of rider, including children, so whether you wish for a relaxed riding holiday, an exciting trail ride or to start or improve your western riding, there is something to suit.

The agriturismo itself lies 3km from the nearest town and nestled partway into a nature reserve at an altitude of 825m above-sea-level. It comprises of six main buildings placed on a spacious estate which is both an organic farm and riding holiday centre. This fantastic setting is ideal to reach many natural, archaeological and historical points of interest, as well as providing engaging landscapes and riding routes which appeal to nature lovers. Of course the spacious pastures are also perfect for the breeding and training of horses whilst allowing them to live out in natural herds with plenty of space to enjoy themselves and interact with one another.

The Monte Penna nature reserve is primarily wooded and home to a variety of wildlife including fox, porcupine, wild boar, deer, weasels, owls and falcons. The wooded areas are interspersed with clearings which surround small farmhouses and further afield can be found mountains, valleys and rich agricultural areas. Those who like adventure can ride further on the week trails, following the ancient paths of the Etruscans or perhaps through the famous Val d'Orcia, an area commonly depicted in works of art thanks to its inspiring landscapes.

In accordance with the homely welcome, guests are invited to share in the wholesome produce of the area, combined by the chefs to create dishes of traditional Tuscan cuisine. The dining room is also open to non-guests and so you have the opportunity to mix with locals, learning more of their lifestyle and culture. Everybody eats together on large tables, sampling delights such as ribbon-macaroni with artichokes and ricotta cheese, crostone with pork sausage, wild boar with polenta and much more!

This beautiful farm is founded on a respect for animals and nature, a philosophy which is evident in the care and personality of the horses and even in the restaurant, where many items are homegrown or locally-sourced. If you are looking for a homely atmosphere and riding on relaxed, happy horses then this could be the ideal place for your horseback holiday.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

During stationary programmes and at the start and end of the trails, guests are accommodated in one of the 13 guest rooms (some with private bathrooms, some shared) located at the farm. This lies 3 kilometres away from the nearby town, Castell'Azzara and is partly inside the Monte Penna Nature Reserve. It lies at 825m above sea level in an area surrounded by fascinating landscapes.

The organic farm comprises of 6 main buildings, stables and outbuildings and is surrounded by 110 hectares of grounds. They also have 3 dining halls, a bar, meeting rooms, a relaxing room with fireplace, a pergola and a pretty garden. There is also a large camping area as well. The buildings work together to create what feels like a small village, surrounded by woodlands and pastures and populated by deer, horses, porcupines and wild boar. This is not a well-known area despite its beauty.

During point to point trail programmes guests will be accommodated in country houses along the way or in tents, depending on which programme you choose.

When staying at the farm, everybody eats together at big tables which seat 8 - 10 people and share a variety of different dishes. The restaurant serves mainly traditional Tuscan meals which have been influenced by the surrounding areas of Umbria and Lazio. Many of the products have been grown in the farm gardens and all are prepared by the chefs with a lot of thought. The daily menu is not repeated and is based around good, wholesome cuisine.

Water and red wine is served with lunches and dinners. Other drinks are not included.

Vegetarians and special dietary requirements can be catered for.

 

Activities

There are many beautiful places of historical or natural interest to be seen in the surrounding areas and it is also very pleasant for walking, swimming and sight-seeing. Here are some ideas...

HISTORY AND SIGHTSEEING:

Nearby to the farm you can find the stunning Etruscan villages of Sorano, Sovana and Pitigliano which are home to medieval settlements, castle and ruins. There is also the lovely historical town of Abbadia S. Salvatore with a famous abbey and an interesting mine museum which reflects the importance of mining in this region.

Driving towards Viterbo you can find Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe, which has many surrounding villages with restaurants serving delicious fish. Civita di Bagnoregio, called "the dying town" is not much further from Bolsena. Continuing north you can find Val d'Orcia which has rolling hills, fields, arid landscapes and also famous clay outcrops which are locally known as "calanche". There are also avenues of cypress trees and ancient hamlets which have become so symbolic of this region. Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino can all be found nearby.

The nearest cities to the farm, should you want to do some sightseeing or shopping, are Grosseto (1.5 hours), Siena (1.5 hours), Orvieto (1 hour) and Viterbo (1 hour 15 mins).

SWIMMING AND RELAXATION:

There are many hot springs and thermal baths to be found in the nearby areas, including S. Filippo, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sorana and Saturnia (the most famous of the thermal baths). Bagno Vignoni is also not too far at approximately one hour away.

If you are looking to swim in July and August then there is a public swimming pool in Castell'Azzara, just 3km from the town, or you can go to the lakes at Mezzano or Bolsena. The sea is further away but not impossible, just around 1 hour 20 mins drive.

NATURE:

Your hosts recommend that nature-lovers enjoy walking in the nature reserve of Mount Penna, just around the farm, or into the woods of Mount Amiata which is around 30 minutes away. Mount Labbro is also very nice and not far from the natural oasis, Bosco Rocconi. On the slopes of Mount Amiata you can also find a beautiful garden designed by a Swiss artist called Daniel Spoerri - this features lovely sculptures but is also a pretty garden in its own right and offers sensational views over the valley. The Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle is also very impressive, though further away at approximately 1 hour 15 mins.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Italian.

Health requirements: None specific.

Age limit: 6 - 9 for children's programmes, 10+ for short rides in the surrounding countryside and 14+ for the trail rides.

Tuition: Yes, depending on the programme.

Included: Accommodation, meals (full or half board, depending on programme), water and red wine with lunches and dinners and horse riding according to your chosen programme.

Not included: Airport transfers (available at added cost), drinks outside of meals (full bar service available), tips and extras not mentioned.

 

Travel Information

Set time transfers are available from/to Rome Fiumicino or Rome Ciampino airports every Saturday. The price is €130 per person, each way, or €250 for the round trip.

Group transfers are also available from Chiusi train station on Saturdays (please check with us for prices) or you can arrive by hire car.

Airport: Rome

Alternative Airport: Florence

 

Programmes


Western Riding Perfection Course



This riding course is designed not only to perfect your western riding skills but also to teach you how to better help the horse when facing obstacles when riding in the countryside. Participants will be guided by Fabio Tascone who has 27 years of experience in teaching horses and riders with his "natural riding" methods. He aims to provide explanations that are intuitive and easy to follow. 

Lessons are given in the riding ring and surrounding pastures, areas which are equipped with various obstacles and provide the opportunity to perform different exercises in order to perfect your trail, pleasure and western riding. 

Course Objective: to develop and strengthen the communication and partnership between horse and rider, with a focus on the rider's feeling and sensitivity for the horse. To obtain the optimum communication between the two partners, the rider must learn to create a relationship of trust by developing their balance, seat and posture. 

The course includes both theory and practical lessons given in the ring, field exercise area and on trail routes. The lessons are aimed at riders who already have some basic knowledge of western riding and can ride a horse in walk, trot and canter in the riding ring. The first two hours are theory and the rest is all hands-on, so the majority of it is very practical. 

The lessons take place each morning and last for approximately two hours. If you wish, there is the possibility to add a two hour trail ride each afternoon at additional cost. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 7
Ability description: Capable of riding at walk, trot and canter in an arena with some basic knowledge of western riding.
Type of ride: Based stay with western riding tuition.
Total riding time: Two hours of western riding tuition per day over six riding days. You can also add a two hour hack each day if you wish.
Departure dates: 2017: 8-15 April, 15-22 April, 29 April-6 May, 3-10 June, 17-24 June, 8-15 July, 29 July-5 August, 2-9 September, 23-30 September, 30 September-7 October, 7-14 October.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Prices below are based on sharing a twin/double room. For families or groups, we can also offer a cheaper price for sharing rooms with 3 or 4 beds.

Standard Season (31st March - 14th July and 20th August - 5th November):

£708 per person
Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £22 per night, £133 per week.

High Season (15th July - 19th August):

£779 per person
Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £25 per night, £151 per week.



Stationary Programme



This is a stationary programme, staying at the agriturismo each night, for those who wish to ride out and enjoy the countryside. This programme is suitable for all levels and also for those who wish to combine riding with sightseeing or relaxation. You can choose twelve hours of riding (six sessions of two hours each) or twenty four hours (twelve sessions of two hours each). 

This is an excellent option for those who are not used to spending too long in the saddle at one time. You ride in the beautiful valleys surrounding the farm, exploring the woodlands and pretty streams which traverse the landscapes. 

The programme runs from Saturday to Saturday and is available on a half board or full board basis. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Suitable for all levels.
Type of ride: Based stay with daily rides.
Total riding time: Either 12 or 24 hours taken over 6 days, in 2 hour sessions.
Departure dates: Available all season, from Saturday to Saturday.
2017: 31st March - 5th November 2017
 
Pricing: 2017:

Prices below are based on sharing a twin/double room. For families or groups, we can also offer a cheaper price for sharing rooms with 3 or 4 beds.

Standard Season (31st March - 14th July 2017, 20th August - 5th November 2017):

One week full board with 12 hours riding: £578 per person
One week full board with 24 hours riding: £739 per person
One week full board for a non-rider: £422 per person

One week half board with 12 hours riding: £507 per person
One week half board with 24 hours riding: £669 per person
One week half board for a non-rider: £336 per person

Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £22 per night, £133 per week


High Season (15th July - 19th August 2016):

One week full board with 12 hours riding: £636 per person
One week full board with 24 hours riding: £814 per person
One week full board for a non-rider: £473 per person

One week half board with 12 hours riding: £558 per person
One week half board with 24 hours riding: £735 per person
One week half board for a non-rider: £377 per person

Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £25 per night, £151 per week

PLEASE NOTE: We can also quote the price per night and day if you prefer a short stay, just get in touch.



A Taste of Trekking



This is the perfect introduction to trail riding or what the organisers call "a taste of trekking". The programme is ideal for novice riders wanting to improve their trail riding skills and to have a little taste of adventure! Alternatively it would suit riders who just prefer to take it a bit easier. 

For each of the first three days, riders will have a two hour ride in the countryside, getting used to the horses and way of riding and improving their trail skills. You will then spend your afternoons at leisure, exploring the area or simply relaxing. 

During the following three days you will ride a point to point trail ride with full days in the saddle. On the Wednesday and Thursday you will take care of the horses, once the day of riding is finished, and leave them at safe overnight stops before you are transported back to the farm by minibus. On Friday you will ride the horses back home again. 

The trail ride leads you through beech woods, an Etruscan cemetery and along 2000 year old Etruscan roads which are cut deep into the caves, as well as through ancient villages and across beautiful landscapes. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Strong novice and above, happy to ride at walk, trot and canter on a sensible horse.
Type of ride: Half a week based stay combined with half a week trail ride (during which you are transported home to the farm each night).
Total riding time: Three days with two riding hours per day, followed by three full riding days.
Departure dates: 2017: 15-22 April, 27 May-3 June, 29 July-5 August, 12-19 August, 16-23 September (FULL).
 
Pricing: 2017:

Prices below are based on sharing a twin/double room. For families or groups, we can also offer a cheaper price for sharing rooms with 3 or 4 beds.

Standard Season (31st March - 14th July and 20th August - 5th November):

£743 per person
Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £22 per night, £133 per week.

High Season (15th July - 19th August):

£818 per person
Single supplement (only for guests unwilling to share): £25 per night, £151 per week.



Etruscan Trail



This beautiful western trail ride follows the ancient paths of the Etruscans, early inhabitants of Italy who were there long before the famous age of the Roman Empire. The trail leads you from the mountainous landscapes surrounding the farmhouse on an adventure through river valleys, forests, by Lake Mezzano and on to visit an Etruscan necropolis and medieval villages. 

Itinerary

Saturday: You will arrive at the farmhouse and settle in to your accommodation. In the evening you will meet your guide and the other participants of the trail, taking some time to chat and get to know each other. 

Sunday: Today you will spend the whole day on horseback, getting to know your assigned mount. This is a chance for the guide to check that you are well-matched to your horse. There will be a picnic lunch during the day and at the end of the ride you will return to the farmhouse. 

Monday: After breakfast you will head out for the start of your adventure. It begins with a ride through the pastures and beech forests, then on to the banks of the Fiora river where you will stop for a picnic lunch and perhaps a swim. 

After your break you will ride along old Etruscan roads known as 'Vie Cave'. These paths are cut deep into the tuffa rock and have been there for more than 2000 years, perhaps once acting as a defence system against invaders thanks to their high, cliff-like walls. They will lead you to the most famous monument in this part of Etruria called the Ildebranda Tomb, an incredible architectural work built somewhat like a temple. Here you will have a quick chance for a visit before heading on to your accommodation for the night.

Tuesday: This morning you will ride on the Etruscan road again, passing through vineyards and olive groves. You will cross the Fiora River and make for the necropolis of Poggio Buco, a historical treasure which is one of the few remaining parts of an ancient Etruscan settlement from around the 7th century BC. 

From here you will ride on until your reach the lovely country house which will be your home for the night.

Wednesday: The ride today will offer a longer monring and relaxed afternoon. the route you follow will take you into the lower landscapes of the Fiora valley, until you reach the hermitage of Poggio Conte. This is where 16th century hermits created a chapel by excavating the tuffa rock. 

You will then ride from here towards the river until reaching the farmhouse where you will stay for the night and enjoy a delicious late lunch here too. The farm breeds and trains Maremma horses using traditional methods. The owners have a private collection of Etruscan artefacts which they are delighted to share with their guests. There is also a swimming pool which you are welcome to use and relax around through the afternoon.

Thursday: Your journey continues along the Olpeta, a deep cut Etruscan road and the only one in the area which also includes the remains of a Roman road. You will cross the Olpeta river and climb up to the site of the ancient city of Castro. You will enter the dense woodlands of the Lamone Forest Nature Reserve, carpeted with wild flowers and home to many birds such as woodpeckers and various falcon species. The woods have grown upon this patch of rocky terrain which is of volcanic origin. 

During this ride you will encounter Maremma breed cattle who graze the forest clearings. After a picnic stop it's time to leave the forest and cross the rolling hills, so symbolic of Tuscany, enjoying spectacular views. Your accommodation tonight is near to Lake Mezzano, a crater lake of volcanic origin which is a beautiful place to visit and ideal for a refreshing swim. 

Friday: On this last day of riding you will depart from Lake Mezzano, riding on country tracks and descend towards the source of the Lente river. From here you will head back up to Sorana, meeting back up with one of the Etruscan roads. The last leg of your journey takes you towards Montevitozzo before bringing you right back to the farmhouse. In the evening you will eat one last dinner together with your guide and group, every participant receiving a small souvenir and a map of the journey you have made on horseback. 

Saturday: After breakfast it is sadly time to say goodbye to your new friends and horses before heading home. 

NB. Trail route may change due to unforeseen circumstances such as difficult weather.



Accommodation: Accommodation starts and finishes at the main farm. During the trail you will stay in typical Italian farmhouses which have been chosen for their comfort, cuisine and practicality for the horses. You stay in double/twin rooms but sometimes single supplement is available on request.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate and above riders, capable of riding at all paces, over difficult terrain and for long hours.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days of riding, usually 5 - 6 hours per day on average. Trail covers 180km in total with daily rides varying from 25 - 40km.
Departure dates: 2017: 3-10 June (FULL), 22-29 July (1 space left!), 30 September-7 October (FULL).

Please enquire for 2018 dates!
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1242 per person.

Price includes 7 nights accommodation in traditional and comfortable farmhouses, based on shared twin or double bedrooms. All meals are also included, as well as horse riding as per the itinerary, all luggage transportation along the trail and an experienced guide.

Price does not include transfers, flights and travel insurance.





Maremma Trail and Traditions



Saturday: 

Arrival in the afternoon and free time before dinner with your guide and other guests. Your accommodation for the night will be at the farm.

Sunday:

After breakfast you will be driven to the Maremma where you will begin your journey riding through the hills of San Colombano. Crossing the river Fiora and riding through the woods of Montecalvo you will visit the sanctum of Poggio Conte, where, in the 16th century, hermits built a chapel dug entirely from the tough rock of the region. 

Monday: 

Today will be your first day with the "Butteri", the Tuscan cowboys. You will enjoy rides through the woods of Baccano before reaching Vulci castle, where you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon you will visit the archaeological park and begin working with the Butteri and their traditional Maremma cows.

Tuesday:

On this day you will spend your entire time in Vulci with the Butteri and their cattle. Continuing to work with the cowboys as they sort and move their charges. For lunch you will enjoy a delicious barbecue with products and recipes produced in this beautiful region.

Wednesday: 

Today you will take a ride back from Vulci to Pietrafitta, where, in the afternoon, you will help to move the Maremma horse foals from their pastures to the corrals in order to be checked and sorted.

Thursday: 

Today you will depart on a two day trail that brings will take you back to the main farmhouse. You will ride along the deeply etched Olpeta Etruscan road (the only one in the area that contains the remains of an ancient Roman road). Then, crossing the Olpeta River you will climb up to the site of the ancient city of Castro. Here you can enter the Lamone Forest Nature Reserve. This dense woodland, with its wild flowers and interesting bird life, such as woodpeckers and falcons, is unique to the area and has been pushed up on rocky terrain by volcanic activity. You will stop for a picnic lunch in the forest before leaving again in order to cross rolling hills with spectacular views and reach your accommodation for the night close to lake Mezzano - a crater lake of volcanic origin and an absolute paradise.

Friday: 

From lake Mezzano you will ride though the Tuscan hills, heading towards the medieval village of Sorano. You will then continue along Etruscan roads toward Montevitozzo before finally reaching the farmhouse once more. In the evening you can enjoy your final dinner together with your guides and other guests during which every participant will receive a small souvenir and a map of your journey.

Saturday: 

Breakfast at the farmhouse and then time to depart towards greater adventures.

**Please note that this itinerary also runs in reverse**



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Experienced riders only: comfortable riding at all paces, able to turn and stop confidently at all paces, able to ride away from the group and ride freely without being positioned behind a guide at all times.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days riding, approximately 5 - 6 hours per day.
Departure dates: 2017: 14-21 October, 28 October-4 November (FULL).
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1553 per person, based on shared rooms

Price includes 7 nights full board accommodation in shared twin or double rooms, as well as a horse riding trail and cattle work with the Butteri as per the itinerary.

Single rooms may be available on request

** A shorter version of this trail is available including 4 days of trail riding and cattle work - please contact us for more information on this.



Ancient Cultures and Rivers Ride



This trail aims to combine roman history with a fun and exciting trail. Exploring the ancient paths of the Etruscans - the early inhabitants of Italy - whilst enjoying the unforgettable experience of swimming with your horses.

The following is an example itinerary and may be altered according to the weather or due to technical reasons.

Day 1:

Arrival in the afternoon and free time before dinner with your guide and other guests. Your accommodation for the night will be at the farm

Day 2:

Today you will take a full day ride out in the country surrounding the farm in order to become better acquainted with your horses before setting off on the trail. After breakfast your guides will match you to your horse for the week and explain the trail route to you, as well as giving you an introduction to the equipment and techniques.

Return to the farm in the late afternoon to relax and enjoy another tasty dinner with your hosts, guides and fellow riders.

Day 3:

The first day of the trail will see you set off from the farm riding towards the Fiora River through the morning. On arrival at the river's banks you will stop and be met by the support vehicle  and hopefully ready to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. Through the afternoon you will continue to follow the river's course heading along one of the ancient Etruscan roads (via Cava) which was cut deep into the tough rock typical of this area more than 2000 years ago. The route will take you all the way to the famous monument of the Ildebranda tomb - an ancient Etruscan necropolis. You will stop here in order to visit the site and experience this fantastic temple shaped tomb dug straight from the rock. The last stretch of the afternoon will see you reach your campsite for the evening in time for a delicious cooked dinner and a well deserved rest.

Day 4:

Today you will leave the Fiora valley, heading towards Saturina and follow the Stellata river which is famous for it's thermal heated waters. The source of this river can be traced back to a beautiful waterfall which is very famous in the area. You will stop for a picnic lunch by the banks of the Stellata and have the phenomenal experience of swimming in the naturally heated river.

Once everyone is rested (and dried off) you will continue to follow the river's course until you reach the point where it joins the river Albenga. This will be your camping spot for the night.

Day 5:

The highlight of today will be the chance for you to swim with your loyal and hardworking horse. Following the flow of the Albenga, you will reach a wide opening of the river course and a great spot to take off saddles and bridles and ride into the water. It's certainly not an experience to be missed and we would highly recommend bringing your swimming costume along for this one!

After a day of fun and frolics with the horses, you will saddle up again and head back along the river to your camp from the previous night and a tasty dinner.

Day 6:

Leaving your camp after breakfast, you will again head along the banks of the Albenga river but this time continue on until you reach the ancients Etruscan Necropolis at Puntone. This is another fantastic memorial to this ancient culture and is situated in the midst of a peaceful woodland setting. Again, you will be given the chance to enter the tombs and see for yourselves the physical splendour of this ancient civilisation. Finally you will make camp for the evening and enjoy another of the tasty meals that will be prepared for you.

Day 7:

Descending back into the Fiora valley, today will see you coming full circle and finally arriving back at the farm after what will certainly be a fun and interesting trail. That evening you will enjoy a final dinner with your riding companions and each guest will be presented with a small souvenir and map of the trail ride you have been following - a great memento of a wonderful trip!

Day 8: 

After breakfast at the farm you will be waved a sincere goodbye from the whole team.



Accommodation: Accommodation includes 3 nights at the main farm and 4 nights on the trail in tents. All equipment for camping will be provided (except sleeping bags) including 2 person tents, mattresses, a central eating/kitchen tent, as well as a changing and washing tent.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong intermediate and above. Must be able to ride for long hours, over tough terrain, in walk, trot and canter.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6 riding days with 5-6 hours per day covering 25-30 km per day (generally a longer ride in the morning and a shorter one in the afternoon)
Departure dates: 2017: 26 August-2 September (FULL), 9-16 September.

Special dates for young riders (aged 16-24): 8-15 July and 19-26 August.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£940 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared accommodation (3 in rooms at the ranch & 4 nights in tents), with all meals and drinks, as well as a 6 day trail as per the itinerary. All luggage transport by back-up vehicle is also included.

Price does not include transfers, sleeping bags, flights and travel insurance.