A Taste of Sicily riding holiday in Sicily - Far and Ride
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A Taste of Sicily, Sicily





Reviews



The holiday was fantastic fun! As well as great riding that catered for, my husbands 'get on the horse and see how fast we can go style' and my 'I am a novice that does not want to fall off style', we had the very best time. The family are really lovely people who really go out of their way to make you feel welcome. As well as making it their priority that you have a wonderful holiday they are great fun to be around. The accommodation was excellent. The centre is surrounded by wonderful views, especially at sunset, I think it would be hard to beat. So, if you want great riding, great scenery and wonderful company I would highly recommend a visit, we will be back!

Lynne G.
We had a great time, excellent hosts and great horses. The location and set up is very simple which some may not like but we thought it was ideal. We really liked the flexibility and relaxed atmosphere. Our hosts were good fun and very happy to change the itinerary to suit personal requirements. Accommodation was really good. Food for me was the highlight, meals and bbqs at the the house were good and meals out very good. Don't miss the cheese factory lunch! Good choice of horses for all abilities - we rode about 8 horses between the two of us- within two days you find your favourite.

Allyson & Bob A.
We had a brilliant holiday, Mark and Andrea are lovely people and my daughter got on famously with their daughter! The holiday was very varied, both myself and my daughters riding has improved greatly. It is also in a beautiful spot where they live and Mark has discovered some excellent rides.

Jim G.
Just writing to tell you what a lovely holiday John and I had in Sicily. The accomodation was beautiful as was the views, it was breath taking. Nothing was too much trouble for our hosts and we loved the way they welcomed us into their home. All the animals were obviously well loved and looked after, their welfare means a lot to them. This holiday was nothing like I have ever done before and I would truly recommend it in every way. Since coming home John has now got the bug for riding and it has given us a hobby we can both share together and for that I am grateful for. Thank you Far and Ride for helping John organise this brilliant 40th birthday suprise for me and thank you Mark for chauffeuring us around, giving us history lessons and for the riding out. You haven't got rid of us that easily, we will return.

Debbie B
I had a marvelous holiday - the anticipations of visiting somewhere new to me lived up to and exceeded all expectations. (Favored memory) It is hard to select just one! The hospitality we were shown, the terrific views from the accommodation and the saddle, a great mixture of guests and the overall experience. (We stayed in) Cute little rooms, comfortable beds and good showers! The food was delicious and there was a good variety throughout the week, much of which was locally sourced - impressive! I rode two horses and enjoyed them both and felt I ahd been well matched. They were both calm and responsive to my aids. I was also happy with the tack. Our guide (Mark) was courteous and helpful with good knowledge of the pathways and tracks along which we rode, and set the pace according to our wishes. I felt that the holiday provided a well-rounded and more than satisfactory experience and can think of nothing which can be improved upon.

Trudy M. (May 2016)
Our week in Sicily was fantastic. We were the only two people on the ride so were very well looked after by Mark and his daughter Pippa. The horses and riding were great especially the ride where we stopped for a midday meal in the middle of nowhere! Mark took us to some very good local restaurants which would have been impossible to find if one was in Sicily on ones own. He also made a very knowledgeable tour guide at the Mafia museum, the Catacombs and Palermo. We had plenty of time for relaxing in the afternoon with books and wine/beer. I would recommend the ride to anyone wanting a thoroughly relaxing quiet week in pleasant company sampling the local way of life.

Robert B.
Great location, fab hosts, horses amazing. From start to finish had a brilliant time. Well looked after, Mark was attentive to every detail, a very caring and trustworthy man. (Favourite memory?) Riding through fields of spring flowers and going up trails to the top of the mountain; spectacular views. (Rooms and Food?) On (the) riding holiday you spend little time in your room, only for sleeping. Beds comfy. House open 24/7. Food; fantastic and plentiful. (Horses?) I rode two different horses during the week, both excellent. Tack was comfy and carefully fitted. Mark and Pippa are excellent and couldn't do enough for you. It would be hard to improve, it was an amazing holiday and hoping to return!

Dawn M. (May 2016)
The holiday was great fun, exciting rides, beautiful landscape, friendly and helpful hosts. The meals were delicious and all the people were friendly. The hosts tried their best to satisfy all riders needs and we all had a good time.

Jane M.
We had a lovely time, the riding was great and Mark was the perfect host. I ate too much, thought my poor horse would collapse when I got back home from the extra weight! It was a great combination of riding and, as it says, a taste of Sicily. I would be happy to recommend this holiday to anyone.

Jim P.
Excellent. Very personal. Very warm and welcoming people. Well-trained and healthy horses. The excursions that are part of the programme are very nice. Mark went to a great length to make my holiday perfect. The knowledge he has of Sicily and the stories he tells about the places you visit make the history really come to life. During the rides your safety is his number one priority.

Annette H.
Excellent - beautiful location, great food, wonderful horses. Accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean. Food was amazing - home-cooked or at amazing restaurants. Horses were wonderful, healthy and happy, a pleasure to ride. Mark is a very competent and gentle horseman. Always felt safe.

Bernadette P.
I thought that the holiday was fantastic. Mark is a superb host. He made a lot of effort to make the days interesting and to include any specific requests. It was my birthday and the birthday of another of his guests, so he took us out for a wonderful meal but had phoned and asked them to make a cake with our names on it which was a very kind gesture. He has extensive knowledge of the history of the island and is a natural story-teller, so was able to make all of his stories very interesting. The riding was excellent and varied. The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny, all day, everyday. The accommodation was fine, clean, tidy and comfortable. The food was fantastic. The horses were all well looked after and although some of the tack was a bit old, it was all in good repair and more than adequate.

Jane N.
Very different! Mark really does tailor it to your requirements, I had enough riding to suit me, and rode at a good pace. A good combination of learning about and exploring the country with a knowledgable guide, and seeing the countryside from horseback.

Jan G.
The right balance of riding and sightseeing. Mark is an exceptionally good host. My favourite memory from the holiday was the relaxed, happy ambience with the true experience of everyday life in Sicily, as well as it's culture.

Beverley C.
It was great, very laid back with enough variety and a good insight into the way of life. The guest rooms were clean and had everything you needed, along with a "help yourself to whatever you need" from the kitchen. All of the tack and equipment used on the horses was good, and the health and wellbeing of the animals was paramount.

Anne L.
Really enjoyed it. Beautiful countryside to ride in and visit. Charming accommodation and fantastic hosts. Really experienced the true Sicily, its culture, food, animals and scenery! Very comfortable accommodation. Very plentiful, lovely food and wine - very high standard, lovely restaurants. (Favourite memory?) Riding along the top of the hills and through lovely orchards.

Melanie M.
Very nice trip, beautiful place, nice team. Food was great, accommodation good - not usually equipped to accommodate guests in winter, but the staff did everything to make it comfy for me. Great horse, very responding and not boring. Just the right horse for my level of experience! Equipment and tack were fine. I rode with Mark and Pippa, both were doing a great job.

Solveig K (January 2018)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

A mix of breeds including an Andalusian, some local warm bloods and some part breds.

Nature of horses:

Calm and experienced.

Height of horses:

14.3 - 15.3hh

Weight limit:

15 stone/210lbs or 95kgs

Tack type:

English

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

This lovely Sicilian farmhouse offers relaxed horse riding holidays, combining riding in the beautiful Sicilian hills with sightseeing, eating at local restaurants and exploring what Sicily has to offer. They cater for small groups and aim to provide a very personal service. They hope to share with their guests the different aspects of Sicily, including introducing them to the lesser known areas which are often the most beautiful. They are friendly, welcoming hosts and they have a small selection of excellent horses who offer you the perfect mode of transport for touring the farmhouse surroundings.

Sicily has a longer warm season than northern and central Italy and it is often possible to sunbathe and swim in the sea well into November. Spring also starts early with a carpet of wild flowers usually appearing at the end of February. This means that horse riding can be enjoyed throughout the year, the wonderful views and peaceful valleys offering an ideal escape. The rides lead to interesting destinations with something to see or do on every trip, such as having a tasty barbecue with the locals in the Gurfa valley or visiting typical Sicilian farms. You will enjoy excursions to spots of particular interest - Palermo is usually a "must" and you may also enjoy a night out in bustling Cefalu. Most evenings you will enjoy a visit to a traditional Sicilian restaurant after all, the food in this part of the world is of course one of the highlights! You should expect to sample tasty pasta and delicious pizzas, as well as good local wine.

The typical week package is aimed at riders of a confident novice standard and above, able to walk, trot and canter and comfortable riding for up to three hours at a time. There is a variety of trails and the rides can be catered to suit your ability and preferences. If you would prefer a shorter stay or you have something particular that you would like to see or do, please get in touch as the packages here are very flexible. Returning to the comfortable farmhouse each night, after a good day of riding and a delicious meal, means that this trip is a relaxed and easygoing holiday.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

The farmhouse is situated at an altitude of 2500 feet above sea level in the Madonie mountains. It is to be found in one of the most fertile valleys of the region - the Gurfa valley, named after the prehistoric caves found there. At this altitude there are sometimes some spectacular views to be had of the mountain tops sticking up through the clouds below.

The accommodation is a restored farmhouse complex with the four grain barns becoming the guests living quarters. They all have ensuite bathrooms. The area surrounding the guest rooms has been enhanced by a large terrace which overlooks the picturesque valley with its ever changing seasonal colours. The terrace is ideal for BBQs and social events and is regularly used for these.

The buildings are surrounding by fields where the horses graze. The stables are situated on the premises.

Breakfast is usually taken at the farmhouse and is simple fare. Toast with butter and jam, cereals, yoghurts, croissants, jam tarts, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Lunches are often served at home and typically light (pasta plates, salads, desserts, wine, fruit, liqueurs and coffee). Dinners are often substantial so generally lunches are lighter. Dinners are mostly eaten out in different restaurants in different towns and villages. This is due to the fact that you will always go out in the afternoon touring and viewing many parts of beautiful Sicily. Mark has chosen the best restaurants in these areas and so you can experience the variety of traditional Sicilian meals available. Wines, drinks and liqueurs are included in all meals out and at the ranch.

Your hosts make their own olive oil using olives from the trees surrounding the farmhouse!

 

Activities

Your hosts at this destination specialise in arranging sightseeing holidays as well as riding holidays and so they can help you plan your stay, giving you tips on where to go and what to expect. They can answer your questions and make your holiday as near perfect as they can.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Italian.

Health requirements: Fit and healthy, able to withstand at least 3 hours in the saddle.

Age limit: 11 years upward

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, all excursions and outings transport, meals, drinks.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, transfers or car hire.

 

Travel Information

- easyJet flies to Catania and Palermo Airport.
- British Airways flies to Catania from London Heathrow or Bristol.
- Ryanair also flies into Palermo from Stansted.

Transfers are available from all airport.

Palermo Airport (Punta Raisi) is a 1.5 hour drive. Return transfer is 75 euros (up to 3 persons). Alternatively it is possible to take a train to Palermo central station and take a train so you will arrive locally (around 8 euros).

Catania Airport (Fontarossa) is a 2 hour drive. Return transfer is 95 euros (up to 3 persons)

Trapani Airport (Birgi) is a 2.5 hour drive away. Return transfer is 95 euros (up to 3 persons). Alternatively it is possible to reach the farmhouse by bus and train.

Airport: Palermo

Alternative Airport: Catania

 

Programmes


Farmhouse Programme



Please note this itinerary is flexible and sometimes changes from the following programme. The typical week long package offers horse riding in combination with sightseeing, eating in local restaurants and exploring areas of interest. All throughout the summer months there are village feasts, horse shows, marches, special fairs and a multitude of other events going on all throughout Sicily. Your hosts try to plan riding around this, driving to the nearby town and taking in what the special events have to offer in order to make the most of your Sicilian experience. 

Please note that the below is a sample itinerary, subject to change due to weather, your riding ability and preferences or simply to make the most of interesting things which might be going on at the time of your travel. It is designed to give you a taste of the sorts of things to expect on your trip.

A typical day is to ride out on the trail after breakfast for approximately 2.5-3 hours in the morning.  On most afternoons Mark will take you on a small adventure and you will enjoy a delicious Sicilian dinner in the vicinity of wherever you have  chosen to explore.

On one of the days, you may ride to a friend's country house which takes 3.5 hours to get to. You will enjoy a lovely four course meal, cooked in a traditional Sicilian way.You will have a couple of hours to relax and then you will ride back in the late afternoon in time for dinner. The return ride is 1.5 hours. 

On another day you might not ride at all but take a day out to explore the beautiful Sicilian capital of Palermo where there is so much to see - street markets, catacombs, theatres, mountain caves and beaches (as much as you can cram into the day!You will be taken to lunch in a very interesting local restaurant. You will eat out again in the evening and sample the Palermitan night life.

There are many interesting excursions including a visit to a lovely medieval town high up in the mountains where you can enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

You may visit Corleone, the infamous town of Godfather fame, where the Mafia bosses came from. You will be taken to a photo museum showing the rise of the Mafia in Sicily, you will visit another lovely little town called Palazzo Adriano where you will stop for dinner.

Another trip may take you to an ancient Arab fortified town (2500 years old) high up in the mountains of central Sicily. This is a minute little town, still inhabited and living in the old traditional way. No one seems to visit the town which seems to have been left behind in time. Its a very interesting story which will unfold. Afterwards you will have a sumptuous 8 course home cooked meal at a local agriturismo.

You will enjoy several little stops in cafes, bars and a highlight is one of Mark's special barbeques on his terrace overlooking the Gurfa valley.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Riders are expected to be of novice level, able to walk, trot and canter.
For absolute beginners we suggest you opt for a non-riding holiday and you can then have some riding lessons and perhaps some short walks out.
Type of ride: Based stay with rides out from the farmhouse.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: All year round with flexible dates.
 
Pricing: 2018:
Adult rider: £931
Non Rider : £834
Single supplement: £124
Short Break £671 5 nights
2019:
Adult rider: £949
Non Rider : £852
Single supplement: £132
Short Break £684 5 nights

Includes full board accommodation and riding. Free transfers are included from and to the local train station which takes you to Palermo airport (5 mins from the check in desk).




Trail in the Madonie Mountains



This is a seven night holiday combining a few days at the farmhouse with a few days trail riding. You will trotting, cantering and there will be some speedy gallops so guests need to be comfortable in all paces and happy with long hours in the saddle.

Please note that the itinerary may change due to local circumstances.

Day One:

You will be met upon arrival at the Airport. If you arrive in the morning, then breakfast will be taken at a local cafe in Catania or Palermo. You will have lunch at the farmhouse and hopefully enjoy a short afternoon ride. Dinner will be enjoyed at a local rustic restaurant in a nearby town.

Day Two:

Today you will breakfast at the farmhouse and enjoy a morning ride. Lunch will be at the farmhouse and then in the afternoon there will be a visit to Caccamo along with a tour of the castle. You will visit a horse training centre, drive down to the lake to see the dam and have dinner in the castle. If you are still up and running you can pop into a local nightspot for a drink or two (drinks here not included).

Day Three to Day Six:

These are the four trail days. You will ride from approximately 9am-6pm each day (variable from day to day) through the high and amazing picturesque peaks of the  Mountains. The approximate length of ride will be around 25-30 kms (around eight hours with a lunch break of an hour or so). Lunch will be packed lunches en route. Each day ends with a stay at a local agriturismo, most have swimming pools so you can enjoy a dip after a long day in the saddle.  Evening meals will be delicious homemade multi-course dinners in typical Sicilian style, accompanied by wine and  liquors. Drinks after the end of dinner and late into the night are not included. You will arrive back at the farmhouse and dinner will be a grand affair at a nearly restaurant where you will celebrate in style.

Day 7:

This will be a day of relaxation - maybe even a lie in! Perhaps there will be time time for a brief tour of Alia.  There will be a late lunch which will be a sumptuous BBQ on the terrace with view of the Gurfa valley. More excellent food and wine today!

Day 8:

Departure to the airport

Please note that arrival and departure dates are flexible but must tie in with the dates of the trail. 



Accommodation: Accommodation is at the farmhouse apart from three nights spent in agriturismos in the mountains, in beautiful locations and renowned for their good food.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Strong novice and above.
Type of ride: Based with a 4 day trail.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2019: Please contact us for any dates.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1108 per person
Includes full board accommodation, riding, excursions.