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A Taste of Sicily

Overview

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…

Highlights

  • 2 - 3 hours riding each day on a much-loved horse
  • Guided excursions with your host Mark
  • Dining out in authentic Sicilian restaurants
  • All drinks included with your meals
  • Friendly welcome for single travellers

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 3 - 4 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 95 kgs / 210 lbs / 15 st

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 wildflowers usually appearing at the end of February. This means that horse riding can be enjoyed throughout the year, with 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.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The horses are all ridden in simple English-style tack. Saddles and bridles are not always the smartest, but they are fit for purpose, safe and functional!

Horses

Mark and Pippa have a wide mix of breeds living with them, including some local warmbloods and Sicilian part-bred. There are also a number of elderly retired ponies living at the farmhouse who belonged to Pippa when she was much younger. The horses are a huge part of the family and will often live out their lives in the fields surrounding the farmhouse, even after they have stopped working.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Farmhouse Programme is a based ride
  • Sicily Culture & Nature Trail combines a based stay and point to point trail

Ages

11 years upward

Health

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

Weight

95 kgs / 210 lbs / 15 st

Food & Accommodation

Food

Breakfast is usually taken at the farmhouse and is often simple fare, including toast with butter and jam, cereals, yoghurts, croissants, jam tarts, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Lunches will normally be served at the farm and will usually be lighter (think pasta plates, with salads, desserts, wine, fruit, liqueurs and coffee). Dinners are the more substantial meal of the day and are mostly eaten out in different restaurants in the local towns and villages.

You will usually go out in the afternoon touring and viewing many other parts of beautiful Sicily, so Mark will choose an option from the best restaurants in whichever area you end up being in. In this way, you can experience the variety of traditional Sicilian meals available on the island and all wines, drinks and liqueurs are included with all meals out and at the ranch.

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 four 150-year-old grain barns that have been converted to the guests living quarters, tastefully furnished in antique style. All the rooms have ensuite bathrooms and can sleep from 1 to 5 people in them. The area surrounding the guest rooms has been enhanced by a large terrace that overlooks the picturesque valley with its ever-changing seasonal colours. The terrace is ideal for BBQs and social events and is regularly used for such.

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

Itineraries

Farmhouse Programme Standard accommodation.

Sicily Culture & Nature Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Various excursions are already included in the price of your holiday - your host, Mark, will take you to some of the most interesting places in the surrounding area and will share the history and culture of this beautiful island with you. This makes the holiday an excellent choice for non-riding companions. Excursions can include visits to castles and pre-historic caves, beach visits, tours of ancient towns and villages, a walking tour of the historic centre of Cefalu, a visit to a local friend for a barbecue and more.

Travel

Transfers are available from the airports of Palermo (1.5 hours), Catania (2 hours) or Trapani (2.5 hours) for an additional cost. Alternatively, you can come by train from Palermo to the nearest train station (Roccapalumba) and your host will collect you for free - please enquire.

Testimonials

Jenny, Nov. 6, 2019

Really enjoyable and relaxed, a supreme effort to match horse and rider. An informal atmosphere and plenty of fun!


Diana, Sept. 18, 2019

I loved seeing different aspects of Sicily. Mark is generous with his time and took trouble to give us varying experiences when not riding. Due to thunder and lighting and rain, we only rode four times but Mark always brought us somewhere instead.


Barbara, Sept. 18, 2019

Loved it overall - Mark, our host, was fantastic and did everything he could to make our holiday memorable. My favourite memory (hard to single one out!) is galloping flat out and extremely fast along one of the dirt tracks.


Claire W., May 22, 2019

Absolutely brilliant - much better than I could ever have imagined. Beautiful scenery, great food, lovely horses and brilliant hosts. Accommodation absolutely spot on, all meals were delicious and my room was lovely. Favourite memory riding through the wild flower meadows and galloping up the field. Superb and knowledgeable guides. Horses well cared for and it shows.


Solveig K., Feb. 13, 2018

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.


Melanie M., Oct. 17, 2017

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.


Anne L., June 29, 2016

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.


Bev C., June 29, 2016

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.


Jan G., May 19, 2016

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.


Jane N., Oct. 27, 2014

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.


Lynne G., Aug. 13, 2009

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!


Itinerary & Pricing

Days 1 to 8

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

A typical week long stay offers a combination of horse riding and sightseeing, as well as eating in local restaurants and exploring areas of interest. 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 the days activities 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, 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 2-3 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 c. 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 will ride back in the late afternoon in time for dinner. The return ride is c. 1.5 hours. 

On another day you might not ride at all but instead choose to take a day off 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 may go for lunch in interesting local restaurants and will perhaps eat out again in the evening to sample the Palermitan nightlife.

There are many interesting excursions available, 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. It's 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 Barbecue on the terrace, overlooking the Gurfa valley.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

Riders are expected to be of at least a competent novice level, able to walk, trot and canter. For beginners or very novice riders, we suggest you opt for a non-riding holiday and you can then have some riding lessons and perhaps some short rides out later in the week, once confident.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2020 - Jan. 1, 2022  (Dates available all year round with flexible arrival and departure days.)

Pricing

2022
Non-rider (5 nights); Sharing
£610 $685 €700
2022
Rider (7 nights); Sharing
£1045 $1170 €1195
2022
Non-rider (7 nights); Sharing
£840 $940 €960
2022
Rider (5 nights); Sharing
£765 $855 €875
Included Accommodation in shared rooms, full board meals, drinks with meals, daily riding (c.2-3 hours per day), local train station transfers, all other sightseeing excursions and outings, with transport.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, airport transfers, tips or personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Catania Airport Transfer £105 $118 €120
Paid to Far and Ride
Cost is per car, with up to 3 passengers, including travel both ways. Please ask us for transfer costs for 4 or more passengers.
2022 - Palermo Airport Transfer £83 $93 €95
Paid to Far and Ride
Cost is per car, with up to 3 passengers, including travel both ways. Please ask us for transfer costs for 4 or more passengers.
2022 - Single Supplement (5 nights) £97 $108 €110
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Single Supplement (7 nights) £132 $147 €150
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Trapani Airport Transfer £92 $103 €105
Paid to Far and Ride
Cost is per car, with up to 3 passengers, including travel both ways. Please ask us for transfer costs for 4 or more passengers.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

For those who arrive in the morning, you will enjoy a tasty lunch at the farm and, time permitting, a short afternoon ride in the local area. This is a good opportunity to get to know the horses before you set out on the trail. Dinner will be at a rustic local restaurant in a nearby town.

Days 2 to 5 - Mini Trail

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

The 4 day trek starts today. After breakfast you will help to groom and prepare your horses before heading out in the Sicilian hills. You will ride 15-20 kilometres a day, spending roughly 3 hours in the saddle of reach of these days. The trail will take you through some of the wonderful scenery of Sicily. Each riding day will end at a local agriturismo where you will enjoy a delicious lunch, before relaxing by the swimming pool. Some afternoons you will have to chance to head into the local town or do some sight seeing together with your hosts, before dinner is taken either back at the agriturismo or at a local restaurant, with all wines, beers, liquers and soft drinks included with your meal.

Your luggage will be transported between overnight stops for you and there will be a back up car throughout. You will be accompanied on this ride by your hosts, along with a knowledgeable local guide. The guide was born and raised in these hills and has ridden in them for over forty years. After the trail you will arrive back at the ranch and dinner will be a grand affair at nearby restaurant.

You will return to the farm at the end of the 4th day of riding, where you will enjoy a tasty dinner and a restful nights sleep!

Day 6 - The Gurfa Valley

Riding: No riding.

This will be relaxing day after your trail ride. Probably you will enjoy a late start this morning, followed by a short tour of the historic town of Alia. A late lunch will be a sumptuous barbecue on the terrace with wonderful views of the Gurfa Valley. For those who wish to ride, there may be an opportunity for a short hack in the afternoon.

Day 7 - Historic Caccamo

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast today you can enjoy a morning ride, before returning for lunch at the farm. In the afternoon you might like to visit Caccamo and take a tour of the castle, or visit a horse breeding and training centre nearby, perhaps take a drive down to the lake and see the dam. you will enjoy dinner out at a local restaurant and (if we are all up for it) pop into a local nightspot for a drink or two…. (drinks here not included).

Day 8 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

Departure any time after breakfast today. Those with late departing flights will be able to. relax at the farm, enjoy a final morning ride and lunch if required.

Earlier arrivals and later departures can easily be accommodated, for example, if you'd prefer to spend a few days at the farm base BEFORE the trail, so please do let us know if you would like to discuss other dates!

Accommodation

The accommodation will be a combination of the farmhouse base, in twin, double or single rooms, with own bathrooms, and during the three nights of the trail you will stay in local agriturismo (rural guesthouses), again in twin or double rooms (singles possible).

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Riders should be comfortable and walk, trot and canter. The riding days are shorter than most trails, typically spending c.3 hours in the saddle each day. This makes the ride perfect for those who are new to trail riding or prefer an easy day in the saddle.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

May 23, 2022 - May 30, 2022

Sept. 11, 2022 - Sept. 18, 2022

Pricing

2022
per person, sharing
£1135 $1265 €1295
Included Accommodation in shared rooms, full board meals, drinks with meals, daily riding (c.2-3 hours per day), local train station transfers, all sightseeing excursions and outings, as well as transport of luggage during the trail.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, airport transfers, drinks outside of meal times, tips or personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Catania Airport Transfer £105 $118 €120
Paid to Far and Ride
Cost is per car, with up to 3 passengers, including travel both ways. Please ask us for transfer costs for 4 or more passengers.
2022 - Palermo Airport Transfer £83 $93 €95
Paid to Far and Ride
Cost is per car, with up to 3 passengers, including travel both ways. Please ask us for transfer costs for 4 or more passengers.
2022 - Single Supplement £132 $147 €150
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.