Sicily Explorer riding holiday in Sicily - Far and Ride
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Sicily Explorer, Sicily





Reviews



I would highly recommend this holiday. The horses were perfect: I would've happily brought mine home with me - with very comfortable saddles. Our guide, Alex, was very knowledgable about Mount Etna and frequently stopped to tell us something of interest. The scenery was amazing and varied, along with the terrain!

Judith W.
Alex is a fantastic guide, he has a really deep knowledge of Sicily's cultural history as well as its natural beauty. He was also great with the horses. He was very attentive to all our needs, we felt safe and in good hands at all times and he had a real passion for Sicily (as well as horses!).

Russell
Fantastic - could not fault a single thing. The whole experience surpassed everything I was expecting. The whole trip was amazing - the horses, the scenery, food, hotels and guides - so many memories, cannot choose a favourite!

Paula M.
An amazing experience. Lovely horses, stunning scenery, an expert guide and loads of wonderful local food and wine.

Andrea T.
Just letting you know that I had the most amazing holiday with Alex in Sicily last week! It was beyond my expectations from start to finish. Alex and Attila were wonderful guides and such knowledgable horsemen. Our group bonded really well and we had so many laughs along the way. Most importantly the horses were fabulous - so nimble and forward going and very well cared for and trained by Alex. After the wonderful Sicilian food I'm now back on salads for a while!!

Jenny S.
This was hands down the best trail I've done. Everything was simply brilliant - Alex is an excellent guide, the horses are fun to ride and well-natured, the scenery was incredibly varied and beautiful and the food was delicious. I'll definitely be going back!

Lizzie R.
Excellent - one of the best rides that I have done!

Sarah C.
"Overall, how did you find the holiday?" Simple - it was amazing! Alex was brilliant. Don't think it could be improved. "Would you book another riding holiday with us in the future?" Yes, probably back to Sicily for a third time!

Glenys R. (2nd visit)
Great trail! Full of challenging routes and amazing sceneries; fantastic food throughout; Alex, Alberto and Riccardo top guides and entertainers. the tack used was one of the best I have ever used! Ash, my steed, was an amazing horse and reactive when needed, otherwise, he was Mr. Cool. (Favourite memory?) Canter at sunset towards Aragona; diving in the swimming pools at dusk after the rides and the chats at dinner with the group.

Veronica S. (Coast to Coast, July 2018).
We have had the most amazing time which exceeded all our expectations! The authenticity of Francesco and Alex and their passion for all things Sicilian permeates every aspect of this wonderful trail ride and for those looking for something “different” and away from the crowds we cannot recommend it enough.

Sarah and Pablo, Read review
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Mixed breeds, primarily of Sicilian and Arabian backgrounds.

Nature of horses:

Sure-footed and well-trained but forward-going.

Height of horses:

15 - 16hh.

Weight limit:

90kg / 14st 2lbs / 198lbs

Tack type:

Mostly English but western saddles are available on request.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

These adventurous riding holidays are the perfect way to experience Sicily. You will be riding with Alex, one of Sicily's most knowledgeable riding guides, either on different routes from the well-located agriturismo San Marco or on a multi day trail ride in other parts of the island. Riders will spend full days in the saddle riding through the beautiful landscapes of this special island and learning about its history.

The base-point and home for the horses is 3* Agriturismo San Marco, a renovated farm which lies in the territory of Castiglione di Sicilia, on the north side of Etna, at about 700m altitude. The farm is in an ideal location with the possibility to ride to the gorges of Alcantara, Castiglione and the crater of Moio as well as on the lower slopes of Mt Etna itself. Catania airport is just one hour by car and in forty minutes it's possible to visit Taormina, the famous coastal town overlooking the Ionian Sea, rich in history and culture. San Marco is the starting point for many of the trails and it's also possible to organise a based stay there on request, with adventurous daily rides.

During the exciting multi-day trails such as 'Cefalu to Etna' and the 'Mini Trails', you will move between comfortable accommodations, spending long hours in the saddle, riding through various parts of Sicily depending on which route you have chosen. These multi-day trails are suitable for fit, experienced riders as the hours are often very long and there is some challenging terrain. They make for great Sicilian adventures! For those who have the sense of adventure but would prefer something a little less challenging, then we also offer the 'Etna Circular Trail' allowing guests to explore the trails of Etna with less hours in the saddle and at a more leaisurely pace.

Holly from Far and Ride has ridden with Alex from Cefalu to Etna and stayed at San Marco, so please get in touch with her if you have any questions. You can be assured of a great horseback adventure and wonderful Sicilian hospitality!

"To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

The base point of these rides is Agriturismo San Marco, a 3* accommodation based in the hamlet of Rovittello, just on the lower slopes of Etna (700m above sea level). Many of the trails start here with guests staying in comfortably furnished rooms with en-suite shower rooms. The old farm buildings were renovated and so bedrooms are new and comfortable, but still keeping some of the traditional feel. A stationary programme with accommodation here every night is also a possibility.

The agriturismo grounds cover 12 hectares and they grow much of their own produce on the land. They rent out mountain bikes and have a reading/TV room available for guests, as well as a restaurant on site.

During the trail rides, guests will stay in different guesthouses/hotels along the trail route. Mostly they are rural guesthouses of around 3* level, simple but clean, comfortable and generally with en suite bathrooms. They all serve traditional cuisine.

Guests will enjoy typical Sicilian cooking during the rides - this includes a buffet style breakfast and a dinner comprising several courses and accompanied by local wine. The food here is fresh, traditional and absolutely delicious. During the stationary programme you will be in an area famed for its prestigious wines!

On the multi-day trails lunches will be generally be simple picnics carried in the saddle bags, usually sandwiches. However, sometimes these will be more elaborate including local produce such as cheeses, meats, pastas and salads.

 

Activities

Mountain biking and walking. If you are on the stationary programme then Taormina is just 30 minutes by car and well-worth a visit if you have the time!

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French, Italian.

Health requirements: Good fitness required.

Age limit: 16+

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation, meals and riding.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers, extra drinks, tips and souvenirs.

 

Travel Information

If you book the stationary programme then Catania airport lies approximately 1 hour by car from the agriturismo. Airport transfers are included for week long stays, or additional cost for shorter stays (currently 80 euro per vehicle each way, for up to 3 passengers, payable locally).

If you choose one of the trails then we can advise on the closest airports. Transfers are included for the week-long trails, but additional cost for the shorter stays.

Airport: Catania

Alternative Airport: Palermo

 

Programmes


Mount Etna Mini Trail



This four day trail is the ideal way to explore the landscapes of Mt Etna and its surrounding countryside in a limited time. The ride is suitable for experienced riders who are fit to cope with long hours in the saddle, covering varied terrain and perhaps experiencing all sorts of weather along the way. In the evenings you will dine on delicious Sicilian cuisine and wine before sleeping in comfort. 

Itinerary:

NB: The following is an example itinerary which may be subject to change at your hosts discretion.

Day 1 (c.7 hours of riding): San Marco - Villa Dorata 

Departure from Agriturismo San Marco at 8:00. After crossing a path in the middle of a lava flow from 1911 and passing by the village of Solicchiata, famous for its production of fine wines, you begin the ascent from the north, riding through forests of oak and chestnut. After around three hours riding you will reach the cave "Palombe", one of the many caves of Etna formed during the effusive eruptions, and will arrive soon at the Pista Altomontana, a track with an average height of 1700 meters above sea level. You will follow this track to the refuge of Monte Spagnolo, riding on through lava flows, past craters and beech forests. You will see Monte Nunziata Cave before coming to the refuge Galvarina where you will take your picnic break. 

 In the afternoon you continue to follow the track from which, during the days of good visibility, you can see half of Sicily. You pass by the cave of Santa Barbara and will finally reach your hotel Villa Dorata. Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Catania, its plain and its Gulf, all the way to Syracuse. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2 (c.5 hours of riding): Villa Dorata - Airone Wellness Hotel

Breakfast and departure at around 7:30. On leaving your hotel, you start to climb towards the Rifugio Sapienza, the most visited place of Etna, from where the cable car takes tourists in the summer to the summit of the volcano and in the winter to the ski resort. You will reach a height of about 2000 meters form where you can admire the 'mouth' of the 2001 eruption which spewed millions of cubic meters of lava that engulfed many of the buildings and streets on Etna's southern side. You pass then through the Silvestri Craters, born during a big eruption at the end of nineteenth century, so called “bottoniera” because they follow a line of fracture like the buttons of a shirt. You descend then through very rough paths across recent and older lava flows and thick forests until you reach the territory of Zafferana Etnea, famous for its large production of honey. You will stop here, spending the night at the Airone Wellness Hotel - this beautiful hotel has sea views and is equipped with a wellness centre (free to use) and a swimming pool. You will have dinner at the hotel too. 

Day 3 (c. 6 hours of riding): Airone Wellness Hotel - Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi

Breakfast followed by departure at around 9am. The ride today begins with a climb up Etna's north-eastern side through oak forests, passing the famous Ilici du Carrinnu, huge trees which are several centuries old. You will then ride along the edge of the Valle del Bove which is a famous depression in the landscape into which all the lava from eruptions (on the eastern side) flows. 

After a picnic lunch you will set off again, climbing to reach the impressive Sartorius craters which were formed during a major lateral eruption in 1865. You will descend through forests of birch and beech trees before finally arriving at the Ragabo pine forests with giant pine trees and your accommodation, the Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi, where you will have dinner and overnight. 

Day 4 (c.7 hours of riding): Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi - San Marco

Breakfast and departure around 8am. You will ride up through the pine forest to the Piano Provenzana, a well-known ski resort where you can climb a series of tracks and paths through a moonlike landscape, passing through the site of the last major eruption in 2002. You will wind your way along the craters that were formed on 26th October in that year before riding around Monte Nero and stopping for a picnic lunch near the Timpa Rossa refuge. This is immersed in a beech forest, one of the furthest south in the Northern hemisphere. You will then begin your descent on Etna's north side, through various forests, until reaching the vineyards of Solicchiata. You will arrive back at your starting point at Agriturismo San Marco and can depart after riding or add an additional night with dinner and breakfast (recommended). 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Strong intermediate with good fitness. You need to be able to ride at all paces and for long hours, comfortable with covering a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 4 days in the saddle, hours ranging from 6 - 8 per day.
Departure dates: 2018: Dates to suit for a minimum of 2 or more riders.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£895 per person.
Single supplement: £112 per person, if available.

Price includes 3 nights of accommodation, dinners, breakfasts and 4 days of guided riding with picnic lunches.

Airport transfers are available for 80 euro per vehicle each way (up to 3 passengers), payable locally.

Extra night of accommodation at San Marco: £63 per person (double room) or £81 per person (single room).



Etna Circular Trail



This trek is a spectacular adventure that leads you around the highest active volcano in Europe, through tracks, mule paths and pistes. You will travel on the back of beloved horses, who will lead you through a succession of dense woods and recent lava flows to breathtaking views of the mini continent that is Sicily. With shorter riding days than the other point-to-point trails, this trail is perfect for riders who want something a little less challenging, as well as plenty of extra time to enjoy the swimming pools and facilities at the comfortable accommodations.

Itinerary: 

** Please note that this is a guideline and may be subject to change at the discretion of your host and guide.

Day 1: 

Transfer from the airport in time for dinner and overnight at San Marco.

Day 2 (c.5 hours of riding): San Marco - Feudo Vagliasindi

Breakfast and departure from the farmhouse at around 9:00 am. You will begin by heading in the direction of the river Alcantara, toward the small gorges at Castiglione. Passing by the Byzantine Cuba (place of worship from the VII century), you will follow the paths up the valley and through the Parco fluviale dell'Alcantara. After a full morning, you will reach the outskirts of Randazzo, where there will be a picnic lunch setup and awaiting your arrival. An enjoyable rest here and then back in the saddle to head to your accommodation for the night, Hotel Feudo Vagliasindi which is surrounded by vineyards and is the old home of the Vagliasindi barons. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 (c. 5 hours of riding): Feudo Vagliasindi - La Fucina di Vulcano

Breakfast and an early departure at around 8:30am. Today you will begin to ascend the north-east slope of the volcano, Etna, through forests of oak, chestnut, beech and Sicilian brooms (genista aetnensis). This highly perfumed species of tree flowers between May and September, filling the slopes of Etna with its heady aromas and can be recognised at this time by its wonderful yellow flowers and considerable size. Coming up above the trees, you will reach the Pista Altomontana (the high mountain paths), near to the mount of Santa Maria. You will continue to follow the tracks up to the mount of Spagnolo, passing through the lava fields left behind by the eruption of 1981. Heer you will spot the "Hornitos" (from the Spanish "little ovens") which appear as small mouths that opened up during the violent eruption. You will find a sheltered place to enjoy your picnic, with an amazing view over - seemingly - all of Sicily, before again descending from the western slope towards tonight's accommodation. La Fucina di Vulcano is a very comfortable hotel which offers magnificent views of the western slopes of Etna. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: (c.5 hours of riding): La Fucina di Vulcano - Villa Dorata

Breakfast and another early departure from our hotel at around 8:30am. Again, you will start the day by heading uphill from the western leg of the Pista Altomontana to reach the mount of Scavo. From here you will pass through a succession of charming beech and conifer forests, reaching yet more recent lava flows. On the days of good visibility you can enjoy breathtaking views over Sicily and then onwards along the high western slope of Etna, where you can have some nice gallops. You will take your picnic lunch near the mountain refuge of Galvarina. Then, riding through the afternoon, you will reach your fourth accommodation of the trip, Villa Dorata. This is a beautiful small villa overlooking the Gulf of Catania and the mediterranean sea. Dinner and overnight.

Day 5: (c.5 hours of riding) Villa Dorata - Airone Wellness Hotel

Following breakfast you will have a very early departure from Villa Dorata today, at around 7:30am. This will allow more time at the next nights accommodation in order to enjoy the pool and facilities. You will start by crossing a reserved area known as the ​​"Rifugio Sapienza", where you will be able to visit the Silvestri Craters (large lateral craters born during a major eruption in the late XIX century). You will then start to descend through the "Desert of Etna", so called because of the harshness of the territory and absence of any marked trails running through it. Finally you will return to the tree line and then through forests of oaks, holm and chestnut trees, before reaching the village of Zafferana Etnea, famous for its production of honey. Here you will also find your next accommodation at Airone Wellness Hotel, a beautiful hotel with sea views and equipped with a wellness centre (free to use) and a swimming pool. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6: (c.6 hours of riding): Airone Wellness Centre - Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi

After breakfast you will enjoy a relatively leisurely departure from the farmhouse at around 9:00am today. Starting off by climbing back up the slopes from the east side of Etna, through predominantly oak forests with the inclusion of the famous "Ilici du Carrinnu", large specimen of oak tree with enormous size, believed to be around 700 years old! You will pass along the edge of the Valle del Bove, a great gorge on the eastern slope of the mountain which channels the flow of lava during eruptions. You will enjoy a picnic lunch up on the slopes, before mounting up and resuming your journey uphill to the Sartorius Craters. These fantastic scars on the landscape were created during a large flank eruption in 1865 and now forms an interesting piece of geological marvel. Finally you will begin to head down from the slopes, through forests of birch and beech and arrive in the Pineta Ragabo, with its great umbrella-like pine trees (pinus larix). Here is also located your accommodation for the night, Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7: (c.6 hours of riding): Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi - San Marco

Breakfast followed by departure from the chalet at around 9:00am. Today you will begin again by ascending through the pine forests of the lower slopes until you reach Piano Provenzana - renowned ski resort in winter months. Here you will climb yet further, following a set of tracks and paths through an almost lunar landscape. This plateau was the scene of the last major eruption of Etna, back in 2002. The craters you will ride along up here were only created in October of that year following ongoing ground movements on this side of the Volcano. You will continue along the camber of the craters until you loop around to the mount Nero. Here you will stop in a shelter place to enjoy a picnic lunch, near the refuge of Timpa Rossa. You'll find yourself completely immersed in one of the most southerly beech forests of the hemisphere, before beginnign the descend from the northern side of Etna. Winding down through mixed deciduous forests, up through vineyards near Solicchiata, to finally arrive back at the home base, Farmhouse San Marco. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8: 

Breakfast and departure for the airport or onward travel.



Accommodation: Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate and experienced riders with good fitness. You will need to be happy riding over challenging terrain and at great heights. The pace is not overly fast (mainly walking due to the terrain) although there are opportunities for plenty of trots and canters along the route.
Type of ride: Trail ride.
Total riding time: c.5-6 hours per day for 6 days.
Departure dates: 2018: 26 May - 2 June, 22- 29 September.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1567 per person, based on double/twin room accommodation.

Price includes transfers from/to Catania airport, accommodation, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, guided riding and support vehicle.

Single supplement (where available): £224 *

*Single supplement has to be paid if there is nobody for you to share with (or if you are not willing to share a room and would prefer to pay the extra).



Stationary Programme



A seven night residential programme with six days in the saddle riding on different routes and one night out away from base. San Marco is an excellent starting point from which to reach many beautiful sites on horseback. After each day of riding you are guaranteed very comfortable accommodation and delicious Sicilian cuisine back at your accommodation. The programme includes some excellent non-riding activities too, including a visit to the famous coastal town of Taormina, a cultural tour of Catania and a wine tasting in the Alcantara Valley. 

Day to Day Itinerary: 

Day 1: Arrival at the farmhouse San Marco with dinner and overnight. 

Day 2: Breakfast and departure around 9am for a riding tour of the Alcantara Valley, riding amongst the vineyards, olive groves, hazel and lava flows and making several river crossings (in the warmer months it's possible to cool off in these crystal clear waters). A picnic lunch is served along the river by the Gorges of Castiglione. You will return to San Marco in the early afternoon and around 4pm will take a transfer by car (around 40 minutes) to the beautiful town of Taormina, known as the "Pearl of Sicily". Here you will make a visit of some sites before free time. A fish dinner will be served in the coastal town of Giardini Naxos before you are transferred back to San Marco for the night. 

Day 3: Breakfast and departure from San Marco around 8am for a visit of Catania (1 hour by car), the second biggest city of Sicily which is rich in history and monuments. Here there will be a short cultural tour and some free time in the area of Duomo/Via Etnea. You will return back to San Marco in time for lunch and for a late afternoon ride in the surrounding area of Rovittello, exploring hazel orchards and vineyards whilst enjoying breathtaking views of Etna and the Alcantara Valley. Dinner and overnight in San Marco. 

Day 4: Breakfast and departure on horseback around 9.30am towards the River Park of Alcantara, riding upriver towards the gorges of Malvagna where you can bathe in the river before the picnic lunch. In the afternoon there is a little ride to the picturesque and typical Sicilian town of Malvagna. Dinner and overnight in the B&B L'Arco dei Sogni. 

Day 5: Breakfast and departure from Malvagna around 9am. You will descend into the valley to the surroundings of Castiglione di Sicilia, a beautiful and old Sicilian town which is rich in history and monuments. You'll make a visit there after your picnic lunch by the river. Dinner and overnight in San Marco.

Day 6: Today is dedicated to Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Depending on weather and volcanic conditions it could be possible to reach the craters at the summit, around 3000m altitude. Dinner and overnight at the farmhouse San Marco. 

Day 7: Breakfast and departure around 9.30am for another tour in the enchanting valley of Alcantara. Today you will have a wine tasting of Etna DOC wines, one of the most renowned wineries in the area. Back at the farm in the afternoon with a last riding tour (around 2 hours), dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Breakfast and transfer to the airport. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate and above - riders need to be fit and confident to ride long days in the saddle including walk, trot and canter, as well as riding over some difficult terrain.
Type of ride: Based stay with daily trail rides.
Total riding time: Six days of riding with between 2 - 4 hours per day.
Departure dates: 2018: 21-28 April, 5-12 May, 19-26 May, 9-16 June, 16-23 June, every week from 8 July - 1 September, 8-15 September, 29 September - 6 October, 13-20 October.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1737 per person, based on a twin/double room.
£1961 per person, based on a single room.

Prices includes Catania airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day (picnic lunches), drinks with meals and 6 days of guided riding. Price also includes non-riding tours and wine-tasting as detailed in the programme.



Cefalu to Etna Trail



This horseback journey will surprise even the most seasoned equestrian with its beauty as you ride through four Sicilian parks: the Madonie, Nebrodi, Etna and Alcantara. The itinerary from Cefalù to Etna is characterised by an evocative landscape as well as a mixture of history, culture and tradition.

Through the ancient “Regia Trazzera” across the Madonie park you will follow old trails where Sicilian cowboys used to drive their herds from winter mountain pastures to summer lowland pastures. From there it is onwards to the Nebrodi and to the slopes of the famous Mt. Etna. This is an extraordinary adventure during which you will feel part of nature, riding a hardy and well cared for horse over a variety of interesting terrain. You will ride through some wild isolated country during the day but return at night to 3 star comfort and some local gastronomic delights. The traditional Sicilian cuisine is a source of great pride in the land's tumultuous history and reflects the influences of the changes. The isolated countryside will be a welcome change from city pollution and together with the extraordinary beauty and variety of landscapes it will ensure riders have a trip to remember.

The Madonie park, created in 1988, protects the variety of wildlife and vegetation present on the island. The land is rich with history: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all had influence on the towns and villages in this area of Italy. You will find castles and monasteries unique in Italy and the theatre of the famous “Targa Florio" car race.

The Nebrodi contains over 70km of mountains in which 50% of Sicilian forests are found; this is truly the green heart of the island. Riding on you reach Alcantara park where waters flow for about 40km in between castles and stunning landscapes, complete with lava gorges and native vegetation. Mt. Etna is unique in the Mediterranean. Its continuous succession of eruptions and variety of terrain from the sea to the forest make it a diverse ecosystem in which an incredible quantity of animals and plants are founded.

Alexandre is a very experienced trail guide and his knowledge of the countryside is matched with their passion for the environment and their pride in Sicily. The calm, good-natured horses will ensure that your trip is enjoyable, comfortable and safe with the long hours in the saddle. The route covers a distance of more than 200km at heights between 200 metres above sea level and 1600 metres on Nebrodi. Depending on the season it could take you to 2000 metres on Mount Etna. Most of the route leads through wild, wooded landscapes of Sicily, only short stretches are paved road. Accommodation is in high quality 3 star hotels/guesthouses and you will enjoy typical Sicilian food. Lunches are taken en route and are often in the form of a picnic.  

Itinerary

NB - please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or volcanic conditions. 

Day 1:

Transfer from the airport and overnight in a beautiful farmhouse Villa Magara (with swimming pool) in the territory of Cefalu, just 2km from the historic centre and with fantastic views down to the sea. There will be an evening dinner with a briefing and an outline of the trail. If you arrive before 4pm then a guided tour of Cefalù is a possibility. 

Day 2 (c.7 hours of riding): Cefalu - San Mauro Castelverde

After breakfast you will be suitably matched to a horse, tack will be checked and you will be made aware of the characteristics of your particular horse. At approximately 8am the trail begins and the route takes you through very scenic and varied terrain where you will find cork forests, scrubland, vineyards, olive groves and pastures. After passing through the territory of Santa Anastasia, home to an ancient Norman Abbey and well known winery you will continue through the  countryside around Castelbuono, a charming medieval town, rich in history and traditions. You will reach the wild valley of River Pollina (considered the eastern boundary of the territory of the Madonie) where you will have a picnic. After your lunch stop you will ride on to the town of San Mauro Castelverde, a medieval town on the top of a mountain, standing at about 1100m above sea level. You can visit the centre before finally reaching Al Convento, a recently restored eighteenth centre Capuchin monastery. Dinner of typical local produce will be served and you will spend the night here. 

Day 3 (c.6 hours of riding): San Mauro Castelverde - Monte Soprano

You will set out from the farm after breakfast, following an old "trazzera" (transhumance road dating back to at least the Bourbonsand enjoying scenic views over the fields. You will pass through fields of grain and forage up to an altitude of about a 1000m and then move under the huge blades of a wind farm until you reach Malpassetto, the border of the provinces of Palermo, Enna and Messina. 

You will ride into the woods of the 'Sambughetti-Campanito' reserve, where you will eat your picnic, before entering into the territory of Nicosia and Cerami. From here you will ride along a steep path through a cork forest, with the possibility to enter a prehistoric troglodyte dwelling, before reaching the agriturismo Monte Soprano (with pool) where you will enjoy a delicious dinner and stay the night.

Day 4 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Soprano - Rifugio del Parco

Today you enter into the heart of Nebrodi Park, riding along the famous 'Ridge of Nebrodi' - this is a long, dirt track which runs between forests and high mountain pastures. Nebrodi is a charming area which offers incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aeolian Islands to one side, with the Sicilian hinterland provides of Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania and Etna to the other side. Alex will lead you through the beech woods in the territory of San Fratello which is famous for its horse breed which is very hardy and has a large, strong head. It's possible to see them grazing in the wild. 

Lunch today is taken in a small clearing in the shade of the trees, close to a water source (Nocita). In the afternoon you will reach the hotel of Rifugio del Parco where you will eat a great dinner of local Nebrodi produce. 

Day 5 (c.8 hours of riding): Rifugio del Parco - Monte Colla 

This is arguably the most beautiful part of the trail - over 40 kms in the wild and green territory, riding along the 'Dorsale dei Nebrodi'. You will come to the Lake Maulazzo which is overlooked by Mount Soro, the highest peak in the Nebrodi (1847m) and covered by impressive beech woods. The trail comes next to the famous lake Biviere di Cesarò which is a stop-off for migratory birds. Riding along the 'Dorsale' brings you from lush forests into beautiful clearings which offer views of the Aeolian Islands to the north and to the majestic peak of Mount Etna to your south. Your afternoon ride will bring you to Monte Colla, the most isolated farmhouse in the island dating back to the 18th century and now converted into an agriturismo. It is an ancient aristocratic residence situated at about 1400m high in the territory of Randazzo. You will be tired but no doubt feeling satisfied, ready to enjoy a wonderful traditional Sicilian meal cooked with local fresh produce.

Day 6 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Colla - San Marco 

After breakfast the group will leave Monte Colla heading in the direction of the source of the Alcantara River. You will ride on towards Santa Domenica di Vittoria, a typical Sicilian Village on the edge of the Nebrodi Park, passing through it before descending into a fertile valley between Etna, the Nebrodi mountains and the Peloritan mountains. The trail takes you through orchards and fields of local vegetables before reaching Mojo Alcantara, a small village which is famous for its "eccentric" crater (eccentric as it is located outside the perimeter of Etna) which exploded a few thousand years ago. The crater's lava flow followed the route of the Alcantara River, settings its course and carving out the famous gorges for which the river is known around the world.

After a picnic lunch you ride along country lanes, bordered by stone walls made from lava rock, crossing back and forth the river until the Gorges of Castiglione and the Cuba Bizantina - this is a place of worship built in an unusual quadrangular shape and dating from around the 7th or 8th century AD. Finally you will reach agriturismo San Marco for dinner and overnight. 

Day 7 (c.7 hours of riding): San Marco to Etna North 

Today you will leave at 9.00 am after breakfast. After passing through a rich agricultural area characterised by crops of peaches, almonds, olives, vineyards and drywalls of lava stone, you will enter into the Etna natural park! The ride will take you through beautiful forests of pine, oak and chestnut and onwards to visit volcanic caves and enjoy breathtaking views of Sicily and Calabria. From here it's up into the Ragabopine forest which lies around 1500m above sea level.

You'll stop here for lunch and a rest, enjoying your interesting surroundings, before climbing back in the saddle to continue the adventure. Your guide will lead you on a climb through the pine forests towards Piano Provenzano (approximately 1800m a.s.l) and, according to the season, weather and volcanic conditions, up to the craters of the last great eruption of 2002. At the end of the day you will come back down to spend your second evening at San Marco where you will enjoy a good dinner and a chance to reflect on the beautiful images of the week's trail. 

Day 8:

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your journey home. 



Accommodation: Accommodation is in good quality 3 star hotels and guesthouses.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Experienced rider with good fitness. You need to be able to ride at all paces and for long hours, comfortable with covering a variety of different terrain. This is the most challenging trail at this destination with several days of 7+ hours riding - you should be up for an adventure!

Riders joining in November should be of an especially adventurous spirit, fit to ride long hours and in any kind of weather and happy to start early each day so as to get the riding done before dark.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 - 8 hours per day (25 - 50km).
Departure dates: 2018: 14-21 April, 12-19 May, 15-22 September, 27 October - 3 November.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1621 per person, based on double/twin room accommodation. Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), accommodation, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, guided riding and support vehicle.

Single supplement (where available): £224 *

*Single supplement has to be paid if there is nobody for you to share with (or if you are not willing to share a room and would prefer to pay the extra).



Corleone to Cefalu Trail



This adventurous but comfortable trail ride will take you through some of Sicily's lesser-known areas, starting in the famous town of Corleone and leading you to the seaside town of Cefalu. During the ride you will explore a multitude of charming landscapes and terrain including dense woodlands, cultivated farmland, mountains of chalk or limestone, endless fields of grain, mysterious caves and ancient farms, towns and villages with fascinating histories. 

Whilst you will spend long days in the saddle and will need to be fit, you will receive a warm welcome every evening at a quality guesthouse and will have a chance to rest. Each place serves delicious Sicilian cuisine and wine, with meals created using local produce. Dinners are a minimum of four courses and lunches are eaten as picnics during the rides. 

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival: You will be transferred from the airport to your first accommodation in Corleone, Agriturismo Ridocco. Here you will meet your guide and the other trail guests for a first dinner and a good sleep. 

Day 2 - Corleone to Gorgo del Drago: Your first riding day begins after breakfast with departure on horseback at approximately 08:30. The trail starts with the crossing of open fields which are planted with grains and fodder, still the island's main agricultural produce since Roman times. From here you will ride into the forest reserve of Pirello and after three hours or so of travelling you will reach the reserve of the Ficuzza Wood - this was established by King Ferdinand of Bourbon in 1799 as his personal hunting ground. At approximately 7400 hectares this is one of the largest and most well-preserved natural woodlands in Sicily. You will take your picnic under the imposing slopes of Rocca Busambra which is the highest peak in western Sicily, standing at 1602m, before mounting up again to ride further into the forests. This reserve is home to a range of indigenous plants including red oak, holm oak, ash and pine. Your guide will lead you through the village of Ficuzza where you can make a short stop in order to admire the eighteenth century palace of King Ferdinand, also pausing to enjoy a refreshing drink from a bar. 

After this break you will ride on towards your overnight accommodation, the farmhouse Gorgo del Drago which lies on the edge of the reserve. Here you will settle your horses for the night before enjoying a sumptuous dinner and overnight in the farmhouse rooms. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 7.

Day 3 - Gorgo del Drago to Villa Dafne: Breakfast followed by departure from Gorgo del Drago at approximately 08:00. You will pass through the village of Godrano, which is famous for its cheese production, and onwards to Cefala Diana which is home to an old castle of Arab origins. From here you pass through Villafrati and then to Ciminna whose landscapes are characterised by rock formations composed of gypsum crystals, also where you will stop to enjoy your picnic lunch.

In the afternoon you will saddle up again and ride towards Roccapalumba, nicknamed "the town of the stars" for its planetarium and star-gazing opportunities. You will arrive at Villa Dafne where you will dine and sleep. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 8.

Day 4 - Villa Dafne to Mandragiumenta: This morning you will leave your accommodation on horseback at approximately 08:30, riding through arable farmlands following royal 'trazzere'. These are routes established during the Bourbon period for the relocation of livestock from north to south, still used today. You will then pass under the town of Alia and on to the caves of Gurfa, in the territory of Alia, which is home to the tomb of Minos. This king of Crete came to Sicily to hunt for Daedalus, who had helped Minos' daughter Ariadne and her lover, Theseus, to slay the Minotaur and escape from Crete. Minos was said to have been enraged at the loss of his daughter and therefore sought to find Daedalus who had settled in Sicily, but he was lured and killed by the daughters of Cocalos, the Sican king, before he could find him. Minos' tomb was transformed into a temple during the classical era, then used as a grain store in Roman times and even a luxury home in the Arab era. It was then used as a stable until 1997 and now stands as part of Alia's cultural heritage. 

Following a picnic lunch at these fascinating caves, you will re-mount your horses and follow the trazzere to the agricultural town of Valledolmo for a drink at the bar. From here you will ride on to the farmhouse Mandragiumenta where you will eat dinner and spend the night. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 5.

Day 5 - Mandragiumenta to Casale Drinzi: Following breakfast and departure at approximately 08:30, you will ride over fields towards Sclafani Bagni, an ancient village perched on the mountainside. Here you can visit the panoramic ruins of a medieval castle and enjoy a coffee at the bar, before riding on towards a thermal spring for your picnic and a dip in the health-giving waters. 

After lunch and your thermal bath you will follow Salito, a tributary of the northern Imera river which represents the western limit of the Madonia territory. Dinner and overnight will be at Casale Drinzi.

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 6 - Casale Drinzi to Feudo Galefona: Breakfast and departure at 08:30 again. Today's ride takes places in the heart of the Madonie Natural Park, home to the largest biodiversity on the island - its 40,000 hectares is home to more species than the whole of Great Britain! On leaving the farm you will start to climb to high altitudes, witnessing the dramatic changes in vegetation and landscapes as you go, passing through dense forests of red and holm oak. In the afternoon you will reach the medieval village of Isnello. Tonight you will dine and sleep at Feudo Galefona.

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 7 - Feudo Galefona - Cefalu: Breakfast and departure, beginning in the direct of the sea and passing through some areas of great botanical and scenic interest. You will reach Gibilmanna in time for a picnic lunch - this is home to the famous shrine of Our Lady, a spiritual destination for pilgrims travelling from all over Sicily. 

In the afternoon you will continue your descent on horseback, eventually arriving to the seaside resort town of Cefalu. After a fond farewell to the dear horses who have carried you on this ride, they will be loaded onto trucks and transported back home for a well-earned rest. You will then be transported to Villa Magara where you will enjoy a seafood dinner before spending the night. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 8 - Departure: After breakfast it is time to head to the airport or to continue your travels in Sicily. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Strong intermediate - advanced. You MUST have good riding fitness and be able to spend several long days in the saddle in a row. There is some challenging terrain and occasions when you may need to lead your horse on foot.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days riding with up to 8 hours a day.
Departure dates: 2018: 2-9 June, 23 - 30 June.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1621 per person, based on double/twin room accommodation.

Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), accommodation, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, guided riding and support vehicle.

Single supplement (where available): £224 *

*Single supplement has to be paid if there is nobody for you to share with (or if you are not willing to share a room and would prefer to pay the extra).



Mysterious Sicily Mini Trail



This mini trail includes three days in the saddle and is a chance to discover a little taste of beautiful Sicily from horseback. You will explore one of the most picturesque and mysterious areas of this special island. With comfortable farmhouse accommodation, delicious food and lots of riding hours, this is the ideal way to fit some riding into a limited amount of time! With beautiful views of Mt Etna and a range of intriguing landscapes to explore, this short break will no doubt leave you wanting to visit Sicily again.

Itinerary:

NB - Please note that this is a guideline and may be subject to change at the discretion of your host and guide.

Day 1 (c.7 hours of riding): San Marco - Il Daino 

At approximately 8am you will start out from San Marco Agriturismo, in the Alcantara Valley, and after crossing the river will begin to climb through the forest reserve Malabotta. This lies on the extreme eastern propensity of the Nebrodi mountain range and offers breathtaking views of the valley and of Etna. You will ride up to about 1200m above sea level where you will find the 'Patriarchs of the Forest', represented by ancient oak and beech trees of considerable size, where you will stop for your picnic lunch. From here you will ride on to the Argimusco, nicknamed "the Sicilian Stonehenge", famous for its megaliths and very suggestive forms which some believe have occurred due to weathering and others think to be eroded sculptures of an ancient civilisation, unrecognised in official history. Your ride then heads down towards the north where you will pass by the medieval town of Montalbano Elicona, taking time to make a short tour of the old town and to visit the castle. You will then head to your hotel in the town's main square where you will have dinner and overnight. 

Day 2 (c.6 hours of riding): Montalbano - Monte Colla 

After breakfast you will start climbing into the eastern territory of the Nebrodi mountains, crossing arable lands and woodlands, passing under big wind turbines and meeting the so-called "tholos" - these small, circular, stone buildings have been used by unknown civilisations since prehistoric times and, until a few years ago, by local shepherds. Riding on, you will arrive in Floresta which is Sicily's highest town, located at 1275m above sea level. After a picnic break the ride will continue inside Nebrodi Natural Park, following winding paths through beautiful landscapes and forests of oak, maple and beech trees before bringing you to Monte Colla, the most isolated farmhouse of the island. The house is 7km from the nearest paved road and is an aristocratic home from the 18th century with an attached barn at about 1400m high. Dinner and overnight here. 

Day 3 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Colla - San Marco 

After breakfast you will begin by walking towards the direction of the source of the Alcantara and then on towards Santa Domenica di Vittoria, a traditional village on the border of the park, which you will cross before making your way down to the fertile valley lying between Etna and the mountains Nebrodi and Peloritans. Passing by orchards of fruit trees and vegetables you will come to Mojo Alcantara, a village which is famous for its "eccentric crater" meaning that it lies outside the perimeter of Etna. It exploded a few thousand years ago and its lava flow has followed the course of the river which first modelled it, carving the famous Alcantara Gorges which are known far and wide. After your picnic break your guide will lead you on country lanes which are bordered by lava stone walls and on to multiple river crossings, taking you up to the "small gorges" and the "Byzantine Cuba". This place of worship dates back to the 7th or 8th century, recognised by its particular squared shape. After visiting these fascinating sites you will ride back to the starting point of your trail, San Marco. Generally speaking you will finish the ride at approximately 5.30 - 6pm. 

It is possible to book an extra night at the accommodation and leave after breakfast.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Strong intermediate with good fitness. You need to be able to ride at all paces and for long hours, comfortable with covering a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 3 days in the saddle, hours ranging from 6 - 8 per day.
Departure dates: 2018: Dates can be arranged for a minimum of 2 riders (outside of other trail dates on this page).
 
Pricing: 2018:

£672 per person sharing.
Single supplement: £54 per person, if available.

Price includes 2 nights of accommodation, dinners, breakfasts and 3 days of guided riding with picnic lunches.

Airport transfers are an additional cost of 80 euro per vehicle each way (up to three passengers), payable locally.

Extra night of accommodation at San Marco before or after the trail: £63 per person sharing or £81 in single room.



Coast to Coast Trail



An exciting adventure from Sicily's north coast all the way to the south! This fascinating trail connects the two famous and ancient cities of Cefalu and Agrigento by crossing the Sicilian hinterland between them. The first exploratory ride was carried out in November 2014 after months of planning and since then, many riders around the world have had the opportunity to experience this beautiful ride. Now Alex and his team have improved and perfected the ride and reinstate it for their customers in 2018.

Day 1: Arrival

Guests will arrive to Cefalu for dinner and overnight at Villa Magara, a beautiful panoramic property which faces the Tyrrhenian Sea and has a swimming pool. If you arrive earlier in the day then you have a chance to visit the wonderful old town. 

Day 2: Cefalu - Piano Battaglia

After breakfast you will be assigned your horse for the trail, then departing from Villa Magara at approximately 8am. The ride begins with a climb through dense Mediterranean vegetation and breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Coast and the Gulf of Cefalu. After a few hours of riding you will reach the famous sanctuary of Gibilmanna, an ancient place of worship where 'Our Lady' is venerated. There will be a short stop here with time to visit the sanctuary. 

You will mount again and ride in the direction of Isnello, a small medieval mountain village, crossing the northern slope of the Carbonara Massif which is Sicily's second highest mountain (1979m). There will be a picnic stop in the woods before you ride on through oak, holm and beech trees to Piano Battaglia, a mountain location in the heart of Madonie Park. Here you will dine on typical products and spend the night. 

Approximate riding hours: 7-8.

Day 3: Piano Battaglia - Sciaritelle

Breakfast and departure at around 08:30am. Today you begin with a high mountain path through the middle of Madonie Park - you will need to dismount and lead your horse for a few hundred metres where the terrain is stony and steep. You will pass Portella Mele and you begin to finally see the inner Sicily and, in the case of clear days, can see more than half of this special island. Today's picnic will be near Nociazzi, in the region of Castellana Sicula, and the afternoon ride continues on trazzere (old routes used for livestock) up to the river Imera Meridionale. This waterway crosses and climbs in the direction of the Sciaritelle farm, a renovated 19th century farmhouse with pool where you will enjoy another local dinner and spend the night. 

Approximate riding hours: 6 - 7. 

Day 4: Sciaritelle - Mappa

Breakfast and departure at around 08.30am. The route begins to head deep into agricultural lands, Sicily being well-known for its production of grain since early history, following along the 'trazzere' established by the Bourbon government in the 18th and 19th centuries to ensure free movement of people and livestock across the island. You will pass by the Madonna del Bilici which lies at Sicily's geographical centre and then by Marianopoli railway station, a eucalyptus forest and into a private hunting reserve. You will arrive at Agriturismo Mappa, the former residence of Prince Spadadora, which has also has a swimming pool. There will be a sumptuous dinner before bed. 

Approximate riding hours: 5-6.

Day 5: Mappa - Aragona

Breakfast and departure from Mappa at approximately 8am. Your trail starts with walking through the fields towards the picturesque and ancient village of Sutera,  considered one of the oldest known in mankind's history and featuring several examples of prehistoric living. The route crosses and stops in the village before taking you to the Platani river valley, one of western Sicily's major watercourses, and through Monte Conca nature reserve. You will eat your picnic and ride on through the valley until your next stop at the farm Principe di Aragona, another old restored property with pool. Dinner and overnight. 

Approximate riding hours: 7-8.

Day 6: Aragona - Agrigento

Breakfast and departure at around 08.30am in the direction of Agrigento, the ancient Akragas of the Greeks, founded in 580 BC by the people of Rhodes and Crete. After crossing the agricultural area near Aragona you will arrive at the Macalube, a fascinating methane gas outcrop which has created small craters by carrying clay up from the depths of the earth. You will ride on, making a short stop in the typical village of Monte Aperto where you will enjoy a picnic in the shade. 

In the afternoon you will ride in the direction of the temples, taking a guided tour of the key sights (the temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus, Castor & Polux) before heading to your overnight stop at the farm Passo dei Briganti. Dinner and overnight. 

Approximate riding hours: 6-7. 

Day 7: Agrigento - Torre Salsa

Breakfast and departure at around 08:30am. Today is an impressive route through the countryside of Agrigento with sweeping views of the Mediterranean coast. You will arrive in the Torre Salsa coastal reserve, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved coastlines in Sicily, where the adventure ends. Dinner and overnight at Agriturismo Torre Salsa, inside the reserve itself. 

Approximate riding hours: 6-7.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Strong Intermediate and above with good fitness. You need to be capable riding at all paces, covering a range of terrain and riding for long hours. You will sometimes need to walk and lead your horse.

EXPLORATORY DATE: for this date only truly experienced riders will be accepted, those with good trail experience already and a sense of adventure!
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 riding days with some long hours.
Departure dates: 2018: 25 March - 1 April (EXPLORATORY), 7 - 14 April, 30 June - 7 July, 6 - 13 October.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1621 per person
£224 single supplement

Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), 7 nights of twin/double room accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, table wine with lunches and dinners, 6 days of riding and transportation of luggage.



Alcantara Trail



Ride the full length of the Alcantara National Park, from the coast at Taormina to the slopes of Mt Etna, including an excursion into Nebrodi Natural Park. This trail is perfect for riders who want to experience the beauty of Sicily without spending too many hours in the saddle.

Day One:

On arrival at the airport you will be transferred to Villa Laura, a beautiful B&B nestled amongst citrus orchards and about 300m from the Ionian Sea and mouth of the Alcantara river. Dinner and overnight.

Day Two:

After breakfast set off riding towards the sea and after following the Alcantara riverbed and coastline for a short while, you enter the Santa Venera riverbed, which climbs for several kilometres through the territory of Taormina. Upon reaching the heights of Calatabiano castle, which has dominated the area for centuries, you enter the Alcantara riverbed again and continue climbing through Gaggi and then Castiglione di Sicilia before arriving at the river's famous gorges. Stop here for lunch and to admire the beauty of the area - you can hire wetsuits for a dip in the icy waters if you wish. 

In the afternoon you will cross to the other side of the valley and climb towards the village of Motta Camastra, a medieval marvel nestled in the rocks, and your accommodation for the night. Here you will enjoy a hearty supper of typical local produce prepared by the 'Mothers of the Village'. 

Riding: c. 4 hours

Day Three:

Remount and descend back to the river, riding over a bridge and on towards Gurne di Francavilla - small, beautiful lakes carved out of the basalt - where you can stop for a swim. Continue riding along the valley, passing Castiglione di Sicilia and riding through one of the wildest parts of the Alcantara National Park, amongst labyrinthine lava flows (of Pahoehoe lava) dating back to the 17th century. Stop for lunch at the Malvagna Gorges and in the afternoon, climb and ride around the extinct small volcano of Moio before reaching the village of Malvagna where you overnight in B&B L'Arco dei Sogni. 

Riding: c. 5 hours

Day Four:

Ride up the valley of the Roccella - a tributary of the Alcantara river - passing through steep and rocky landscapes, to reach the Nebrodi mountains. Pass under the enormous turbines of a windfarm and look out for "cubburi", which are mysterious small, stone, circular constructions dating back many years, which are half-hidden in the wilderness but still used by shepherds for shelter. Stop for a picnic lunch before riding to Floresta, the highest village in Sicily (1,373m) and close to the source of the Alcantara river. Dinner at the Villa Ribot and overnight.

Riding: c. 5 hours

Day Five:

Almost as soon as you depart Floresta you enter Nebrodi Natural park, which is the largest on the island at 90,000 hectares. Ride through varied and beautiful scenery to reach the valley of Flascio, an important tributary from the Alcantara river, and then climb a mountain called Monte Colla. On the slopes of this mountain sits your hotel for the night - at 1,400m and immersed in nature and tranquility this is the most isolated on the island and the old summer residence of the barons of Vagliasindi di Randazzo.

Riding: c. 4 hours

Day Six:

Ride back down the mountain past the source of the Alcantara and towards Randazzo, an important town in the Etna area since antiquity - stop here for a short visit and lunch.  Then continue along the valley to another old residence of the Vagliasindi barons, with a lovely swimming pool immersed amongst award-winning vineyards which produce the famous Etna DOC wines. You can visit the vineyard and enjoy a wine tasting before dinner.

Riding: c. 5 hours

Day Seven:

Your final day of riding as you head back along the Alcantara riverbed, past Castiglione Gorges where you stop for a picnic lunch. Continue on to Cuba Bizantina, a Greek-Orthodox church constructed during the Byzantine occupation (6th-7th Century) and probably the oldest church still standing in Sicily. Climb towards Agriturismo San Marco, which also has a wonderful swimming pool and is based in the Rovittello region which is famous for its wines on Etna's northern slopes. Dinner and overnight.

Riding: c. 4 hours

Day Eight:

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You should be comfortable in walk, trot and canter, and fit enough for 4-5 hours a day in the saddle.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days of riding (4-5 hours per day)
Departure dates: 2018:

Ride can be scheduled from May to December for a minimum of 2 riders.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1522 per person sharing
£1746 per person in a single room

Prices include riding, all meals, accommodation and Catania airport transfers.



Mysterious Sicily Trail



Discover the mysterious and unknown Sicily on horseback, between Peloritani and Nebrodi mountains - places of myths and legends. Explore rocks which stand in the landscape, mysterious forests, steep mountains and breathtaking landscapes, from the Ionian Sea to the Tyrrhenian Sea and from Etna to the Aeolian Archipelago.

Day One:

You will be transferred from the airport to the horse farm at San Marco for dinner and to overnight.

Day Two:

Meet the horses and set out riding through chestnut woods to the Alcantara river, passing around Castiglione di Sicilia, one of the oldest towns on the island. Follow an abandoned ferry line which allows you to cross the river over a bridge before entering Francavilla di Sicilia, a remote village. Here you enter the bed of the San Paolo torrent which is almost dry for most of the year, before starting to climb the meridian hilltops of Montagna Grande, the highest peak in the Peloritan mountains. After passing under impressive windmills, you descend on the other side, in the direction of the Agro valley, where you find your next accommodation, Agriturismo Buongiorno.

Riding: c. 7 hours

Day Three:

Set off riding uphill to the Bell of Peace which is dedicated to the fallen of all wars and then continue following the very scenic spine of the hill before descending to the Patri stream by the village of Fondachelli-Fantina. Stop here for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, ride under the Rocca di Novara (also called Salvatesta by locals, due to its head-like shape), an imposing 1340m rock formation, before descending towards Novara di Sicilia where you overnight in a historic hotel and have dinner in a nearby restaurant La Pineta.

Riding: c. 7 hours

Day Four:

Today you ride from one historic region to another, from Novara di Sicilia to Montalbano Elicona, passing from the Peloritan mountains to the Nebrodi mountains. After crossing Novara, head west, through the village of San Basilio and ascend back up to the line of wind turbines, before entering a mixed indigenous forest which also includes Beech. You will stop for lunch at the megalithic site of Argimusco, which is also nicknamed "the Sicilian Stonehenge"; famous for its megaliths and very suggestive forms which some experts believe occurred due to weathering and others think they may be eroded sculptures of an ancient civilisation, unrecognised in official history. In the afternoon, descend to Montalbano Elicona and ride through the historic centre, before overnighting in the oldest part of town. Dinner is at Il Fofolore restaurant.

Riding: c. 6 hours

Day Five:

Leave Montalbano and descend to the west valley towards Floresta, the highest commune in Sicily at almost 1300m. Stop here for lunch and then enter Nebrodi park to ride along one of the most beautiful sections of the trail. Your accommodation tonight is at Hotel Nebrodi.

Riding: c. 6 hours

Day Six:

Descend through woodland to the source of the Alcantara river, riding through the sanctuary of "Santa Maria del Bosco" - Saint Mary of the Forest - reaching the village of Randazzo in time for lunch. In the afternoon, continue through the valley of Alcantara to reach your sumptuous accommodation, Feudo Vagliassinda. This is another of the country residences of the Vagliasindi barons and is also where one of the best DOC (Designation of Controlled Origin) wines of Etna is produced. Ride through the vineyards and visit the ancient cellar where you can taste the fine wines for yourself.

Riding: c. 5 hours

Day Seven:

Today's ride is entirely within the Alcantara Fluvial park, famous for its basalt rock formations which were created by ancient lava flows from Mt. Etna. These followed the course of the river and has been shaped by its waters for centuries since. After leaving Feudo, you will follow the river bed to the agricultural village of Moio Alcantara to arrive at the gorges of Malvagna where you will enjoy a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you'll continue riding through Fluvial park, passing the gorges of Castiglione and the Byzantine church named the "Cuba" because of its square shape. Ride back to San Marco to complete your circuit and have a final dinner. 

Riding: c. 5 hours

Day Eight:

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You should be a capable rider in all three paces and used to riding outdoors across varied terrain.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding (5-7 hours per day)
Departure dates: 2018: 28 April-5 May; 14-21 July, 1-8 September; 10-17 November
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1522 per person sharing
£1746 in a single room, if available.

Price includes Catania transfers, 7 nights of accommodation, dinners, breakfasts and 6 days of guided riding with picnic lunches.