Join us for an amazing progressive ride through the Tuscany Region staying in castle properties along the way. We start by exploring the two lakes (Mezzano and Bolsena) set in the craters of the extinct volcanoes surrounding S. Cristina Castle. On the third day we move on into Tuscany, reaching the fortress of the Tufo town of Sorano via a lunch stop at the ruined medieval town of Vitozza. Later we cross the impressive landscape under the Amiata mountains, through river valleys and over the mountainous terrain to reach Proceno castle. The final day we finish back at S. Cristina Castle, wandering through Montorio game reserve and the beautiful countryside around Onano.
- Explore beautiful Tuscany by horseback
- Stay in medieval castles
- Enjoy picnic lunches in the Tuscan countryside
- Step back in time as you ride through quaint villages
- Enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world
Welcome to Tuscany!
You will be met at the airport and transferred to Santa Cristina Castle. As you arrive at the castle you will meet with your guide and the staff of the castle .Upon arrival will meet also the count owner of the castle, make a first approach with the horses, this afternoon we will visit a local vineyard to taste some wonderful Italian wines and then back at the castle we enjoy a great dinner before it is time to go to sleep.
Accommodations - Santa Cristina Castle
We leave in the morning S. Cristina castle and we ride through the neighboring farmland, through chestnut woods and using an ancient track which will carry us right above the crater of Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe.
The descent of the crater will start from the village of Gradoli dominated by an impressive renaissance palace,that it was meant to be the wedding gift of Pope Paulus III Farnese to his nephew around the middle of 1500.
While riding, we will witness some breath–taking views of the lake and surrounding area and of the two islands Isola Bisentina and Martana. The shore of the lake will be reached after crossing the fields just before the water, we will then border the lake ending on the beach where horses will be set into a canter before crossing a ford where a small river joins the lake. After that we finally reach our mid day stop.
Lunch is served on the terrace of a typical trattoria right on the beach,where Antonietta the cook will serve delicious local food. In the right season if you wish to cool off in the water, a swim in the lake can be done before starting riding back up. As we head up back to the castle, you will note many Etruscan tombs scattered throughout the countryside some reused by farmers as cellars for their wine but still serving as a reminder of the ancient history which abounds in this area You will be Passing through the archeological area of Pianezze literally full of Etruscan tombs dating back 2600 years. Once at the top of the crater, we turn right through some vineyards where again a breathtaking view of lake Bolsena will provide a wonderfull opportunity to rest the horses and take some photographs. After crossing the vineyards we reach the shepherds' trail in the woods that will lead you back to the Santa Cristina Castle estate.
Accommodations - Santa Cristina Castle
The lake was once a volcanic crater and historical site with human settlements going back to the pre-etruscan era (aprox 2700 years ago) later it was submerged by water due to earthquakes.
It is now part of the Selva del Lamone regional park due to it’s beauty and to the fact that many birds find a shelter there.
Our excursion takes horses and riders through the beautiful countryside, up into the wooded hills which surround Onano. Here, the horses have the opportunity to canter along a wonderful natural passage surrounded by trees. At the top of this plateau, we have a chance to take in the dazzling scenery, before we carry on down past local farms into a very old wood made by huge chestnut trees that leads us into a flat open plain which offers a great scenery.
Here, if desired, horses can canter up the old tracks, before we reach the marshlands and vineyards which surround the lake Mezzano itself. In a fantastic position on top of a hill overlooking the lake is the small farm where the restaurant is based. Here we stop for a nice lunch with a fantastic view while our horses rest in a paddock.
During the warmer months you can also swim in the lake with its crystal clear waters. In the afternoon, we ride back following the old Brigands trail, taking in a few historical sights on the way.
Accommodations - Santa Cristina Castle
After leaving the castle hilly woodland,the ground opens up into a more scenic view with the Tuscan mountains in the background. The tracks are more levelled and the ground allows an easy trot with some canter.
Our lunch break will be organized in a fantastic historical spot next to the ruins of a medieval castle named Vitozza,a pic nic perfectly prepared will be layed out with tables and chairs on a lawn on top of the hill where the ruins are. Vitozza is a magical place,a medieval strong hold built with two castles around the 11th century A. D. by the Aldobrandeschi powerful family. Later in the centuries it was a refuge to many people escaping from the distruction of the continuous warfare going on between clans in the area.
After lunch a gentle track will lead you towards the area of Sorano. Horses will sleep in a farm few km from the hotel. A unique hotel just inside the medieval Orsini fortress of Sorano will provide your accommodation for the next day. The position is incredible: the place is on the side of a big gorge created by river Lente overlooking the ancient village of Sorano. Dinner will be served in a restaurant next to the fortress..
Accommodations - Hotel della Fortezza
We ride through rocky hills into the valley of the river Lente - with marvelous view on the mountains of Amiata and Cetona. Pic nic lunch in the vicinity of the fortified village of Castellottieri.
The way follows a typical in the afternoon sun, with a stunning view over soft cornfields and sheep pastures. Finally you will reach the castle of Proceno, your next accommodation.
Proceno is a stunning XI cent. Castle at the center of the omonimus village. Your accommodation is in one of the many apartments inside the castle itself. It used to be the last stronghold of the pope before Tuscan enemy territory strategically positioned above the ancient via cassia, the old roman road. Proceno castle is still run by countess Pucci Cecchini with her husband Giovanni,their always warm hospitality makes you feel at home… but in a castle.
Accommodations - Castle Proceno
In the distance behind us we can see the Fortress of Proceno. The trail takes us through the most unspoiled Tuscan countryside and typical farming land.
Crossing the Montorio game reserve, if we are lucky pheasants, fallow-deers, and boars will be spotted while riding by. We will reach the outskirts of the village of Onano and the XVI century, little country church of Madonna delle Grazie from where we will have a beautiful view of the medieval village walls.
Now the country road turns north into enchanting countryside on the border between Lazio and Southern Tuscany. After several up and down across the hills we reach Castello Cristina for our well deserved lunch and some rest by the pool under the castle
This evening we will have some fun with a cooking class to learn to make some of the fabulous dishes we have grown to love. Accommodations - Santa Cristina Castle
It is time to say good-bye to this beautiful destination, fabulous new friends and the wonderful horse that we have been so connected with all week.
**Prices are subject to change and availability. Space is limited and activities and specific hotels are subject to change. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
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Single Occupancy - TBA
If you would like the double occupancy rate but don't have a roommate we will match you with a suitable roommate. The single occupancy rate will give you your own room. Single occupancy may be limited. CAD = Canadian dollars. USD = United States of America dollars. Conversion to USD is approximated by current exchange rates and subject to change. You will be charged in CAD and your bank may charge a slightly different rate or fees.
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You will be riding a horse each day. While you don't need a lot of riding experience you will be much more comfortable if you are used to being on a horse and in a saddle. Excursions in the countryside on medium / long distances require rider’s ability to control the horse at the three gaits, including canter.
You will need to advise your height, weight and riding level on the booking form, this is to help us choose the best-suitable horse for you to have a pleasant ride. Max. rider’s weight: 95 kg (210 lbs). Helmets are required and it is best to bring your own.
Level 1 - Someone who has never sat on a horse.
Level 2 - Has done a couple very easy rides.
Level 3 - Can ride rising trot.
Level 4 - Has had a number of lessons and is reasonably confident on a horse at walk, trot and canter.
Level 5 - Confident and in control on a forward going horse at a steady canter in the open over uneven ground. Has ridden for a number of years.
Minimum - 4 ladies
Maximum - 5 ladies
Linda Reavley has been teaching, training and competing in dressage for 30 years. Encore Equestiran offers lessons from beginner right through to FEI levels. Students range in age from 5 years old to seniors.
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Arrive to Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome (FCO)
Depart from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome (FCO)
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The breathtakingly splendid 17th century castle, Castello di Santa Cristina, has been the property of the noble Caterini family for generations. It is located in Southern Tuscany half way between Orvieto and Siena, closely bordering with the regions of Umbria and Tuscany and one and a half hours away from Rome.
The castle’s 18th Century ivy-covered farmhouse and out-buildings have been carefully restored over the past ten years to retain their authenticity. Now they offer fantastic accommodation, B&B or half board, in 8 self-catering cottages and 14 private bedrooms. All rooms are furnished with original pieces and offer you the chance to enjoy a unique holiday in Italy.
The castle offers a perfect location for an authentic country holiday in the south of Tuscany, where you can explore neighbouring historic towns of Orvieto, Sorano, Pitigliano and Bolsena. We offer traditional Italian cuisine and fantastic cooking courses in our home style restaurant.
This extraordinary Hotel is situated inside the Orsini Fortress of Sorano, which dates back to the XIInd century, and it offers rooms of unique design and original forniture of the XIXth century, ancient floors, and wonderful views of the etruscan valleys and of the hill top town of Sorano.
Hotel della Fortezza is located in the oldest part of this great example of medieval military architecture. You will have to cross the ancient drawbridge to reach it!
Castello Di Proceno is located in Proceno and housed in a restored medieval castle. From the beginning, the family has instilled in each succeeding generation a passion and respect for the extraordinary history of this magical place. Today the heritage of histories, places and artifacts—from Etruscan vases to ancient instruments to the robes of a cardinal ancestor—inspire them and constantly guide their decisions.
Its pentagonal base incorporates a main tower and two secondary towers interconnected by walkways and a drawbridge that is one of 19 still working in Italy. It offers spacious rooms with a cozy fireplace, free Wi-Fi throughout, a gourmet restaurant, and wide garden featuring a swimming pool.