Italy ~ Santa Cristina
Staying on a private estate in Tuscany, flexible duration, April to November. Ideal for riders, non-riders, couples, families and mixed groups.
Where On the Tuscany Umbria border, close to Lake Bolsena and about 40 mins drive from Orvieto.
What is it like A lovely relaxed holiday base, centered around a fairytale, restored 18th C castle, with a choice of accommodation in individual apartments, small cottages and bedrooms in the converted 'fattoria'. Its privately owned and has been in the same family for generations. There are private wooded grounds to explore, a swimming pool (open June on), tennis court and the relaxed ambiance of an Italian family summer retreat. Riding is one of the activities offered, a lovely way to explore the local area with lessons sometimes available too, or you can cycle, walk, use your hire car to visit neighbouring fortified towns or for a day trip to Lake Bolsena. Alternatively just stay put and relax.
Who does it suit Families, mixed groups of riders and non-riders, anyone wanting a leisurely, relaxed riding holiday where you can be as self sufficient or as involved as you wish. Morning and afternoon rides explore the 'Brigands Path' passing hilltop towns and etruscan tombs; longer rides head to Lake Mezzano for lunch. There are lessons for childen and the more novice, you can visit the fortified towns of Sorano, Proceno and Pitigliano, relax by the pool, play tennis, cycle, taste local wines, try a thermal spa or even have a cooking lesson! A flexible, peaceful retreat in the heart of Italy.
Why we love it Its flexible, welcoming and relaxed; you can come and go as you please and there's plenty for all ages making it ideal for a family group. Ride to the lake for a picnic, have a day out on a boat on Lake Bolsena, swim, cycle, walk, meet in the vaulted bar, gather around the pizza oven, eat, drink, enjoy.
Riding: 2-5 hours a day
Horses: TB and warmblood crosses, Anglo-Arabs, Italian crosses
Riding ability: confident novice and above
Weight limit: 90kg (14st 4lbs)
Accommodation: twin or double bedrooms and rural apartments on the estate
Group size: Santa Cristina can host 30+ guests, riding groups max 9
Season: April to November
Price: 7 nights stays from 1485 Euros (approx £1290) per person
Horses: There are around 20 horses, a mixture of Thoroughbred and warmblood crosses, Anglo-Arabs and local Italian crosses. They vary from about 15hh to 17hh with a few smaller childrens ponies. All are well schooled, responsive, willing and enjoyable to ride and very well looked after. Tack is English style. Rides are usually limited to a maximum of 5 or 6 guests.
Hours: Generally 2 to 5 hours riding a day, broken with rests and for a long lunch.
Pace and experience required: Riding is aimed at reasonably competent riders, who are secure, comfortable and in control on a well-schooled horse at a walk, trot and canter in open country - but there is some flexibility and novice and even beginners can be catered for, with lessons in the sand school, by arrangment.
Accommodation is in a variety of rooms and apartments on the estate. Bedooms are either twins or doubles, with ensuite shower room, in the 'fattoria', the old estate manager's house in the grounds of the castle, or you can book a self-contained apartment either in the fattoria (all are different with bedrooms, small kitchen and living / dining areas) or one of the stand-alone 'cottages'. The fattoria also has a vaulted-ceiling dining room, bar and large games room area, there is a big swimming pool (open from June to September), tennis court and plenty of outside space. Food is excellent. Most programs are full board with breakfast and dinner (three or four courses with a chance to try local specialities) usually eaten at Santa Cristina, whilst lunch may be on site or you might visit a restaurant or stop for a picnic, out riding.
High season: 1st to 9th April; 16th June to 16th September
Full Week (7 nights) - Saturday to Saturday, on request
Average temperature guide
Itinerary in brief - Full Week. Please enquire for other itineraries.
|Day 1||Arrive Santa Cristina. A welcome drink with your host in the castle and a short briefing. Dinner and night at Santa Cristina.|
||Breakfast before you meet the horses for your first morning ride. Set off riding into the hills on the west of the plateau on which the castle is situated. here is some good going on the dirt track here and you will be able to try your horse at a trot and canter if you wish.The route continues on winding tracks, through wooded hills to reach a forest, Selva di Onanano, before returning to Santa Cristina. Lunch in the taverna or outside by the pool and the afternoon free to swim, explore on foot or perhaps for a game of tennis. Dinner and night Santa Cristina. (B,L,D)|
||Perhaps a full day ride to Lake Mezzano today. From Santa Cristina follow a route through farmland and hills thick with chestnut woods, then down towards the open plain where the lake lies. Lunch at a magical spot, before riding back through woods to Santa Cristina (approx 30kms riding). Dinner and night at Santa Cristina. (B,L,D)
NOTE - full day rides are not offered during July or August - a half day ride and a massage replaces the above.
||A rest day, free for you to make your own plans and perhaps visit some of the local sites. Dinner and the night at Santa Cristina. (B,L,D)|
||Another morning ride, perhaps towards Lake Bolsena, the biggest volcanic lake in Europe. The return route to Santa Cristina crosses the village of Gradoli, back to Santa Cristina. Lunch in the taverna and afternoon at leisure. Dinner and night Santa Cristina (B,L,D)|
||Maybe follow the Brigands Trail, through rural country, wooded hills, small fields and along a forest track that winds around the hills to bring you out below the fortified town of Onano, with a medieval castle at its centre. Continue riding to the little medieval church of Madonna delle Grazie and along a winding country track back to Santa Cristina. Lunch at the taverna and the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and night Santa Cristina. (B,L,D)|
||Your last morning ride out returning to Santa Cristina for lunch and the afternoon at leisure, to explore or just relax by the pool. Dinner & final night. (B,L,D)|
||Breakfast and own arrangements for your onward journey.|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
Rome airports are the easiest and closest to fly to (with access from Fiumicino easiest - the drive from the smaller Ciampino airport is longer and a little more complicated) although Pisa is another good option. In most cases we recommend hiring a car and driving to Santa Cristina (directions will be supplied) - this is usually more cost effective and also means you have much more flexibility during your stay. Transfers can also arranged from Rome or Orvieto for an extra charge.
There are good train services from Rome to Orvieto, and also from Pisa via Florence. For flights to Rome from London budget around £150 - £200 economy return (varies with the season and availability).