Italy ~ Santa Cristina
The Santa Cristina estate, with its lovingly restored 17th century castle, is on the Tuscany Umbria border, close to Lake Bolsena. Property of the Caterini family for generations and once a favourite summer retreat of the young Pope Pius XII, Santa Cristina makes a wonderful holiday base. Daily rides out take you to the hilltop town of Onano, past ancient Etruscan tombs, along the infamous Brigand’s Path and to the shimmering crater lakes of Mezzano and Bolsena. You can visit the fortified towns of Sorano, Proceno and Pitigliano, there is a sand school for lessons or you can relax by the pool, play tennis, taste local wines, try a thermal spa or even have a cooking lesson! Perfect for families, riders and non-riders, this is a magical and peaceful retreat in the heart of Italy.
7 & 4 night itineraries are offered between March to November - dates on request.
For a taster see this short video: Santa Cristina
Riding: 2-5 hours a day and tailored to suit
Horses: Maremmani, TB and warmblood crosses
Riding ability: confident novice and above
Weight limit: 100kg (15st 10lbs)
Accommodation: rural apartments, some hotels
Group size: Santa Cristina can host 30+ guests, riding is in small groups max 5
Season: March to November
Horses: The horses are mixture of Thoroughbred and warmblood crosses, and local Italian crosses, varying from 15hh to 17hh and also one or two childrens ponies. They are all well schooled, responsive, willing and enjoyable to ride and are very well looked after. Tack is English style. Rides are usually limited to a maximum of 5 guests.
Hours: On the specific riding programs there is generally 2 to 5 hours riding a day, broken with rests and for a long lunch. Riding can also be tailored to suit.
Pace and experience required: There is great flexibility at Santa Cristina - the ride programs are aimed at reasonably competent riders, who are secure, comfortable and in control on a horse at a walk, trot and canter in open country. Other programs are more flexible and novice and even beginners can be catered for with lessons in the sand school.
Accommodation is based at Santa Cristina. The 'fattoria', the old farmhouse in the grounds of the castle, has been converted for guests and there are several apartments, a dining room and swimming pool. All accommodation is in twin bedrooms which have private bathrooms with loo and shower. Food on the rides is excellent. Breakfast and dinner (three or four delicious courses with a chance to try many of the local specialities) are usually eaten at Santa Cristina. Lunch is either at Santa Cristina or maybe a picnic brought to meet you out riding.
High season: 18th June to 16th September
Full Week (7 nights) - Saturday to Saturday, on request
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)|
||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)|
||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|
||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)|
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
Rome is usually the best airport to fly to though Pisa is another good option. In most cases we recommend hiring a car and driving your self to Santa Cristina (directions will be supplied). Transfers can also be 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 economy return (varies with the season and availability).