Italy ~ Sicily

7, 6 and 5 nights in north east Sicily, riding from guesthouse to guesthouse or from one guesthouse base, available April to November. Suitable for intermediate riders and above.

Where In the north-eastern corner of Sicily. Rides start close to the Madonie National Park from a base near the small town of Castelbuono, about 1 1/2 hour's drive east of Palermo and 1 1/2 hours north-west of Catania.

What is it like Two 7 night itineraries are offered from set dates with a shorter 5 night option for those with less time. The 7 night Transiciliana Ride follows a wonderful place-to-place route through the Madonie and Nebrodi National Parks, then into Mount Etna National Park, with the last riding day climbing the slopes of the volcano itself. The 7 night Madonie Ride and the Madonie short break are more flexible, starting from an 'agriturism' guesthouse close to Castelbuono, with some nights in other guesthouses and simple lodgings. Once a year a ride co-incides with the Canella pilgrimage which many locals still make by horse.

Who does it suit Confident riders who want to discover rural Sicily, with the Transiciliana Ride ideal for those who love a place-to-place ride that feels like a proper 'journey'. It gives a superb overview of the area, visiting small hotels and 'agriturism' guesthouses, crossing 3 very different national parks and finally climbing Etna itself. Gentle horsemanship means relaxed horse which are very biddable but also keen, there is some lovely going on long winding tracks and local agriturisms mean delicious rustic food, zero food-miles, home grown wines and a real sense of what Sicily is about. The mountains in the Madonie National Park are higher and steeper so there is some slow, tricky going to negotiate here.

Why we love it
For the surprise of Sicily's open, rolling countryside and sense of space when we imagined it to be more about  atmospheric towns. For the atmospheric towns and villages, for the tremendous feeling of 'journey' with Etna always on the horizon beckoning you forward. Because we love rustic Italian food and wine, served with love.

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SUMMARY

Riding: 4-6 hours a day

Horses: Sicilian homebreds, Arab crosses

Pace: moderate overall, varied due to terrain

Riding ability: intermediate to experienced riders

Weight limit: 90kg (14st 2lbs)

Accommodation: comfortable hotels & guesthouses

Group size: max 12

Season: February to November

Prices: 7 night trails from 1505 Euros (approx £1365) per person

HORSES & RIDING

Horses: The horses used for the rides are mostly locally bred Sicilian breeds and Arab crosses, around 14.2hh to 16hh. They are responsive, sure footed, at home in the mountainous terrain and trained using a natural horsemanship technique. Comfortable trekking saddles are used with both cruppers and breastplates and saddlebags are provided. Rides are run for a maximum of 10 or occasionally 12 guests.

Hours: There is between 4 and 6 hours riding a day with breaks for rests and lunch. Hours on the Madonie Rides can be tailored to suit on request

Pace and experience required: These rides are for intermediate riders and above. You must be comfortable and secure at a walk, trot and fast canter on a well schooled horse and used to riding outside, with a group of horses, in an open environment, over varied terrain. The pace of the rides is moderate overall; there are usually plenty of chances to move on although in the mountains (Madonie area particularly) riding is often slow due to the ground. The Transiciliana Ride includes the most chances for longer canters

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is in village and country hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses of 2* to 3* standard. Several are family run, often with a good restaurant emphasising rural Sicilian food, most have en-suite rooms and some have a swimming pool. On the Madonie Rides one night is usually in a simple mountain refuge, sleeping in dormitory rooms on camp beds. 

RATES & DATES

Rates 2021

Transiciliana Ride (7 nights) - Euros 2000 per person
Etna Ride (4 nights) - Euros 1625 per person
Canella Pilgrimage Ride
(6 nights) - Euros 1645 per person
Madonie Ride (7 nights) - Euros 1505 per person
Madonie Short Break (5 nights) - Euros 1075 per person

Rates include - all riding, 7 (6 or 5) nights twin accommodation, meals, house wine with dinner and group transfers from / to Palermo or Catania airport (depending on itinerary NB: group pick up / drop off point varies with itinerary) at set times.

Rates exclude -
international flights and tax, supplements for a single room or special transfer, personal medical insurance (compulsory), extra drinks (eg beer & spirits), any visa fees, personal items at hotels and any tips.

Single rooms can usually be booked for a supplement of 25 to 35 Euros per night. Please ask for details

Prices are quoted in Euros. Payments to us can of course be made in pounds sterling if you wish and we can give you a sterling rate at the time of booking.

Dates 2021

Transiciliana Ride (7 nights)
5th to 12th June
11th to 18th September
25th September to 2nd October
9th to 16th October
6th to 13th November
20th to 27th November

Cannella Pilgrimage Ride  (6 nights)
1st to 7th September

Etna Rides (4 nights)
3rd to 7th May
12th to 16th June
21st to 25th June
20th to 24th September
2nd to 6th October

Madonie Rides (7 nights)
26th June to 3rd July
3rd to 10th July
10th to 17th July
17th to 24th July
24th to 31st July

Madonie Short Break (5 nights)
16th to 21st May
30th May to 4th June
17th to 22nd October
31st October to 5th November
14th to 19th November

Other dates arranged on request for private groups. Please contact us to discuss.

 Average temperature guide

ITINERARY

Itinerary in brief - Transiciliana Ride. Please enquire for other itineraries.

Day 1 You will be met at Catania airport and driven about 1 ½ hours to a B&B in snmall town of Petralia Sottano. Meet your hosts, time to relax and then dinnner. Night Petralia Sottano
Day 2
Breakfast, meet the horses and a short briefing before mounting up to ride out into the countryside. Stop for lunch and ride onto Villa Raino (or similar) close to the town of Gangi. Dinner and night
Day 3
Long morning riding following a dry river bed and mountain tracks to Sambuchetti - Campanito Natural Reserve. Ride through oak forest and stop for a picnic at the far side then ride on after lunch across typical countryside to agriturism Monte Soprano for dinner and night.
Day 4
Breakfast and ride on to Caprizzi, a small town at the gates of the Nebrodi National Park. Quick stop at the town then climb through beech forest, stopping for sandwich pinic (a vehilce cannot reach you today). Ride on after lunch and finally arriave at Villa Miraglia for dinner and night.
Day 5
Ride across lovely mountain terrain with views of four lakes and towering Etna on the sky line. Picnic lunch in the forest and the afternoon takes you to a forest refuge where the horses stay, Short drive to hotel Fulcina del Volcano for dinner and night.
Day 6
Breakfast, return to the horses and a shorter riding day today, heading down the valley between Nebrodi and Etna National Parks, through the Gurrida Lake Reserve. Lunch and in the afteroon leave the horses in a paddock and short drive back to hotel Fulcina for dinner and night.
Day 7
Breakfast and the ride today follows the grey volcanic ash tracks that circumnavigate and finally take you up Mount Etna, perhaps riding as far as the Observatory (the route always depends on the weather) before heading down to a small chalet style hotel, Rifugio Ragabo, where the night is spent. Farewell to the horses and guides who will drive them back home, before dinner and your final night. . 
Day 8
Breakfast and group transfer back to Catania airport for onward flights
  Contact us at info@rideworldwide.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.

 

TRAVEL

The meeting point for the Transiciliana Ride and Canella Pilgrimage Ride is Catania airport.
The meeting point for both Madonie Rides is Palermo airport.
In both cases you should aim to arrive at the respective airport before 16.15 on the first day to make use of the group transfer.
On the return one group transfer will be arranged back to the respective airport in time for the first flight of the group (usually mid morning).
Transfers outside the set times can be arranged for an extra charge.

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