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.
These rides take place in the north eastern corner of Sicily, starting close to the Madonie National Park. The Madonie, known as the 'Dolomites of Sicily' is about an hour and a half's drive east of Palermo and an hour and a half north west of Catania. There are two 7 night riding itineraries offered from set dates throughout the season and a shorter 5 night option for those with less time. The 7 night Transiciliana Ride follows a place-to-place route through the Madonie and Nebrodi National Parks to Mount Etna National Park, with the last riding day climbing the slopes of the volcano itself. The 7 night Madonie Ride and Madonie short break are rather more flexible options starting close to the town of Castelbuono and exploring the mountains and National Park with nights in guesthouses en-route. Once a year a ride co-incides with the Canella pilgrimage which many locals still make by horse.
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: 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 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.
Transiciliana Ride (7 nights) - Euros 1895 per person
Single rooms can usually be booked for a supplement of 25 to 35 Euros per night. Please ask for details
Transicilliana Rides (7 nights)
Average temperature guide
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|
||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|
||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.|
||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.|
||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.|
||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.|
||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. .|
||Breakfast and group transfer back to Catania airport for onward flights|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
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.