Italy ~ Sicily
These rides take place in the north eastern corner of Sicily, with the stables based on the edge of the Madonie National Park. The Madonie is about an hour and a half or so drive east of Palermo, known as the “Dolomites of Sicily”. Several itineraries are offered from set dates throughout the season; the Madonie Winter Ride is a progressive circular route through the National Park, starting and ending at the stables with other nights spent in hotels and guesthouses en-route. The Transiciliana Ride takes you from the stables, through the Madonie and Nebrodi National Parks and to Mount Etna National Park, traversing the slopes of the volcano. Once a year a ride co-incides with the Canella pilgrimage which many locals make on horseback; and in summer months rides are based at accommodation with swimming pools (one or two locations during the week), riding out in the cool of morning and evening.
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.
Horses: The horses used for the rides are mostly locally bred Sicilian breeds and Arab crosses, around 14.2hh to 16hh and 6 to 9 years old. They are sure footed, at home in the mountainous terrain and trained using a natural horsemanship technique developed by American Ed Dabney. Comfortable trekking saddles are used with both cruppers and breastplates for the mountains and saddlebags are provided. Rides are run for a maximum of 10 or 12 guests.
Hours: There is between 4 and 6 hours riding a day riding, with breaks for rests and lunch.
Pace and experience required: These rides are for intermediate riders and above. You must be able to walk, trot, long canter and short gallop on a well schooled horse in open country. You should also be used to riding at these paces outside, with a group of horses, in an open environment. The pace of the rides is moderate overall, there are usually plenty of chances to move on though some days in the mountains are slower going.
Accommodation is in good quality village or country hotels and guesthouses of 3* to 4* standard. Several are family run inns, high up in the hills, most have en-suite rooms and some have a swimming pool. On the Madonie ride you might stay a night in a simple mountain refuge if the weather is fine. Other nights are in small hotels.
Transiciliana Ride (7 nights) - Euros 1825 per person
Transicilliana Rides (7 nights)
Other dates can be arranged on request for private groups. Please call us to discuss.
Itinerary in brief - Madonie Ride. Please enquire for other itineraries.
|Day 1||You will be met at Palermo airport and driven about 1 ½ hours to Le Campanelle, the first nights accommodation. Time to relax by the pool before dinnner.|
||Breakfast and a short briefing before a morning ride with a picnic lunch out in the countryside. After a short siesta return to Le Campanelle by a different route. Dinner and night Le Campanelle.|
||Follow a winding trail through the forests leading you up the slopes of Mt Gratteri. Stop for a picnic at a clearing in the oak forest. After a siesta ride down the valley towards Catelbuono. The horses remain just outside the town and a short drive takes guests to their accommodation. The night is spent at a nice B&B in the historical centre. Dinner at a local restauant and night Castelbuono.|
||Breakfast and a short tour of Castelbuono before re-joining the horses. The ride takes you through the village then into the woods. Stop for a picnic lunch then continue through chestnut forests to Masseria di Gonato, a country guesthouse high in the hills. Time to relax by the pool before dinner. Night Masseria Rocca di Gonato.|
||Today's ride takes you into the heart of the National Park, climbing through oak and beech forests. A picnic lunch and continue to the village of Petralia Sottana. Leave the horses and a short drive to your hotel, built in the ruins of a Roman castle.|
||Breakfast and, weather permitting, set off riding to Madonna dell’Alto Mount and Monastery (1870 m). Picnic lunch then ride on to Piano Battalagia where you leave the horses. The night is spent in Rifugio Marini.|
||The ride today takes you down towards the coast. Stop for a light lunch at Piano Zucchi, where there are good views of the sea. The lanscape becmes less wild as you continue to descend, finally reaching your accommodation near the town of Collesano. Dinner and the night at Casale Drinzi.|
||Breakfast and transfer to Palermo airport for your flight home.|
|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.|
The meeting point for the Transiciliana Ride, and also the Etna & 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.