Coast to Coast - 6 days
Day 1: Arrival
You will arrive at Casa "Il Bosco", a charming restored nineteenth century country house, immersed in the wild countryside of the Madonie Park, with breathtaking views of the island's north coast and the Aeolian Islands. You will enjoy a dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night here.
Day 2: Casa "Il Bosco" - Piano Battaglia (hours of riding: 7)
After breakfast you will be assigned your horse for the trail and we will set off from Casa "Il Bosco" at about 8.30 in the morning. The day will begin with a beautiful climb up through wild Mediterranean vegetation and woods, with fantastic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. We will pass the famous Sanctuary of Gibilmanna and continue through woods of holm oak, cork and downy oak to the territory of Isnello. After a picnic lunch, we will begin our ascent on the northern slopes of Pizzo Carbonara, Sicily's second highest mountain at 1979 metres, riding through lush forests of oak, holm oak and beech trees to reach Piano Battaglia, a mountain station located at the heart of the Madonie Park, where you will enjoy a dinner prepared using typical local produce and spend the night at Rifugio Marini.
Day 3: Piano Battaglia - Feudo San Giorgio (hours of riding: 7)
After breakfast we will set off at about 8.30 in the morning. We will follow a route through the mountains in the heart of the Madonie Park and reach high altitudes from where you will begin to see Sicily's interior. We will pass the Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Alto, at 1819 metres, the highest sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the world, before beginning our descent from the high Madonie mountains. We will stop for a picnic lunch near Nociazzi, in the area of Castellana Sicula. In the afternoon, we will continue along ancient paths through agricultural land to reach Feudo San Giorgio, an old 19th century farmstead which has been renovated and is equipped with a swimming pool. You will enjoy a dinner made with local produce and spend the night here.
Day 4: Feudo San Giorgio - Mappa (hours of riding: 7/8)
We will have breakfast and set off from the farm at about 8.30 in the morning. We will descend towards the southern part of the Imera River, the western boundary of the Madonie area, which we will cross, before climbing up the other side of the valley. The trail will now take us into the heart of Sicily's interior, its "breadbasket" since time immemorial, which is criss-crossed by "trazzere", ancient royal pathways, established by the Bourbons in the 18th and 19th centuries to ensure free movement of livestock and people across the island. We will pass the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bilici, at the geographical centre of the island, before riding on past the train station of Marianopoli and through endless fields of wheat and hay, to reach Mappa, the former residence of the Princes of Spadafora, equipped with a swimming pool. You will enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night here.
Day 5: Mappa - Aragona (hours of riding: 7/8)
After breakfast we will leave Mappa at around 8.00 in the morning. We will ride through fields to the territory of the picturesque, ancient village of Sutera, which is considered one of the oldest settlements in human history and retains many traces of its prehistoric origins. We will continue on through the beautiful Monte Conca nature reserve to reach the valley of the River Platani, one of western Sicily's main waterways. We will stop for a picnic lunch and continue our ride along the valley to reach our next stop, the farm of Principe di Aragona, another restored old farmstead, equipped with a swimming pool, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 6: Aragona - Agrigento (hours of riding: 4/5)
After breakfast we will set off at about 8.30 in the morning in the direction of Agrigento, the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas, founded in 580 BC by the Rhodians and Cretans. After riding through an agricultural area near Aragona, we will arrive at the Macalube di Aragona, where we will witness the strange phenomenon of small mud volcanoes formed by methane rising up through the earth and creating craters as it emerges. We will ride on towards Passo dei Briganti, in the territory of Agrigento, where we will have lunch and have time to relax during the afternoon, before enjoying a guided tour in the late afternoon of Valley of the Temples (the Temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus and Castor & Pollux), a world heritage site that contains some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world. Back at Passo dei Briganti you will enjoy a dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night.
Day 7: Agrigento - Torre Salsa (hours of riding: 7)
We will have breakfast and set off at around 8.30 in the morning, following a very beautiful route through the countryside of Agrigento, predominantly cultivated with olive and almond groves, with wonderful views of the Mediterranean coast. We will continue to the the coastal reserve of Torre Salsa, one of Sicily's most beautiful and best preserved coastlines, before concluding the trail on the reserve's beautiful beaches. Dinner and overnight at Luna Minoica, a high quality hotel.
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast and transfer to the airport.
- Airport transfers from/to the nearest airport.
- 7 nights in agriturismi, B&B and good quality hotels.
- 6 full days of riding.
- All meals from dinner on the day of arrival to breakfast on the day of departure.
- Luggage transfer by support vehicle each day.
Level: Comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter), with experience of hacking out in the open.
Group size: Ten people maximum.
Key information/requirements: Between six and eight hours in the saddle per day. You must be comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter) and physically fit. This programme is aimed at intermediate and advanced riders and it is not suitable for beginners or riders with only limited experience. The terrain is varied and there may be long trots and gallops along the way.
Equipment: It is possible to hire riding hats and chaps on site. The following items are essential: waterproofs, layers (it can be cold at altitude), boots and chaps, and sun cream.
Accommodation: Agriturismi, B&B or good quality hotels.
Meals: Evening meals consist of authentic Sicilian cuisine prepared with local produce. A typical evening meal will include: a variety of starters, a pasta course, a meat/main course, dessert, wine, water and a digestif. Picnic lunches are provided by support vehicle (together with tables, chairs and cutlery) and include: fresh bread, salads, cheeses, olives, charcuterie, Sicilian specialities, wine or other drinks on request, coffee or tea.
Tack: Comfortable English saddles, with a sheepskin cover, or Western saddles on request. Guests are not required to groom or tack up the horses.
Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Sicilian.
Airport: Arrive Palermo - Depart Palermo