Deep Sicily - 6 days
Day 1: Arrival
You will arrive at Casalvecchio Geraci, an old farm dating from the eighteenth century, which has been restored, immersed in the green hills of the River Rainò valley. Delicious dinner prepared using produce fresh from the farm and overnight at the agriturismo.
Day 2: Casalvecchio – Baglio San Pietro (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast, you will be assigned your horse for the trail and we will leave Casalvecchio at around 8.30 in the morning. We will begin by riding along a “trazzera” (an old pathway used for transporting goods and animals across the island) in the direction of Gangi, a hilltop town of ancient and mysterious origin. After passing below Gangi, we will ride through mountain pastures with beautiful views across the surrounding countryside, to reach the Bosco di Sperlinga, a natural forest, where we will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride on to the village of Sperlinga, a fascinating place characterised by troglodyte dwellings, some of which are still in use today, and its unique castle, which is carved into the rock. We will visit the village and its castle, before a short ride to reach Baglio San Pietro, a restored farmstead dating from the seventeenth century and equipped with a swimming pool, where we will have dinner and spend the night. Our accommodation sits on the edge of the town of Nicosia, one of the most important towns in the province of Enna.
Day 3: Baglio San Pietro – Agriturismo Lo Sperone (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast, we will set off at around 8.30 in the morning. We will begin the day riding through farmland and rolling hills along scenic tracks and old “trazzere”, before stopping for a picnic lunch. For most of the afternoon’s ride, we will follow an old railway line, out of use since the 1950s, which we will pick up in the modern outskirts of the town of Leonforte. We will follow the railway line to the town of Assoro, crossing impressive bridges, before winding down on the other side of the town through dramatic scenery and passing through several tunnels. We will have dinner and spend the night at Agriturismo Lo Sperone, an old farmstead which has been restored, surrounded by citrus groves and equipped with a swimming pool.
Day 4: Agriturismo Lo Sperone – Torre di Renda (hours of riding: 8)
We will set off from the farm at about 8.00 in the morning and cross rolling hills, riding through endless fields of grain and forage. After about three hours, we will reach the breath-taking and little-known Castello di Pietratagliata, a castle perched precariously atop a jagged rock, first documented in the fourteenth century, whose origins are shrouded in mystery and legend. We will ride on through agricultural land to reach the site of Morgantina, one of the largest archaeological sites in Sicily, which was a city founded by the island’s Sicel populations. We will briefly take in the site as we ride past and stop here for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride through rolling fields, climbing to take in beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, reaching as far as Mount Etna on a clear day. We will then continue along sandy tracks through woods of eucalyptus and pine to reach Torre di Renda, an old structure which was formerly the local bishop’s residence, equipped with a swimming pool, in the territory of the famous medieval town of Piazza Armerina. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Torre di Renda – Baglio Pollicarini (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast, we will leave the hotel at around 8.00 in the morning and descend a scenic valley to arrive after about one hour at the Villa Romana del Casale, one of the most important historical sites in Sicily and boasting around 3500m² of spectacular mosaics dating from the fourth century. After visiting the Villa Romana, we will ride north through rolling farmland and stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride through peaceful eucalyptus forests and reach the interesting area of Grottacalda, which was an important sulphur mining site. We will ride on through woods of pine and eucalyptus to reach Baglio Pollicarini, originally a small convent built in the seventeenth century, which has been transformed into a charming farm hotel surrounded by olive trees and equipped with a swimming pool. We will enjoy a rich dinner and overnight at the farm.
Day 6: Baglio Pollicarini – Agriturismo Villa Assunta (hours of riding: 7.5)
We will set off after breakfast, at about 8.30 in the morning, and ride through agricultural land, passing below the impressive town of Enna, to reach the territory of Calascibetta, where we will stop for a picnic lunch at the Necropolis of Realmese, an ancient site consisting of 288 tombs carved into imposing rock faces. In the afternoon, we will descend towards the lake of Villarosa, before riding through the small town, characteristic of deep Sicily. We will ride on through rolling fields to reach our accommodation for the night, Agriturismo Villa Assunta, in the territory of Santa Caterina Villarmosa, equipped with an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna.
Day 7: Agriturismo Villa Assunta – Casalvecchio (hours of riding: 7)
We will set off at around 8.30 in the morning and climb up the beautiful valley of the River Salso (the longest river in Sicily, which begins in the Madonie Mountains and reaches the southern coast after about 140km). We will then climb to admire spectacular views across the surrounding hills and fields, before stopping for a picnic lunch at the ancient site of Alburchia, an impressive rocky outcrop, with breath-taking, panoramic views. In the afternoon, we will ride through agricultural land towards the glistening image of Gangi, perched impressively on its hillside and bathed in the afternoon sun. We will then ride along an ancient trazzera to return to our base, Casalvecchio Geraci. Rich dinner prepared with homegrown produce and overnight.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast, you will be transferred 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 Catania - Depart Catania