Deep Sicily - 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" - Rifugio Marini (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 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: Rifugio Marini - Casalvecchio (hours of riding: 7)
We will set off at about 08.30 in the morning, riding along paths and lanes through the park to reach Portela Mandarini, an important crossroad between ancient transhumance routes through the mountains. We will then ride through a wild and unspoilt area to arrive above Geraci Siculo, a medieval hilltop town, and one of the highest in the province of Palermo, from where we can admire spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, where we will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon we will descend along an ancient “trazzera” to reach the valley of the river Rainò, tributary of the River Pollina, on the eastern boundary of the Madonie Park. We will spend the night at Agriturismo Casalvecchio and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared with produce straight from the farm.
Day 4: Casalvecchio - Baglio San Pietro (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast, we will leave Casalvecchio at around 8.30 in the morning. We will ride through pastures and along old pathways with beautiful views towards the centre of Sicily, before entering peaceful woods and stopping for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride on through farmland 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 5: 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 by descending into the valley of the Salso Cimarosa River, which we will then follow, immersed in unspoilt nature and surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Erean Mountains. We will stop for a picnic lunch near the small town of Nissoria. For most of the afternoon’s ride, we will follow an old railway line, out of use since the 1950s. 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 6: Agriturismo Lo Sperone - Torre di Renda (hours of riding: 7.5)
We will set of 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 stop here for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride on through agricultural land, 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, in the territory of the famous medieval town of Piazza Armerina, equipped with a swimming pool. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Torre di Renda - Agriturismo Il Mandorleto (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 woods. In the afternoon, we will ride through peaceful eucalyptus forests and reach the Lake of the Olivo Dam. We will continue through woods, followed by rolling fields of wheat and hay, to reach Agriturismo Il Mandorleto, based in an old agricultural hamlet and famous for its production of almonds, one of the most important ingredients in Sicily's culinary tradition. Delicious dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast we will transfer you 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 Catania