Madonie Trail - 3 days
Arrival at Agriturismo Casalvecchio, a nineteenth century farm, which has been restored and transformed into an agriturismo, immersed in deep Sicily, on the boundary between the Madonie Park and the island’s agricultural hinterland. Delicious dinner prepared with local produce and overnight.
Day 2: Agriturismo Casalvecchio - Castelbuono (hours of riding: 7)
We will set off from our base, Agriturismo Casalvecchio, at around 9.00 in the morning, riding along an ancient “trazzera” which follows the valley of the rivers Rainò and Calabrò, tributaries of the River Pollina, on the eastern boundary of the Madonie Park. We will then ride along paths through a wild and unspoilt area to reach the territory of Castelbuono, a town of medieval origin which was once the seat of the Ventimiglia Barons, one of the island's most important aristocratic families. We will have a picnic lunch before continuing the ride to arrive in the town in the afternoon. Free time to visit the town's historic centre and castle. We will enjoy a rich dinner in a local restaurant and spend the night at the hotel Paradiso delle Madonie.
Day 3: Castelbuono - Rifugio Marini (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast, we will begin by climbing towards Piano Pomo, famous for its giant holly trees, before continuing to the massif of Carbonara, Sicily’s second highest peak after Mount Etna (at 1979 metres). Here, we can often spot wild deer grazing and when the weather is clear, we can admire breath-taking views of the northern side of the Madonie Park and the Tyrrhenian Coast. We will stop for a packed lunch in the heart of the Madonie Park and arrive late in the afternoon at Piano Battaglia (a ski station during winter months), where we will find our accommodation for the night, Rifugio Marini. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Rifugio Marini - Agriturismo Casalvecchio (hours of riding: 7)
After breakfast, we will ride to the valley of Battaglietta, a depression in the landscape where all of the meltwater gathers and then travels along underground tunnels to Cefalù. We will ride through the area of Pomieri and arrive at Portella Mandarini, where we will begin to climb over monte Catarineci, from where we can admire breath-taking views of half of Sicily on clear days and beautiful holly and beech trees. We will reach the medieval village of Geraci Siculo, where we will stop for a picnic lunch prepared using typical local products. In the afternoon, we will ride back to our starting point along an ancient path immersed in dense Mediterranean vegetation.
Breakfast and transfer to the airport.
- Airport transfers from/to the nearest airport.
- 4 nights in agriturismi, B&B and good quality hotels.
- 3 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