Wilderness and wine-tasting - 2 days
Day 1 (hours of riding: 6.5)
We will set off from the Casalvecchio Geraci farmhouse at around 8.30am, in the valley of the River Rainò, a tributary of the River Pollina. The ride begins by descending the valley along an ancient “trazzera regia” (pathways dating from the Bourbon era, which were used for transporting animals across the island), surrounded by fields of wheat and hay. At a certain point the “trazzera” we follow becomes a small path which winds its way through a wild and untouched area of rare natural beauty. We will cross the territory of San Mauro Castelverde and after about 5 hours in the saddle we will arrive at the medieval town of Castelbuono, famous for its castle (where we will tie up the horses) and its typical local products. We will have lunch in a local restaurant and briefly visit the historic centre and the castle.
In the afternoon we will continue the ride and arrive at the Abbey of Santa Anastasia after about an hour and a half. Time to relax at the hotel (equipped with a swimming pool), followed by a guided visit of the wine cellars and a four course meal accompanied by a wine-tasting.
Day 2 (hours of riding: 6.5)
After breakfast, we will set off again on horseback at around 9am, taking a very picturesque route through the rich countryside around Castelbuono, before climbing up through the largest forest of cork trees in Sicily to reach (after about 4 hours in the saddle) the medieval town of Geraci Siculo, perched on a mountaintop at 1100 metres. We will have lunch in a trattoria in the historic town centre, followed by a visit of the town and the ruins of the castle of the Ventimiglia barons. We will then set off again in the direction of our starting point, riding for about two and a half hours along winding pathways and old mule tracks long forgotten and hidden in forests of oak and ash, with breathtaking views across the surrounding countryside.
It is possible to reserve an extra night (half-board) at our base Agriturismo Casalvecchio Geraci the night before or after the trail, for an extra cost of 60€ per person per night in a double room or 75€ in a single room.
- Airport transfers from/to the nearest airport.
- 1 nights in agriturismi, B&B and good quality hotels.
- 2 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