Riding in Tuscany

Situated in a picturesque valley in the heart of Chianti, this holiday combines riding for all skill levels, and empathetic instruction. Exploring classical Tuscan scenery on well-schooled, calm horses is a highlight of this holiday. There are a variety of horses to choose from, and on-site instruction can help riders improve dressage skills as well as general good horsemanship. All the instructors are veryqualified and passionate about horses and riding. There are numerous activities for children and non-riding partners, including sight-seeing, photography courses, wine tasting and Italian lessons. There are periodic yoga weeks to enjoy for a full relaxation break.

Accommodation is in an 18th century country villa featuring 8 guest rooms, all with bathrooms, and each furnished simply and comfortably in the 19th century Tuscan style. There is a swimming pool with panoramic views over the Tuscan hills.
 

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from HK of New York on 10/04/2019

Ride Summary
It was lovely and I will have very fond memories from it for a long time!
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
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What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
As a beginner the riding lessons were challenging enough and right level. I did not feel pressured or pushed or discouraged. I was impressed by the quality of teaching and an individual lessons!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
NO
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Riding

The quality of the tuition is excellent with instructors and guides that are BHS, GEA, FISR UISP trained and qualified Lessons are 45 minutes each and riders are divided into small groups (max 3). Tuition can be offered from absolute beginners onwards. There might be a possibility for some riding out at a nearby facility, subject to availability and on appointment only. Please note that out-rides cannot be guaranteed for children under 14. Riding can also be tailor-made according to your wishes, please enquire for more details.

Programme A
Dressage for advanced riders - 6 or 10 Dressage lessons

Programme B
Lessons for beginners and novice riders - 6 or 10 beginner lessons

Horses
There are about 30 well trained horses available. They are Lusitanos, Anglo-arabs, Berber, Arabs, English Thoroughbred and Italian horses. They are ridden in English tack and are very well schooled and responsive.

Activities
Non-riders have plenty of options including wine-tasting, cooking classes, yoga classes or rent a bike and explore the surroundings. This is a very good base for touring the area without changing accomodation: Florence and Siena, Colle Val d’Elsa, San Gimignano, Certaldo, Greve in Chianti, Pisa, Pienza,Volterra, Lucca are reachable by car. We recommend guests rent a car as there is plenty to visit. If arranged in advance, a local car rental company will deliver a car to the riding center.

Generally the riding programmes leave riders plenty of time for touring the area and there are many nice places you can reach in less than half an hour. The sea and sandy beach is about 75 minutes by car.

Wine Tasting
Every Friday a wine-tasting is organized for guests by a local producer (extra chage and subject to availability)
 

Free time between lessons can be spent relaxing at the centre or maybe book at treatment at one of the two local Spas in the area.

 

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

About 30 well-trained horses (Lusitanos, Anglo-arabs, Berber, Arabs, English Thoroughbred and Italian horses) are available. They will be assigned according to the skills and wishes of the riders.The lessons are divided into three groups and can be taught in  English. The quality of tuition is high with instructors and guides being BHS, GEA, FISE UISP trained and qualified. Lessons are given in one of the two training arenas.



Beginners with no riding experience are welcome and do not have to bring a full riding equipment, as they can borrow chaps, whips and riding hats (not all sizes) on site. Post-beginners can extend their knowledge and skill or partake in the out-rides. Experienced riders can take dressage lessons, or a combination of lessons and out-rides. We have all-inclusive offers with half-board, and 2 riding hours per day. Extra riding can be booked on site.



The out-rides are calm and always accompanied by a qualified guide. In most cases, routes follow small country paths through the tuscan countryside at a slow pace. Guests often compliment the lightness and sensitivity of the horses. Dressage, show jumping, cross country and endurance courses are organised both beginners and experienced riders. The weekly courses are run throughout the year and it is possible to partake with or without your own horse. With the emphasis on correct basic schoolwork, riders are also encouraged to work on exercises in the lateral movements, transistions, canter and counter-canter as well as work from the ground. 


Rider requirements

None, beginners can learn riding from the very first steps.
Post-beginners can extend their knowledge and skill or partake in the riding out.
Experienced riders can take dressage lessons or possibly combine this with riding out.
The minimum age for riding is 2. There is a minimum age of 14 for riding out, although younger riders who are experienced may be able to join with adults.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Guests are hosted in the heart of Chianti in an 18th century country villa featuring terra-cotta floors, wooden beamed roofs and arched ceilings. The house has 8 guest rooms, all with bathrooms, each furnished simply and comfortably in the 19th century tuscan style. The Tower Room has six windows giving a wonderful panoramic view over the scenic landscape. Guests can use the swimming pool with glorious panoramic view over the Tuscan hills. There is also a small apartment (approx. 45 sq. m) inside the main house on the ground floor, which has 1 bedroom with ensuite bathroom, 1 sitting room with kitchenette and a double sofa bed. (2 to 4 guests).



FOOD

Dinners consist of four courses and a good Chianti wine is always at hand. The cuisine is traditional Tuscan and the products are genuine and fresh: the olive oil used is directly produced on the farm.



SPECIALITIES

More than 30 different types of Tuscan crostini-Pizze, focacce and pasta of any kind: particularly good is the lasagne al forno (also in vegetarian version) and the Tortelloni of Maremma. Pork, beef, wild boar, chicken cooked in many different ways and always accompanied by two different vegetable choices. Tirami su, panna cotta, torta della nonna, home made cantucci are some of the dessert specialities.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy

Climate Summary

The coastal regions, have a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot and generally dry summers.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Italy and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites

Health (ride specific)

If you wish to visit either of the local spas for a treatment you may want to look at the websites to choose in advance:

Castel del Nero, just 10 minutes away, is set in a castle with a fantastic atmosphere are great facilities with an extensive range of treatments http://www.castellodelnero.com/eng/tuscany_spa_hotel.htm

Villa San Paolo is a little farther away, 20-25 minutes, but offer amazing value at around €50 per day http://www.toscanaspa.com/en/

Electricity

In Italy the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Film and Camera Equipment

Electricity is available to charge equipment.

Packing List

Beginners do not have to bring full riding equipment - chaps, whips and riding hats (not all sizes) can be provided. Otherwise just bring your normal riding gear and some informal clothing for evening wear. Sunscreen is essential in the summer!

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme available from mid March to mid November, and over New Year. Programmes can be tailor made and shorter stays with a minimum of 2 nights can be arranged please enquire.

Departure Dates

2023: Saturday departures (Low Season: 31 March - 9 April; 7 - 21 May; 11 - 25 June; 5 - 12 November)

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


Non-rider and children prices are available - please contact your Travel Consultant

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,159
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,399
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,109
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,305
2023 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement255
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,225
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,469
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,155
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,349
2023 High Season8d/7n6single supplement255
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,265
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,525
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,215
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,419
2023 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement279
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,335
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,605
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,259
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,469
2023 High Season8d/7n6single supplement279
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,455
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,749
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,389
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,629
2023 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement309
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,535
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,845
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)1,445
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)1,689
2023 High Season8d/7n6single supplement309
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)14,899
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)17,959
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)14,265
2023 Low Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)16,735
2023 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement3,215
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (6 lessons)15,725
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme A double pp half-board (10 lessons)18,905
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (6 lessons)14,839
2023 High Season8d/7n6Programme B double pp half-board (10 lessons)17,315
2023 High Season8d/7n6single supplement3,215
Other Activities

This is a very good base for touring the area without changing accommodation: Florence and Siena, Colle Val d’Elsa, San Gimignano, Certaldo, Greve in Chianti, Pisa, Pienza,Volterra,Lucca are reachable by car.

Generally the riding programmes leave riders plenty of time for touring the area and there are many nice places you can reach in less than half an hour.

There are many things you can do while your partner/friend is riding:
- you can just relax at the swimming pool (open from April to October)
- tennis facilities are within 10 km
- golf facilities in Florence, Castelfalfi or Siena.Ask for information.
- explore the Tuscan countryside by bicycle.
- join the riders for the picnic or wine tasting (additional charges apply)
- join an art seminar, a ceramic course or a cooking class (additional charges apply)
- learn italian (our teacher comes to the farm on request)
- Enjoy a spa treatment locally
- Participate in yoga if you stay during a yoga week (additional charges apply)
- The sea and sandy beach is about 75 minutes by car.

Other Country Information

Italy forms a peninsula in Southern Europe extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Elba and about 70 other smaller islands. It is mostly mountainous, though between the Apennines (which form the spine of Italy) and the eastern coastline there are the fertile plains of Emilia-Romagna in the north and of Puglia in the south. The Alps in the north divide Italy from France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

The Roman Empire was once the most powerful in the world, covering Europe and extending into modern day Asia. Their horsemanship skills second only to the Mongols further east. The incredibly cultured and refined Roman culture still leaves its mark across Europe and has been the foundation for countless artistic movements, including the Renaissance, through cities such as Florence and the medieval university city of Bologna.

Italians are understandably proud of their heritage and are renowned as people of great taste and as having an eye for the aesthetic. Their architecture and fashion leave most of the world in their shadow, appearance is very important to them and the majority of Italians will never leave the house without ensuring they are impeccably and elegantly attired.

Italian food, from pizza to pasta, has been commandeered by the rest of the world but you will never taste a better pizza anywhere else. As with the rest of mainland Europe meals are eaten late with plenty of wine and preferably al fresco.

Italy is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. (There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram).

The international dialling code is +39.

Important information regarding rail travel:
Visitors are often caught unawares by train and transport systems requiring validation. Tickets bought in Italy for Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains are not marked for any particular time or train and become valid only when time-stamped at a validation machine. Without this validation, train operators assume the rider is trying to fare dodge, since the ticket could be reused. So validation is absolutely essential before boarding, and there are small boxes in the station or near the platform. After being time-stamped, the ticket is valid for the amount of time shown on the ticket.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Florence Airport, Florence Station or Pisa Airport (PSA)
Transfer:
2023: Please note prices might vary slightly with fuel price increases. Florene Airport €100 each way per car; Pisa Airport €170 each way per car. Max 4 people per car. Supplements may be applicable for night time transfers. Payable on site. Transfer times are approximately 50 minutes from Florence station, 1 hour from Florence airport and 1 hour 45 from Pisa Airport.
Flight Guide:
London - Florence return from £145pp return or London - Pisa return from £45pp. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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