This is a point to point horse riding holiday through the the Etruscan region of Italy. Western saddles are utilised on this holiday. The natural environment is varied and impressive with mountain pastures, the wilderness of the Fiora river valley and canyons in tuff-rock.
You will ride along the pastures of Montevitozzo, through the Etruscan necropoles of Poggio Prisca and across ancient Etruscan cavern roads. You will pass by the most famous monument in this part of Etruria, the Tomb of Ildebranda and ride through the Lamone Forest Natural Park on the shore of the volcanic Mezzano Lake, an absolute paradise. You will explore medieval villages and Etruscan necropoles.
For a nature loving rider this horse riding holiday is a wonderful way to discover the nature and culture of the area.
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 DD of Rio Verde on 03/09/2015
Transfer from airport or train station (see notes). Arrive and transfer to accommodation. In the evening meet with the guide and the other guests to chat and get to know each other.
The entire day is spent on horseback, getting to know your horse and ensuring that horse and rider are completely compatable. Lunch is a picnic.
We start from the riding centre along the pastures of Montevitozzo to the banks of the Fiora river, stopping for a swim and a picnic. Afterwards, we ride along ancient Etruscan roads (Vie Cave) cut deep into the tuff rock more than 2000 years ago passing the most famous monument in this part of Etruria, the Ildebranda Tomb. We spend the night in a country house close to the medieval village of Sovana. From there, we continue towards Pitigliano and our B&B.
From Sovana we travel through vineyards and olive groves to the river. We cross the Fiora River and continue towards the necropolis of Poggio Buco until we reach our another country house where we stay for the night.
Today we have a longer ride in the morning we ride along the river Fiora until the hermitage of Poggio Conte, where 16th century hermits built a chapel entirely dug out of the tuff rock. For lunch we will reach Pietraitta, a farm that breeds and trains Maremma horses using traditional methods. That afternoon we will be joined by the Butteri (Italian Cowboys) moving their Maremma Horses and cattle. Late afternoon we drive back to the country house where we have some time to relax at the swimming pool.
Our journey continues along the Olpeta deep cut Etruscan road (the only one in the area that contains the remains of an ancient Roman road). Then we cross the Olpeta River and climb up to the site of the ancient city of Castro. Here we enter the Lamone Forest Nature Reserve. This dense woodland, with its wild flowers and birds such as woodpeckers and various species of falcon unique to the area, has grown up on rocky terrain of volcanic origin. During our ride we'll encounter cattle of the Maremma breed, living in the clearings of the forest. We stop for our picnic then leave the forest and cross rolling hills with spectacular views and reach our accommodation near lake Mezzano, a crater lake of volcanic origin, an absolute paradise, where we will have time to enjoy a swim.
From lake Mezzano, riding along field tracks we reach first San Quirico, then Vitozza, a village rich in medieval treasures, castle ruins and a church alongside numerous caves that served as houses until the end of the eighteenth century. From there we descend to the source of the Lente river, climb up to Sorano, then continue along Etruscan roads (Vie Cave). Our journey continues toward Montevitozzo, before returning to the riding centre .In the evening we will enjoy our final dinner together during which every participant will receive a small souvenir and a map of our journey.
Departure after breakfast.
Please follow this link for a map of this itinerary: Etruskan Trekking
Chiusi Train Station, Rome Fiumicino or Rome Ciampino Airport
If you would like a transfer from Chiusi train station:
Once you land in Rome, you have to take the Leonardo Express to the main train station (Termini). From there you can take the train to Chiuisi-Chianciano Terme. Make sure you take a fast train between Florence and Rome that stops in Chiusi. Here is the link to FS (the Italian train company) http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html. You might want to consider purchasing a reservation along with your train ticket to ensure that you get to sit on the Roma-Chiusi segment . The set transfers take place on Saturdays (Day 1) between either 9am and 10am or 5:30pm and 6:30pm. A return transfer costs 35 Euro and is payable either at the riding centre or at the agency. Transfers out of this time incur an extra charge (please ask your consultant). Transfers from the train station take approx. 1 hour.
If you would like a transfer from the airport:
Depending in which airport you are flying into (Ciampino or Fiumicino) there are 2 set transfers from both on Saturdays (Day 1) - from Rome Ciampino airport the set transfer will leave at 15:00 and from Rome Fiumicino airport at 16:00. A return transfer costs 250 Euro and is payable either at the riding centre or at the agency. Transfers out of this time incur an extra charge (please ask your consultant). Transfers from the airports take approx. 2.5 hours. A one-way transfer is available for 130 Euro.
On Day 8, the transfer back to Rome will leave the riding centre at 09:30, arriving at Rome Fuimicino at 12:00 and Rome Ciampino at 13:00.
Please note that if there are guests arriving at both airports, the driver will collect first the guests in Ciampino and then go to Fiumicino airport and collect the guests arriving at this airport. For guests taking the transfer back to the airport, the first stop will be in Fiumicino and the second in Ciampino. Please ensure that you book afternoon flights home in order to take this set group transfer. Other time times/days are possible for an extra charge.
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.
There are about 40 horses, including Haflingers, Appaloosas, Paints, Maremmanas, South American Thoroughbreds and some horses of mixed breeds. The horses live in different herds in big pastures throughout the year. They are reliable and secure, which makes it easy for you to deal with even the most difficult situations like steep slopes or the fording of a river. Western saddle are utilized for comfort and ease. Simple guidelines will be given if you have not ridden western before - it is very easy, relaxing and addictive. There is some difficult terrain which the horses are experienced in and know how to deal with. The main gaits are walk, trot and canter where possible. The total trip length is approximately 100 miles with daily trips of 12 to 25 miles. The routes are predominantly field tracks, sunken Etruscan roads hew in tuff-rock and dirt roads. An experienced guide rides with the group. Daily riding time is about 5 - 6 hours shared between the morning (longer ride) and the afternoon.
Riders should be able to walk, trot and canter and be able to mount and dismount unaided. Western experience or riding in rough terrain is nice to have but not essential by any means.
Riders will be ask to assist with the care of their horses such as grooming and saddling. The minimum riding age for this holiday is 14 years.
The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
On the first, second and last night's we stay at the base - the horses' home. Here there the accommodation consists of comfortable double rooms. Some rooms have a private bathroom but you may have to share a bathroom with one other room. For the trek we stay in local establsihments known as agriturisms. They are chosen for to their local character, the quality of their cuisine and comforts, as well as their suitability for the horses overnight. Accommodation is in double rooms. An assistant takes the luggage to the overnight destinations. Breakfast and dinner are served in the agriturisms with vehicle or on occasion is carried in saddlebags.
Meals are traditional Tuscan dishes, with influences from the cuisines of Umbria and Lazio and are homemade with a lot of the products locally grown.
For swimming, Bolsena Lake is beautiful and 45 minutes drive from the farm and the nearest beach is 1 hour 15 minutes.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the 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 on request.
Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.
The British Embassy can be found at Via XX Settembre 80a, I-00187 Roma RM. Tel: + (39) 06 4220 0001. Email: email@example.com.
The Italian Embassy in the U.K can be found at 14 Three Kings Yard, Davies Street, London W1K 4EH. Telephone: (020) 7312 2200. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The coastal regions, have a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot and generally dry summers.
We advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org
A supply of common medicines is kept at the camp and the guide keeps an emergency kit in his saddle bags. Specific needs of medicines or specific health-problems must be communicated before starting the trekking. Participants with allergies should carry along their usual medicines, just as all participants allergic to common medicaments.
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
There is electricity to charge batteries on each night. The nearest villages on the trail are 20km+ away so we recommend bringing all necessary equipment with you.
There is internet access available on the first, second and last nights.
Clothes should be comfortable and already worn (especially shoes) as new clothing might mean unpleasant surprises. Important: comfortable shoes, suited even for walking, but with a stiff sole to guarantee a good contact between feet and stirrups; avoid boots with a smooth sole and tight clothes, the trousers should be comfortable and strong, rain coat, sun-hat, electric torch, small knife, bathing suit, and sleeping bag (for the camping trips) that should not be too light. Furthermore one should remember that even during the hottest periods you need a jumper for the evening. The luggage should be reduced to the minimum as space on the means of transport is limited, avoid using hardtop suitcases.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates.
2019: 25 May; 20 Jul; 17 Aug; 14 Sept.
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Wildlife that may be seen includes deer, wild horses, porcupines and wild boar.
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.