This residential week combines scenic riding with the discovery of an area rich in nature, history, culture and culinary wealth. Accommodation is in a comfortable, traditional Sicilian agriturismo with stables onsite, excellent horses and riding options. The food is superb and the hosts are extremely friendly and helpful.

There are 6 full days of riding included that explore different routes each day, however the programme is flexible and can be tailored to suit he group's needs. A two day mini-trail can be included in the itinerary where you will spend the night in a mountain hotel.

This ride is suitable for novice riders onwards with shorter out-rides if requested (on enquiry), and groups can be separated to suit everyone's riding enjoyment. Western or English saddles are both available. This package is also ideal for non-riding companions who can explore the area and cycling tracks, and also enjoy wine tastings around the local 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 SB of Banks on 23/09/2021

Ride Summary
Brilliant.
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
Please give more details to explain your response:
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?
9
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Because of some rocky places where it is necessary to dismount and lead. Got to know how to lead safely.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Because they are very helpful and know the rides.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank yo for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1
Transfer from the airport of Palermo to Tenuta Luogo Marchese. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2 - Castelbuono: 4hrs riding.
After breakfast, riders meet at the stables and will be matched with a suitable horse.
The journey begins with an interesting ride along trails through Mediterranean olive groves and cork trees. After crossing the river bed (which is almost always dry in summer), arrive in Castelbuono in front of the Castle of Ventimiglia. The city is a medieval town known as the residence of the barons Ventimiglia, and still keeps old craft traditions alive. Relax in town and sample typical local products such as manna, local cheeses and traditional desserts. Guests may also join a guided tour of the Castle (entrance approx €4 per person).

Day 3 - Gorges of Tiberius: 6 hours riding.
Today's adventure will take us to the wild and rugged shores of the river Pollina in the territory of San Mauro Castelverde, with its history of notorious bandits that inhabited the area in the distant past, up to a Gorge named  "Miricu" in the local dialect, and a chance to travel through the gorges by canoe.

Day 4 - Gibilmanna: 6 hours riding.
Today the group rides through the thick forests of Cork and Holm oaks to the reach the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna (about 800m. above sea level) where they can visit the Church which houses the famous Madonna of Gagini and rest with a picnic lunch. The trail continues through points of interest and beautiful landscape along the way.

Day 5 & 6 - Tour of Madonie Mountains: 15 hours riding over 2 days.
Depart on a thrilling ride into the woods of the Madonie National Park overlooked by mountain peaks reaching an altitude of almost two thousand meters above sea level. This is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species like deer and wild boar, as well as endemic species such as Scicilian Fir (Abies Nebrodensis) and giant Holly trees.This is a charming ride through unique landscapes and fresh air, stopping to drink water from natural mountain springs.and listen to the sound of the forest.

This tour is for experienced riders and also requires good physical fitness. as it follows mostly mountain trails. This excursion may be subject to change for reasons related to weather or obstacles along the routes. This can also be altered for less experienced riders. Overnight at an excellent mountain lodge. At the end of the second day, the ride heads back to Luogo Marchese for dinner and a well-deserved relax before bed.

Day 7 - St. Ambrogio: 6 hours riding.
Meander amid the pastures until reaching St. Ambrogio, a picturesque coastal village. The trail continues, following a path almost to the sea, passing through cultivated olive and citrus groves and woods of Cork, Red and Holm Oaks along the way. Lunch at a restaurant by the sea is an option, but the choice is always based on the rider's  preferences. During Spring and Autumn, beach rides and swimming wthe horses might be possible, but always depends on the weather and number of tourists, and can't be guaranteed. 


Day 8
Breakfast and transfer from Tenuta Luogo Marchese to the airport of Palermo.


NB - Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or volcanic conditions. 

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

There are 12 horses available for guests ranging in height from 15hh to 16hh. They are local Sicilian breeds or Sicilian/Arab and very surefooted, forward going and responsive. Riders have the choice of English or Western saddles. The riding is of a varied pace due to the terrain but there will be opportunities for some faster canters.


Rider requirements

Riders must have a secure seat at all paces and must be able to walk beside their horse at times due to steep terrain.

There is a minimum age limit of 16 years old and riders must be physically fit as some days may involve 8 hours+ in the saddle.

Your horses will be prepared for you each morning but you must be willing to assist with untacking, feeding and watering your horse on rides.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in a typical Sicilian agriturismo, the Tenuta Luogo Marchese. Built in the 19th century, it is set in the Sicilian countryside just 6 minutes by car from the seashore. Th old farmhouse with its tiny adjoining  chapel, still retains much of the original structure and is surrounded by palm trees and a very old wisteria that perfumes the air when flowering. 



The rooms are divided into double, triple and quadruple rooms, and some are available with a private terrace, views and TV's. The rooms are all en-suite with shower and are heated to take the chill of the evenings.



There is a swimming pool, perfect for cooling down after a long, hot day in the saddle.



Breakfast is a feast of local products, served in the main restaurant each morning.



One of the pleasures of Sicily is the wonderful food. Hearty meat stews, fresh fish, chocolate and marzipan are some of the highlights. With a history of plagues and power struggles, bread has always been a staple of the Sicilian peasant and is coarse and golden, and fashioned into a myriad of shapes. Baked bread is treated with the greatest respect and in the past only the head of the family had the privilege of slicing the loaf.



Dinner: Along with delicious regional dishes, simple pasta dishes are available on every menu combined with delicious fresh sauces and local cheeses. You will have the opportunity to taste some wonderful regional dishes on this holiday. Sicilian wine and beer is available (and welcome!) at the end of a day's riding and it is said that you will never get a dud coffee in Sicily! 



When in Palermo, the local street food is worth trying, especially the 'sfinciuni', a Sicilian pizza with anchovies, fresh tomatoes, onion, primo sale cheese, Parmesan and oregano.


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

Sicily enjoys a relatively mild climate; high temperatures begin in May, often lasting until sometime in October. While the summers can be very hot and dry, the spring and winter months often bring on torrential rains. Surprisingly, even Sicily has its cold waves in winter, with temperatures falling below zero, especially inland. As of late, it's not been uncommon to see minimal snowfall in Palermo.

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)

None specific but a good level of fitness is recommended.

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

You will be able to charge electrical items each evening in your accommodation. Remember an adapter!

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your programme and preferences.

• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport

Programmes

The Stationary Programme is available all year round with Saturday departures.

Departure Dates

All year round Saturday to Saturday.

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20238d/7n6double pp1,409
20238d/7n6single supplement145
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20238d/7n6double pp1,559
20238d/7n6single supplement155
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20238d/7n6double pp1,789
20238d/7n6single supplement179
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20238d/7n6double pp17,895
20238d/7n6single supplement1,789
Other Activities

Other activities in the area include: cycling, diving, fishing, water sports, trekking, mountain biking, windsurfing, tennis, sailing, golf, and snorkelling.

Wildlife

There are populations of hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, foxes, wild cats and wild boar and birds like the falcon, pilgrim hawk, windhover, kite, eagle, rock partridge and imperial crow. Migratory birds that still use Sicily as a pit stop include the common wader, pink seagull, grater sea swallow and the spoonbill. You can also find insects and invertebrates here such as the spotted grass snake, a rather large toad and varieties of frog and gecko.

In terms of river life freshwater fish have all but disappeared but there are still eels. While in the seas there are large numbers of blue-fin tuna and swordfish.

In mountain areas there is broom, lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, wild olive, dwarf palm, lentisk, cork oaks, oleanders, carob trees and tamarisks. The largest tracts left are largely contained in the Nebrodi, Madonie, Peloritani and Etna slopes in oak trees, Holm Oaks, Cork Oaks, Chestnut trees and Beech trees. Other local fauna includes the agave, palm, Plane trees, Ficus, Cedar, Mulberry and Eucalyptus.

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):
Palermo or Catania Airport
Transfer:
2023: Included from Cefalu train/bus station. From/to Palermo: €230 (3 pax max) or €280 (6 pax max). From/to Catania: €250 (3 pax max) or €300 (6 pax max).
Flight Guide:
London - Palermo from £85pp return
London - Catania from £95pp return
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