Walking out
Been there, done that and got that T-shirt - not sure about her though ....
Working with the horse
Western Tuition

This western centre offers a range of riding through the south of Tuscany, Italy. For beginners to experienced riders there are a range of lessons in western riding aimed at developing and deepening the knowledge of 'natural western', 'collaboration between horse and rider' and 'guidance'. Mini Trails are available for novice onwards to increase confidence on super horses and through wonderful scenery. Offering excellent value, super fresh, delicious Tuscan meals and years of experience in horse trekking, there is a large range of horses with western tack. This centre has a relaxed informal atmosphere and is especially recommended for those coming alone. A warm welcome and fun holiday is assured here and for a nature loving rider this is an excellent way to get started in western riding. 

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 JT of Hertford on 29/06/2019

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday
Absolutely fantastic - probably the best riding holiday I have done in Europe
Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Flavia was absolutely brilliant. There are 70 horses available and she matched me correctly with the wonderful Zorro on the first day. Another lady tried at least 5 but it didn't matter! Flavia had endless patience, she was always making sure we were safe but she was never bossy - not an easy combination to achieve. She wanted us to enjoy ourselves and have fun, and as a result we did. It was wonderful to watch her bond with the horses and her balance of firmness and fondness for them. Their wellbeing was always a concern for her, and that is so important. Flavia understands people being nervous and is first class at inspiring confidence
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
The horses were amazing, they look beautiful, were calm, sure footed and good with each other too.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
It exceeded expectations. The scenery, the rides, the swimming in the river, the wildlife we spotted, the cherry orchards, vineyards, amazing wild flowers, riding through the tufo canyons and little towns perched on the edge of escarpments - it was all a WOW. Oh and the FOOD - wow as well, and our rooms, so well looked after by our lovely, friendly cleaning lady who had a very sweet dog !!!!!!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?
The only comments I would have are about the transfers and single supplement. I paid a single supplement and was sharing a bathroom, while this was ok because it was with a friend, I would much prefer to have my own bathroom for so many reasons, two of them being we were at times short of time and we were in competition (friendly, I hasten to add) for the bathroom, and also I had medical things going on where my own bathroom would have been way preferable. The transfers at 250 euros for one, whether one, two or three people in the vehicle don't make sense to me and add a huge amount of money to what would otherwise be a reasonably priced holiday that I would love to do again.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
That's a difficult one, because although the horses behave impeccably, and Flavia is a vigilant guide, at times the ground was very rocky indeed, we crossed rivers and went through towns, once we crossed over a tiny but hairy bridge, and going through the canyons was a bit nerve racking. This all added to the fun and appeal of the ride to me, and I think the ride is for anyone who is reasonably fit (I'm not terribly and I'm 64 but I do yoga), reasonably courageous (my friend loathes heights and she was fine) and trusts the guide and horses ( Flavia would probably say I trusted my horse TOO much)!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Especially this ride in Italy
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
We were so lucky on this ride, 6 of us, a German couple, single German lady, single Italian lady, and 2 English friends. Most people were bi or tri lingual, and everyone was at a similar level of riding - no one was brilliant but we were all up for the lovely fast canters and all the fun we had, we set up a Whatsapp group and the photos and video clips are absolutely fab and a lasting reminder of an absolutely brilliant week. Thanks to all.
Unicorn comments: Thanks so much for your feedback!

Western Perfection Riding Course
This course is a 2 hours tuition per day and is aimed at novice and intermediate riders and aims to perfect control of the horse in the open. Having completed this you should be able to master all challenges that may occur under normal circumstances riding out. It is held partly in the arena and partly in a field with difficulties of various levels and includes exercises to train for trail, western riding and pleasure. There is also the option to increase the riding hours (at extra cost) and have another 12 hours riding out in the countryside enjoying the progress that is being made during the week.

Etruscan Mini-Trail
This itinerary is the same as the Taste of Trekking (above) but the difference is that during the mini-trail on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the riders stay out and overnight in B&B's on the Wednesday and Thursday night, rather than returning to the riding centre. This is a great opportunity for riders who have never experienced a trail before and would like to try a mini-trail in preparation for a longer trail.

Taste of Trekking
7 days full board with 2 hours riding for the first 3 days (afternoons at leisure or riding at extra cost), followed by 3 full days of horseback travel with overnight stay back at the farm base. This is an excellent package for those who are curious about trying a full trek on horseback.
On the three days trail we will ride through beech woods, Etruscan Necropolis, Etruscan roads "Vie Cave" cut deep in the tuff rock more than 2000 years ago, Etruscan villages, hills and beautiful countryside.

Transfers

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 at the riding centre. 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 at the riding centre. 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.

Horses
There are more than 60 horses, who live in small groups, outdoor on 100 acres of pasture land, completly according to their natural needs of socialization and movement. There are about 40 working horses, including Haflingers, Appaloosas, Maremmanas, Arabs and Anglo-Arabs 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.

Riding
Courses aimed at novice, intermediate riders and riders who can walk, trot and canter on a good horse are available in different weeks. Western saddles 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. An American saddle on a well-trained and reliable horse offers to a rider, even with little experience, the chance to enjoy the riding in nature. Since the saddle is very secure you can be sure it will be easy to relax and have fun. The American style of horse-riding is especially appropriate for long excursions, you will find the gaits more comfortable, and at the end of the day you will not feel exhausted but only a little tired, though highly satisfied.
Non -riders are welcomed, there are many attractions in the area (see 'Other Attractions').

Children
Children under 2 stay free with their parents. Children 2-6 have a 50% discount, 7-9 a 30% discount. Although children under 10 years of age are not allowed to ride-out with their parents, for children between 6 and 9 years old we can organise on request a special riding programme for them; 2 hours a day (at the same time as the riding-out of the adults). It is a playful activity: children learn how to move in security around the horses, clean them and will make some basic vaulting and riding exercises in the arena.

Accommodation
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. Family rooms (up to 4 people) available, please enquire. There are communal areas consisting of reception, a bar, living room with fireplace, hall with sofas and tables for games and relaxation, conference room, training or project room, pergola and garden. There is also internet and a VCR available for use. Outside there is a beautiful natural environment that has remained unchanged for years and is ideal for peaceful meditation.

It is also possible to camp on the grounds in an area which is secluded and immersed in the green of the Acacias. It is equipped with excellent facilities with hot water, a small kitchen, a communal covered area and from June to September you can stay in an Indian tepee for 4 people.

Food
The centre is an organic farm born in respect of the environment and for love of the region or land. They use vegetables directly from the farm’s garden and high quality Tuscan products produced in the region. Meals are traditional Tuscan dishes, with influences from the cusines of Umbria and Lazio and are home made with many of the products locally grown. Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Children
Children under 2 stay free with their parents. Children 2-6 have a 50% discount, 7-9 a 30% discount. There are no riding programmes for children under 10 years.

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 more than 60 horses, who live in small groups, outdoor on 100 acres of pasture land, completly according to their natural needs of socialization and movement. There are about 40 working horses, including Haflingers, Appaloosas, Maremmanas, Arabs and Anglo-Arabs 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 saddles are utilised for comfort and ease. Simple guidelines will be given if you have not ridden western before - it is very easy, relaxing and addictive. An American saddle on a well-trained and reliable horse offers to a rider, even with little experience, the possibility to enjoy the riding and the surroundings, since a maximum of security is always guaranteed and you can be sure the fun will not be left out. The American style of horse-riding is especially appropriate for long excursions, you will find the gaits more comfortable, and at the end of the day you will not feel exhausted but only a little tired, though highly satisfied. The structure of the American saddle distributes the weight of the rider on a greater area of the horse's back than the English saddle. The centre of gravity lies further down, making the ride easier for horse and rider. The collaboration of a horse trained in the American style helps us in many situations and the communication established is surprisingly good.


Rider requirements

From novice onwards. The Taste of Trekking and Etruscan Mini-Trail programmes are for novice riders able to walk, trot and canter and the Western Perfection Riding course is aimed at riders who can walk, trot and canter. The minimum age for Western Perfection is 16 years, for Taste of Trekking and the Mini Trail children as young as 10 can ride as long as they have experience. Please enquire if you have children under 16 and are interested in these programmes

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

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. There are communal areas consisting of reception, a bar, living room with fireplace, hall with sofas and tables for games and relaxation, conference room, training or project room, pergola and garden. There is also a photocopy and fax machine, internet, slide projector and overhead projector available for use.



Outside there is a natural environment that has remained unchanged for years and is ideal for peaceful meditation. It is also possible to camp in an area which is secluded and immersed in the green of the Acacias, it is equipped with excellent facilities with hot water, a small kitchen, a communal covered area and from June to September you can stay in an Indian tepee for 4 people.



The centre is an organic farm born in respect of the environment and for love of the region or land. They  use vegetables directly from the farm’s garden and high quality Tuscan products produced in the region. Meals are traditional Tuscan dishes, with influences from the cusines of Umbria and Lazio and are home made with many of the products locally grown.


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. 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.

General information:

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: consularrome@fco.gov.uk.

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: ambasciata.londra@esteri.it.

Climate Summary

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

Climate Chart

Health

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

Health (ride specific)

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.

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

You will be able to charge batteries and cameras in your room. There is internet access available.

Packing List

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. Furthermore one should remember that even during the hottest periods you need a jumper for the evening.

Programmes

Set dates from from March to November.

Departure Dates

2020 Taste of Trekking: Apr 11, 25; Aug 1*, 8*; Sept 5.
2020 Western Perfection Course: Mar 28; Apr 11; Jun 6, 20; Jul 18*; Aug 1*, 22; Oct 3.
2020 Etruscan Mini-Trail: Apr 4, 18; May 30; Jun 20; Jul 25*; Sept 19; Oct 10.
(*denotes high season)

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp775
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out955
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6non-rider459
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6single supplement139
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding629
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 809
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6double pp815
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6single supplement139
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp855
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out1,049
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6non-rider515
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6single supplement159
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding695
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 889
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6double pp895
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6single supplement159
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp859
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out1,059
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6non-rider509
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6single supplement155
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding699
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 895
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6double pp905
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6single supplement155
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp945
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out1,165
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6non-rider569
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6single supplement175
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding769
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 985
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6double pp995
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6single supplement175
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp999
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out1,225
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6non-rider589
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6single supplement179
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding809
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 1,039
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,049
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6single supplement179
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp1,099
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out1,349
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6non-rider659
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6single supplement205
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding895
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 1,145
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6double pp1,155
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6single supplement205
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp9,619
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out11,819
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6non-rider5,679
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6single supplement1,725
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding7,815
2020 Western Perfection course Low Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 10,019
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6double pp10,099
2020 A Taste of Trekking Low Season8d/7n6single supplement1,725
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp10,579
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Western Perfection Course double pp including riding out13,005
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6non-rider6,359
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6single supplement1,949
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 12 hours of riding8,595
2020 Western Perfection course High Season8d/7n6Full board and 24 hours of riding 11,019
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6double pp11,109
2020 A Taste of Trekking High Season8d/7n6single supplement1,949
Other Activities

Optional extras include a full service bar, availability of rain gear for rent, and extra riding hours.

Close by are several hot springs and thermal baths like in S. Filippo (50 minutes), San Casciano dei Bagni (35 minutes), Sorano (30 minutes) and the most famous of all the hot springs of Saturnia (50 minutes). A little bit further you may reach the ones of Bagno Vignoni (1 hour). For those who are looking for a refreshing bath there are the Mezzano and Bolsena lakes (both 45 minutes away). The sea is a little bit further, about 1 hour and 20 minutes away.

For the "nature-lovers" we suggest a walk in the natural reserve of Mount Penna or into the woods of Mount Amiata, where you may also find an adventure park, or on the Mount Labbro (nearby you there is a WWF natural oasis, Bosco Rocconi. In the mountainside of Monte Amiata, you will also find the beautiful garden of the swiss artist Daniel Spoerri, worth to be seen not just for it's sculptures but also for the beauty of it's garden and gorgeous view over the valley. Another garden to be visited is the Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle (about 1 hour and 15 minutes away) or the monster garden at Bomarzo (about 1 hour and 15 minutes away).
We recommend hiring a car as your hosts can't prove transportation to attractions.

Wildlife

Wildlife includes deer, wild horses, porcupines and wild boar.

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):
Chiusi Train Station, Rome Fiumicino Airport or Rome Ciampino Airport
Transfer:
2020: From Rome Ciampino/Rome Fiumicino airports €250 return (approx. 2.5 hours) or Chiusi-Chianciano Terme railway station €35 return (approx. 1 hour) at set times on Saturdays. Other times on request (extra charge).
Flight Guide:
Rome Fiumicino (FCO) or Rome Ciampino (CIA)
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Neck reining
France, Haute Languedoc Ranch

A welcoming ranch in unspoilt countryside with tuiti...Read more >

from $1,169
Portugal Algarve Western Style
Portugal, Algarve Western Style

Western Ranch in good rugged riding country in the beauti...Read more >

from $125
Riding in the Andes
Ecuador, Hacienda La Alegria

Historical Hacienda set in the Andean Mountains surrounde...Read more >

from $239