Majestic Majella Explorer

Abruzzo/Molise Italy: (IT-ITMA01)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Italy_Majestic_Majella_Explorer.aspx

Introduction
Abruzzo/Molise Italy
Come explore one of Italy's hidden gems - the Majella National Park!

In a country mainly known for its Tuscan vineyards to the north or Mediterranean-kissed beaches to the south, The Majella National Park is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. It is one of the largest parks in Italy covering 75,000 acres and hosting a variety of landscapes. With the sheer size and restrictions of access to only hikers and horseback riders, you will feel like you have the park to yourself! Thanks to the protection by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, this park has thrived and is home to a large diversity of plants and animals from bears and wolves in the beech forests to chamois and eagles at higher altitudes. This is truly a magical experience where you can find a blissful peace surrounded by wilderness.

One of the highlights is Pescocostanzo, a picturesque medieval town at an altitude of 4,200 feet. Their stunning architecture is well-preserved and sure to interest any riders fond of history. Two nights will be spent in this lovely place. It is surrounded by several plains which invite many to a canter where we can stretch our legs and feel the thrill of speed. You will be staying at various rural hotels during the trip chosen for their charm and hospitality. Locals will greet you with warmth and treat you like family. You will also get to indulge in the best Italian cuisine for each meal and sample local wines. You can easily tell how much their food is made with love. Your guides have great knowledge of the area and are excited to share their passion of horses and nature with you!
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride so nights will be spent in different accommodations. Three nights are spent at the farmhouse and 4 nights are spent in various rural hotels.
All accommodations except the farmhouse have private bathrooms. Most of the accommodations do have WIFI access on this trip. There are no laundry facilities available on this trip.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 2: Farmhouse
Night 3: Hotel in Roccaraso
Night 4 & 5: Hotel in Pescocostanzo
Night 6 & 7: Agriturismo in Alfedena

Farmhouse near Carovilli
Your host welcomes you in his farmhouse, dating from 1885, which is at an elevation of about 3,000 feet (a little over 900m). The house is on the edge of a forest and overlooks a beautiful valley.
The house is not very big, but can comfortably accommodate for up to 8 riders. It has been completely renovated in 2003. There are three guestrooms (two double and one dormitory accommodating six) and two bathrooms. Guests can relax in the living room, by the fireplace. 
If you prefer more privacy, we can arrange for a room (with private bath) in the nearby B&B (8 minutes by car) for an extra charge.

Hotel in Roccaraso
This hotel offers basic accommodation and great views of the surrounding mountains. All the rooms come with a TV, free Wi-Fi access and private facilities with hairdryer.

Hotel in Pescocostanzo
Thus charming Inn is set in the heart of Pescocostanzi village. The rooms are elegantly furnished and all come equipped with a private bathroom, a TV and a kettle. There is Wi-Fi access in common areas.

Agriturismo in Alfedena
This Agriturismo is located at the foot of the Montagna Spaccata Lake, on the edge of the Abruzzo National Park. It offers 9 rustic style bedrooms, each fitted with a TV, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom with hairdryer and toiletries.

Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, a single supplement fee applied.
Single room accommodations are subject to availability.


Meals
All meals are included for this trip from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8.

You can be assured that at all these destinations you will be comfortable and very well fed. The food is wonderful with great care being taken to provide local specialties cooked with fresh ingredients.  Carmine used to own a restaurant and this is apparent from the wonderful recipes he shares with his guests. The tiramisu is the very best!
You will never go hungry here! Our own testers called the food 'imaginative and delectable' and 'original and sumptuous'!

Breakfast is usually 'continental'. Expect a lot of delicious pasta, salads, cheese, and bread. You will also taste the juiciest, sweetest tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, tasty salami, and other delights like tiramisu and fresh peaches.
Lunchtime often consists of salami, cheese, and bread picnic-style, accompanied with a glass of crisp wine.

Wines and beers are included during meals. All other drinks must be paid for.

Fund for refreshments and snacks
For the trek we collect Euro 30 per person to go into a mutual fund for refreshments on our way plus drinks and snacks other than at meals.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to all dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Level
Riders must be at least intermediate level to attend this ride. This means you are able to control a horse at ALL gaits, can mount and dismount unassisted, and are in good physical condition. There are areas where you will need to dismount and lead your horse. Therefore, you need to be in good shape.
We ride with western tack but experience in western riding is not required.

Pace
The ride includes 5.5 riding days with long days in the saddle (6-8 hours). The horses have to climb and go down a lot. Therefore, the pace is generally not very fast. However, in the plateaus and in the valleys we make long canters. The safety of the rider and that of the horse is of paramount importance to us!

Tack
We use western saddles. All saddles have a little saddle bag on the horn.

Horses
The horses have been selected for their character, looks, and intelligence (mix of American Quarter Horses, cross-breeds, Haflinger, Appaloosa. Paint). The horses are willing and easy-going. They were all born in the mountains, so they are very reliable.
All year-long, they live in a herd which makes them a close group- besides, most of them are related in some way or the other. They can choose from the paddocks around the house or the stable, which is at a distance of 30 feet from the house.
The horses are trained gently and with a lot of patience.

Guide
Carmine is a certified FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestre) guide. He speaks Italian and English.

Age Restriction
We require all riders to be 12 years if traveling with and adult or 16 years if traveling alone.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening at the farmhouse. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your host/guide.  A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
The morning is yours. You may sleep in, take your time over breakfast, do whatever you like. Before lunch, there is a safety-briefing. Then we groom and saddle up the horses, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch, we do a test-ride (3 hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trek. In the evening, we visit the new riding center close by and look forward a fresh prepared dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 3 (Monday): Ride to Pietransieri
We ride through large stretches of woods and fields and eventually stop for a picnic at an idyllic spot. After lunch, we pass the remains of a Samnitic temple. The Samnites were the original inhabitants of Molise. It took the Romans three centuries of warfare before they finally conquered this region, which then became part of the Roman Empire (79 B.C.).
Later, we stop at a high hill from where you can see the Majella. Then we reach Montedimezzo, an old hunting lodge that belonged to the King Family Bourbons. Today it is a Museum. The surrounding forest is protected by UNESCO. Worldwide the organization protect 256 forests. Four of these forests are in Italy and two of them in Molise.
Today's ride ends here and we enjoy a nice drink. In the meantime, the horses get loaded in the truck and transported to Pietransieri. A town where we join them by car after the break. In Christian’s riding centre the horses are nicely taken care of! We sleep in a hotel few hundred meter away.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Roccaraso


Day 4 (Tuesday): Pietransieri to Pescocostanzo
Today’s destination is the small town of Pescocostanzo. The trail takes us through increasingly high mountains. From there, we have a good view back to the hills of Molise. Up on the pass we stop for a picnic at the Pietra Cernaia, a viewpoint which shows us now a completely different Panorama. We can see Pescocostanzo from there. The village is about 4500 feet above sea level and directly on the steep slopes of the Majella Mountain. The terrain alternates with high plains pastures where we can have some nice canters before arriving in the stable for the horses. Having spent about 6 hours on horseback we are bound to be longing for a drink. Pescocostanzo has a nice square with several bars and restaurants. Taking a walk in this picturesque medieval town is pleasant for everyone and a must for those who are interested in architecture. We are staying at a small and cozy hotel. Dinner is at a restaurant.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Pescocostanzo


Day 5 (Wednesday): Ride though Majella National Park
The National Park Majella (75000 acres) is one of the biggest in Italy. It is a so-called Pan Park, which means that it is protected by WWF. Here are 30 Mountains over 6500 feet. Today, there will be a 6 hours ride in surrounding highlands. We expect to be able to have nice canters here. The night will be spent at the same hotel. Dinner, however, is at a different restaurant.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Pescocostanzo


Day 6 (Thursday): Pescocostanzo to Alfedena
This is going to be a demanding day spending about 7 hours in the saddle. We leave the Parco Nationale della Majella and ride across the Parco Nationale d'Abruzzo. The first part of our trail takes us upwards towards a large valley. Here on this plateau, we can canter until we reach our picnic place. After our break, we pass through a forest and in the end we get surprised with a wonderful view. The next stretch is a long road, leading us down and down again. Part of that road must be covered on foot! In the early evening we finally reach our destination. After leaving the horses in a paddock we go to Sandra’s riding centre were we have dinner and spend the next two nights at her comfortable hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at an Agriturismo in Alfedena


Day 7 (Friday): Ride to Valle Fiorita
Our last ride starts with passing the town Alfedena.  We ride close to the border of the two regions: Abruzzo and Molise. The Mountain Mainarde in front of us is coming closer and closer. On the Valle Fiorita we enjoy our picnic and have a break. On this day, we and also the horses stay at Sandra’s riding centre where we can reflect our week and spending a cozy evening with Pizza!
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at an Agriturismo in Alfedena


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Departure after breakfast from Alfedena to Isernia.
Meals included: Breakfast

Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the program may have to be adapted.


Rates and Dates for Majestic Majella Explorer

Rates include:

Accommodations for 7 nights (3 at the farmhouse and 4 at rural hotels), all meals with wine and beer at lunch and dinner, 5.5 riding days, English-speaking guide, luggage transport, transfers from Isernia train station

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, AP€1390$1575
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Single supplement
- to be paid locally
105 $120
2020 Transfer from the Isernia train station included at set times (19:45 pickup) 0 $0
2020 Transfer from Alfedena to Isernia train station (departure at 8:30 am) 25 $30

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 10/03 - 10/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 5 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities, drinks and snacks outside of meals (a collective Euro 30 per rider is to be paid locally to purchase these for the group) & transfer to Isernia train station

Other Info
Meeting: Carovilli
Airport: Naples
Transfer: Isernia Train Station

Climate:
                                                Vastogirardi area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

38

39

45

51

60

68

74

74

66

57

47

40

Average Low Temperature (°F)

29

29

33

38

46

53

58

58

52

45

37

31

Average High Temperature (°C)

4

4

7

11

16

20

23

24

19

14

8

4

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-1

-2

0

3

8

12

14

15

11

7

3

0

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

6

6

6

6

4

4

2

3

5

5

6

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Rainfall is most frequent and heaviest in late autumn and early spring, though of short duration, but lasts longer in winter, with peak levels in November and the lowest levels in July.

The annual average temperature varies from 8°-12° in the mountainous area to 12°-16° in the maritime area; in both areas the difference can be quite extreme and take you completely by surprise.  January and February are the coldest month. In the mountains, it can often drop below zero and an open-fire is very welcome to counter the nip in the air.

Spring (March - May)
Situated at a latitude of about 42°, Majella National Park benefits of a considerable insolation with pleasant days, although sometimes windy, with average temperatures round 12° C, at midday, at 1,500m above sea level. In this period, the western slopes free from snow are covered by spectacular flowerings. The upper part of the mountain retains a significant snow covering until May. Until this period, hiking is favoured by a type of snow consolidated by the alternation of daytime insolation and considerable night-time cooling.

Summer (June - August)
The summer season within Majella National Park can be identified into three different climatic situations: a temperate-cool area – up to 1,000 m above sea level ­– with an average temperature between 15° and 20° C; a temperate-cold area – comprised between 1,000 m - 2,400 m above sea level – with an average temperature around 10° C; and finally a cold area ­– extending above 2,400 m above sea level – with average temperatures lower than 10° C.
Usually summer precipitation consists of thunderstorms that often cause a significant drop in temperature. In general, the average temperatures allow for pleasant hikes at altitudes above 1,500 meters, but walking tours are also possible below this height, especially under the beech canopies extending almost throughout the basal areas and crossed by hiking trails, thus encouraging the visit even during the hottest hours of the day.

Autumn (September – November)
From September to October the weather tends to be clear, with very cool nights and possible snowfalls on the highest peaks. Days get shorter while the landscape changes with the beech forests assuming the characteristic spectacular autumn shades.
This is perhaps the most stable period (also due to calm winds), facilitating also cultural-oriented excursions to the hermitages as well as to the piedmont villages.

Winter (December – February)
In winter, the prevailing winds are those coming from the North and provoking significant drops in temperature and heavy rainfalls. From December to March the heavy snowfalls give way to clear sunny days with temperatures touching 10° C. In December, January and February temperatures often drop below 0° C at night within those area overpassing 1,500 m above sea level. The visibility is generally good, allowing views up to 100 km in the distance towards the Adriatic Sea coast, Gran Sasso, Velino-Sirente and Laga massifs as well as towards the northern part of the nearby Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.

What To Bring:
Please bring your luggage in a soft bag or canvas nylon.
  • riding hat (a riding hat is obligatory for minors and strongly recommended for adults)
  • trousers or jeans without thick seams
  • shoes/boots with solid profile
  • warm clothing (nights are chilly in the mountains, even in summer)
  • (long) chaps
  • rainwear
  • gloves
  • pocket-knife
  • electric torch
  • sun-glasses
  • sun-cream
  • camera
  • personal medication (if any)
  • comfortable shoes (for the evenings)
  • paper tissues
  • adaptor