Nature Park Rides

Abruzzo/Molise Italy: (IT-ITAB01)

Abruzzo/Molise Italy
This exciting new trip starts out in the Province of Isernia in the region of  Molise and ventures into the Abruzzo region just north of there. This is a region largely forgotten by the tourist hordes that you can find in Tuscany or Amalfi  - even the local Italian travelers have jet not discovered the "Jewel in the Rough". It offers untouched nature and  breathtaking mountain vistas. Because of its mountainous terrain, the economy of the region has for centuries been highly dependent on the transit of shepherds and their flocks from Abruzzo to Puglia. We follow their paths across the hills and through the valleys on our two wonderful mountain treks. This part of Italy is so unspoiled that UNESCO protects two forests as part of the project MAB (Man And Biosphere). This spacious, green and clean region with its large woods of beach and oak, meadows and rivers is ideal for a holiday on horseback. The tack is Western, but Western riding experience is not required. The horses are mostly easy going and reliable Quarter horses.

Our two treks will take you into two National Parks - Parco Nazionale della Majella and Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo

Parco Nazionale della Majella
This 75,000 acre park is one of the biggest in Italy. It is a so-called Pan Park, which means that it is protected by World Wildlife Fund.  One of the highlights is Pescocostanzo, a picturesque medieval town at an altitude of  5,200 feet. Two nights will be spent in this lovely place. It is surrounded by several plains which invite to many nice canters.

Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo
This 50.000 acre park, founded in 1922, has still plenty of wildlife. There are wolves, bears, eagles, deer and many more species. In the Valley of Five Miles we enjoy a long canter before we climb up to 6,300 feet the next day to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views over the mountains and valleys. There are not many places left in Europe where you can feel so completely in the middle of nowhere. On Thursday there will be a picnic in Camosciara, which is one of the most protected areas of this National Park.


This is a progressive ride, so nights will be spent in different locations. You will be staying in 4 different locations total.

The accommodations have been selected for full cultural immersion in Italy. Each location boasts personality and most importantly, family. While not grand, we offer cozy comfortable accommodations full of life and stories.
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: Guesthouse in Pietransieri
Night 4, 5 & 6: Hotel Holidays in Roccaraso
Night 7: Agriturismo in Alfedena

The farmhouse, dating from 1885, is situated at almost 3,000 feet above sea level. The house is at the edge of a forest and overlooks a beautiful valley. The nearest neighbours live in Carovilli, a little village 4 miles away. The front of the house faces a large oak forest whereas the rear offers a splendid view of the mountains and a valley.
The house is not very big, but quite comfortable. It was completely renovated in 2003. The living-room has a nice fireplace, a piano, and a modest library. There is 1 double room upstairs and a dormitory with four single beds and one double bed downstairs. There are 2 bathrooms with all modern conveniences.
** If you do prefer more privacy on these days, we can arrange for a room (with private bath) in the nearby B&B (8 minutes drive by car) with a supplemental charge - transfers are provided. Or if you are the last riders to book (numbers 9 and 10) you will be accommodated there as well and will have to pay this supplement.

Guesthouse in Pietransieri 
This small hotel is located 1,300 meters above sea level, in a quiet area surrounded by nature. Rooms are simply furnished and all come equipped with a TV, private bathroom and free Wi-Fi access.

Hotel Holidays 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.

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.

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!

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.
You will never go hungry here! Our own testers called the food 'imaginative and delectable' and 'original and sumptuous'!

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 40 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.


Parco Nazionale della Maiella
Pescocostanzo is surrounded by several high-lands where you can canter a lot. In June we are not allowed to ride everywhere we like, because the farmers have to get the hay. Still, there are several canters. In October, however, on Wednesday all the canters together last about one hour. On Thursday morning another very long canter awaits before picnic. And on Friday morning another long one (same ride as the Friday during “Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo”).
This trek is not suited for riders who suffer from problems with their legs or knees. On Thursday afternoon we have to descend a mountain chain and go on foot for 10 minutes.

Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo
The days in the saddle are rather long. Therefore this trail is not recommended to less experienced riders. As we are in the (high) mountains there are not too many canters. Two of them, however, are fantastic! On Tuesday morning we canter through the Five Mile Valley and on Friday morning there also is a canter of several miles.

Riding hours
Majella:    You ride 6 to 8 hours per full riding day.
Abruzzo:  You ride 7 to 9 hours per full riding day.
This is an adventurous trail for the fit rider. It is quite a strenuous trail but the rewards are magnificent.

Riding Level
Riders must be at least good 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.

The ride includes 5.5 riding days with long days in the saddle (6-9 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!

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

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.

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.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening at the farm-house. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your host/guides. A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at 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 go for a 3-hour test ride to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Farmhouse

Day 3 (Monday): Ride to Montedimezzo
We leave around 10 o'clock. After riding through a dense forest we cross many fields, where we can canter. We stop for picnic lunch in an idyllic place. After lunch, we pass by the remains of a small Samnite temple. The Samnites were the original population of Molise. The Romans fought a 300-year war before assimilating them to their empire in 79 BC. We eventually arrive at a hill where you can admire the Majella massif. From there, we descend towards Montedimezzo, the ancient hunting reserve of the Bourbons and the nobles of Naples. Today the forest is part of the MAB (Man and Bioshere) project of UNESCO. 
This is where today's ride ends. We stop for a drink at the kiosk while the horses will be loaded on a truck to reach Pietransieri, to spend the night in paddocks. We will go to stay overnight in a nearby hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Roccaraso

Day 4 (Tuesday): Tratturo Celano-Foggia
In the morning we are brought to the horses. At about 11.00 a.m. the ride will start. We follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2.000 years old track that is still used to move cattle from one pasture to the other. We follow the Tratturo until we reach the river Sangro. Here, the Tratturo track begins to be very wild and quite overgrown leaving us narrow paths to follow.
Before our last stretch of the day, we stop on a plateau where we find typical cows of Molise with their grey fur, grazing all around us. From here, you can see which amazing way we already have been ridden today.
The horses stay overnight at a riding centre, which also features a restaurant. We will enjoy dinner there before heading for a nearby hotel for the night.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Roccaraso

Day 5 (Wednesday): Panoramic Ride
We start our ride by following a path that leads us up to the Pietra Cernaia. We can admire the landscape of the hills of Alto Molise and the Sangro valley while we go up the path between rocks, woods and pastures. Later on, we reach a pass from where the view sweeps over the Majella mountains and the Abruzzo Park and the Pescocostanzo valley. Here we stop for a picnic.
After lunch, we descend through the woods to the valley until we reach Roccaraso. The horses will be accommodated at the riding school while we dine and sleep in the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Roccararso

Day 6 (Thursday): Mountain Ride
Today is a busy day. We cross the plateau along the village of Rivisondoli and after climbing the pass, we enter the great valley called Altopiano delle 5 Miglia. Here, a long canter awaits us through the plain until we enter the canyon of the Montagna Spaccata. We continue along the canyon until we stop for a picnic among the rocks.
After our break, we go up the valley and we are faced with a completely different landscape made of wide pastures of yellow grass, barren hills and mountain peaks. Below the top of Mount Greco there is a small lake with marsh grasses that feeds a bunch of transhumant sheep.
We go back to Roccaraso through the hills and the Pratello slopes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Roccararso

Day 7 (Friday): Ride to Alfedena
We go down to the village of Rocca 5 Miglia where we stop for a picnic. After lunch we go back down to the valley until we reach the Sangro River that we skirt on the right bank. After a last canter stretch and after passing the village of Alfedena we stop at Sandra's equestrian center where the horses will rest in the paddock and we will spend the night in her hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Farmhouse in Alfedena

Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Departure after breakfast to Isernia (transfer at extra cost).
Meals included: Breakfast

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

Rates and Dates for Nature Park Rides

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals with wine and beer, 5.5 riding days, Luggage transport, Taxes & Transfer from/to Isernia
There are about 6 extra rain coats which can be borrowed. First come, first served!

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20238 day€1530$1575
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.03

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2023 Single supplement
- to be paid locally
105 $110
2023 Snacks and drinks fee (mandatory)
- to be paid locally
40 $40
2023 Transfer from/to Isernia train station included at set times (19:45 pickup) 0 $0
2023 Surcharge for riders over 85 kilos
- to be paid locally
150 $155

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2023 09/16 - 09/23 8d / 7n 8 day 5 /8 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities, Snacks & Drinks between meals (a collective Euro 40 per rider is to be paid locally to purchase these for the group)

Other Info
Meeting: Isernia
Airport: Rome or Naples
Transfer: Isernia train station at 7:45 PM - drop off 9:30 AM on last day

                                                Vastogirardi area














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Source: NOAA

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