Abruzzo Park Adventure

Abruzzo/Molise Italy: (IT-ITAB02)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Italy_Abruzzo_Park_Adventure.aspx

Abruzzo/Molise Italy
If you are looking to travel deep into nature beyond the reach of cars and technology, look no further than the Abruzzo National Park!

This park was founded in 1922 to protect nature and save certain species from extinction. It encompasses over 50,000 acres of protected forests and mountains. The landscape is characterized by mountain chains, karst phenomena, rivers (including the Sangro River) and streams. It is here that certain species such as the Marsican brown bear (40 bears), golden eagle, Apennine wolf, deer, otter and chamois have found refuge and their habitat amongst remote valleys and inaccessible mountains. Keep your eyes peeled to find these elusive creatures! The Abruzzo Park is the ideal place to spend pleasant days in close contact with nature and to admire uncontaminated landscapes, a rich flora and varied fauna. Dotted among the landscape are 25 small towns, a few of which we will visit and stay. The locals are very warm and welcoming and excited to meet new faces. You will never go hungry with the richly splendid dishes that you will be served!

This ride is perfect for the intermediate-leveled rider who enjoy long hours in the saddle in the wonders of the wilderness around them with a few chances for some faster canters. Riding along mountain slopes and diverse landscapes will keep you alert and excited for each new view. Journeying on horseback allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature and unwind from your busy life. A perfect combination of culture, nature, and adventure!


This is a progressive ride so nights will be spent in different accommodations. You will be staying in 6 different locations total.

All accommodations except the farmhouse has private bathrooms. There is no WIFI available on this trip.

Night 1 & 7: Farmhouse
Night 2: B&B in Vastogirardi
Night 3: Hotel in Roccaraso
Night 4: Hotel in Scanno
Night 5: Hotel in Pescasseroli
Night 6: Hotel in Alfedena

Room Occupancy
Single supplement 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. Wines and beers are included during meals. All other drinks must be paid for. A share of this is usually about 30€ for the week and covers extra drinks, ice creams etc.
You will never go hungry here! Our own testers called the food 'imaginative and delectable' and 'original and sumptuous'!

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 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.

The ride includes 5.5 riding days with long days in the saddle (7-9 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!

The horses have been selected for their character, looks, and intelligence. 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 guides FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestre). 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
We will pick you up from the Isernia train station for 19:45 and drive you to 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.

Day 2: Sunday
The morning is yours. You may sleep late, 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 the trek starts. Three hours later we will reach the village of Vastogirardi. The horses will stay in a paddock.  We sleep in a B&B and dine in a nearby restaurant.

Day 3: Monday
At about 10 a.m. we get in the saddle and follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2.000 years old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. Picnic is a shaded area in the forest.  We continue along the Tratturo as far as the river Sangro. Here we leave the Tratturo to follow small paths. Sunbathing lizards take to their heels. The air smells like the Italian kitchen. Rosemary and thyme grow everywhere. Next we climb through a forest after which we reach Roccaraso. Here we dine and spend the night. Roccaraso is at an altitude of 3,600 feet. It is locally a well-known ski-resort.

Day 4: Tuesday
After breakfast we leave Roccaraso behind us and reach the Piano delle cinque Miglia (the valley of five Miles). Here we enjoy a long canter! At the end of the valley the first tall mountains loom up at either side, a gravel road takes us to the Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) where benches and old oaks tempt us to stop. The narrow, stony road, going up and up, takes us to a watertrough where the horses can drink, while we enjoy the view over the valley. We continue our climb till all of a sudden there is an open space in the forest that offers a beautiful panorama. After this we lead the horses on foot until we reach “Agriturismo Jovana” (mountain hut) where lunch is served. The owner has won various awards for his ricotta cheese. After lunch we follow the gravel road which takes us upwards to Scanno. Outside the village the horses are left in riding centre “Il Ranch”. Enrico will pick us up with a mini-bus and takes us to his hotel. Dinner is at a restaurant in the historical centre of Scanno. After dinner we usually make a walk to admire this old village.

Day 5: Wednesday
Today is going to be challenging! We leave the civilized world behind us and ride through the unspoilt nature of the mountains of the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo where no cars are allowed. With a bit of luck we should come across wild boars or some deer. The wolves and bears keep away from the clatter of hoofs. A brooklet shows the way through the mountains. After a long climb we halt at 6,300 feet a.s.l. and enjoy the panoramic view. The mountain peaks are covered by snow until late spring. Then we lead the horses down on foot. It is too steep here to stay mounted. Having reached the right path we mount again and ride through extensive forests. In a meadow we have a picnic and if the weather is fine you might like a nap. After this the route continues through the forests until we reach Pescasseroli. After the long ride we deserve a good dinner and that is what we are going to have at the lovely place of Eleonora. 

Day 6: Thursday
Today there are many miles to cover so you will be in the saddle for about 8 hours. After breakfast we return to the wonderous nature. The route gets steeper, and if the sun is shining everyone will be hot. Having arrived in a valley there is a canter to enjoy. Around noon we arrive at Val Fondillo. There are almost four miles of a very exiting trail along the river. It leads to one of the most protected areas of the National Park, Camosciara. Here we stop for picnic. After many miles there is the (storage) lake of Barrea deep down on the left. And on we go, this time through a different type of forest until, most likely exhausted, we reach Sandra's riding centre. The horses are left here. Dinner is at the restaurant in the centre and we spend the night at his comfortable hotel.

Day 7: Friday
The last stage leads through Alfedena. The mountains of the Parco Nazionale are now behind us. Just outside Alfedena there is a plain where we can go for a long canter. A little later we pass Ponte della Zittola, which is the border between Abruzzo and Molise. Then we follow part of the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Foggia in the foothills of Alto Molise. Having passed the hamlet Montalto it is time for a picnic. After lunch it takes four more  hours to ride home. About 7 p.m. we are back at the farm-house, unsaddle the horses for the last time and enjoy the farewell dinner.

Day 8: Saturday
Departure after breakfast.

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

Rates and Dates for Abruzzo Park Adventure

Rates include:

Accommodations for 7 nights (2 at the farmhouse and 5 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$
    20198 day trip, AP€1280$1535
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Transfer from the Isernia train station included at set times (19:45 pickup, 0850 drop-off) 0 $0
2019 Single supplement
- to be paid locally
105 $125

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 06/22 - 06/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /8 Expired
A 2019 09/14 - 09/21 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /8 Sold Out

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).

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

                                                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
◦electric torch
◦personal medication (if any)
◦comfortable shoes (for the evenings)
◦paper tissues