Western Riding in Isernia

Abruzzo/Molise Italy: (IT-ITCD01)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Italy_western_riding_isernia.aspx

Abruzzo/Molise Italy
Are you traveling overseas and miss the comfort of the western saddle, but still want to do some riding? Or are you new to western and wanting to try something new? Look no further than Western Riding in Isernia!

This trip is a fantastic blend of exploring the beautiful Italian countryside on horseback with relaxation, culture, and delicious Italian food! You will be staying in a cozy farmhouse at 3,000 feet above sea level, away from the busy hustle and bustle. Let yourself unwind as you enjoy a sip of wine on the terrace overlooking the landscape. Your guide used to be a successful restaurant owner before committing to his passion of horses, so you will get to indulge in his fantastic cooking skills! All food is locally sourced and rich in flavours, and there is plenty to go around! Food is an important part of Italy's culture and it is celebrated amongst friends and family.

Every day you will journey on different trails, getting you familiar with the beautiful Isernia region. We visit many quaint villages dotted in the countryside such as Vastogirardi, Pietrabbondante, and Pescolanciano. You can't help but admire the architecture that is so characteristic to Italy. We'll explore miles of beech and oak forests, open fields perfect for cantering, and an UNESCO site. With around 5-6 hours per day in the saddle, you get a smooth blend of adventure and relaxation. Our guides are excited to share with you their knowledge and passion!


This is a center-based ride, so all nights are spent in the same accommodations.

The farmhouse, dating from 1885, is situated at almost 3,000 feet above sea level. It is the only inhabited farmhouse in this little nature conservation area. The nearest neighbors 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 are three guestrooms (two double and one accommodating six) and two bathrooms with all modern conveniences.
There is no WIFI available on this trip.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement subject to availability.

All meals are included for this trip from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 7.

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'!

Meals are served on the terrace or in the kitchen-diner.
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 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 4.5 riding days with long days in the saddle (5-6 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 and 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 farmhouse. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your hosts/guides. 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 all week. Some riders like to ride different horses during the week which is also possible. We visit the new riding center which is close by and look forward a fresh prepared dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 3 (Monday): Ride to Valle Fredda
At about 10 A.M. we leave the house. After a long ride through the woods, we ride across fields and are able to canter. Picnic is at an idyllic spot. After lunch, there is a lovely view of the village of Vastogirardi. Then the route takes us through miles of beech-woods, before ending in “Valle Fredda” (Cold Valley). Here it is time for another long canter, before heading back to the stables. In the evening, we get served delicious food cooked by our host.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 4 (Tuesday): Ride to Carovilli & Castiglione
Today, we pass the new riding center and ride down to the village of Carovilli. We tie the horses and have a fresh aperitif on the Piazza. We can enjoy the atmosphere and listen to the small and big news from the inhabitants. Our next destination is Castiglione, a small town nearby. On the top of the hill from Castiglione, there is a church ruin to see. This church still houses a functioning bell that we can ring. From there, we have a great view over the valley. After our picnic beak, we ride back to the farmhouse. The late afternoon is free for you to relax in one of our amankas at the Bistro with a book or near our cozy fireplace in the house. If you prefer, you can take a refreshing deep in the pool of the neighboring town or go visit the castle in Pescolanciano (we will take you there).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 5 (Wednesday): Ride to Pietrabbondante
We cross a little river, immediately followed by a steep adventurous climb. We continue uphill along small paths with wild berry bushes left and right from us until the forest clears. Here, we stop for a picnic. To the north, we can see where the Abruzzo mountains start. Then it is just a short way to Pietrabbondante (literally meaning “stones in abundance”).  Let’s admire the theatre and the two Samnitic temples.  The Samnites were the original population of Molise. It took the Romans three centuries of war before they finally conquered this region, which then became part of the Roman Empire (79 B.C). After our visit, it is time to ride back home.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 6 (Thursday): Ride to Pescolanciano
After breakfast, we ride downhill in the direction of Pescolanciano. Shortly before the village, we pass on the Tratturo. A Tratturo is a 2000 years old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. From here, we have a nice view over the old castle from the village. Before arriving in this village, there will be some canters in the fields. Lunch is served in a little restaurant. The owner is well-known for her home-made ice-cream. And now, get your trunks out. We can go swimming. Directly next to the resting place of the horses there is a little pool. We can relax here. The last few miles on horseback take us over open heath land and dense oak-woods. At about 6 P.M. we are back at the farm-house, unsaddle the horses for the last time and enjoy the farewell dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 7 (Friday): Departure
Departure after breakfast.
Meals included: Breakfast

Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the program may have to be adapted. Alternative options include: Bell Museum Agnone, Pescolanciano Castle visit, Western riding lesson in the round pen of the new riding center.

Rates and Dates for Western Riding in Isernia

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals with wine and beer, 4.5 riding days, Luggage transport, Taxes & Transfer from/to Isernia train station at set times
There are about 6 extra rain coats which can be borrowed. First come, first served!

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20237 day trip, AP€870$895
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 Transfer from/to Isernia train station included at set times (19:45 pickup, 09:00 drop-off) 0 $0
2023 Snacks and drinks fee (mandatory)
- to be paid locally
40 $40
2023 Single supplement
- to be paid locally
180 $185

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2023 05/06 - 05/12 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /7 Sold Out
A 2023 07/29 - 08/04 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /7 Reserve
A 2023 10/28 - 11/03 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /7 Sold Out

Dates Note: Custom trips possible on request in August and from November to April - please inquire
Shorter programs of 3-5 nights are also possible

Rates do not include:

Gratuities & Snacks and drinks between meals (a collective Euro 40 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