Cefalu to Etna

Sicily Italy: (IT-ITSIC04)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/italy_cefalu_to_etna.aspx

Introduction
Sicily Italy
Although so close to Italy's mainland, Sicily couldn't be more unique and diverse in attitude and atmosphere. This island is rich in history and culture and promises and unforgettable time. Trekking across the entire North-Eastern area of Sicily on horseback will leave you breathless with wonder. This route takes you through Val Demone and across four parks called the Madonie, Nebrodi, Etna, and Alcantara. Enjoy relaxing in new accommodations every night. Many of the farmhouses are from the 18th century that have been restored to use as lodgings but still maintains the artistry builders once used when making them. Each guesthouse offers locally grown foods and such delicious cooking you'll have yourself asking for seconds!

Start off the tour with an enchanting ride through the largest cork forest in Sicily to charming old medieval towns, maintaining the ancient atmosphere and giving you a feel for how people used to live. Many cities can be dated back to Ancient Greece (800-500 B.C.) which still carry many old customs and traditions. Explore abandoned castles and scenic paths through landscapes lost in time. Nebrodi Park offers you glimpses on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aolian Islands in one direction but if you turn your head you see the vast hinterland provinces. You'll ride past native sanfratellani horses, a famous breed in Sicily known for their strong bodies and large heads, grazing in the wild. Alcantara Park hosts a large beautiful river which you ride along as you head towards Catania province. Volcanic caves, and chestnut and oak forests will greet you as you ride through the Etna Park. Depending on volcanic conditions, you'll be able to ride around the craters that were created by the last eruption in 2002.

Cefalu to Etna takes you whirling through Sicily's northern landscapes and towns with new sights and experiences after each step. This is an unforgettable opportunity that you wouldn't want to miss if you love the mixture of horses, landscapes, history, and culture!
 

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride so nights will be spent in different accommodations.

Description
Accommodations along trail are in comfortable hotels, Agriturismo farms and B&B guesthouses.
Most of the accommodations do have WIFI access on this trip.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Day 1: Agriturismo Tenuta Luogo Marchese
Day 2: Casalvecchio Geraci
Day 3: La Sugherita
Day 4: Rifugio del Parco
Day 5: Hotel in Monte Colla
Day 6 & 7: Il Vecchio Torchio Del Casale

Agriturismo Tenuta Luogo Marchese
This traditional Italian farmhouse was recently renovated in order to provide comfortable accommodation to its guests. However, it has kept some of its original features such as exposed stones and beams. Rooms are decorated in Sicilian style and all come with ensuite bathroom and heating. There are common areas where guest can relax and access the free Wi-Fi. There is also a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with panoramic view of the surroundings.

Casalvecchio Geraci
This stonewall farmhouse was built in the 19th century and now provides guests with 7 well-equipped bedrooms. All rooms have private facilities, free Wi-Fi access and a TV. Guests can share about their adventure around the fireplace, in the house’s living room. The property benefits from incredible views over the hilly landscape.

La Sugherita
The original ancient buildings have been transformed into a comfortable home. The property is surrounded by a green reserve with woods, and several paths.

Rifugio del Parco
This mountain refuge has incredible views over the surroundings. Each room comes with private facilities and free toiletries (hairdryer provided). There is a shared lounge at the property where guest can relax and connect to the free Wi-Fi.

Hotel in Monte Colla
This 18th century house has recently been restored for the comfort and relaxation of guests. It offers a great panoramic view of Etna and the Alcantara Valley. There is no Wi-Fi access here.

Il Vecchio Torchio Del Casale
Tonight, you sleep in an ancient millstone. Nestled between the slopes of the northern slope of Etna and the Alcantara valley, on a hill from which you can enjoy enchanting country landscapes, the farm covers an area of about three hectares of vineyards, olive groves and orchards, whose products are strictly used for the preparation of delicious dishes. There are 3 bedrooms, all equipped with private bathroom, air conditioning and TV.

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 provided during the riding tour from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8.
Wine is included with dinner and you can bring your own bottle(s) if you wish.

You will have the opportunity to taste typical Sicilian dishes made with local products. All the dinners are at the accommodations and include 4 courses: starter, first dish, second dish, fruit, wine and water.

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

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

Riding

Riding Experience
You need to have a strong intermediate riding level. You must be able to control the horse on every paces, in difficult situations (ex. crossing rivers, walking on rocky tracks) and able to lead the horse on foot for short parts of the ride, if the ground is not the best.
You should be able to sit on horseback for up to 8/9 hours, with a considerable physical effort.

Horses
The horses are bred by us. They are Sicilian-native (indigenous), Arabs, Arab mixed, Andalusians and Sanfratellani. They are trained with a good attitude for long distance rides. They are safe, proud and happy to go everywhere you ask them to go.

Staff
Luciano is a breeder of indigenous Sicilian thoroughbred horses and has extensive knowledge of the paths and bridleways of the Nebrodi and Madonie mountain range. In addition, he is an expert guide of all the trails and speaks fluently French, Italian, Sicilian as well as basic English.
Sergio has been an expert in the field of tourism in Sicily for many years. His passion for promoting tourism in Sicily is second to his passion for horses. He speaks fluently English, French, Italian and Sicilian.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Pickup then transfer to the farm.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Tenuta Luogo Marchese


Day 2: Luogo Marchese to Casalvecchio
Assignment of horses and saddles. At about 9am departure from  Tenuta Luogo Marchese the countryside around Castelbuono, charming medieval town rich in history and tradition. Ascent through the largest cork forest of Sicily to Geraci, a mountain town (about a thousand meters high) which is famous for its castle and its mineral water.
After a short refreshment stop we leave forests and ancient abandoned paths, until we arrive in the afternoon at "Casalvecchio Geraci", a beautiful farmhouse recently restored on the banks of the river Raino', a tributary of the river Pollina, surrounded by the Sicilian countryside planted with wheat. You will enjoy a hearty dinner of local products and meat.
Riding: 7 hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casalvecchio Geraci


Day 3: Casalvecchio to La Sugherita
From our farm walk along an old "trazzera" (ancient route dating back at least to the Bourbon) with a scenic overview through fields of wheat and forage up to an altitude of about a thousand feet and then getting to step Malpassetto, the border of the provinces of Palermo, Enna and Messina.
We enter in the woods of the reserve 'Sambughetti-Campanito' where we eat the picnic, then we enter in the territory of Nicosia and Cerami, before going down on an old steep path and set in a forest of cork which brings us at the "La Sugherita" where we stay for our third night and from where you can take a short walk to a prehistoric troglodyte.
Riding: 5 hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at La Sugherita


Day 4: La Sugherita to Rifugio del Parco
In this stage we enter in the heart of the Park of Nebrodi along the famous "Ridge" a long dirt road (about a hundred kilometers) between forests and high mountain pastures.
A place full of charm and extraordinary views on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aeolian Islands andin the other side on the Sicilian hinterland provinces of Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania and Etna. Through the beech woods in the territory of San Fratello, famous for its sanfratellani horses, a native breed which is very strong and durable, with a very large head. They can be seen grazing in the wild.
Lunch will be held in a small clearing in the shade of trees near a source of water (Nocita). We will arrive in the afternoon at the hotel "Rifugio del Parco" where will eat a great dinner of local Nebrodi products.
Riding: 8 hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Rifugio del Parco

Day 5: Rifugio del Parco to Monte Colla
This is probably the most beautiful stage, runs for 40 kilometers along the "Dorsale dei Nebrodi" including mountains, forests and lakes and a landscape of amazing beauty.
Now we come to the lake Maulazzo, dominated by Mount Soro, the highest peak in Nebrodi (1847 meters) covered by magnificent beech woods, then the famous lake "Biviere di Cesarò" stopping place for migratory birds. Continue along the "Dorsale" where lush forests give way to panoramic clearings, from which you can see to the north the Aeolian Islands and to the south the majestic peak of Mount Etna.
We will arrive in the evening tired but satisfied in Monte Colla, which is a unique old farmhouse dating from the 18th Century that has been converted to an agriturismo. Monte Colla is more than 1400 meters in altitude in the territory of Randazzo
Riding: 8 hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Monte Colla

Day 6: Monte Colla to Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale
We will depart Monte Colla and make our descent into the town of Randazzo, gaining a lovely view of Mt. Etna along the way. Randazzo dates back to Greek time and retains a very rich monumental heritage that can be appreciated on the ride through the city. Picnic lunch will be near the city.
We continue then along the valley of Alcantara river and come into the territory of Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province) where we'll find our stay at Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale
Riding: 6 hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale

Day 7: Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale to Etna
After going through a rich and evocative agricultural area characterized by its crops of peaches, almonds, olive groves, vineyards and drywalls of lava stone,we enter in the Etna natural Park where we will ride thru beautiful forests of pine, oaks and chestnuts. We'll visit volcanic caves and admire breathtaking views of the mountains of Sicily and Calabria. After that we will ride into the "Ragabo" pine forest about 1500 meters above sea level.
There we'll stop for lunch and then continue to climb through the pine forests to Piano Provenzano (about 1800 meters above sea level) and according to the season and the weather and volcanic conditions, continue to climb up to the craters of the last great eruption of 2002. At the end of the day we come down to spend the second evening at Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale, where after a good dinner will spend the last night with the beautiful images of the trail etched in our minds for a long time yet.
Riding: 7hrs
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Al Vecchio Torchio Del Casale

Day 8: Departure
Breakfast then transfer to train station/ airport.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Cefalu to Etna

Rates include:

7 nights accommodation (hotels, agritourismo farms, B&B guesthouse), all meals, support vehicle, 6 riding days.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, AP€1600$1810
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 190 $215
2020 Pick-up from Palermo, per car, one way (1-4 pax) 125 $145
2020 Pick-up from Catania, per car, one way (1-4 pax) 185 $210
2020 Pick-up from Cefalù railway station -- free of charge 0 $0
2020 Drop-off to Palermo airport, per car, one way (1-4 pax) 375 $425
2020 Drop-off to Catania airport -- free of charge 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 05/02 - 05/09 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /12 Reserve
A 2020 06/06 - 06/13 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /12 Sold Out
A 2020 09/05 - 09/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /12 Reserve
A 2020 10/03 - 10/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:
Dates run Saturday to Saturday. Additional dates are available on request for groups of 4+ riders!

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages

Other Info
Meeting: Cefalu - ends in Etna
Airport: Palermo, Catania
Transfer: Cefalu - drop off Catania

Climate:
                                                Palermo area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

59

59

62

67

75

82

87

88

82

76

68

61

Average Low Temperature (°F)

50

49

51

55

62

69

74

75

70

64

58

52

Average High Temperature (°C)

15

15

17

19

24

28

30

31

28

24

20

16

Average Low Temperature (°C)

10

9

11

13

17

21

23

24

21

18

14

11

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

8

7

7

6

2

1

0

1

4

6

7

9

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Palermo has a sunny Mediterranean climate. Apr–Oct is warm and peak travel time. Nov–Mar is mild.

Spring (March to May)
On the coast the winter is truly over, with wild flowers starting in abundance, the days lengthening and the average temperatures making warm clothes decidedly uncomfortable. Inland the farmers start preparing the land, tending the vines and planting the grain. If you’re lucky, you might get to witness the “mattanza” or tuna harvest in the fishing towns all over the western part of the island, in May.

Summer (June to September)
The first smells of summer waft through the island and the strong colors on the coast and the lower plains succumb to the bleaching rays of the sun. The temperatures everywhere are generally agreeable, though the Sirocco wind can send them soaring for a few days. The sea is warm. The fruit trees are laden with cherries, plums and the local specialty "gelsi". Towards the end of August begins the spectacle of the salt harvest in the salt pans around Trapani and the grape harvest or “vendemmia” all over the islands.
The summer is often interrupted by coastal storms, which can be accompanied by high winds.

Autumn (October to November)
The abandoned vines turn to reds and oranges giving the vast areas of vineyards a spectacular range of hues and making this one of the most beautiful periods to visit. Seasonal rainfalls help develop an astonishing variety of mushrooms. The temperatures can stay in the high twenties during the day to produce a surprisingly balmy Sicilian “Indian summer”. November is generally the month with the highest rainfall, though the big storms that often sweep the Italian peninsula generally pass safely to the north of Sicily.

Winter (December to February)
One can still have extremely agreeable temperatures during the days, though the sunlight hours are clearly at their lowest of the year. In the deep midwinter the average temperatures on the coast should still be hovering around the 10°C (50°F) mark, though on sunny days it can be warm enough in the sun to walk around in a tee-shirt. It is cooler at night and much cooler in the higher mountains. Come February, the days are starting to get warmer, although conditions in the mountains are still very wintery.

What To Bring:
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Normal riding gear or comfortable, yet sturdy pants. No leggings please.
Riding boots or shoes with flat soles that cover the ankles. We recommend mini chaps.
Long sleeved cotton shirts (for sun protection)
Riding helmet  - provided (mandatory)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
A wind breaker, rain gear that can be pulled over the saddle

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Light summer jacket
Comfortable shoes/sneakers
Swimsuit
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra batteries
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm