Taste of Tuscany Getaway

Tuscany Italy: (IT-ITSR02-5)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/italy_tuscany_taste.aspx

Introduction
Tuscany Italy
Horseback ride through the picturesque Chianti hills - the lovely unspoiled region between Florence and Siena, famous for tasty food, great wine and stunning scenery!

Our rides take you through the beautiful countryside, with its terraced vineyards, cypress avenues and extensive woodlands. As riders you are especially privileged, able to ride off the beaten track, away from tourists and vehicles, to explore the land of Dante, Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci. Even if the region was not full of history and culture as it is, you could truly just simply bask in the beauty of it all!

The charming farmhouse and stables (it is not a hotel or luxury villa) are on the eastern slopes of the Chianti Mountains. Before it lies the broad valley of the Arno and beyond, the long ridge of the Pratomagno, with its highest point at 1,591 meters. On the other side lies the Casentino Valley, rich in castles and Romanesque churches, while behind the farm stretches the beautiful range of Chianti. Here is a place where animal and nature lovers will immediately feel right at home - there are eighteen beautiful horses, but also many dogs and cats, chickens, ducks and a resident goat. Jenny, your hostess, fell in love with this special part of Tuscany forty years ago and is happy to share with you the beauty of the Italian countryside she calls home. She is knowledgeable about local art and history and happy to give you the details. A guest once said of her holiday haven here: “It’s the perfect combination of riding and culture.”

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a stationary ride so all nights are spent at the same location.

Description
This small family-run farm holiday center in the Chianti hills was established back in 1969. While fully surrounded by pristine countryside (vineyards, olive-groves and woodlands), it is conveniently less than thirty miles from Florence and Siena by car and only three miles from the station of Montevarchi.

The 17th-century house has a panoramic view over the Arno valley. It is typically Tuscan, with its pigeon-loft, beams, terracotta floors and arches. Each bedroom is attractively furnished and has its own small bathroom. There is a sitting room with a large selection of English books and classical music and a fire is prepared on the hearth on wintry days.

It is not for people looking for elegance. Hens and ducks peck around the house, our Labrador Miranda greets you on your arrival, and you may find Catkin the cat curled up in an armchair. 
The farm is primarily a riding-centre: the stables are just behind the house, a dozen or so horses graze in the surrounding paddocks. No one has to dress up on any occasion. Non-riders are welcome, of course, but they must not be shocked at the occasional whiff of manure! The house itself is clean and pretty, but it is after all a family home, with books spilling out of the shelves and jackets hanging on the back of chairs.

Jenny and her son Nicholas are happy to welcome country-lovers to their home and guests quickly become friends. The place is suitable also for single people, who will here feel looked after and cherished.

Washing machines are on site. There is free internet access (WIFI) at the riding center.

Room Occupancy
Single room accommodations are available free of charge, subject to availability.



Meals
All meals are included in this trip.
At meal-times the guests all sit together at a long table and there is plenty of merriment as well as good food and wine.

You will be amazed at the variety of Tuscan dishes offered. Our cook has a large repertoire of pasta, rice and meat dishes and typical Italian desserts. Franca has now been our cook for several years and Jenny gives her a hand with her cooking classes. A typical meal comprises 3 courses: a “primo piatto” of pasta or rice, a meat or fish dish, followed by fresh fruit or dessert. 

The Farm has a well-stocked organic vegetable garden. Eggs are home-produced and the extra-virgin olive oil used for cooking comes from the groves around the house.

Local Chianti wine is served with every meal and each evening there will be a chance to sample other local wines and liqueurs.

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
In a week's stay, you will never do the same ride twice. This is not fast riding country, but there is so much to look at that speed is not an issue. You will follow trails through pretty vineyards, olive groves and woodlands without any landowners objecting and without meeting a single gate, something that never ceases to amaze.

Horses
There are 12 horses on our property, and they are of various breeds, as we believe that it is the temperament of the horse, not the breed that matters. 
The horses are kept in the stables immediately behind the house or in the surrounding fields.
The horses, all trained in the English style of riding, are sleek, fit and even those which are stable-kept spend some hours in the paddocks every day if they are not ridden. They all have good characters, strong hooves and plenty of stamina. All the horses do arena work as well as riding out on the trail, so they are obedient and responsive to the aids on all occasions.
There are also 2 ponies available, but they are lively little fellows and are not suitable for children less than ten years old.   
If riders feel inclined, they are welcome to help with the grooming and tacking up of the horses, an excellent way of making friends with their mounts.

Staff
Jenny set up the riding center because she wanted to transmit to others her love of horses and the Tuscan countryside. She is very knowledgeable about the local history, art and architecture as well as the flora and fauna.
Eraldo (qualified as a BHS instructor) is in charge of the riding side of activities. He is very knowledgeable about birds, is an experienced instructor and guide, a keen fisherman and hunter – and a charming fellow with a great gift of the gab!

Non-Riders
Non-riders are welcome, of course, but they must not be shocked at the occasional whiff of manure! Franca, the cook, organizes cooking courses on specific dates but can also provide, on request, tailor-made cooking lessons.
For walkers and mountain-bikers there are many waymarked trails radiating out from the Centre. For those using road-bikes, there are plenty of quiet lanes in the Chianti region and the Arno valley.

Itinerary


NOTE: our programs have a degree of flexibility for your own leisure, and some details may change due to weather or specific events such as grape harvest.

Sample Itinerary: A Taste of Tuscany Getaway - subject to changes
 
Note that this programme can also take place (Sat – Wed) during the first part of a Tuscan Discovery Week programme.

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Go to the main railway station of Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella). Now take the 6:14 pm train (RV4085)to Foligno, and get off at Montevarchi-Terranuova, our local station (you should reach it for 6:51 pm). The preceding station is San Giovanni Valdarno, but when the train leaves it you can start getting your luggage together, as only four minutes later you will arrive at Montevarchi). Your host, Jenny (white-haired and wearing a red shirt) will be there to welcome you
on platform 1.
Then, take a ten-minute drive in a minivan to the farm, the 400-year-old typically Tuscan home of your host. Settle in and then enjoy a chat and a glass of Chianti Classico with your host, either in the sitting room or outside the farmhouse with its panoramic views.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
Breakfast and morning ride through vineyards, olive-groves and woodland, passing near an 11th-century tower and a 14th century church. Return home for lunch.
In the afternoon, cooking lesson with Isabella preparing dishes such as: pasta fresca, ravioli, ragù “bolognese” and strawberry ice cream or tiramisù for dinner.
Riding approx. 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 3 (Monday): Morning Ride & Farm Visit
The morning ride crosses the wooded hills north of the farm, scattered with charming hamlets and traditional farmhouses. 
After lunch, visit to the farm of Alessandro to discover how Tuscan pecorino cheese is made (and to taste it of course!), followed by wine tasting at Fattoria Casabianca. 
Riding approx. 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 4 (Tuesday): Castles Ride

day ride with Eraldo in the Chianti hills south of Rendola , passing the medieval village of San Leolino, the Castle of Cennina, a pretty lake, with picnic nearby.
Back home past the Castle of Lupinari with frequent canters (approx 5h hours in the saddle throughout the day).
day ride with Eraldo in the Chianti hills south of Rendola , passing the medieval village of San Leolino, the Castle of Cennina, a pretty lake, with picnic nearby.
Back home past the Castle of Lupinari with frequent canters (approx 5h hours in the saddle throughout the day).
day ride with Eraldo in the Chianti hills south of Rendola , passing the medieval village of San Leolino, the Castle of Cennina, a pretty lake, with picnic nearby.
Back home past the Castle of Lupinari with frequent canters (approx 5h hours in the saddle throughout the day).
Today, you go on a full day ride in the Chianti hills south of the farmhouse, passing the medieval village of San Leolino, the Castle of Cennina and a pretty lake.
We then head back home past the Castle of Lupinari with frequent canters.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 5 (Wednesday): Departure
Breakfast and EITHER your own arrangements to leave (departure is usually by 10:00 am) OR a ten-minute drive to Montevarchi to meet the train back to Florence. For those going to Rome, there is a direct train from Montevarchi.
Meals included: Breakfast



Sample Itinerary: Tuscan Discovery Week - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Go to the main railway station of Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella). Now take the 6:14 pm train (RV4085)to Foligno, and get off at Montevarchi-Terranuova, our local station (you should reach it for 6:51 pm). The preceding station is San Giovanni Valdarno, but when the train leaves it you can start getting your luggage together, as only four minutes later you will arrive at Montevarchi). Your host, Jenny (white-haired and wearing a red shirt) will be there to welcome you
on platform 1.
Then, take a ten-minute drive in a minivan to the farm, the 400-year-old typically Tuscan home of your host. Settle in and then enjoy a chat and a glass of Chianti Classico with your host, either in the sitting room or outside the farmhouse with its panoramic views.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
Breakfast and morning ride through vineyards, olive-groves and woodland, passing near an 11th-century tower and a 14th century church. Return home for lunch. 
In the afternoon, cooking lesson with Isabella preparing dishes such as: pasta fresca, ravioli, ragù “bolognese” and strawberry ice cream or tiramisù for dinner. 
Riding approx. 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 3 (Monday): Morning Ride & Farm Visit
After breakfast, we go for a morning ride. After lunch Eraldo will accompany you to the farm of his friend Alessandro who will show you how Tuscan pecorino cheese is made. After some cheese-tasting you will be driven by Eraldo to Fattoria Casabianca to sample Aldo’s top-quality wine, as well as his award-winning vinsanto. (N.B. A ‘fattoria’ is a big farm with lots of land.)
Riding approx. 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 4 (Tuesday): Castles Ride
Day ride with Eraldo in the Chianti hills south of the riding center.  You will pass the medieval village of San Leolino, the Castle of Cennina, a pretty lake and then have a picnic nearby. You will eventually ride back home past the Castle of Lupinari with frequent canters.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 5 (Wednesday): Relax (no riding)
A free day to make your arrangements for sightseeing, perhaps to visit Florence (if she is available, your host will gladly give you a guided tour of the main sights).
You can also take a train to visit Arezzo, Assisi, or engage in other activities we can suggest, such as: a trip with qualified hiking guide to visit the spectacular “balze del Valdarno”; a guided e-bike tour; a workshop with Isabella to paint your personal pottery mug or a “truffle hunt” in the early morning with our friend Luigi and his dog.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 6 (Thursday): Market Day & Afternoon Ride
This morning we go to the local street market, to buy typical Italian food, “porchetta”, cheese and fresh vegetables for your lunch.
In the afternoon, after a short ride, we go on a short walk to a local farmhouse to sample some homemade jams and visit the “Museo della civiltà contadina” (Museum of Rural Culture).
Riding approx. 1.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 7 (Friday): Montegonzi Ride
A final day-ride with a stop to visit the typical medieval village of Montegonzi, with a light lunch at the local “osteria”.
In the afternoon, leisurely ride home to the farmhouse for a rest and a nice cup of English tea, with your hostess .
Tonight, we enjoy a special farewell dinner.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Breakfast and EITHER your own arrangements to leave (departure is usually by 10:00 am) OR a ten-minute drive to Montevarchi to meet the train back to Florence. For those going to Rome, there is a direct train from Montevarchi.
Meals included: Breakfast


Non-Riders
Non-riders are welcome, of course, but they must not be shocked at the occasional whiff of manure! Franca, the cook, organizes cooking courses on specific dates but can also provide, on request, tailor-made cooking lessons.
For walkers and mountain-bikers there are many waymarked trails radiating out from the Centre. For those using road-bikes, there are plenty of quiet lanes in the Chianti region and the Arno valley.
Riding can be substituted for walks and/or cooking lessons for riders who need a rest from the saddle!


Rates and Dates for Taste of Tuscany Getaway

Rates include:

Accommodation, All meals including wine, 3 riding days, Guided visit to Arezzo & Transfers

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20245 day trip€1250$1375
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.1

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2024 Transfer from/to Montevarchi train station at set times included 0 $0
2024 Non-rider rate, dbl, pp 840 $925
2024 Single supplement 190 $210

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2024 04/29 - 05/03 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Expired
A 2024 05/13 - 05/17 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Expired
A 2024 06/03 - 06/07 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Expired
A 2024 09/09 - 09/13 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
A 2024 09/28 - 10/02 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
A 2024 10/15 - 10/19 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Reserve
A 2024 10/26 - 10/30 5d / 4n 5 day trip 2 /6 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities & Travel insurance (mandatory)

Other Info
Meeting: Farm
Airport: Florence
Transfer: Montevarchi Train Station

Climate:
                                            Montevarchi area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

49

52

60

66

75

82

89

89

79

69

57

50

Average Low Temperature (°F)

34

35

40

44

51

58

62

61

55

50

42

36

Average High Temperature (°C)

9

11

16

19

24

28

32

32

26

21

14

10

Average Low Temperature (°C)

1

2

4

7

10

14

17

16

13

10

6

2

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Central Italy benefits from a kind of ocean climate with mild winters and temperatures are hot but bearable (thanks to the ocean) for the summer. The climate in Tuscany is very mild and the seasons each have their merits.

Spring and autumn are particularly good times to visit.
Spring is a delightful time to visit when the trees and flowers are blooming, the air is warm and the nightingales are singing day and night.

Autumn brings glorious colors and you can see the farmers prepare for the olive and grape harvests.

What To Bring:
For riders essential items are: helmet, riding-trousers (jeans are not always comfortable), riding boots or walking shoes + half-chaps (easier to pack), full-length raincoat (yes, it can rain in Italy, too!), and gloves if you are used to wearing them. Otherwise dress according to the season. Remember that you don’t have to bring out your finery! There is a washing-machine and an iron if you need them.

Other useful items: sun cream, lip salve, personal medicines, small camera with strap you can put round your neck, gilet with pockets or bumbag.

Remember that there are plenty of good books at the farm and that there is free WIFI.

All guests are advised not to bring too much luggage: bulky suitcases hamper you on your travels (there are steps everywhere!).
Reserve some space, however, for anything you might want to buy during your stay. Buy your shampoos and suchlike when you get to Italy to avoid having to show them at the airport.

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel Documents and Voucher
Personal Travel Insurance
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants or Jodhpurs
Riding boots and Mini-chaps
Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Rain jacket

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Casual pants
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjama
Lightweight rain jacket
Casual footwear
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 enough extra films
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm