Arts & Riding Holiday in Tuscany

Tuscany Italy: (IT-ITSR04)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/italy_tuscany_arts_riding.aspx

Introduction
Tuscany Italy
This new program has been specially tailored for riders who are also art lovers.

Jenny, your host, is not an art historian but is passionate about medieval and early Renaissance frescoes and is happy to transmit her enthusiasm to other art-lovers. The tour includes many of the most famous frescoes of Tuscany. The dates are chosen to avoid the main tourist season so that you can fully enjoy the beauty Italy has to offer!

If it’s your first time in Italy, no problem; Jenny and her colleagues will introduce you to the Italian lifestyle with open arms. You will get plenty of chances to meet the people of Italy and discover what delightful people they are. And if you think Italian food is all pasta and pizzas, you have a lot of pleasant surprises ahead. Chianti wine will be served with all meals. Sorry to say, but expect to put on a couple of pounds during your stay!

The horses are well-trained and fit, Jenny does her best to match them to the individual riders whom come to visit. We promise you will have loads of fun, but safety is also a priority here. The woods and hills surrounding the center are ideal for hacking because there are innumerable trails, with no gates and very little roadwork. Each day your ride will be unique and with new features - a canter between rows of vines, a trot along a cypress avenue, a visit to a semi-ruined castle, a barbecue on the mountaintop, you name it!

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a stationary ride so all nights are spent at the same location (except for one night spent in San Gimignano at extra cost).

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
Most meals are included in this trip, except for lunches in Florence and San Gimignano.
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 18 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. Currently, there are 3 Arabs, 1 Anglo-Arab, 1 Appalosa and several Sicilian bred horses.
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


Sample Itinerary 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): Morning Ride & Italian Introduction
A morning ride takes you through vineyards, olive-groves and woodland, passing near an 18th-century villa and a 14th century church. Return to the farm for lunch.
In the afternoon, join your host for a hilarious lesson in Italian pronunciation which will prove useful over the following days (learn, for example, that the “ch” in the Italian word bruschetta is pronounced like a 'k'!).  Choose your pizza pronouncing all the ingredients correctly (more or less!) and enjoy it for dinner, followed by cantuccini, a Tuscan almond-flavoured biscuit, dipped in vinsanto, a delicious dessert wine.
Riding approx. 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 3 (Monday): Morning Ride & Arezzo Visit
The morning ride crosses the wooded hills north of the farm, scattered with charming hamlets and traditional farmhouses. After lunch go to the ancient city of Arezzo and enjoy a guided visit to the fascinating, world-famous frescoes of Piero della Francesca of which your host has made a special study.
Riding approx. 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 4 (Tuesday): Chianti Hills Ride
Today, we go on a full day ride and stop for picnic in the Chianti hills. During your ride you will pass the medieval tower of Galatrona, a lake and the castles of Cennina and Lupinari.
Then either walk to Podere Luisa, the farmhouse of Sauro and Romina, for wine-tasting (they make biodynamic wine) or have a cooking lesson with Isabella, learning how to make to make pasta fresca and tiramisù.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 5 (Wednesday): Free Day (no riding)
A free day to laze around, or to make your own arrangements for sightseeing, perhaps to visit Florence (where your host, who knows it well, will gladly give you a relaxed tour of the main sights as well as a chance to shop).
You can also choose to visit the hill towns of Cortona, Assisi or Orvieto – take your pick! All three are a direct train journey from Montevarchi and you will be driven to Montevarchi station and back
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farm


Day 6 (Thursday): Montevarchi Visit & Afternoon Ride
A guided visit to the local town of Montevarchi and its famous weekly market in a leafy square: a good chance to pick up bargains! Then, visit an unspoilt  Romanesque church with animal sculptures and go for lunch at a gourmet restaurant in Loro Ciuffenna, a medieval village built round a ravine on the other side of the Arno valley.
We then drive back to farmhouse and have either an afternoon ride or a lesson with Eraldo, who is also a BHS instructor with long experience.
Riding approx. 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a residenza d'epoca in San Gimignano


Day 7 (Friday): Montegonzi Castle Ride
Go on a final day ride with picnic in the unspoilt countryside north of the farmhouse, below the village and castle of Montegonzi. 
Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner.
Riding approx. 4-5 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 Arts & Riding Holiday in Tuscany

Rates include:

Accommodation at the farmhouse, Most meals including wine, 4 riding days, Guided visit to Arezzo & Transfer from Florence train station on Day 1 & Transfer to Montevarchi on last day

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20228 day trip, AP€1515$1820
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:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2022 Transfer from Florence train station at 5:50 PM included 0 $0
2022 Non-rider rate (30% OFF), dbl, pp 0 $0
2022 Museum & churches entrance fees, pp
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
300 $360

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 10/12 - 10/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /4 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Local public transportation, Museum and churches entrance fee, Accommoodation in San Gimignano, Lunches on Day 5 and 7, Travel insurance (mandatory) & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Farm
Airport: Florence
Transfer: Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) at 5:50 on Day 1 or 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