Western in Tuscany

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

Introduction
Tuscany Italy
A ride through the history and nature of Tuscany.

The mystical beauty of the hill country surrounding Florence has always been a special place. For those that wish to explore beautiful the beautiful region on horseback, but prefer a Western style of riding, we have put together these most relaxing and lovely treks that explore the Chianti, Monte Giovi mountain range and many of the vineyards in the vicinity of Florence. The villa offers horse lovers a typical farmhouse made of stone, surrounded by verdant green pastures and the beautiful Tuscan olive groves from which the farm makes their own olive oil. The house originated from a watch tower which once belonged to the Guidi Counts during the 11th Century and guests are welcomed into a friendly, calm and relaxed country atmosphere, far removed from the formality of hotels in the city.  Combining  a relaxing Western equestrian experience with the wonderful and rustic ambiance of the farm and the excellent Tuscan style Italian cuisine - you will be delighted in every sense during your stay!

Our partner has organized popular riding holidays for over 20 years now. Franco Melis – a skilled guide and horseman with many years of experience – runs this beautiful estate situated in the Italian province of Pontassieve, only 20 kilometres from Florence. The centre is well known in Italy and throughout Europe for its quality horses and guides. His rides take place in the midst of their typical Tuscan countryside - olives, vines and woods surrounding charming farms, villas, and ancient towers and castles. You can opt for daily "star rides",  the stationary program, or a combination of 3 days at the farm followed by a 3 day trek creating a progressive itinerary. 
 

Accomodation


Accommodation
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

Description
Riders sleep in typical, clean and well kept farmhouses, and in the evening enjoy a meal of traditional local dishes. In some of these houses, double rooms are available. Bathrooms are on a shared basis.

Monte Giovi Trail Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1-4: Farmhouse
Nights 5-6: Inn near Monte Giovi
Night 7: Farmhouse

Colline di Fiesole Trail Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1-4: Farmhouse
Nights 5-6: Agriturismo near Fiesole
Night 7: Farmhouse



Farmhouse
The country estate offers horse lovers a typical charming stone farmhouse surrounded by green pastures and beautiful olive groves from which the center makes its own olive oil. The house is a refurbished watch tower which once belonged to the Guidi Counts in the 11th century. Guests are welcomed into a friendly, calm and relaxed atmosphere.
The 6 rustic bedrooms are very spacious – typical of old Tuscan rural homes. Accommodation is in 2- to 4-bedded rooms, according to your needs (single rooms available on request).
Bathrooms are separate and each one is shared between two bedrooms. There is a maximum of 18 beds available.
When you are not riding you can relax in the green surrounding at the center or walk up to Camorli (2.5 km) and relax at the pool!

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.



Meals
All meals are included.

At the farm, a wide variety of authentic Tuscan country dishes is served, and the cook, a Tuscan chef, is always happy to satisfy the culinary wishes of the guests. The center is renowned for its great range of pasta dishes and the tables are never lacking in olive oil or flasks of Chianti! Every meal is planned and balanced with different typical recipes and the seasonal genuine ingredients. The menu is rich satisfactory, Italian and tasty!
We all dine together, either indoors or on the terrace, which offers a stunning view of the countryside.
 
Italian breakfast – tea, coffee, milk, fresh bread and butter with various marmalades and honey, yoghurt and muesli.
Lunches on the day rides are eaten either picnic style (cold pasta salad, salami, cheese, vegetables) or in a local restaurant.
For dinner, we offer a wide variety of authentic Tuscan country cuisine. We start with 2 different kind of "pasta" such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and rigatoni with black cabbage and potatoes. Then comes meat, like the typical arista - a pork cut - or fried chicken: in the traditional Tuscan way! - accompanied by zucchinis and carrots or garlic peppers

Chianti wine, water and extra-virgin olive oil are included with all meals in full board.

Special Diets
Vegetarians catered for, but please let us know in advance.

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

Riding

Riding Experience

Riders should be able to mount and dismount unassisted, stay in the saddle up to 4-5 hours per day for several consecutive days. They are also expected to be comfortable at all gaits and lead their horses when needed.
To take part in our treks, rather than a vast experience with horses, you need to be in good physical shape and have a desire to spend a holiday with people and horses, and rest assured that you will be guided and assisted by professionals.



Tack
Our horses are all trained western style by Franco, although English saddle is also available. During trails, horses are equipped with saddlebags to carry the daily picnic lunch.

Pace
The pace is adapted to the trails. It is moderate in general, with trot, canters and gallops when possible. Each day we cover between 25 and 30 kilometers, averaging 5-7 hours per day, including a stop for a lunch.

Riding Helmet
We supply riding helmets. For your safety, we recommend to ride with a helmet. Riders under 18 will not be allowed to ride without wearing a helmet.

Horses
The well-being and sound preparation of our horses is of prime importance to us. Our horses are all carefully selected by us for their good nature and trekking ability and we have horses suitable for all riding abilities. They are well-balanced because of the natural way of their maintenance, living together outside in herds. The horses are secure on any kind of terrain and well trained for lessons in the arena.
Our stables has 35 horses of different breeds (Maremma, Quarter horse, Sardinian, Anglo-Arab), all of which have been trained or re-trained following the principles of “natural horsemanship” to guarantee maximum physical and psychological condition and reliability.
Our horses are not restricted to lonely stables but live altogether outside in the fields, which allows them to remain healthy, both physically and mentally. Their diet is constantly monitored and their work regime adapted individually according to age and condition.
The same attention is given to the relationship between horses and riders, so as to guarantee each guest the best suited workmate, offering also the possibility of using a variety of horses throughout the holiday. Our riding philosophy is based on mutual respect and confidence between the horses and the riders.

Guides
Trekking groups are accompanied by a guide over the whole journey, and another person that meets the group in the evening with the rucksacks and necessary equipment. A first-aid kit accompanies all trips, but you should not forget personal medicines, for example those for allergies.

Itinerary

Our one-week trekking programs include three days at the equestrian center followed by a 3-day trek. On each of the first three mornings, 2 hours of riding are split between lessons and hacking.  
Trekking groups consist of between 6 and 9 people and are accompanied by a guide over the entire journey. There is also someone in charge of bringing the luggage and other necessary equipment every evening.
Each trekking day (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) we cover between 25 and 30 kilometres, averaging 5-7 hours per day, including a stop for a lunch (carried in saddlebags).


Sample Itineraries: Monte Giovi Trail - subject to changes

The Monte Giovi is a mountain range in the vicinity of Florence, which reaches an altitude of 982 metres. Thanks to both its extraordinary natural beauty and the historical sources dating from Etruscan and Roman times up until the recent partisan war found here, Monte Giovi is one of the most valued beauty spots in Tuscany. The name comes from Latin, being the Sacred Mountain dedicated to Jupiter. The Monte Giovi is a national Park with a protected area of 19,000 hectares.

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Arrival and settling in at the farm.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
You start with a lesson in the schooling arena, followed by a hack out in the surrounding countryside.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 3 (Monday): Trail Ride around the Farm
We take you out on a half-day ride in the hills, and come back to the farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 4 (Tuesday): Trail Ride around the Farm
We take you out on a half-day ride in the hills, and come back to the farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 5 (Wednesday): Ride to Monte Giovi
You will set off for the trek, on horseback all day and provided with a packed lunch. The night will be spent in an inn situated in the mountain forests.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Inn near Monte Giovi


Day 6 (Thursday): Ride around Monte Giovi
Passing through the Chianti vineyards, we follow the River Sieve past the village of Rufina - famous for its wines - and ford the river twice.  We climb to the top of the mountain (982m) range along age-old wooded paths and on reaching the top will be astounded by breath-taking views of the whole of the Chianti valley, the valley of the Arno and of Mugello.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Inn near Monte Giovi


Day 7 (Friday): Ride back to the Farm
The ride back to the farm is a dive into the landscapes and nature of a Tuscany unknown to mass tourism but rich with pleasant surprises such as the villa and chapel of Petroio, a tiny 12th Century hamlet perfectly conserved. Today's picnic will be consumed on the banks of a fresh-water lake. 
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Departure after breakfast.
Meals included: Breakfast

----------------------------------------

Sample Itineraries: Colline di Fiesole Trail - subject to changes

A trek, which passes over the Tuscany hills, through ancient vineyards and olive groves, with visits to traditional wine cellars. This trek is based very much on the area surrounding Vallebona, in the centre of the Rufina and Pomino Chianti wine area. It is an ideal small trek, also for those who wish to combine riding with rest, sport with culture.

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Arrival and settling in at the farm.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse

Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
You start with a lesson in the schooling arena, followed by a hack out in the surrounding countryside.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 3 (Monday): Trail Ride around the Farm
We take you out on a half-day ride in the hills, and come back to the farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 4 (Tuesday): Trail Ride around the Farm
We take you out on a half-day ride in the hills, and come back to the farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 5 (Wednesday): Ride to Torre di Buiano
You will set off for the trek, on horseback all day and stop for lunch at Castello del Trebbio, where we will also visit the cellars for a "wine tasting". You will stay overnight in a charming "Agriturismo" belonging to friends of ours, in a perfect farming style, situated 10km from Fiesole .
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Agriturismo near Fiesole


Day 6 (Thursday): Villa Demidoff Ride
You will visit the famous Villa Demidoff and its monumental Park.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Agriturismo near Fiesole


Day 7 (Friday): Ride back to the Farm
Time to ride back to the farm, through beautiful Tuscan landscapes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Farmhouse


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Departure after breakfast.
Meals included: Breakfast

--The above sample itineraries are subject to changes at the tour operator's discretion--


Rates and Dates for Western in Tuscany

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals with table wine, 1 wine tasting (only on Colline di Fiesole Trail) & 6 horse riding days

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, AP - Colline Di Fiesole€1220$1380
    • Single supplement€200$230
      Discount for room division (3-4 people per room), pp(€70)($70)
  • B
    20208 day trip, AP - Monte Giovi Trail€1150$1300
    • Single supplement€225$255
      Discount for room division (3-4 people per room), pp(€50)($50)
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

Rates Note:

Single rooms are on special request only and may not be available at all the accommodations, so please inquire first for availability and cost!

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Single rooms are on special request only and may not be available at all the accommodations, so please inquire first for availability and cost!


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from Pontassieve train station, return, pp
- to be paid locally
45 $55
2020 Private taxi transfer from Florence airport (please inquire for rates)
- to be paid locally
0 $0
2020 Private taxi transfer from Pisa airport (please inquire for rates)
- to be paid locally
0 $0
2020 Tourist tax, pp (free for children under 16) 6 $10
2020 Discount for children 10 - 16 years old -- please inquire 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2020 09/05 - 09/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Monte Giovi... 4 /12 Expired
B 2020 09/12 - 09/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Monte Giovi... 4 /12 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities & Transfers

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Western Riding in Tuscany (IT-ITVALCH):


Protocols:
1. Sanitize your hands at the entrance of the facility
2. Respect the safety distance of 1 m from other people
3. If you cannot respect the distance of 1 m from other people, always wear a mask (guests should bring their own masks - mandatory)

Life at the farm is outdoors in large spaces, and on horseback, the distance is always guaranteed. Even at the meal table the distances are assured.
At the stables we ask clients to wear a mask (same every other time it is not possible to respect the interpersonal distance). When riding, the mask can be removed.
At each entrance we have placed sanitizing stations.


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Pontassieve
Airport: Florence
Transfer: Pontassieve train station, Florence Airport or Pisa Airport

Climate:
                                                Florence area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

52

54

60

67

75

83

89

89

81

70

59

52

Average Low Temperature (°F)

36

37

42

46

54

60

65

65

59

52

43

37

Average High Temperature (°C)

11

12

16

19

24

28

32

32

27

21

15

11

Average Low Temperature (°C)

2

3

5

8

12

16

18

18

15

11

6

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
To avoid the heat, it’s best to visit in spring and autumn. During the peak summer months of July and August, the weather can be very hot, but it still gets cooler in the evenings, as the riding center is located in the mountains. Autumn sees the countryside glow with abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil. The winters are not too chilly with the lowest expected temperatures in the peak of winter being around 0°C / 32°F.

What To Bring:
What To Bring – recommended!

    * Riding Hat: A hat is essential for protection from rain and sun. Hard hats are compulsory for under 18's. If possible, take your own or we can lend you one
    * Riding Trousers: for the western saddle cow boy jeans are ideal – they are flatly seamed and are particularly long in the leg. Jodhpurs are fine if worn with half chaps.
    * Long sleeve tops: Lightweight long sleeve tops protect from the sun and from scratches from branches and undergrowth.
    * Footwear: The correct footwear is important for riding. We use light walking boots, high on the ankle, not too big. Ideally, short boots or gym shoes should be worn with half chaps. We do not recommend riding boots with a smooth sole.
    * Waterproof jacket
    * Ear plugs: can be useful in shared accommodation
    * Warm sweater
    * Hat:  to protect from sun and rain
    * Swim costume, suncream, sun glasses
    * Insect repellent: recommended in July, August and September
    * Ear plugs: can be useful when sharing the room with other people
    * a first-aid kit accompanies all trips, but you should not forget personal medicines, for example those for allergies.
    * Sensible underwear: be sensible with underwear - dress for comfort. Torch, penknife
    * We provide 2 towels - you may need an extra one
    * Electricity 220 V, you need an European adaptor
    * And don't forget to bring your camera
    * Insurance documents: It's important to make sure you are insured for all the activities of your riding holiday. Our insurance pays for damages depending on our acknowledged responsibility of the accident. Payment is authorised following a request for damages to be considered by the insurance company. A personal policy is different in that it always pays you out according to your agreed contract. This is what we advise you to do. Be aware that occasionally personal policies exclude dangerous sports such as riding, but by warning the company you can include it.