Dressage & Trail

Tuscany Italy: (IT-SR04)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/italy_dressage_tuscany.aspx

Tuscany Italy
Strategically positioned midway between Siena and Florence sits a handsome, stone farmhouse villa dating from the 1700's and owned by Gianni and Cristina, a couple who have dedicated their lives to the equestrian arts. The farm estate appeals particularly to visitors with a passion for horseback riding and dressage, for the De Marchis offer everything from basic beginner riding lessons to advanced dressage training, complemented with day long trail rides through the gorgeous surrounding countryside. In fact, the center is recognized as one of the top “ranches” in the Tuscany area.  Instruction is available for both the rider just starting out in dressage as well as for experienced dressage enthusiasts around the world. With the emphasis on correct basic schoolwork, riders are also encouraged to work on carefully prepared exercises in the lateral movements, transitions, canter and counter-canter as well as work from the ground. For the most advanced level of riders visiting the farm, riders also have the possibility to work on the piaffé, passage and flying changes.

The riding program offer a wide variety of choices and easily be modified to your riding level and the type of riding you want to improve on.
Meals are all taking together at a long rustic table in front of the fireplace - a wonderful place to swap stories of the day with your fellow riders. The chef is an undiscovered gem - you will taste some of the best typical cuisine of Tuscany with wines of the area.


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

Guests are hosted in an 18th century country villa featuring terra-cotta floors, wooden beamed roofs etc. The house has 9 guest rooms (all with ensuite bathrooms and AC) and 1 apartment with kitchenette.
On the ground floor is a rustic living room with country antiques, comfy sofas, and piano enhanced by a vaulted brick ceiling and worn terra-cotta floors, off which are 3 bedrooms.
Upstairs, the main gathering area is the dining room, which features a massive fireplace and a seemingly endless wooden table. This room gives access to more bedrooms, each decorated with touches such as dried flowers, white lace curtains, and, of course, equestrian prints. 
WIFI is available in common areas. 

There is no laundry service at the facility, but there is a laundromat and laundry service in Barberino val d’Elsa, which is the closest town. It is about 30 minutes walk, but we can offer a ride should you like to visit.

Room Options

Linari:  a special light and a beautiful view of the Castle of Linari.
1 double bed - can accommodate a max. of 2 people

Robinia: a special light making the room very warm. It has the view on the background of a Robinia tree
1 double bed (or 2 single beds) - can accommodate a max. of 2 people

Pozzo: a very appreciated room in the hot summer because it is one of the coolest.
1 double bed (or 2 single beds) - can accommodate a max. of 2 people

Maneggio: a cozy single room. The only one with private but separated bathroom.
1 french bed can host only 1 person

Cavallo: a very spacious room with a special light at the sunset.
1 double bed or two single beds- can accommodate a max. of 2 people

Piccionaia: a charming and exclusive place on the top of the tower with 6 windows giving a wonderful panoramic view over the valley.
1 double bed + 1 single bed - can accommodate a max. of 3 people 

Volta (upgrade): a very spacious room and with an independent exit to the garden and a large bathroom with bath tub.
1 double bed + 1 single bed (or 3 single beds) - can accommodate a max. of 3 people

Teatro (upgrade): a very large and silent room with arched ceiling.
1 double bed + 2 single beds - can accommodate a max. of 4 people

Mangiatoia: a very appreciated room in the hot summer because it is one of the coolest.
1 double bed (or 2 single beds) - can accommodate a max. of 2 people

Appartamento "Stallina": a very nice apartment with garden and a nice view over the valley.
1 double bed + 3 single beds - can accommodate a max. of 5 people

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.

Half board is included in this packages with breakfasts and dinners. Lunches are not included, but can be ordered daily. Often riders will go into the village, town or all the way into Florence or Siena to sightsee for half a day after or before their lessons. 

Forget a diet here! Four courses are served for dinner and a good Chianti wine is always at your disposal. The products are genuine and fresh, using olive oil that is produced at the farm. The cuisine is typical of Tuscany and delicious. The meals are served in the big dining room on a long table in front of the open fire place.

The queens of our kitchen are "Granny Elide" (a passionate cook) and Gabriella.
A few of our specialties include: Lasagne, Malfatti, Tagliatelle, Pappardelle, Pizza, Ribollita and home-baked Bread.
Our main courses specialities  include Gabry Roast Beef, Turkey Roulade, Loin with Spinach, Artichoke and Zucchini Tortini.
Our desserts include Ricotta and Chocolate Torte, Tiramisu, Raspberry and Yoghurt Mousse, “Granny and Grandpa’s Torte” and many more.

Dietary Restrictions
We cater vegetarian food upon request.

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


Riding Center
The riding center has been recommended by the English T.T.T. (Training the Teachers of Tomorrow) association. The quality of tuition is excellent and caters mainly to the novice to good intermediate rider. Instructors and guides are BHS, GEA, FISE UISP.
Riding lessons are taken in one of the two training arenas and are in English, Italian, French or German. There are usually up to 20-24 riders at the center, but the riding groups are kept small (max 4 rider per session) and divided into different level groups.

We have approximately 30 horses, among which Lusitano, Anglo-Arab, Sella Italiano, Holsteiner, Arab, Kwpn, Maremmano, Merens and Pony breeds.

Riding Experience
Although these rides out are calm and always accompanied by a qualified guide, they are not suitable for beginners. In most cases, we follow small country paths or go across the Tuscan countryside.  

Age Restriction
Please note we cannot guarantee hacking/trail riding for children under 14 years old. We can confirm it only once we have seen them riding.

A very dedicated and friendly team will welcome you at the riding center in Tuscany.
Carla and Katiuscia will organize anything you need and will be your main contact persons during your holiday in Tuscany.
Miriam, Jenny, Stefano, Camilla, Rebecca (the trail guide), Helen and Dany will collaborate with Cristina and Gianni in all the horse riding activities.
Rosetta, Gabriella and Bava will serve you fantastic dinners, while Elide will have the direction of the shopping and gardening activities. Ivan is our nice and mad jolly.
Pietro de Marchi is a BHS accredited professional coach and rider in dressage, showjumping and eventing. Pietro teaches internationally and has been training in the UK for the last 4 years specializing in training young horses to event and has reported very good successes. He participated at Burghley and has qualified a young horse for Badminton. During his equestrian career, he has had the opportunity to train with many international riders, among which one of them has been with the Dressage master and four times Olympian and European medalist, Richard Davison. Pietro is in charge of the Jumping Program.
You will have the chance to meet all these nice people during your stay.


There are 2 riding packages available:
Beginner Program: 6 riding lessons  
- Intermediate Program: 6 dressage lessons 

These packages can be customized to your needs... It is possible to book additional lessons.

The lessons are divided into three groups:
- Beginners can learn riding from the very first steps.
- Intermediate riders can extend their knowledge and skill or partake in the riding out.
- Experienced riders can take dressage lessons and combine this with riding out.

Note: Please observe that the beginners program is only for real beginners (absolute beginners or riders that are able to do walk and trot but not canter). Riders that are confident with the three paces can reserve the dressage program for the lessons or be aware to pay the price difference if they are unsure and book the beginners program but then become assessed as experienced enough by us.

The riding lessons are taken in the training arena adjacent to the house and last for about 45 minutes each. The lessons are in small groups (3 students max), which are arranged according to riding skills. It is also possible to pay a supplement in case you wish to get a private lesson. The lessons are in English, Italian or French. 

Classical Dressage Training
The training method is based on supplying and loosening up the horse to achieve elasticity and lightness in the use of the aids. We follow the very traditional principles of classical riding but which are also practiced by riders competing in modern dressage.
The professional foundation is based on the academic style and the qualification is derived from the benefit of several years of training with Portuguese master Pedro Batista De Almeida, a pupil of the great Nuno Olivera. Mr. De Almeida spent his career as the technical director responsible for the Portuguese National Stud which has more than 100 stallions.

Non riders  
The swimming pool of the riding center gives splendid views over olive groves and vineyards. If you enjoy sporting activities, there are tennis courts about 10km away, and golf courses in Florence, Castelfalfi and Siena.

The riding center is an excellent base for touring the heart of Tuscany (you should have a rental car). Florence and Siena are just 30 minutes by car.
Castel del Nero’s Spa, is located just 10 minutes drive away from the riding center and offers all the charm of a castle and a beautiful garden.

Hiking / Cycling
This is also an ideal place to explore the Tuscan countryside by foot or by bicycle. The beautiful trekking routes of the Chianti-valley can be reached by car very easily or you can hike or bike to the villages of Barberino Val d’Elsa and Tavarnelle directly from the riding center.

Cooking Lesson
We organize weekly cooking classes (extra cost - inquire for rate). Thanks to granny’s tools and techniques, you will learn to prepare Tagliatelle, Ravioli, Tortelli, Desserts and even Casereccio bread, which you can then enjoy with the other guests.

Yoga lessons (extra cost - inquire for rate) for riders and non-riders are available throughout the year. The practicing of yoga is in fact very useful for riders because it will improve your balance and will teach you to breathe correctly, in addition it will increase your flexibility and capacity of concentration and body awareness. The lessons are suitable for absolute beginners or advanced yoga practitioners and will be held either early in the morning or in the late afternoon / early evening. It the weather allows an outdoor lesson, you will be doing yoga in the garden or by the swimming pool, otherwise inside. We provide matrasses and blankets if needed, all you need to bring is comfortable clothing.

Rates and Dates for Dressage & Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations, Half board (breakfast and dinner) with table wine and mineral water, 6 riding days (1 lesson per day) & Transfers from/to San Filippo
Some helmets can be provided

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20228 days, HB - Intermediate Program (high)€1335$1600
  • B
    20228 days, HB - Beginner Program (high)€1275$1530
  • C
    20228 days, HB - Intermediate Program (low)€1255$1505
    • Non-rider€1015$1220
  • D
    20228 days, HB - Beginner Program (low)€1205$1445
    • Non-rider€1015$1220
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

Note: Rooms are cleaned daily - change of towels only once during the week - additional changes can be requested
Additional riding lessons are available for an extra fee
Lunches can be ordered a la carte.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Note: Rooms are cleaned daily - change of towels only once during the week - additional changes can be requested
Additional riding lessons are available for an extra fee
Lunches can be ordered a la carte.

Transfer and Other Charges:

2022 Transfer from Florence airport (max 4 pax), one-way, per car
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
85 $100
2022 Transfer from Pisa airport (max 4 pax), one-way, per car
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
150 $180
2022 Transfers from San Filippo included 0 $0
2022 Single supplement
- to be paid locally
280 $335
2022 Children discount (6-14 year old) - please inquire 0 $0
2022 Tourism tax, per week, per person (older than 14 years old)
- to be paid locally
10 $10
2022 Upgraded room, cost pp (double occupancy) 105 $125
2022 Non-riders - please inquire for rates 0 $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 05/22 - 06/10 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Intermediate Pr... 2 /4 Reserve
B 2022 05/22 - 06/10 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Beginner Progra... 2 /4 Reserve
D 2022 06/11 - 06/25 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Beginner Progra... 2 /4 Reserve
C 2022 06/11 - 06/25 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Intermediate Pr... 2 /4 Reserve
A 2022 06/26 - 11/04 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Intermediate Pr... 2 /4 Reserve
B 2022 06/26 - 11/04 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Beginner Progra... 2 /4 Reserve
D 2022 11/05 - 11/12 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Beginner Progra... 2 /4 Reserve
C 2022 11/05 - 11/12 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Intermediate Pr... 2 /4 Reserve
A 2022 11/13 - 11/18 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Intermediate Pr... 2 /4 Reserve
B 2022 11/13 - 11/18 8d / 7n 8 days, HB - Beginner Progra... 2 /4 Reserve

Dates Note:
Weekly from Saturday to Saturday
Shorter stays might be possible - please inquire

Rates do not include:

Lunches, Airport transfers & Gratuities.

Other Info
Meeting: San Filippo
Airport: Florence
Transfer: Florence airport or Florence train station

                                            Poggibonsi area














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Source: NOAA

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. It usually does not rain in the summertime. Autumn brings more comfortable temperatures as well as some rainfall, but there are still dry, sunny days. The winters are not too chilly with the lowest expected temperatures in the peak of winter being around 0°C / 32°F. However, at night, it sometimes gets very cold.

What To Bring:
Beginners do not have to bring a full riding equipment - we can provide chaps, whips and riding hats (not all sizes). 

No laundry service is available, but there is one in Tavarnelle (3Km from Il Paretaio).

This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets

Personal Travel Insurance


Visa (check with your consulate)



Normal riding gear or comfortable, yet sturdy pants. No leggings please.

Riding boots or shoes with flat soles and heels that cover the ankles. We recommend mini chaps.

Long sleeved cotton shirts (for sun protection)

Riding helmet (not mandatory, but recommended for all trips)

Riding gloves

Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection

A wind breaker, rain gear that can be pulled over the saddle



Jacket or sweater for cool evenings

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts



Underwear and socks


Light summer jacket

Trekking boots / Comfortable shoes




Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for an emergency)

Sewing kit


Adapter for electric appliances

Camera and enough extra films

Belt pack

Address book and pen (for postcards!)

Sun glasses with strap

Sun tan lotion and lip balm