Day 1: Arrival
Fly into Palermo and meet our transfer. You arrive at Cefalù for dinner and spend the night at Villa Magarà, a beautiful residence with panoramic views overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, equipped with a swimming pool. If you arrive earlier in the day you can enjoy a visit to the beautiful town of Cefalù.
Day 2: Cefalù to Piano Battaglia (hours of riding: 7/8)
After a very early breakfast we meet the horses for this adventure trail, once you are on board, tack checked and have an idea of your horses temprement we set of from Villa Magarà at about 8.00 in the morning. The day begins with a beautiful climb up through dense Mediterranean vegetation, with fantastic views of the Tyrrhenian coast and the Gulf of Cefalù. After a couple of hours we arrive at the famous Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, an ancient place of worship, dedicated to the Virgin. We stop for a short break to visit the Sanctuary. We will then continue the ride in the direction of Isnello, a small medieval village in the mountains, which we will ride through before beginning our ascent on the northern slopes of the Pizzo Carbonara, Sicily's second highest mountain at 1979 metres. We stop for our picnic lunch in the woods, before riding on through lush forests of oak, holm oak and beech trees to reach the Piano Battaglia, a mountain station located at the heart of the Madonie Park, here we enjoy a dinner prepared using typical local produce and spend the night at the Rifugio Marini.
Day 3: Piano Battaglia to Sciaritelle (hours of riding: 6/7)
After breakfast we set off at about 8.30 in the morning. We follow a route through the mountains in the heart of the Madonie Park – sometimes we need to dismount and continue on foot for a couple of hundred metres where the terrain becomes more rocky and steep. Passing through the Portella Mele where on a clear day, you see Sicily's interior, with the view taking in more than half of the island. We stop for our picnic lunch near Nociazzi, in the area of Castellana Sicula. In the afternoon we continue along ancient paths to reach the southern part of the Imera River, which we cross, before climbing up towards the Sciaritelle farm, an old 19th century farmstead which has been renovated and is equipped with a swimming pool. Tonight you enjoy a dinner made with local produce and spend the night here.
Day 4: Sciaritelle to Mappa (hours of riding: 5/7)
After breakfast we set off from the farm at about 8.30 in the morning. The trail takes us into the heart of Sicily's interior, its "breadbasket" since time immemorial, which is criss-crossed by "trazzere", ancient royal pathways, established by the Bourbons in the 18th and 19th centuries to ensure free movement of troops and people across the island. We will stop for a break by the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bilici, at the geographical centre of the island, before riding on past Marianopoli and through a eucalyptus forest, which is now a private hunting reserve, and arriving at Mappa, the former residence of the Prince of Spadafora, equipped with a swimming pool. After a delicious dinner settle down to spend the night here.
Day 5: Mappa to Aragona (hours of riding: 7/8)
After breakfast we leave Mappa at around 8.00 in the morning. Riding through fields to the picturesque, ancient village of Sutera, which is considered one of the oldest settlements in human history and retains many traces of its prehistoric origins. After riding through the village we continue on through the beautiful Monte Conca nature reserve to reach the valley of the River Platani, one of western Sicily's main waterways. We stop for our picnic lunch and continue our ride along the valley to reach our next stop, the farm of Principe di Aragona, another restored old farmstead, equipped with a swimming pool, where we have dinner and spend the night.
Day 6: Aragona to Agrigento (hours of riding: 4/5)
After breakfast we set off at about 8.30 in the morning in the direction of Agrigento, the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas, founded in 580 BC by the Rhodians and Cretans. After riding through an agricultural area near Aragona, we arrive at the Macalube di Aragona, where we witness the strange phenomenon of small mud volcanos formed by methane rising up through the earth and creating craters as it emerges. We then ride on towards Agrigento, stopping on the way for a picnic lunch. During the afternoon you will enjoy a guided tour of the area's most important monuments (the Temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus and Castor), before enjoying a dinner prepared with local produce and spending the night at the farm of Passo dei Briganti.
Day 7: Agrigento to Torre Salsa (hours of riding: 6/7)
After breakfast we set off at around 8.30 in the morning, following a very beautiful route through the countryside of Agrigento, with wonderful views of the Mediterranean coast. Our ride will take us to the coastal reserve of Torre Salsa, one of Sicily's most beautiful and best preserved coastlines, before riding on to our final destination along the coast, where we have our final dinner and over night stay.
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast and transfer to Palermo airport (or another destination on the island upon request).
£1630 per person for a double room.
£1855 per person for a single room.
27 April-4 May
Level: Comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter), with experience of hacking out in the open.
Age requirements: 16 years old and above.
Group size: Nine people maximum.
Key information / requirements: Between six and eight hours in the saddle per day. You must be comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter). You must be physically fit. This programme is aimed at intermediate and advanced riders and it is not suitable for beginners or riders with only limited experience. The terrain is varied and there may be long trots and gallops along the way.
Have a riding refresher before your trip on on of our UK short stay riding breaks - we highly recommend our equestrian centre in Cheshire for hacking, lessons and getting riding fit!
Equipment: It is possible to hire riding hats and chaps on site. The following items are essential: waterproofs, layers (it can be cold at altitude), boots and chaps, and sun cream.
Weight: Max 90 kg
Accommodation: Agriturismi or 3* good quality hotels.
Themes: Mountains, rivers, forests, flora, fauna, history, mythology, wheat, villages, agriculture, views.
Meals: Picnic lunches, typical Sicilian dinner in the evening (minimum four courses). Refined Sicilian cuisine prepared with local produce. Evening meals include: starter, pasta course, meat / main course, dessert, wine, water and digestif (liqueur, grappa, limoncello or other available options), coffee or tea. Continental or American-style breakfasts on request. Picnic lunches are provided by support vehicle (together with tables, chairs and cutlery) and include: fresh bread, salad, cheeses, olives, charcuterie, Sicilian specialities, wine or other drinks on request, coffee or tea.
Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Sicilian.
Horses: Horses of Sicilian breeding, all well trained and accustomed to the terrain. The horses live out at pasture. The guide cleans, grooms and tacks up the horses.
Tack: Comfortable English saddles, with a sheepskin cover on request, or Western saddles on request. All horses are ridden with a martingale and a crupper.
Luggage transport: By support vehicle.
Optional additional activities: Swimming pool, walks, guided tours of towns and historical sites with a local guide.
Nearby towns and places of interest: Madonie Natural Park, Cefalù, Petralie, Mussomeli, Caltanissetta, Sant'Angelo Muxaro, Siculiana.
Transfers from/to the airport: Included in the programme price.
Departure from: Cefalù.
We inspect all the horses and ponies on our horse riding holidays on a regular basis to ensure the best quality riding holiday for you.
We have a great range of horse riding holidays as well as riding breaks in Cheshire offering tuition in all disciplines and hacking out on well trained horses into Delamere Forest. Please have a browse through our full range of equestrian holidays.