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Madonie Trail - Sicily

The Madonie Natural Park, which extends to approximately 40 thousand hectares, is home to more than 70% of the island's wildlife. The park is characterised by dense woodland, where different species grow according to differing altitude. Above 1300 metres, the park is dominated by beech woods, survivors of the Ice Age. Other native species can be seen such as the recently discovered abies nebrodensis, a beautiful fir tree, which at one point covered the Sicilian mountains, before being felled for its high quality wood. The park not only boasts natural riches, but also a wealth of historical and anthropological interest, including its ancient and medieval villages, which we pass through and the remnants of past lives centred on the pastoral, agriculture and forestry. Each night we will stay in a high quality agriturismo set in a restored farmstead, where you can still truly feel the region's past, and you will enjoy delicious food.

What's Included:

  • 6 days of riding
  • English speaking equestrian/local culture guide
  • 7 nights comfortable accommodation
  • Full dinner and breakfast
  • Transfers from/to Palermo airport
  • 6 picnic lunches.

Price: From £1530pp


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Itinerary and prices – scroll down for more details

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Fly into Palermo airport where we transfer you to Serra Guarneri, in the territory of Cefalù, where we have dinner and spend the night.

Day 2: Serra Guarneri – Gibilmanna – Casale Drinzi (hours of riding: 6)

After an early breakfast, you will meet your horse for the trail and we set off from Serra Guarneri at about 8.00 in the morning, riding towards Gibilmanna, a famous sanctuary and Franciscan monastery dedicated to Our Lady, the patron and protector of the diocese of Cefalù.  Riding through the vineyards of the Azienda Sant'Anastasia and passing through a wild landscape covered in Mediterranean brush to arrive at Gibilmanna after about three or four hours in the saddle.  We visit the sanctuary, before continuing on towards the charming medieval village of Gratteri, where we stop for our picnic lunch.  In the afternoon, we continue the ride through the San Giorgio forest, dense with oak and durmast trees, and pass the ruins of the San Giorgio abbey, dating from the seventeenth century.  Finally, we arrive at Casale Drinzi, near Collesano, an ancient village of Arab origin (Qal'at as-sirat), where we enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night.

Day 3: Casale Drinzi – Donna Lavia (hours of riding: 6)

After breakfast we leave Casale Drinzi at around 8.00 in the morning, crossing the Mugerrati forest.  Depending on the conditions and the thickness of the snow, we ride towards Piano Zucchi or Piano Cervi, renowned spots high in the mountains, immersed in thick forests of oak, which slowly give way to beech trees, to reach Portella Colla, at 1400 metres, from where we begin the descent down the southern slopes to arrive in the afternoon at agriturismo Donna Lavia, in the territory of Polizzi Generosa, also of medieval origin.  We enjoy a special dinner and spend the night here.

Day 4: Donna Lavia – Terravecchia (hours of riding: 6)

After breakfast, we set off from Donna Lavia at around 9.00 in the morning.  Riding through the middle of the Vallone Madonna degli Angeli where you can admire the last remaining examples of the Nebrodi fir (abies nebrodensis), the symbol of the park.  We dismount for our picnic lunch up near the sanctuary of Madonna dell'Alto (at 1819 metres) – when visibility is good, you can enjoy views of most of the island from here.  We then descend towards our agriturismo, Terravecchia, in the territory of Castellana Sicula, where you can enjoy a swim in the pool with wonderful views towards Sicily's enchanting hinterland.  

Day 7: Casale Margherita – sea – Serra Guarneri (hours of riding: 6)

Enjoy breakfast and set off at around 9.00 in the morning.  Today we descend towards the coast, through rich olive and almond groves, and manna ash trees.  We ride through the Guarneri forest and the charming seaside village of Sant'Ambrogio, set on a very beautiful part of the coastline near Cefalù, to reach the beach.  Depending on the conditions (and how crowded the beach is), you can swim with the horses, before climbing back in the saddle for the final part of the ride towards Serra Guarneri, where we arrive in the evening. Here we part from our horses and for your final night and a delicious dinner finishes the trail. 

Day 8: Departure 


After Breakfast we transfer you back to Palmero airport.

Prices

£1530 per person for a double room.
£1755 per person for a single room.

Additional Info

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: Ten people maximum.

Key information / requirements: Between five and seven 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.

 As this trail consists of a loop through the Madonie Natural Park, it is possible to only do four of five days of the programme, on request.

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.

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.  For groups of four or more riders, 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.  For groups of less than four riders, picnic lunches consist of sandwiches and fruit (carried in saddlebags).

Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Sicilian.

Horses: 12 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, 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: Ficuzza Natural Park, Madonie Natural Park, Bosco di Granza, Corleone, Prizzi,Collesano, Cefalù.

Airport: Palermo.

Transfers from/ the airport: Included in the programme price.

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.

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.

How To Book

  • 30% deposit to book
  • Final balance 8 weeks prior to holiday
  • Book On-line by filling in the booking form below and pay deposit via WorldPay
  • or Book by phone on 01829 781123

Optional Extras

  • Equipment hire of riding hats and chaps