Coast to Coast - 6 days
Day 1: Arrival
You will arrive at Cefalù (after a transfer from the airport), a beautiful and picturesque seaside town. Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight in a B&B situated in the atmospheric old town.
Day 2: Cefalù to Piano Battaglia (hours of riding: 7/8)
After breakfast you will be assigned your horse for the trail and we will set off from Cefalù at about 8.00 in the morning. The day will begin 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 will arrive at the famous Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, an ancient place of worship, dedicated to the Virgin. We will 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 will stop for a 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, where you will enjoy a dinner prepared using typical local produce and spend the night at the Rifugio Marini.
Day 3: Piano Battaglia to Feudo San Giorgio (hours of riding: 6/7)
After breakfast we will set off at about 8.30 in the morning. We will follow a route through the mountains in the heart of the Madonie Park – you may need to dismount and continue on foot for a couple of hundred metres where the terrain becomes more rocky and steep. We will pass through the Portella Mele and on a clear day, you will finally be able to see Sicily's interior, with the view taking in more than half of the island. We will stop for a picnic lunch near Nociazzi, in the area of Castellana Sicula. In the afternoon, we will continue along ancient paths to reach the southern part of the Imera River, which we will cross, before climbing up towards the Feudo San Giorgio, an old 19th century farmstead which has been renovated and is equipped with a swimming pool. You will enjoy a dinner made with local produce and spend the night here.
Day 4: Feudo San Giorgio to Mappa (hours of riding: 5/7)
We will have breakfast and set off from the farm at about 8.30 in the morning. The trail will now take 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. You will enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night here.
Day 5: Mappa to Aragona (hours of riding: 7/8)
After breakfast we will leave Mappa at around 8.00 in the morning. We will ride 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 will 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 will stop for a 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 will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 6: Aragona to Agrigento (hours of riding: 4/5)
After breakfast we will 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 will arrive at the Macalube di Aragona, where we will witness the strange phenomenon of small mud volcanoes formed by methane rising up through the earth and creating craters as it emerges. We will 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)
We will have breakfast and 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 will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast and transfer to the airport (or another destination on the island upon request).
- Airport transfers from/to the nearest airport.
- 7 nights in agriturismi, B&B and good quality hotels.
- 6 full days of riding.
- All meals from dinner on the day of arrival to breakfast on the day of departure.
- Luggage transfer by support vehicle each day.
Level: Comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter), with experience of hacking out in the open.
Group size: Ten 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) and 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.
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.
Accommodation: Agriturismi, B&B or good quality hotels.
Meals: Evening meals consist of authentic Sicilian cuisine prepared with local produce. A typical evening meal will include: a variety of starters, a pasta course, a meat/main course, dessert, wine, water and a digestif. Picnic lunches are provided by support vehicle (together with tables, chairs and cutlery) and include: fresh bread, salads, cheeses, olives, charcuterie, Sicilian specialities, wine or other drinks on request, coffee or tea.
Tack: Comfortable English saddles, with a sheepskin cover, or Western saddles on request. Guests are not required to groom or tack up the horses.
Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Sicilian.
Airport: Arrive Palermo - Depart Palermo