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Join Altavia Horses on a horse riding holiday in Molise, Italy! This area is ideal for a holiday on horseback. You can ride for hours without coming across fences or roads, let alone another human being. Trek through “Colle dell’Orso” (valley of the bear). This splendid plateau offers a variety of sceneries. From the end of April until the beginning of November, there are many cows and also semi-wild horses. You will ride along or even transverse the herds. Another highlight is the Magic Forest. This piece of woodland is completely sheltered by rocks with but two ways of access, which makes the visit quite adventurous.
You will be accommodated for three nights at Altavia, one night at an agriturismo, two nights at a mountain lodge, and another one night at a hotel.
The house, dating from 1885, is situated at almost 3,000 feet above sea level. It is the only inhabited farmhouse in this little nature conservation area. The nearest neighbors live in Carovilli, a little village four miles away. The front of the house faces a large oak forest whereas the rear offers a splendid view of the mountains and a valley. The house is not very big but quite comfortable. It was completely renovated in 2003. The living room has a nice fireplace, a piano, and a modest library. There are three guest rooms (two double and one accommodating six) and two bathrooms with all modern conveniences. Meals are served on the terrace or in the kitchen-diner.
The highlight of this trek is the cows and semi-wild horses which live on a huge mountain plateau.
The horses have been selected for their character, looks, and intelligence. They were all born in the mountains, so they are very reliable in this mountainous area. All year long, they live in a herd which makes them a close group. Besides, most of them are related in some way or the other. The horses are willing and easy-going. The tack is western.
You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening at the farm-house. After a welcome drink, there will be dinner with your hosts/guides. A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.
The morning is yours. You may sleep late, take your time over breakfast, do whatever you like. Before lunch, there is a safety briefing. Then you will groom and saddle up the horses, followed by a short demonstration in western riding.
After lunch, you will do a test-ride (three hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trek. In the evening, you visit the new riding center inclusive bistro from the host which is close by for a drink and later you get served a freshly prepared dinner.
At about 10:00, you will leave the house and ride through Alto Molise with its hills, meadows, and woods. The picnic will be in an idyllic place. After lunch, you will continue your way through the endless hills.
At the end of the day, you will arrive at an “agriturismo”. They await you for dinner, which is based on regional specialties. You will spend the night there, too.
After breakfast, you will continue the trail, following the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera. Tratturo is a 2,000-year-old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where the grass is scarce in summer. After the tratturo, you will reach Pescolanciano with its old castle. There, you will stop for lunch, which will be served at a little restaurant.
Next, you will go to the Colle dell’ Orso. The trail gets steeper, climbing about 1,800 feet. The route leads you over narrow paths, through beech woods with carpets of leaves. In the evening, you will reach a mountain lodge where you will dine and spend the night. First of all, you will take care of the horses. You will sleep in dormitories.
Today is dedicated to the magnificent scenery of the plateau of Colle dell’ Orso. During your ride, you will enjoy the most splendid views of the Abruzzi and Matese Mountain ranges, with peaks of approximately 6,500 feet. The most impressive scene of all is, however, the herds of cows and semi-wild horses in the plains. You will ride along or even transverse the herds. After this, it is time for the picnic.
In the afternoon, the trail takes you to the so-called Magic Forest. This piece of woodland is completely sheltered by rocks and there are but two possible ways of access, which makes the visit quite adventurous. Leaving Magic Forest, you will go back to the mountain lodge, which is by the way equipped with a shower. In the evening, you will make a campfire or light the fire in the fireplace.
In the morning, you will enjoy the beauty of the Colle dell’Orso, called Magic Mountain by some, just one more time. The picnic will be in the garden of a little church dating from 1704. In the afternoon, the route descends, leading you back to civilization.
In the late afternoon, you will leave the horses in a small riding center. The riders will be taken to a cozy hotel in Duronia (approximately 20 minutes by car). Tonight, you will have pizza.
Today, you ride to the river Trigno. It has been dammed, creating an enormous artificial lake. You follow the Trigno to Pescolanciano, climbing the hills that border on the forest of Collemelucio. This is one of the forests protected by UNESCO. The project is called Man and Biosphere (MAB). Worldwide, UNESCO protects 256 forests. Four of them are located in Italy; two of which in Molise.
The last few miles on horseback take you over open heathland and dense oak woods. About 17:00, you will be back at the farmhouse, unsaddle the horses for the last time, and enjoy the farewell dinner.
Departure after breakfast.
Carmine is a native of Molise. In his early years, he ran his own highly successful bar / restaurant in Isernia. Besides being an excellent cook, he became a horseman at heart. Carmine organizes four different treks plus a home-based ride at Altavia Horses. He speaks English and Italian and he is a certified guide of FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestre).
Molise is situated southeast of the region Lazio (Rome) in the north of Campania (Naples). Nature is still so unspoiled that UNESCO protects two primeval forests. Wildflowers abound, some species of which are very rare or even becoming extinct. The landscape is sloping to mountainous and varied. Vast fields alternate with large forests of beech and oak.
You will have meals on a full board basis with wine and beer at lunch and dinner, starting with dinner on the first day, up to and including breakfast on the day of departure.
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Airport transfer is not included in the price.
There is a train from Rome / Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). The Leonardo Express goes to Rome Termini twice per hour. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 14 EUR. Altavia Horses advises you to buy your ticket to Isernia at the airport. This ticket (one-way) costs approximately 11 EUR. The train's destination from Rome Termini to Isernia is Campobasso / Termoli. Sometimes it splits up in Montecassino. Please make sure that you are in the right carriage. Platform 15 is in between 14 and 16. Please follow 14 or 16. After 400 meters, you will find platform 15.
There are busses to the Central Station. You can buy a ticket with the driver. A one-way ticket costs approximately 3 EUR. The journey lasts about half an hour. A one-way train ticket to Isernia costs approximately 6 EUR. The train's destination is Campobasso. Please note that in Italy, train tickets are only valid when stamped in one of the machines which you find on the platforms.
The transfer from and to the railway station in Isernia is included in the price. On the day of arrival, the transfer is at 7:45 p.m. and on departure day is at 9:00 a.m.
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