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Come and join Altavia Horses on this exciting horse riding holiday! You can be free and happy for a while to do what you love. Taking place at the Abruzzo National Park, the breath-taking scenery will ensure you enjoy nature in it's most beautiful form. In this protected area, there is still plenty of wildlife such that you can encounter. Staying at various accommodations, you will get to explore Italy at it's finest, and trek through Abruzzo National Park to make a long, joyful canter.
You will be staying for two nights at the Altavia farm-house and five nights at hotels in various destinations.
The house, dating from 1885, is situated at almost 3,000 feet above sea level. It is the only inhabited farm-house 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.
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, or do whatever you like. Before lunch, there is a safety briefing. Then, you groom and saddle up the horses, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch, the trek starts.
For about four hours, you will ride through forests and hilly pastureland before you arrive in San Pietro Avellana, your daily goal for today, where the horses will stay in a paddock. You return by car to the farm-house but before going to bed you get served a delicious dinner in the new bistro of your host.
In the morning, you are brought to the horses and at about 10.30 a.m. You get in the saddle and follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2,000 years-old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where the grass is scarce in summer. A picnic is a shadow place in the forest.
You continue along the Tratturo as far as the river Sangro. There, you leave the Tratturo to follow small paths. Sunbathing lizards take to their heels. The air smells like the Italian kitchen. Rosemary and thyme grow everywhere. Next, you climb through a forest after which you reach Roccaraso. There, you dine and spend the night. Roccaraso is at an altitude of 3,600 feet above sea level. It is locally a well-known ski-resort.
After breakfast, you leave Roccaraso behind you and reach the Piano Delle Cinque Miglia (the valley of five miles). There, you enjoy a long canter. At the end of the valley, the first tall mountains loom up at either side, a gravel road takes you to the Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) where benches and old oaks tempt you to stop. The narrow, stony road, going up and up, takes you to a water trough where the horses can drink, while you enjoy the view over the valley.
You continue your climb until all of a sudden there is an open space in the forest that offers a beautiful panorama. After this, you lead the horses on foot until you reach “Agriturismo Jovana” (mountain hut) where lunch is served. The owner has won various awards for his “ricotta” (cheese). After lunch, you follow the gravel road which takes you upwards to Scanno. Outside the village, the horses are left in the riding center “Il Ranch”. You will be taken to the hotel in the village. Dinner is at a restaurant in the historical center of Scanno. After dinner, you usually take a walk around this adorable.
Today is going to be challenging. You leave the civilized world behind you and ride through the unspoiled nature of the mountains of the Abruzzo National Park where no cars are allowed. With a bit of luck, you should come across wild boars or some deer. The wolves and bears keep away from the clatter of hoofs. A brooklet shows the way through the mountains. After a long climb, you halt at 6,300 feet above sea level and enjoy the panoramic view. The mountain peaks are covered by snow until late spring.
Then, you lead the horses down on foot. It is too steep there to stay mounted. Having reached the right path, you mount again and ride through extensive forests. In a meadow, you have a picnic and if the weather is fine you might like to take a nap. After this, the route continues through the forests until you reach Pescasseroli. After the long ride, you deserve a good dinner and that is what you are going to have at the lovely place of Eleonora.
This morning invites you to sleep longer and have a late breakfast. Pescasseroli is the “heart” of the Abruzzo and it allows you to have a view in the hustle and bustle of it. You can take a walk, there is a Museum of Nature, the Fauna Park and the Apennin-Garden to see or just enjoy the flair of the town with a coffee on the piazza.
After lunch, you return on horseback to unspoiled nature. The route gets steeper and having arrived in a valley, there is a canter to enjoy. From there, you ride to Opi, a little town with 400 inhabitants where you and the horses will stay at night. The dinner will take place in a traditional restaurant.
After breakfast, the horses will bring you to the val Fondillo. There are almost four miles of a very exciting trail along the river. It leads to one of the most protected areas of the National Park, Camosciara. There, you stop for a picnic.
After many miles, there is the (storage) lake Barrea deep down on the left. And on you go, this time to a different type of forest until, most likely exhausted, you reach Sandras riding center. There, the trail ends. In the last evening, you enjoy that center with the horses and during having pizza, you look back on your week before you will go to bed in the comfortable rooms.
Departure after breakfast from Alfedena to Isernia.
The horses at Altavia Horses have been selected for their character, looks, and intelligence. Altavia Horses has named all of the horses: Barone, Billy, Bullet, Dunito, Dunup, Ebe, Fulmine, Lares, Misty, Patsy, Pride, Promise, Ringo, Siska, and Windy. They are all willing and easy-going, and also 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 and most of them are related in some way or the other.
On the plateaus and in the valleys we make long canters. The horses, however, have to climb and go down a lot. Therefore, the pace is generally not very fast. The safety of the rider and that of the horse is the main thing.
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).
This horse riding holiday will take place at Abruzzo National Park, Italy. This national park was founded in 1922. Nowadays, it contains 50,000 hectares. In this protected area, there is still plenty of wildlife. There are wolves, bears, eagles, deer and many more species. The scenery is breath-taking. In the valley of five miles, you can make a long canter. You can climb up to 6,300 feet to enjoy the panoramic view. There are not many places left in Europe where you can feel so completely in the middle of nowhere. Camosciara is one of the most protected areas of this national park.
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 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).
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.
There is 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.
The pickup from the railway station in Isernia on the day of arrival is included in the price. The transfer is at 7:45 p.m. The drop off service on the departure day is not included.
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