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Come and join Altavia Horses on this horse riding holiday. This interesting trail ride combines two amazing national parks in Italy. Secluded tracks lead you through nearly untouched nature. You will discover medieval little towns, enjoy the vastness of the Majella National Park offering lots of opportunity for long canters, and marvel at the ability of the horses to navigate the steep slopes of the Abruzzo National Park. Ride for hours and feel the excitement!
You will be staying for three nights at the Altavia farm-house, one night at Hotel Holidays in Roccaraso, and four 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. 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 to enjoy. You may sleep in, take your time over breakfast or do whatever you like. Before lunch, there is a safety-briefing. Then, you also groom and saddle up the horses, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch, you do a test-ride (three hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trek. Dinner and breakfast are at the farm-house.
At about 10:00, you get in the saddle and follow the Tratturo Celano-Foggia. A Tratturo is a 2,000-year-old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. Picnic is in Montedimezzo which used to belong to the royal family of the Bourbons. The hunting lodge nowadays contains a museum. The forest is protected by UNESCO. Worldwide, this organization protects 256 forests. Four of them are located in Italy with two in Molise. You continue along the Tratturo as far as the river Sangro. Here the Tratturo begins to be very wild and quite overgrown leaving you narrow paths to follow. The horses stay overnight at a riding center, which also features a restaurant. You will enjoy dinner there before heading for a nearby hotel for the night.
Today’s destination is the small town of Pescocostanzo. The trail takes you through increasingly high mountains. Arriving at the top of the pass, you can enjoy two very different panoramas. Looking back, you have the hilly landscape of Molise. In front of you, the Majella National Park welcomes you with its high mountains and vast valleys. At the end of the afternoon, you canter through one of these valleys. Having spent about seven hours on horseback, you are bound to be longing for a drink. Pescocostanzo has a nice main square with several bars and restaurants. Taking a walk in this picturesque medieval town is a pleasure for everyone and a must for those interested in architecture. You are staying at a cute little hotel in the historic town center and enjoy dinner at a restaurant close by.
Today you leave the Majella National Park and enter the Abruzzo National Park. The first part of the trail leads you to the Piano delle cinque Miglia (the Valley of the five Miles). Here you enjoy a long canter. At the end of the valley, tall mountains loom up at either side. A gravel road takes you to the Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) where benches under old oak trees tempt you to stop. Then you turn left and the scenery becomes different, a bit like a lunar landscape with a little lake. At the end of the day, a skiing track takes you down the mountain. The horses will be left at a stable. The riders dine and spend the night at Hotel Holidays in Roccaraso.
In the morning, your guide, Carmine, will follow the same trail to Piano delle cinque Miglia, but then you turn to another trail that takes you up to the Piano dell’Arremogna (called Little Tibet). Let’s canter in this huge valley. You have picnic in the valley before turning back into the direction of Roccaraso for a while. Then you ride down from the mountain along a trail that leads into the plain to the village Castel di Sangro. The horses will again stay at a riding center while you have dinner in a pizzeria and spend the night in a hotel.
After breakfast, you will cross the Valle del Sangro (the Valley of Sangro). A little later, you pass the Ponte della Zittola, the border between Abruzzo and Molise. Then you ride a part of the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera into the foothills of Alto Molise. Having passed the hamlet Montalto, it is time for a picnic. After lunch, it takes you another three hours to ride home. About 18:00, you are back at the farm-house, unsaddle the horses for the last time and enjoy a delicious farewell dinner.
Departure will be after breakfast.
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.
This horse riding holiday will take place at Majella National Park and Abruzzo National Park, Italy. They are situated close to each other, and both feature mountain ranges but their landscape is very different. You will also visit Molise. Molise is situated southeast of the Lazio region (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 breakfast on the day of departure.
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 transfer from and to the railway station in Isernia is included in the price. On the day of arrival, the transfer is at 19:45 and on departure day is at 09:00. Individual transfers are not possible.