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Join this Il Cornacchino's horse riding holiday in Castell'Azzara, Italy, to get a taste of horse trekking in the beautiful trails. This horse riding holiday package is the best way to appreciate the Cornacchino country house hotel in a totally relaxing atmosphere and in all its dimensions, hospitality, good food, nature, and horses. Accommodated in a homey farmhouse, you will enjoy a suitable program for the first timers to horseback trekking. You will have two riding hours for the first three days, followed by three full days of horseback travel. Taste horseback trekking here!
Il Cornacchino is a wonderful place nestled in a natural kingdom, full of fascination and emotion that will reawaken your senses. Il Cornacchino invites you to share this amazing place and love for horses. Il Cornacchino is an organic farm and it is composed of six buildings, horse stables, and several outbuildings, all surrounded by 110 hectares of terrain (57 of the farm ownership and about 55 managed as rental property). The principal agricultural activity is horse breeding and training.
The facilities include 13 guest rooms, camping area of 5,000 square meters, three dining halls, which can also be used for conventions and meetings, cafe room, two public spaces for relaxing that can be used for meetings, public space with fireplace that contains an internet point for guest use, and bathroom with facilities for the physically challenged. The additional buildings, united by a garden and outdoor staircase, form a quaint village completely immersed in nature.
This was the first building that Il Cornacchino restructured in 1987. It is an old rural building built in rock with an external staircase. The dining hall and kitchen are on the ground floor, while the second floor contains five guest rooms.
It is a rock building with two floors that look out on the garden below. Restructured in 1993, it houses seven guest rooms.
It was built in 1884 and contains beautiful archways in original rock. This building was restructured in 1999. It looks out on the garden and inside, you will find the bar, the office, the lounge with fireplace, a large room for music and games, the projection room, wi-fi for free at the reception, bar, public spaces, and garden / pergola area, restrooms, a public telephone, and Ezio's home.
The house takes its name from the mountain spring pool in its garden. Besides being the summer home of Giulio and Letizia, it is also the latest building to be restructured.
Podere Nuovo is located 400 meters from the community in the middle of the valley and is surrounded by horse pastures. Built in rock with the original stables on the ground floor, its upstairs space was the first original structure of the farm. Partially restructured in 1995, its ground floor continues its role as the main stables, with an added space for the saddle and work rooms, while the upper floor is the home of Fabio. All of the horse activities are centered in and around the New House, and it is here that you meet every morning for the rides and other activities.
The facilities were finished in 1999 and are located in the valley between the New House and the rest of the community. The riding ring is currently sized 20x60 meters. It has a drained foundation in sand and bedding. Adjacent to the ring are two round pens designed to accommodate horse training and vaulting activities and a huge natural arena, 100x60 meters with trail difficulties in the valley.
The site lies in its own oasis of acacia trees. Although it is just a few steps from the rest of the farm, its location, nestled in this green space, guarantees the utmost tranquility and quiet. During the summer, Il Cornacchino mounts gigantic tepee tents which they use for the children's camps. In other periods, the tepees provide a romantic spot for the other guests.
It was built in 1881 as the residence of the director of the original Cornacchino Mining Company. It is the first building to welcome guests that come to the valley. A two-story structure that remains in its original state, its stately presence and gardens are beautifully striking.
Il Cornacchino's horses live in complete accord with their natural needs. Cornacchino hosts more than 60 horses who live in small groups outdoor on 100 acres of pasture land completely according to their natural needs of socialization and movement. The experience of many years, the large number of horses at work and security of the western riding allow, even to those who are beginners, to begin a journey, starting from the first lessons in a horsemanship and going through walks and the trek's tasting, to the real trek, the final destination for nature lovers and horses, everyone with one‘s own times and needs. The guide, after a briefing with the participants, assigns the horses, that will be confirmed after having seen the participants riding. Horses can be changed at the discretion of the guide or instructor at any time.
Il Cornacchino is specialized in western riding for the country. The horse training is personally overseen by Fabio with his method called "natural western". The initial training consists of teaching the horses to trust humans and subsequently to carry out all the necessary movements in the countryside: walk, jog, trot, canter, gallop, back, side passes, gallop changes, transitions, jumping, and water crossing. The horses carry out much of their training in the countryside, learning while having fun and at the same time increasing their level of experience.
Il Cornacchino considers western riding to be the most comfortable and convenient for traveling. With a well-trained and responsible horse, the western saddle allows you to enjoy yourself in the countryside and to overcome difficult passageways with the utmost security. Riding with a western saddle requires a minimum physical effort. The horse's gaits are more comfortable and as a result, the rider doesn't feel exhausted at the end of the day, but satisfied and happy. The weight of the rider is distributed over a surface larger than that of the English saddle and the center of mass is lower, making it easier both for the horse and the rider.
Just like the foal, the beginning rider from the first lessons should learn while having fun. The student learns to feel the horse and to use physical communication with him through his / her body using natural and intuitive movements and paying a particular attention to the movement of the basin. This allows a relationship of collaboration between horse and rider (which is difficult to establish otherwise) and to take on all the horse's gaits in the first few lessons. The instructor's goal is to prepare the students to a level of skill and confidence to face a one-week trek.
All of the lessons in the ring are followed by an hour’s riding in the countryside. This allows the rider to relax and to establish a greater confidence in the horse. The horses are very experienced and very good natured and even in the most difficult situations. You will be amazed by their calm and preparation. The wonderful nature around will give the chance to have many walks, very different from each other for landscape, nature, and equestrian commitment.
This program is suitable for those approaching for the first time to horseback trekking (but who have at least a basic knowledge of walk, trot and canter, not for those who has not ridden before). You will have seven days full board accommodation with two riding hours for the first three days, followed by three full days of horseback travel with overnight stay at the farm. During the first three days at Cornacchino, there will be two hours excursions on horseback, with the afternoons at leisure.
The following three days will be spent trekking. At the end of Wednesday and Thursday, after having taken care of the horses, you will return to the Cornacchino ranch by minibus, where you will have dinner and a good night's sleep. Friday return to Cornacchino will be by horse. On the three days trail, you will ride through beech woods, Etruscan Necropolis, Etruscan roads "Vie Cave" cut deep in the tuff rock more than 2000 years ago, Etruscan villages, hills, and beautiful countryside. For transfer, in the evening from the place where the horses remain for the night, a van will take you back to Cornacchino and the next morning, it will bring you to the horses again.
Note: The program may be modified at any time due to prevailing weather conditions or technical reasons.
Flavia is an equestrian guide graduated in "tutela e benessera animale" (safeguard and animal wellbeing). After being a guest for many years (her first time at Cornacchino was in 2007), she now works as a guide and helps Giulio and Alessio with the trails.
Rico learned horsemanship with Il Cornacchino in 1988, but then dedicated himself to painting and sculpture productions. In 2003, he decided to work again with Il Cornacchino and now accompanies excursions and treks. He speaks Italian, German, and English.
The Cornacchino is nestled in a secluded valley in the natural park of Monte Penna. The pasture is surrounded by vast forests of chestnut, oak, beech, and pine trees where you can meet roe, wild boar, porcupines, badgers, and sometimes even deer. On the surrounding hills, there are grazing sheep, Chianina cows, and a herd of wild horses. You can see, on clear days, the sea and the Isola del Giglio, the Apennine Mountains, Bolsena Lake, and sometimes the Montecristo island.
The Cornacchino farm lies three kilometers from the town of Castell'Azzara and partially inside the Monte Penna Natural Reserve, at an altitude of 825 meters above sea level. Situated at the intersection of the provinces of Grosseto, Siena, and Viterbo, the farm is in a strategic zone in respect to natural, archeological, thermal, and landscape interests.
In the heart of the reserve, the town dominates a vast horizon. At its feet, stands Villa Sforzesca by the architect del Fontana. In the deep valley of the Fiora river, on the other side of the mountain, rises the Rocca Silvana, a powerful and complex medieval war machine which Il Cornacchino recommends that you visit.
A group of mounds on the southeast foothills of Amiata makes up the reserve. The main ones are Poggio della Vecchia (1086 meters) and Mount Civitella (107 meters). This protected area makes the northern border with the Pigelleto Reserve of the county of Piancastagnaio (Siena). The protected territory is over 1000 hectares. From a geological standpoint it is an area rich with caves (populated by bats) that, although near the volcanic mountain of Mount Amiata, it is completely different.
In the watersheds, there are woods of ash, beech, oak, and chestnut. For a naturalistic interest, there’s the Font wood on the Poggio Vecchia, made up of various species of maple trees. The reserve is almost completely woodsy, with the exception of small areas that surround small farmhouses. Near Selvena, you can find chestnut trees of extraordinary sizes. In the reserve, there are bird populations of falcons and owls. The wildlife also includes mammals such as the fox, the porcupine, the wild boar, the roe deer, the deer, the weasel, the skunk, and the marten.
Breakfast and dinner will be in Il Cornacchino's restaurant. You will enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of nature. The picnic is prepared in the morning and taken in the saddlebags. Picnic is just on Wednedsday, Thursday and Friday during the three days of taste of trail, on the other days lunch is served in the restaurant.
Il Cornacchino's restaurant perfectly represents their philosophy of life: good, natural, and for everyone. They are an organic farm born in respect of the environment and for love of the region or land. Their philosophy tells the chefs to use vegetables directly from the farm's garden and high-quality Tuscan products produced in the region. Special menus for vegetarians, vegans, celiac, and different intolerances are available on request when people book.
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the tables are prepared for guests, people stopping in, and for Cornacchino’s staff. Each has lunch together with the guests, sharing experiences, and memories of the day. The natural ingredients combined with the passion for traditional cooking, the chefs bring to the table a healthy and delicious meal.
The flavors of rural traditions of Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio are melded with the personal tastes of the cooks. There is not a fix or daily menu. Every day you eat based on seasonal availability or following the guests' tastes. This is where passions integrate with the chefs' cuisine. The menu is composed of a series of hors d'oeuvre, two first courses, one second course, and three side dishes, fruit, and dessert. Thus, it's easy to fulfill special wishes of all the guests, vegetarians or not. The only ingredients are enthusiasm and the loving care of the cooks in every dish. Wine is genuine, always present in flasks. It is included in the price and it comes from Montepulciano’s vines.
There is no Spa at Cornacchino, but in the area there are several hot springs (the famoust one are those in Saturnia).
Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airport
Transfer available for additional US$290 per person
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Transfer available for additional US$290 per person
Follow Cassia Road SS 2.
At kilometer 146.5, exit for Castell'Azzara.
From Castell'Azzara, follow the road signs "Cornacchino" (around 3 kilometers).
For those using the GPS the best thing to do is to enter as final destination via Francesco Petrarca (or via Marconi) in Castell'Azzara and from there follow the Cornacchino's signs. Otherwise if you put Cornacchino as final destination sometimes the GPS show the shortest way, which is definitely not the best way here (the last bit may be driven just with a land rover / 4x4 off roads car)
Please book your flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) which is located 170 kilometers from Cornacchino.
Alternatively, you can also arrive at Ciampino-G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA) located 200 kilometers from Cornacchino. The collective transfer is on Saturday from / to Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and Cornacchino or Ciampino-G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA) with the cost of EUR 130 per person one way and EUR 250 for round trip.
The nearby train station is Chiusi-Chianciano (along the route Firenze-Roma). Transfers of groups will be organized on Saturdays with the cost of EUR 35. Alternative transfer is possible on request with the cost of EUR 70. You can also use the taxi from the station which will cost around EUR 80.
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