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Exciting Horse Riding Holiday Italy

As one of the first farm holiday centers in Tuscany, Rendola Riding has long experience in providing enjoyable riding holidays on docile, well-trained horses. With your friendly English-speaking guide, you will have marvelous rides walking down Roman roads, cantering along vineyards, and clip-clopping through picturesque medieval villages. Fulfill your dream and savor this beautiful countryside the best way - on horseback.

Key information

  • Rider weight limit: 187 pounds / 85 kilograms
  • Tack type: English
  • Horse breed: Arab, part-bred, Sicilian

Meet the instructors

Jenny, Eraldo, & Franca
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Highlights

  • 3 half-day rides
  • 2 whole-day rides in groups
  • Visits to a local market and the ancient city of Arezzo
  • Optional afternoon riding lesson with your friendly BHS instructor
  • Ride through vineyards, olive groves, and wooded hills
  • Daily tasty breakfast and dinner
  • 7 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French, Italian
Group size: 2-6 participants
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Accommodation

Rendola Riding holiday center is not a luxurious villa nor a country house hotel, but a farmhouse which is a family home with an informal and friendly atmosphere. Jenny Bawtree, the founder of the riding center, has lived there for many years, while her son Nicholas makes frequent visits, so the guests become their friends and often come back time and time again. The house is at the center of a small organic farm with over three hundred olive trees which supply all the extra-virgin olive oil used in the kitchen.

Covered with wisteria, jasmine, and virginia creeper, it is very picturesque and has a wonderful view of the Arno valley and the mountain range beyond it. It has the characteristics typical of a seventeenth-century farmhouse (actually, parts of it may be older), with its small tower, arches, outside staircase and a balcony adorned with geraniums, while inside the floors are of terracotta and the ceilings have oak or chestnut beams.

Rendola Riding has six bedrooms for guests, each with its own bathroom. The rooms have double beds or twin beds. They are mostly on the small side, but cheerful and pretty, with pictures on the wall and a shelf full of books. In each bedroom, there is an album packed with photographs and information about local places of interest. In the evenings, the guests can gather in the comfortable sitting room to read, chat, enjoy a glass of local wine, and, when the weather is cool, enjoy the log fire.

If you wake up early in the morning and look out of the window, you will see horses grazing peacefully among the olives in front of the house. You will hear birdsong (in spring nightingales sing both night and day) and smell, the delicate perfume of wisteria and jasmine. It truly is a Tuscan paradise.

Program

Saturday

Own arrangements to reach Florence main station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella). At 15:50 p.m., meet either Jenny Bawtree (middle-aged, white-haired, and wearing a red Rendola shirt) or her son Nicholas (tall, dark, and handsome) outside the Feltrinelli bookshop and snack bar opposite platform 14. There is a luggage depot nearby if you need it.

You will be accompanied on a forty-minute train ride to Montevarchi and then on a ten-minute drive to Rendola, the 400-year-old typically Tuscan home of your hosts. Settle in and then enjoy a chat over a glass of Chianti Classico wine. Dinner is prepared by your jovial cook, Isabella.

Sunday

Breakfast and morning ride (about two and a half hours) with your English-speaking guide Eraldo through vineyards, olive groves, and woodland, passing near an 11th-century tower and a 14th-century church. Return to Rendola for a light lunch. After a short siesta and possibly a guided walk to introduce you to the local flora and fauna, join your host for a lesson in Italian pronunciation which will prove useful over the following days (learn, for example, that the “ch” in the Italian word 'bruschetta' is pronounced like a 'k'). For dinner, freshly made pizzas followed by dessert.

Monday

Breakfast and morning ride (about two and a half hours) in the wooded hills north of Rendola, scattered with charming hamlets and traditional farmhouses. After a light lunch, go by train to the ancient city of Arezzo and enjoy a guided visit to the fascinating, world-famous frescoes of Piero della Francesca of which your host has made a special study; and then for an aperitif to the main square made familiar by the film “Life is Beautiful”. There is a chance to do some shopping. Dinner and night at Rendola.

Tuesday

Day ride and picnic in the Chianti hills south of Rendola (about five hours in the saddle). During your ride, you will pass the medieval village of San Leolino, a lake, and the castles of Cennina and Lupinari. Dinner and night at Rendola.

Wednesday

A free day to make your arrangements for sightseeing, perhaps to visit Florence. If she is available, your host will gladly give you a guided tour of the main sights or the hill towns of Cortona, Assisi, or Orvieto - take your pick. All three are an easy train journey from Montevarchi and you will be driven to and from the station. Dinner and night at Rendola.

Thursday

A guided visit to the local town of Montevarchi and its famous weekly market: a good chance to pick up bargains. Lunch at a gourmet restaurant in Loro Ciuffenna, a medieval village built around a ravine on the other side of the Arno valley. Drive back to Rendola and have either an afternoon ride or a lesson with your BHS instructor in the school. Dinner and night at Rendola.

Friday

A final day ride (five hours in the saddle) to the top of the Chianti hills (nearly 2,500 feet) behind Rendola. Enjoy a barbecue on the ridge beside a boarhunters' hut and ride back to Rendola via the village and castle of Montegonzi. Farewell dinner at Rendola.

Saturday

Breakfast and then a ten-minute journey to Montevarchi station to meet the train back to Florence. Own arrangements for your onward journey from Florence. For those going to Rome, there is a direct and inexpensive train from Montevarchi every two hours.

Included excursions

  • A guided visit of the ancient city of Arezzo
  • A visit to the local market and a gourmet lunch in a medieval village

Instructors

Jenny Bawtree

Eraldo Tuveri

Franca Filippelli

Location

This horse riding experience takes place in Tuscany, Italy.

Distances

  • Village of Mercatale Valdarno, 2 kilometers
  • Town of Montevarchi, 6 kilometers
  • Arezzo city, 30 kilometers
  • Siena, 48 kilometers
  • Florence, 50 kilometers

Food

At Rendola Riding, you will enjoy delicious Tuscan cooking prepared usually by Franca but sometimes by Jenny. Here are just a few of the dishes, which cannot all be translated as there is no English equivalent:

  • Porcini mushroom crêpes
  • Aretine crostini
  • Summer spaghetti
  • Risotto al Chianti
  • Arista (a special cut of pork, ask about the origin of the word) with roast potatoes cooked with rosemary
  • Rabbit with juniper berries
  • Franca's specialties: home-made tiramisu, pannacotta with wild berries and cantuccini, a Tuscan almond biscuit served with vinsanto, a Tuscan liqueur.

Of course, you can drink Chianti wine with the meals. Sometimes, the hosts invite you to come with them to dine at 'L'Osteria di Rendola' a short walk from the farmhouse, a beautiful restaurant run by Franca, another Franca, but equally jovial. Rendola Riding does serve meat and fish with most meals but usually, they follow a Mediterranean diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, so they can easily cater to vegetarians.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 2 whole-day rides with picnic
  • 3 half-day rides
  • 1 Italian pronunciation lesson with the host
  • 1 guided visit to a weekly market in Montevarchi
  • 1 tour to the ancient city of Arezzo
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 7 dinners with wine and coffee
  • Transportation

What's not included

  • Expenses incurred on the free day

How to get there

Driving direction from Milan

  • Get on to the main motorway that runs down the whole peninsula from Milan to the South, the Autostrada del Sole.
  • Leave the motorway at Exit number 25, Valdarno.
  • Drive to the center of Montevarchi, then follow road signs for Mercatale Valdarno.
  • Before you get there, turn right towards the little village of Rendola (one kilometer), where you will see the signboard on the left.
  • The center is 200 meters from the village.

Arrival by train

Please note that train travel in Italy is pleasant and inexpensive as long as you avoid the Eurostar and Freccia Rossa trains. Jenny advises you not to travel first-class, which is double the price with no real advantage. Remember to stamp the date on your ticket before leaving the station (there are little machines for this purpose at the head of the platform). The local station is Montevarchi-Terranuova.

It is on the line between Florence and Arezzo and is only ten minutes from Rendola. All local and regional trains stop there, including trains traveling northwards from Rome. The journey from Florence central station (Firenze SMN) takes 40 up to 60 minutes, depending on the number of stops. The Rendola minivan can pick you up at the back of the station (Via Sugherella).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 16.94% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

Availability

Arrival: Saturday October 1, 2022
Departure: Saturday October 8, 2022

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