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8 Day Brigands Path Enchanting Italian Countryside Riding with Lessons in Tuscany

Santa Cristina Castle, Grotte di Castro 01025, Viterbo, Latium, Italy

Fantastic Horse Riding Holiday Italy

The old trails used by the "Brigands" (outlaws) to escape from the law 200 years ago provide a fantastic opportunity to explore this beautiful area on the horse, just as they did! Santa Cristina Castle's beautiful horses and their experienced guides will lead you every day on a fantastic ride across one of the less inhabited Italian countrysides. Beautiful nature and also a lot of history surround you with castles and archaeological sites framing the view.

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 95 kilograms / 209 pounds
  • Tack Type: English tack
  • Horse Breed: Various, including Italian Maremmano and Murgese, German, Dutch, French, Anglo Arab, and cross horses

Meet the instructors

Antonio Mancini & Gintare
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Highlights

  • 5 horse riding days
  • Approximate Daily Riding Time: 2 to 5 hours
  • Moderate riding pace with trot & canter
  • 2 outdoor riding schools with jumps
  • Italian / English speaking guide
  • Guided tour of the epic castle
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Half board meals

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 5 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
10:30

Facilities

  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Tennis court
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Terrace

The recently renovated ancient stone farmhouse just below the castle will be your home during this holiday. Your accommodation will be in a double room in the restored farmhouse (twin share with en-suite bathroom).

There are 14 B&B double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms in the restored farmhouse below the castle. The apartments are furnished with the original, antique pieces and are infused with the traditional rural style of the Italian countryside.

Beautifully embellished with wooden trusses, these rooms with elegant bathrooms capture the fairytale atmosphere of Santa Cristina Castle. Each apartment is enchantingly lit with spectacular views that you will find incredibly relaxing. Wi-Fi is free at the reception, inside the breakfast room of the castle, and at the restaurant area.

Program

A horse as a friend and a castle as a home. This is the formula to make your holiday successful, a week of riding in the enchanting countryside between Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio. By visiting Santa Cristina Castle, you will experience a fantastic horse riding holiday in Southern Tuscany where you can develop a special bond with your horse.

This holiday is suitable for beginners (lessons in the arena) and experts. You will have 5 riding days consist of 1 full day from 4 to 5 hours, 4 half days from 2 to 3 hours, and 1 day off. You will also get 2 outdoor riding schools, 25 × 60 meters and 33 × 60 meters with jumps. Here, you will horse ride on an English tack and be guided by an Italian / English-speaking guide.

Your horse will be a mixture of thoroughbred and warmblood crosses and ponies for the children. The minimum rider is 1 and 5 in maximum with a maximum rider’s weight of 95 kilograms. Please note that insurance covering horse riding accidents is mandatory. For more information, please send Santa Cristina Castle an inquiry.

The horses

At Santa Cristina Castle, you will experience a fantastic horse riding holiday in Italy where you will develop a special bond with your horse. The horses have been carefully selected according to their attitude and breed to match your different levels. Santa Cristina Castle has 20 horses at the moment that come from a wide range of breeds including Italian Maremmano and Murgese, German, Dutch, French, Anglo Arab, and crossbreeds.

They are the most important partners that Santa Cristina Castle takes a lot of pride in. Most of the year, they live happily in the large paddocks, thanks to reasonably mild weather and to the size of the castle estate. Also, constant training and experience for the horses are ongoing throughout the year.

Riding facilities

Boxes

Santa Cristina Castle's horses live outside in the large paddocks with shelters that surround the castle. Above the tennis court, they have a stables area with boxes and comfortable shelter when the weather is bad or the horses are ill and need to recover. Around the castle, there are 100 hectares of green, sheltered fields where the horses are left free to graze. They definitely lead a good life.

Tack room

The tack room is full of riding equipment, all-English tack for the horses. Helmets and body protectors of different sizes are available for your safe ride. Some boots of different sizes are provided but if you have your own boots and helmets, it is advisable to bring your own. please note that all guests riding at Santa Cristina Castle must wear a helmet.

Note: Insurance covering horse riding accidents is mandatory for this holiday. You have to tell the booking office in advance if you are uninsured.

Day 1

After check-in and a welcome drink, you'll meet the guides for an introduction and program briefing and take a guided tour of the castle.

Day 2: Half-day ride - 18 kilometers

Ride towards the hills framing the west plateau on which the castle is situated. A fantastic spot for a breathtaking view of the area; from the beautiful crater of Lake Bolsena to the hills surrounding Lake Mezzano.

Day 3: Lake Mezzano - Full day ride - 32 kilometers

Ride through farmland on the Brigands Path into the wooded hills which surround Onano, glimpse stone pine trees atop an ancient Etruscan site and arrive on the flat plain of the Mezzano crater. Stop at the Fra Viaco farm restaurant and meet for lunch. You can take a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the lake. After a delicious meal, ascend through ancient chestnut woods to arrive back at the castle.

Day 4: A day-off for sightseeing

The local area is full of interesting archaeological and historical sites. A few suggestions include the village fortresses of Pitigliano, Sorano, and Solano. It is definitely worth visiting the marvelous Italian gothic church of Orvieto - Civita di Bagnoregio, known as the ‘Dying Town’. Alternatively, you can choose to relax at the castle and take advantage of the swimming pool, tennis court, indoor and outdoor games. Have a massage or take a cooking class.

Day 5: Half-day

Head out along "The Brigands Trail" towards the picturesque Lake Bolsena. This is a fantastic spot with breathtaking views of the area stretching from the beautiful crater of Lake Bolsena on one side to the hills surrounding Lake Mezzano on the other side. On a clear day, you can see the sea 40 kilometers away, shimmering like a mirror. As you head back along this ancient "outlaws highway" you will pass through mature oak woodlands dotted with original farm dwellings built in the traditional tufo rock.

Day 6: Half-day ride - 20 kilometers

Once again this morning, take the Brigands path, head north through the hills towards Onano, a fortified village with a medieval castle which was the stronghold of the Monaldeschi family who ruled this area during the Middle Ages. At the Madonna Delle Grazie church, follow the track north through the enchanting countryside back to the castle.

Day 7: Half-day ride - 16 kilometers

Following an old Etruscan trail, ride up through thick woods to the top of the crater surrounding lake Bolsena. Here, enjoy remarkable scenery including vineyards, Etruscan tombs, the prominent volcanic lake, and the panorama dominated by the famous Farnese palace in Gradoli; a gift made by the pope in 1500 for his nephew for his wedding - what a present!

Return to the castle riding through the vineyards, vegetable gardens, and enchanting woods. In particular, enjoy a canter across a tunnel made by oak trees above an old shepherd's path.

Day 8: Departure

Having had many amazing experiences and exhilarating adventures, you will prepare for your onward journey taking with you many happy memories. Check-out is usually between 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., although a late check-out can be arranged subject to availability.

Instructors

Antonio Mancini Caterini

Location

The castle is a quiet retreat in the heart of Italy at the crossroads of Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio. Here, you can explore on horseback a land full of history and rich in natural beauties.

At the crossroads of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio in a strategic location, halfway between Rome and Siena, you will find a fascinating region with beautiful nature and rich in history and mystery. Santa Cristina Castle will offer a natural base for exploring this beautiful land in many ways since "Adventure, history, and nature" is their motto.

Other ways to explore the area may be on a horse, renting electric / non-electric mountain bikes, or by renting a boat to explore the beautiful Lake Bolsena at an additional cost. But, if the sport is not for you, then just hop in your car and drive through this incredible territory.

Distances

  • Etruscan culture, 40 kilometers
  • Lake Bolsena, 9 kilometes
  • Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana, Civita di Bagnoreggio - 30 minutes
  • Tarquinia, Capalbio, Pienza, Saturnia Spa - 1 hour
  • The sea / Capalbio Beach - 45 minutes by car
  • Tuscania, Lake Bolsena, Acquapendente, Orvieto - 30 minutes
  • Viterbo, Bomarzo, Vico Lake, Vulci - 1 hour

Features

Activities

  • Boating
  • Mountain biking
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Tennis court
  • Volleyball court

General

  • Restaurant

Services

  • Free Wi-Fi

Food

For this holiday, you can get half board meals and your breakfast is included. The breakfast will be served buffet style in the vaulted ‘taverna’ during the cold months or at the castle in the ex-horses stables in a large room of great charm in the good season.

The farm's products, such as eggs, jams, and homemade cakes are available for our clients to start a day full of energy Picnic lunch is served when necessary and lunches will be served either in local restaurants or at the castle. Dinner will also be served at the castle. You will receive a welcome drink and all meals have fixed menu.

The cuisine produced at the restaurant of the riding club is the result of the passion for the traditional Italian cuisine with delicious dishes made with local products. The restaurant only offers a set menu for each meal. As an alternative for your meals, Santa Cristina Castle has an updated list of local restaurants that they recommend you and available at the reception desk.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

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

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

Things to do (optional)

  • Billiards
  • Boat rent
  • Civita visit
  • Golf
  • Guided tour of Bolsena Lake
  • Massage
  • Mini football pitch
  • Mountain bikes
  • Ping pong
  • Soccerball
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis
  • Thermal Bath
  • Trekking
  • Volleyball

What's included

  • 7 nights from Saturday to Saturday with good breakfast included
  • Accommodation in a nice room in the restored farmhouse below the Castle
  • Welcome drink and guided tour of the 17th century Castle
  • 5 riding days: 4 hacks + 1 full day lunch included
  • Riding equipment
  • Daily room cleaning and towels
  • Swimming pool and tennis court entrance
  • Free wi-fi

What's not included

  • Helmets required (There are several helmets but it is advisable to bring your own.)
  • Insurance (mandatory
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving direction from Rome and Florence

  • Go the motorway A1, exit Orvieto.
  • Follow the signs for Lago di Bolsena - Castel Giorgio - S. Lorenzo Nuovo - Grotte di Castro then exit towards Gradoli / Valentano.
  • Take the first street on your right where there is a sign that points toward Castello di Santa Cristina. Continue for 3.5 kilometers.

Driving direction from Siena

  • Go from SS 2 Cassia to S. Lorenzo Nuovo then turn right to Grotte di Castro and exit towards Gradoli / Valentano.
  • Take the first right street where there is a sign that points you toward Castello di Santa Cristina. Continue for 3.5 kilometers.

Driving direction from Rome’s Airport / Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO)

  • Go through motorway A12 until the end.
  • Then, go north on SS 1 Aurelia and take the exit at Montalto di Castro.
  • Turn right to Canino - Valentano towards Grotte di Castro, right before entering Grotte di Castro. There is a street on your left with a sign that points towards Castello di Santa Cristina. Continue for 3.5 kilometers.

Driving direction from Rome (via Cassia)

  • Go from SS 2 Cassia to Bolsena.
  • Turn left to Grotte di Castro, take the exit towards Gradoli / Valentano.
  • Take the first right street where there is a sign that points you toward Castello di Santa Cristina. Continue for 3.5 kilometers.

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport is Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or Ciampino - G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA). The taxi service from and to Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (300 kilometers round trip) costs 240 EUR and 280 EUR from and to Ciampino - G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA) (340 kilometers round trip). Both services are available for 1 to 3 people.

Arrival by train

The closest train station is Hertz Orvieto Railway Station. The taxi roundtrip service from and to this Orvieto station (90 kilometers) costs 110 EUR from 1 to 3 people.

Arrival by taxi

Santa Cristina Castle has organized a taxi service at the special price and you can choose to be picked up at Orvieto train station or at Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or Ciampino - G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA). This taxi service is available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cancellation Policy

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

10% discount for groups of 6 and above.

10% discount for returning guests.

Upgrade in the apartment with kitchen: 100 EUR per day to share included
final cleaning.

Low season
  • March 12 - June 30
  • September 12- November 14
High season
  • July 1 - September 11
  • April 1 – 5 

Bank holidays will be considered as high season.

Pricing information

Non-rider guests are welcomed in this holiday for a half-board price of 630 EUR per person in low season and 810 EUR per person in high season.

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