Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany Short Break

5 star rating   22 May 2024

Clare (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Great Riding, Great Scenery, Everything We Could've Asked For | The horses are sooooooooooo well trained and responsive we honestly couldn’t believe it. I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of the horses, how well they were cared for and how well we were matched to them. My horse Roomba was fast, which I'd asked for, but didn't have ANY of the qualities you sometimes get with a highly spirited horse, e.g. cheeky, misbehaving. She was perfect, and forward going. For my husband, who has slightly less experience, they paired him with Binoda who took great care of him without having any of the qualities of a traditionally reliable horse - she could go with the best of them, and was also incredibly responsive.

Franco, their trainer - this is clearly his passion and his life and he looks after and trains those horses better than anyone I've ever met. This is his craft and he's amazing at it - the guides would say you could always tell if a horse had recently worked with Franco because they were so soft on the reins, and to have access to horse with this kind of world class training is incredibly rare.

In terms of pace and terrain, there was lots of variety, a good amount of cantering, trotting and up and down hill work - despite there being weather conditions that slightly tempered the amount of terrain we could cover, they were amazing at making sure we got every last ounce of the riding that we could - without ever compromising our safety, of course.

And last but certainly not least - the guides!!!! Ailsa is the best guide I've ever had in my entire life, in any riding capacity. She made it so unique and personal and clearly cared about helping us improve our riding above and beyond just guiding us through the incredible hills and valleys. She even let us play with her German Shepherd and would give us a lift back to big house after a ride, which she absolutely did not have to do. It's cringe, but I would honestly say we made a new friend in Ailsa!!!

The Riding

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5 star rating
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The Accommodation

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4 star rating
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4 star rating

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Bar: We were obsessed with, and nightly patrons of, the bar. Rafa and his team are all mixologist experts but it's their banter and charm that kept us coming back every night (okay, it was also the selection of 14 negronis to get through...)

Food: The first night we got there it was a la carte and I think that set our expectations for the whole trip, so we were slighly disappointed with the buffet that was the only option the other nights of our stay. In fact, if there was one piece of constructive feedback we'd give it would be to offer at least a limited a la carte menu on the nights of the buffet, similar to what they do at breakfast. The food at the buffet was underwhelming compared to the quality of the a la carte, and there honestly weren't that many it felt like if you didn't get there early (before the families!) there wasn't much hot food left.

Accomodation: The accomodation was spacious, if a little rustic. The private pool for every block of villas was incredibly lux and we pretty much had to ourselves the ENTIRE time. We thought the bed would be uncomfy but we actually ended up sleeping great every night. And while some of the religious imagery gave it a slightly haunted vibe, no ghosts were spotted!

Before Your Holiday

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This was honestly the perfect holiday for people looking to ride some of the best horses and enjoy the best scenery in the world, while also having a somewhat luxury break and all the facilities that come with that, at your disposal.

I will be singing the praises of Castellare di Tonda and the amazing guides and team there to anyone who will listen to me.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback and we are so pleased that you enjoyed your holiday so much :). Thank you also for letting us know about the buffet food, this is something we will certainly follow up.]