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Italy - Castellare di Tonda
 
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Italy - Castellare di Tonda

From the Etruscans to the Romans to the Renaissance, Tuscany is iconic in what it says about Italy. Visitors to Tuscany come for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside; gourmets and wine buffs enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine and wine; riders and walkers enjoy the mountain paths and rolling hills.

Your base for the week is Castellare di Tonda, a country resort and spa in the heart of Tuscany. This 800 acre working wine estate and Quarterhorse stud farm dates back to the Renaissance period, when it was owned by the Strozzi family of Florence. The estate is located almost equidistance between Pisa and Florence, above the medieval village of Montaione, and just a stone’s throw away from the historical cities of Lucca and Siena. The owners of the estate, Stefano and Alessandra, are passionate about their horses and riding, and have invested extensively in the facilities of the stud farm and equestrian centre.

There are two alternative riding itineraries.

The Medieval Trail is a seven night itinerary comprising full and half day rides. The week includes approximately 24 hours of riding and is suitable for intermediate and experienced riders.

The Heart of Tuscany offers a more relaxed holiday and is an ideal itinerary for families and groups of mixed ability. The week includes 12 hours of riding, which can be a mixture of lessons and trail rides. You may also be able to join a full day ride, subject to ability and availability and additional riding can normally be arranged locally.

Each trail has been designed to include a variety of landscapes; from shady Mediterranean forests to rolling golden grain fields, vineyards and olive groves. Stop for a gelato whilst you ride through a medieval village, visit ancient castle ruins in the middle of a forest still inhabited by wild boar or enjoy taking your horse for a paddle in the estate’s own private lake.

The trails are diverse, so every day on the farm riders can experience a different style of ride: take a fast canter alongside the river at the bottom of a beautiful canyon; visit a friendly artisan for an aperitif at his workshop in the Pisan hills; discover medieval castles and abandoned churches on horseback; and perhaps enjoy a wonderful Italian style BBQ down at the lake accompanied by the farm’s own Chianti wine, whilst the horses graze nearby.

There is a wide selection of interesting local fauna on the estate, including porcupines, boar, deer, badgers and even the Apennine wolf.

The Wellness Centre is open each day from 10am, except Tuesday. The estate also has a golf driving range, tennis courts and bicycles which can be reserved at reception. There is a lake for fishing and many hiking trails through the surrounding hills. Ceramics classes and cooking classes are also arranged on the estate.

Just 3 km away on a neighbouring estate is an 18 hole golf course, with equipment available to hire. Hire cars and taxis can also be booked at reception.

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Italian Riding Specialist  Chris Day

Chris says:
We expect great food and a warm welcome when visiting Italy, but the fabulous riding out and great horses are a real bonus.
My top tip:
Inbetween the trail rides try a reining lesson with the resident instructor Franco Vichi, one of the top Western trainers in the country.
Call: 01299 272 237 | email: chris@inthesaddle.com
 
 

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