This is a special week dedicated to a progressive riding program which leads riders across our region using three different castles as sleepover points. We start by exploring the two lakes (Mezzano and Bolsena) set in the craters of the extinct volcanoes surrounding S. Cristina Castle. On the third day we move on into Tuscany, reaching the fortress of the Tufo town of Sorano via a lunch stop at the ruined medieval town of Vitozza. Later we cross the impressive landscape under the Amiata mountains, through river valleys and over the mountainous terrain to reach Proceno castle. The final day we finish back at S. Cristina Castle, wandering through Montorio game reserve and the beautiful countryside around Onano.
In total there are 5 full days of riding.
Please see the details below in the riding week plan.
14.05 - 20.05
11.06 - 17.06
28.06 - 04-07
16.09 - 22.09
21.10 - 27.10
Attention: Minimum 4 riders. If you are a party of 4 advanced riders & wish to do the tour on a different date, please contact us.
The Medieval Castle week runs from Saturday to Friday but different dates are possible if a group of riders so wish.
As you arrive at the castle you will meet with your guide and the staff of the castle .Upon arrival will meet also the count owner of the castle, make a first approach with the horses and enjoy a great dinner before you go to sleep.
SUNDAY: lake Bolsena
DESCRIPTION: Day ride to Lake Bolsena.
We leave in the morning S. Cristina castle and we ride through the neighboring farmland, through chestnut woods and using an ancient track which will carry us right above the crater of Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe.
The descent of the crater will start from the village of Gradoli dominated by an impressive renaissance palace,that it was meant to be the wedding gift of Pope Paulus III Farnese to his nephew around the middle of 1500.
While riding, we will witness some breath–taking views of the lake and surrounding area and of the two islands Isola Bisentina and Martana. The shore of the lake will be reached after crossing the fields just before the water, we will then border the lake ending on the beach where horses will be set into a canter before crossing a ford where a small river joins the lake. After that we finally reach our mid day stop.
Lunch is served on the terrace of a typical trattoria right on the beach,where Antonietta the cook will serve delicious local food. In the right season if you wish to cool off in the water, a swim in the lake can be done before starting riding back up.
As we head up back to the castle, you will note many Etruscan tombs scattered throughout the countryside some reused by farmers as cellars for their wine but still serving as a reminder of the ancient history which abounds in this area You will be Passing through the archeological area of Pianezze literally full of Etruscan tombs dating back 2600 years.
Once at the top of the crater, we turn right through some vineyards where again a breathtaking view of lake Bolsena will provide a wonderfull opportunity to rest the horses and take some photographs.
After crossing the vineyards we reach the shepherds' trail in the woods that will lead you back to the Santa Cristina Castle estate.
MONDAY: lake Mezzano
DESCRIPTION: Day ride to Lake Mezzano. The Lake Mezzano area is of great interest both historically and naturally.
The lake was once a volcanic crater and historical site with human settlements going back to the pre-etruscan era (aprox 2700 years ago) later it was submerged by water due to earthquakes.
It is now part of the Selva del Lamone regional park due to it’s beauty and to the fact that many birds find a shelter there.
Our excursion takes horses and riders through the beautiful countryside, up into the wooded hills which surround Onano.
Here, the horses have the opportunity to canter along a wonderful natural passage surrounded by trees. At the top of this plateau, we have a chance to take in the dazzling scenery, before we carry on down past local farms into a very old wood made by huge chestnut trees that leads us into a flat open plain which offers a great scenery.
Here, if desired, horses can canter up the old tracks, before we reach the marshlands and vineyards which surround the lake Mezzano itself. In a fantastic position on top of a hill overlooking the lake is the small farm where the restaurant is based. Here we stop for a nice lunch with a fantastic view while our horses rest in a paddock.
During the warmer months you can also swim in the lake with its crystal clear waters. In the afternoon, we ride back following the old Brigands trail, taking in a few historical sights on the way.
DESCRIPTION: Ride from S Cristina to Sorano. This day will offer you a fantastic mix of good riding and a plunge in history.
After leaving the castle hilly woodland,the ground opens up into a more scenic view with the Tuscan mountains in the background. The tracks are more levelled and the ground allows an easy trot with some canter.
Our lunch break will be organized in a fantastic historical spot next to the ruins of a medieval castle named Vitozza,a pic nic perfectly prepared will be layed out with tables and chairs on a lawn on top of the hill where the ruins are. Vitozza is a magical place,a medieval strong hold built with two castles around the 11th century A. D. by the Aldobrandeschi powerful family.
Later in the centuries it was a refuge to many people escaping from the distruction of the continuous warfare going on between clans in the area.
After lunch a gentle track will lead you towards the area of Sorano. Horses will sleep in a farm few km from the hotel.
A unique hotel just inside the medieval Orsini fortress of Sorano will provide your accommodation for the next day.
The position is incredible: the place is on the side of a big gorge created by river Lente overlooking the ancient village of Sorano. Dinner will be served in a restaurant next to the fortress.
WEDNESDAY: Proceno Castle
DESCRIPTION: From Sorano we depart in the morning to Castle Proceno.
We ride through rocky hills into the valley of the river Lente - with marvelous view on the mountains of Amiata and Cetona. Pic nic lunch in the vicinity of the fortified village of Castellottieri.
The way follows a typical in the afternoon sun, with a stunning view over soft cornfields and sheep pastures. Finally you will reach the castle of Proceno, your next accommodation.
Proceno is a stunning XI cent. Castle at the center of the omonimus village. Your accommodation is in one of the many apartments inside the castle itself.
It used to be the last stronghold of the pope before Tuscan enemy territory strategically positioned above the ancient via cassia, the old roman road.
Proceno castle is still run by countess Pucci Cecchini with her husband Giovanni,their always warm hospitality makes you feel at home… but in a castle.
The traditional visit of the medieval tower with its stunning view will add another unforgettable
THURSDAY: Castle to Castle
DESCRIPTION: A descent into the river Stridolone valley and up on the other side through hilly woodland.
In the distance behind us we can see the Fortress of Proceno. The trail takes us through the most unspoiled Tuscan countryside and typical farming land.
Crossing the Montorio game reserve, if we are lucky pheasants, fallow-deers, and boars will be spotted while riding by. We will reach the outskirts of the village of Onano and the XVI century, little country church of Madonna delle Grazie from where we will have a beautiful view of the medieval village walls.
Now the country road turns north into enchanting countryside on the border between Lazio and Southern Tuscany. After several up and down across the hills we reach Castello Cristina for our well deserved lunch and some rest by the pool under the castle.
DESCRIPTION: Morning, healthy breakfast at the castle and check out before departure.
Sadly the tour has reached the end.
The riding instructor together with the castle management hold the right to change this program according to difficult or unsafe weather conditions, poor rider’s ability or health problems of the horses.
You can request more information on this package. Complete the form below and we will respond promptly to all your requests:
Important General Information
1- novice: walk/trot
2- intermediate: walk/trot/canter
3- expert: gallop/jumping
Restaurant offers a fixed menu /meal:
Attention! Excursions in the countryside on medium / long distances require rider’s ability to control the horse at the three gaits, including canter. The horses are a mixture of different breeds from thoroughbreds to italian saddle and dutch warmbloods, all chosen for their excellent temperaments, their patience and their delight in travelling through this enchanting countryside!
There are two outdoor arenas and lessons are available for all ages and levels in both dressage and jumping.
SANTA CRISTINA CASTLE
Grotte di Castro 01025 (VT) - ITALY
loc. Santa Cristina snc.
P.IVA IT 07075731005
Tel. & Fax: (+39) 0763 780 11
Cell.: (+39) 339 860 5166
areas in front of the tavern
inside the tavern: internet cafe