Why should you choose Tuscany for a horse riding holiday when there are spectacular horse riding holiday destinations all over the world? Here are five reasons to go horse riding in the Chianti wine making region of Tuscany, Italy.
Tuscany offers a wealth of unique local flavors for the equestrian traveler. Horse riding in Tuscany is a unique experience due to the historical importance of many of the locations visited on each trail. Horses have been used in Italy for transportation for thousands of years, and many of the trails a tourist will ride along, were the same trails used by Roman soldiers and Medieval pilgrims.
Reason 1. Distinct and beautiful countryside.
Tuscany is known internationally for its cultivated vineyards and olive groves – but the region is also full of wild forests, thermal pools, magnificent ruins, and an excellent network of riding trails. It is possible to experience very different riding each day in Tuscany, and to visit historical sites such as old ruins, that are only accessible by foot or horseback.
2.Different breeds of horse/styles of riding.
Italy has a long and interesting equine culture that dates back to the Etruscan times. Horses remain an important element of modern rural living- especially in Tuscany, where the Italian cowboys ‘The Butteri’ still work cattle in the Maremma, here,it is possible to ride a Maremmano horse in a scafada saddle (a special saddle that has been used for centuries by the Tuscan cowboys).
Western riding is also popular in Italy. English riders should not be daunted by western tack on a riding holiday, the saddles offer exceptional comfort and security for both horse and rider, and the different style can be quickly picked up after a short explanation before heading out on the trail.
Italian has many interesting horse breeds that are rare outside their native land. Many of these breeds are actively working in equine tourism. You may find Maremmano horses, Bardigiano ponies, Haflingers, Norik horses or Murgese horses in many of the riding centers through Tuscany.
Reason 3. Chianti and Brunello wine.
Nothing beats drinking locally produced wine – especially when those wines happen to be two of the best known in the world. Tuscany abounds with wineries that offer guided tastings of their cellars, and many places that you stay will offer wine tastings of their own produce free of charge. You can enjoy wine tasting rides, where the guide will take a group of riders to visit a local winery – or enjoy a selection of top rated wineries with a driver inbetween riding days.
NB:Castellare di Tonda produces four different wines (Chianti and a white wine variety called Solaria) and a Grappa (distilled from the grapes and with a strong aromatic taste).
Reason 4. The weather.
Italy is a popular tourist destination because of the reliability of the weather. Here Summer is hot! If you are a sun-lover, then you can be guaranteed a hefty dose of vitamin D during your vacation.
The best months for riding are usually May and June, and September and October – though if you are happy to rise early, or ride later – then the summer months of July and August are also lovely. The shoulder seasons offer a slightly milder riding temperature, with sunny days and cooler evenings.
Reason 5. The food.
Italian cuisine is famous all over the world – and it is a difficult to find a bad meal in rural Tuscany, where food is taken very seriously! Meals served in restaurants and agriturismo’s are usually sourced locally, and the menu is also highly seasonal – meaning only fresh produce is used. After a long days horse riding, a good meal is not just welcomed…it is necessary!
Social Tuscan picnic lunches, served on the manicured grounds of a monastery, or underneath a shady tree with a panoramic view, are a great way to get to know fellow riders from all over the world.
Castellare di Tonda has a huge network of rides available to guests. Have a look at our website for more information www.castellareditonda.com
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