Sicily Horse RidingSicily is Italy’s largest region and it is also Italy’s most varied, there are endless coastlines, rugged mountains, fields and volcanos with wonderful history and architecture influenced by the many powers who have invaded the island.
Sicily has more than 1000 kilometres of stunning coastline and is 9,927 square miles full of beautiful countryside where you feel the ever present Mount Etna, you are surrounded by abundant orange and lemons groves, you see the shimmering turquoise clear seas, farmhouses and villas, offshore islands and every now and again a Norman Arabic castle or Greek temple in the distance.
One of the most amazing and exciting ways to discover Sicily is on horseback.
I first heard of Sicily Horse Riding via my friend Marcello Alba who is an amazing Mount Etna guide who I met a couple of years ago whilst we were wine tasting at Gambino Vini.
The aim of the Sicily Horse Riding Association is to promote sustainable and responsible equestrian tourism in the beautiful National Parks of Sicily. Many inaccessible places have become available with the help of their lovely horses who are lovingly described as friends.
Excursions leave from Scuderie Ardichetto in Zafferana Etnea.
Last month we, plus our dog Daisy (a big horse lover) went up the slopes of Mount Etna to Zafferana Etnea and to Scuderie Ardichetto to meet some of their beautiful horses. (Scuderie in Italian means stables).
The stables offer a unique experience, combining well-schooled horses, an expert team of professional instructors, who know Sicily well, and miles of idyllic horse riding terrain catering for first time riders through to experienced riders, there is something for everyone.
The owners of Scuderie Ardichetto, Manuela and Alessandro are passionate about their horses and they help you form a relationship with these beautiful animals in a way that is closest to your dreams.
At their stables you will find a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can actively participate in their activities and excursions through trails that wind through forests of oak and chestnut trees, ancient lava flows all accompanied by stunning views across to the Ionian Sea, Gulf of Catania, Taormina’s headland and in the distance Calabria on the mainland with the possibility to taste typical products of Sicilian cuisine and taste the prestigious wines of Etna along the way.
Activities and excursions include, a one hour horseback ride in the woods, horseback riding on Mount Etna half day or full day, and excursions on the beach. Most excursions have the option to include a typical Sicilian lunch or wine tasting.
There are also activities for children including, pony rides and games, birthday parties can also be arranged. The stables also have rabbits, ducks and a pig called Anita.
Treks across the Sicilian countryside are also a fantastic and unique experience with Sicily Horse Riding, there is a six day trail from Cefalu to Etna on the Northern coast, a three or six day circular trail of Mount Etna and also the Mysterious Sicily trail. On these trails your luggage is transferred as you move between hotels and you learn about the terrain you are riding through. You can be sure that whichever member of the team you ride out with they will be interesting company and look after you every step of the way.
The horses of Sicily Horse Riding are gorgeous, friendly, well trained and easily tackle Sicily’s varied terrain and you will make a new friend for life.
So what did our dog Daisy think of her experience?
Well she fell in love with Anita the pig, so much so that in true Daisy style (as my regular followers well know) she refused to leave and had to be carried back to our car and is looking forward to her next visit .........
Contact me for more information or visit their website at www.sicilyhorseriding.com
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for horse selfies and photos of their fabulous and fun excursions.
(Photo credits: Sicily Horse Riding)
and finally Daisy and Anita .... Best friends
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Love Sarah x