Italy Santa Cristina

The Castello di Santa Cristina is a stunning 17th century castle set deep in the Italian countryside between Tuscany and Umbria, just 1.5hrs from Rome. Abandoned Etruscan settlements, lakes formed in volcanic craters and medieval edifices adorn the landscape of this enchanting Italian landscape. The castle has two swimming pools, a tennis court and ample gardens and for those wishing to ride, a well run stables with professional instruction and miles upon miles of breath-taking trail riding awaits you. Riding lessons are also offered for children and adults. Enjoy the hilltop views, blue skies and the scents of lavender as you travel through delightful country lanes and woodlands astride your horse. Medieval Castle tour, Brigands Trail, mid week (4 night) and weekend (3 night) breaks are offered. Delicious Tuscan cuisine. Swimming pool, tennis and mountain biking.

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The Riding

Medieval Castle to Castle tour: 6 days of riding for intermediate and advanced riders on certain dates in June and September, staying at three different castles. Full board with wine. Lunches will be served en route at local restaurants or a picnic lunch will be provided. See prices below. Ask us for the full itinerary.

Southern Tuscany on the ‘Brigands' Trail': Follow the old outlaws’ route once used by bandits escaping from the law in Rome.
Lunches will be served at a local restaurant en route or a picnic will be provided, and at our Tuscan Restaurant back at the Castle as appropriate.
5 riding days: 1 full (4/5 hours), 4 half days (2/3 hours) & 1 day off returning to the castle each day. Moderate pace with trots and canters.

Tuscan long weekend: Short break (3 night). Arrive Thursday, transfer to the Castle (1.5hrs from Rome), ride Friday, Saturday and a short ride of 2 hours or a lesson on Sunday morning before departure. Lunches and dinners served at our on site Tuscan Restaurant.

Mid Week short break (4 nights): runs from February to November (excluding July and August). Arrive Sunday, depart Thursday. 4 days of riding (1 full day of 4/5 hrs, 3 half days of 2/3 hrs).

The Castle and Accommodation

Located in Southern Tuscany, the breathtakingly splendid 17th century castle, Castello di Santa Cristina, (complete with fairytale turret) has been the home of the noble Caterini family for generations. The castle’ s 18th Century ivy-covered farmhouse and out-buildings have been carefully restored to retain their authenticity with a choice of 8 self-catering cottages or 14 bedrooms with half or full board, all furnished with antiques and right next to a beautiful swimming pool A perfect location for family holidays where you can explore the various neighboring historic towns including Orvieto, Sorano, Acquapendente and Grotte Di Castro

The Horse Trails in more detail:

Brigand Trail:

Once we have left the castle following an old track we will reach the hills framing our plateau to the west .Through the chestnut woods we arrive at the top where we have a breathtaking view of the area ,from the beautiful crater of lake Bolsena on the southern side to the hills surrounding little lake Mezzano on the northern side. On a clear breezy day the sea can be seen some 40 km away to the west like a glowing mirror reflecting the sun. Then ride up through valleys and hills and onto a plateau to take in the spectacular scenery, including the towering Mount Amiata, the Radicofani fortress and the distant castle of Torre Alfina. From the hill again we will follow a large track winding through the fields taking us back to the Medieval Church. We tackle an ancient track carved into the rock, until we reach the famous “Brigands’ Path”. Passing the old farmhouse of St Prospero, on a trot we turn left on a path crossing cultivated fields and later chestnut woods. We can now push horses into canter through a fantastic natural passageway in the woods, leading riders through an exhilarating run in a fairytale environment. Soon we will find another old road carved into the rock, leading us down to the ancient church of St Maria delle Colonne and its nearby fountain. From here, we return to the castle exploring beautiful Italian countryside and chestnut woods Noccieto and St. Martino, Using the old outlaws’ track called the Brigands’ Path because once used by those escaping from the law, we ride away on a panoramic old trail among pastures of grazing sheep after a couple of km it turns down into a narrow valley of volcanic rock. At the bottom of the hills we will find an old abandoned settlement : Nocchieto, still fascinating in its architecture, it is a house made of local tufo rock leaning against the side of the hill. As the road changes from volcanic rock into soft ground, we can push gently our horses forwards into canter and up into the hills. After following a narrow valley once at the top we meet the Brigands’ Path again, where we can carry on across varied landscapes and scattered Etruscan tombs and caves. Finally, we make our way back to the castle, to another stunning plateau, where we encounter a lovely vista, before returning home through the woods.

Medieval CASTLE TO CASTLE tour: This is an incredible ride through Lazio and Tuscany not to be missed. It is a travel on horseback from the Santa Cristina Castle estate to the fortress of Proceno, in much the same way as the dukes travelled hundreds of years ago. From Santa Cristina, we ride towards the medieval town of Onano. The 16th–century church of ‘Madonna delle Grazie’ is half way and from there we have a charming view of the village walls. We then carry on north towards the magical landscape between Lazio and Tuscany. As we cross the Montorio game reserve, we may be lucky enough to see wild pheasants, fallow deers and wild pigs. Before crossing into tuscan territory we wade a ford in the Stridolone river, before carrying up onto a hilltop which looks over the fortress of Proceno itself.Proceno is a village dominated by its fortress ,dating back to the medieval times around year 1000.After lunching on delicious Italian cuisine, we cross the river again and climb up onto a plateau, through thick vegetation, using an old farmers’ trail. As we head home, we ride past vineyards, fields and finally a former nuns’ convent of the 18th century, with a sad past. Finally, we return to the castle from the northeast after 40 km of beautiful riding.

Guest opinion:

'My comments about the castello is that the fact that it's family run and has been in the family for centuries gives it a special edge. The owner, Antonello?, is very gracious and made so much effort to welcome us - to the extent of taking us to the local natural springs, and dipping in with us! He's very knowledgeable and a superb horseman. They have good horses and seem to spend quite a bit of time breaking in and training their own stock. The castle has fantastic views and huge grounds - and if you they're not too busy, Antonello will give you a private tour of the castle interior - including stories of his rather grand ancestry! We went right at the end of the season, so it was very quiet, but also very relaxing.' Ginny, London

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Tack: English . The tack room is full of all sort of equipment (English tack). Caps and body protectors of different sizes are available for our guests so that they can ride safely. Still it is advisable for the rider to bring his/her owns.

Getting there:- Closest Airports: Rome Fiumicino or Rome Ciampino. - Closest railway station: Orvieto. Return transfers from Rome Airports are available at extra cost.- From Roma Ciampino £172 or from Roma Fiumicino £150 return - Orvieto train station transfers costs £90. These prices are per car . Please contact reception at time of booking.

Note: We have good train connections from Rome to Orvieto which take approximately 1hour. We also suggest guests to rent a car at the airport to give them more flexibility

Riding : Facilities: 2 Outdoor riding schools: 1) 25x60 m, 2) 33x60 m, with jumps.Italian/English/German/Spanish speaking guide, Level: from beginners (lessons in the arena) to experts , Horses: mixture of through bred and warm blood crosses, ponies for the children, Min/Max riders: 1-5 , Max weight of the riders: 100 Kg

Please note: The riding itineraries can be changed according to weather, horses and riders conditions by the riding management of the castle.

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