Italian Escape & Riding Holiday – 2020
18 Days | Departs 14 May 2020
Tour Dates:  14 May –  31 May 2020

Overview

A small group tour to Italy for those that love to combine travel with a horse riding experience.  The tour is also suitable for non-riders and those who love to share an adventure with like minded people with a similar interest. The tour includes sightseeing in Venice, Florence and Rome with some free days for flexibility.  We have chosen this horse-riding option so you can experience the breathtakingly splendid 17th century CastleCastello di Santa Cristina. The property has been in the noble Caterini family for generations and still has a resident Count. It is located in Southern Tuscany half way between Orvieto and Siena, closely bordering with the regions of Umbria and Tuscany. The beauty of the local scenery, with home cooked Italian food and local wine are another great reason to stay here.  For those that love a trail ride in the Italian countryside, relax at the local spa or have a massage, enjoy a cooking class, visit a local winery, explore ancient hillside towns in the surrounding area of Castle Cristina this tour is for you.

Tour Highlights

  • Return international economy airfares: Australia/Italy
  • 2 Nights in Beautiful Venice and a Walking Tour of this amazing city
  • Optional Burano and Murano Day Tour
  • 3 Nights in Magical Florence with a Heart of Florence Walking Tour
  • Optional Horseback ride in the Chianti wine region
  • 3 Nights in Historical Rome with a 48-hour, Hop-On/ Hop-Off Discover pass
  • 7 Nights at the stunning Castle Cristina in the heart of Southern Tuscany/Umbria region
  • Italian cooking class
  • ½ day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio & the hillside town of Orvieto with its magnificient Cathedral
  • A visit to the spa at Terme di Sorano and winery near Pitigliano with wine tasting
  • Welcome drink and guided tour of Santa Cristina Castle to learn of its history
  • Plenty of Free time for, relaxing, people watching and Shopping
  • Optional 5-day trail riding in Southern Tuscany/Umbria region: One full day (4/5 hours including lunch) plus four half-days (2/3 hr) in the surrounding countryside
  • Tour host and Travel wallet

This tour would also suit non-riding partners and non-riders as there are many other activities available to enjoy during their ride time.  It is also a great tour for the first time and solo travellers. We can offer to match solo travellers if preferred to avoid the single supplement.

EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT $400.00 if you book before the 8th of September.

For further information email: info@snaffletravel.com.au

Itinerary

day1Thursday 14 May 2020
Australia – Venice

Meet with your Snaffle Tour Hostess and fellow travellers at the Melbourne Airport for your flight to Venice or in Dubai for our Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth travellers.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment of your airline as we make our way towards Venice.

 

(B) Friday 15 May 2020
Venice

Welcome to Italy and the beautiful city of Venice!

Upon arrival we will transfer by airport shuttle to the Piazza Roma followed by a short walk to our accommodation.  After check-in you can relax and freshen up before dinner. Meet for a welcome drink and a group meeting.  ​Dinner is at leisure tonight or with your group at a local restaurant.

Overnight two nights – Hotel Belle Epoque 3 star or similar hotel, including continental buffet breakfast daily.

(B) Saturday 16 May 2020
Venice

After breakfast this morning we enjoy a two-hour walking tour of Venice. We’ll take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Venice, learning about its colourful past. Beginning in St Mark’s Square, we can admire Doge’s Palace. You will cross the Bridge of Sighs and stop for photos in front of Venice’s cultural pieces.  The afternoon is free for you to explore at leisure, or you may like to enjoy our optional visit to Murano and Burano.  These islands are full of vibrantly coloured fishermen’s houses and are famous for glass and lace making. Dinner at leisure tonight.
(Includes two-hour guided walking tour with whisper audio guide)

Optional tours:
Afternoon tour to Burano and Murano, departing at 2.30pm (5 hours)

(B) Sunday 17 May 2020
Venice-Florence

This morning enjoy free time to explore Venice further.  Mid-morning we will take the train to Florence.  Upon arrival we’ll transfer and check into our hotel in time for an afternoon walking tour.

This walk will visit the historic centre of the city. We cross the famous squares – Piazza del Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore with its Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile.  Then the Piazza della Signoria, followed by the Republic Square with its elegant cafés, and the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the oldest bridge over the Arno. (Includes 2nd class rail ticket, 3-hour guided walking tour including whisper audio guide)

Overnight three nights – Hotel Londra 4 star or similar hotel, including American buffet breakfast daily.

(B) Monday 18 May 2020
Florence

Today is a free day to discover more of Florence’s Charm.  Shop along the Ponte Vecchio for souvenirs and handicrafts, or visit the Uffizi Gallery, home to famous artists including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rafaela and more.

Or, you may like to join our optional horseback riding adventure in the Chianti wine region. Discover Tuscany during a relaxing horseback ride to a beautiful 17th-century villa estate, before enjoying a wine and olive oil tasting session and traditional Tuscan. This tour departs at 9am and is for six-hours – you will meet at Piazza della Repubblica, Florence. Dinner at leisure tonight.

Optional tours:
Horseback Riding in Tuscany with Chianti Wine Tasting 

(B) Tuesday 19 May 2020
 Florence 

Free day to explore Florence.

Or – an optional small-group day trip in Tuscany. See the itinerary below:  The tour starts in Florence and the first stop is Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you enjoy a guided walk, learning about its history and culture and explore the beautiful Siena Cathedral. Afterwards, visit a family farm and enjoy a home-cooked meal of traditional Tuscan food and wine.

Next, you head to San Gimignano, a charming hillside town with winding streets and soaring towers with time to explore on your own. Finish at a splendid vineyard in the famed Chianti region with a professionally guided wine tasting. This tour is a full 10 hours. Dinner at leisure tonight.

Optional tour:
San Gimignano and Siena day trip

(B) Wednesday 20 May 2020
 Florence – Rome

This morning we farewell Florence and enjoy a rail journey to Rome.   Arriving into Rome we transfer to our accommodation with the remainder of the day at leisure. The hotel a former Monastery, located in a quiet area with many local restaurants nearby and is 10 minutes to the main train station and the Hop-on/Hop-off bus stop. Dinner at leisure or with the group.

Overnight three nights – Hotel the Building 4 star or similar hotel including American buffet breakfast daily.

(B) Thursday 21 May 2020
Rome

Today is a enjoy free day enjoying the sights with your 48 hour Hop on Hop off bus pass, a great way to see the city. From the Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum, Rome’s abundant sights rival those of any other city.  Hop on and off any stop for amazing photo opportunities and to learn the history of days gone by.

Dinner at leisure tonight or with your group at a local restaurant.

(B) Friday 22 May 2020
Rome

Today is a free day and another chance to get lost in Rome with your Hop-on/Hop-off bus pass.  You might like to visit a gallery, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain or visit the Vatican. The choice is yours on how you will spend your day and your tour host will be happy to point you in the right direction.  Dinner at leisure. (Hop-on bus pass included)

(B,D) Saturday 23 May 2020
Rome – Santa Cristina Castle

You will have the morning free for some last minute shopping before taking the train from Rome to Orvieto.  On arrival in Orvieto we transfer to Santa Cristina Castle.  This evening enjoy a welcome drink and meet your host for a short briefing.  This evening we enjoy a three-course dinner with local wine. (2nd class rail Rome to Orvieto, welcome drink and dinner included)

Note: The itinerary for your stay at Santa Cristina is a sample guide. Riders may be split into separate groups depending on their riding ability. 

Seven nights – Castle Santa di Cristina with full buffet breakfast and three-course set dinner including wine daily.

(B) Sunday 22 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

You might like to enjoy a later start this morning to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  Santa Cristina is a wonderful place to rest up and relax.  This afternoon meet the horses and enjoy a ride through the local woods and farmlands.  Springtime is a pretty time in Italy and you may come across some wild flowers.  Dinner in the Taverna this evening.

(B,L,D) Monday 23 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

This morning after breakfast enjoy a morning ride for 2-3 hours.  After leaving Santa Cristina, pass a dilapidated old farm named San Prospero. We ride on across valleys and hills and through romantic chestnut woods up to a plateau to take in the spectacular scenery including Mount Amiata, the Radicofani Fortress and the distant castle of Torre Alfina.  After a nice canter slightly up hill we arrive at the S. Luigi farm, where local shepherds still produce delicious ricotta cheese.  Around us sheep graze happily in the fields as we follow the way home back along the hills to the castle. On return to the castle enjoy an Italian cooking class with Santa Cristina’s cook and afterwards enjoy eating your masterpiece.  Relax after lunch then meet up with the group for a pre-dinner drink. (Trail ride 2-3 hrs, cooking class and lunch included)

(B,D) Tuesday 24 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

This morning you have some free time and you might like to go for a wander around the 100 hectare estate or hire an electric bike and enjoy some trails.  At mid-day we will transfer to Orvieto – a pretty hillside town with a magnificent cathedral.  We enjoy lunch at Orvieto in an outdoor restaurant (at own expense) and have some time to explore.  Afterwards we visit Civita di Bagnoregio, a 7th century hilltop village accessed via a pedestrian bridge. (1/2 day transfer to Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio included.  Entrance fees to Orvieto Cathedral and Civita Bagnoregio included. Lunch not included.)

(B,L,D) Wednesday 28 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

Today enjoy a full-day ride to nearby Lake Bolsena.  From the castle we ride through the neighbouring farmland, through chestnut woods on an ancient track which carries us right above the crater of Lake Bolsena – the largest volcanic lake in Europe.  As we head down to the lake you will note many Etruscan tombs scattered throughout the countryside. Some are reused by farmers as cellars for their wine but still serve as a reminder of the ancient history which abounds in this area.  Lunch is served at a typical trattoria, right on the beach. The trail home passes through the archaeological area of Pianezze, full of these Etruscan tombs dating back 2600 years. For those who are non-riders you can join the riders for lunch. (Full day ride and lunch included for both riders and non-riders and transfer for the non-riders)

(B,D) Thursday 28 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

After breakfast, your ride will follow the Brigands Trail through rural country, wooded hills, small fields and forest tracks to bring you out below the fortified town of Onano, with its medieval castle.  Continue riding to the medieval church of Madonna delle Grazie and along a winding country track back to Santa Cristina.  This afternoon visit a local winery and find a lovely restaurant for lunch (at own expense).  Afterwards you may like to indulge with a visit to the local spa.  (Trail ride for the riders, transfers to local winery and spa included with entrance fees)

(B,D) Friday 29 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle

After breakfast enjoy a morning ride on a panoramic trail among pastures of grazing sheep before turning down into a narrow valley of volcanic rock.  At the bottom of the hills we will find an abandoned farmers settlement.  As the road changes from volcanic rock into soft ground we can gently push our horses forwards into canter and up into the hills before carrying on across the varied landscapes and past scattered Etruscan tombs and caves.  Finally we make our way back to the castle.

After your ride you might like to like to enjoy a massage or arrange for an optional excursion to the local village of Pitigliano. (Trail ride 2-3 hrs included for riders)

(B,D) Saturday 30 May 2020
Santa Cristina Castle – Rome Airport

After breakfast we transfer by car to Rome Fiumicino Airport where we say our farewells and check-in for our return flight home to Australia. Dinner on-board your flight this evening.

Sunday 31 May 2020
Australia

Welcome Home!  Thank you for travelling with Snaffle Travel and we look forward to welcoming you on your next adventure!

Optional Extra:

Why not stay on and enjoy a cruise of the Western Mediterranean to totally relax? 

MSC Cruises operates a Western Mediterranean cruise which departs from Rome every Sunday on an eight-day cruise – visiting Italy, Spain and France.

Prices start from $1099.00 per person.

* Please ask us for further details.
You will require a further night in Rome as the cruise departs on Sunday 31st of May 2020.

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