This itinerary takes us across the north east of Sicily (known as Val Demone) through four regional parks: The Madone, Nebrodi, Etna and Alcantara.
Trekking indescribably beautiful that allows us to traverse much of the Madonie Regional Park, unique in its kind, where there is the largest concentration and variety of flora and fauna in Sicily, in addition to its great geological interest.
Day 1 - Villa Marchese, Pollina – Casalvecchio, Geraci
After assignment of horses and saddles to riders, we will depart for Castelbuono, a charming medieval town rich in history and tradition. From there we ascend through cork forests to Geraci, a mountain town 1,000m, famous for its castle and mineral water. After a refreshment stop we leave for Casalvecchio Farm. This is a recently restored farmhouse surrounded by wheat fields on the banks of the river Raino. Overnight stay with a hearty dinner of local produce.
Day 2 – Casalvecchio, Geraci – La Sugherita, Cerami
Leaving the farm we ride along one of the old trade routes dating back to Bourbon times, up towards a wind farm, riding under the giant blades. We will cross the borders of the provinces of Palermo/Enna and then Enna/Messina. In the woods of Sambughetti-Campanito we stop for a picnic lunch then continue on towards Nicosia and Cerami and La Sugherita which will be our next overnight stop. Nearby are some troglodyte dwellings which can be visited on foot.
Day 3 – La Sugherita, Cerami – Rifugio del Parco, San Fratello
Today we enter into the heart of the Nebrodi mountain range along the famous Ridge track (about 100 kms long) through forests and high mountain pastures. Admire the extraordinary views looking north over the Tyrrhenian Sea towards the Aeolian Islands. To the south the view is towards the majestic Mt. Etna. We ride through beech woods towards the town of San Fratello, famous for its native breed of Sanfratellani horses which we see grazing in the wild as we pass by. Our picnic lunch will be taken in a small clearing near the Nocita spring. Later in the afternoon we arrive at Rifugio del Parco for our overnight stop where we will enjoy a dinner of local Nebrodi delicacies.
Day 4 – Rifugio del Parco, San Fratello – Monte Colla, Randazzo
Today is probably our most beautiful day of riding. We take the Dorsale dei Nebrodi (Backbone of the Nebrodi) which takes us through the mountains and forests and alongside lakes, all of amazing beauty. We will pass by two lakes: Maulazzo, with Monte Soro rising over it (the highest peak in the Nebrodi 1847 mts.), and Lago Biviere, popular as a resting place for migrating birds. Continuing along the Dorsale with views of the Aeolian Islands to one side and Mt. Etna to the other, we arrive in the evening, tired but satisfied, at Monte Colla. A unique old farmhouse dating from the 18th century, it has been converted into an agriturismo. Monte Colla is more than 1400 mts. in altitude in the territory of Randazzo.
Day 5 – Monte Colla, Randazzo – Al Vecchio Torchio, Castiglione di Sicilia
Leaving Monte Colla we make our way down to the town of Randazzo enjoying the spectacular view of Mt. Etna on the way. Randazzo dates back to Greek times and still has a rich monumental heritage which we will admire as we ride through town. Our picnic lunch will be fairly near the town and then we continue along the Alcantara valley and river towards Castiglione di Sicilia in the province of Catania where our overnight stay at Al Vecchio Torchio is just below the slopes of Mt. Etna.
Day 6 – Al Vecchio Torchio, Castiglione di Sicilia – Mt. Etna North
Today we ride by fruit orchards, vinyards and drywalls of lava stone, entering Mt. Etna regional park. Here our ride takes through pine, oak and chestnut forests. We will stop to visit volcanic grottoes and take in the breathtaking views of the mountains of Sicily and across the Straits of Messina to Calabria. In the pine forest of Ragabo, at about 1500mts. we stop for lunch. Continuing our climb up to Piano Provenzano, at about 1800mts., depending on seasonal weather conditions and volcanic activity, we will continue with our climb up to the craters of the 2001 eruption. At the end of the day we will leave our horses and drive back down to Al Vecchio Torchio where, after a farewell dinner, you will be able to reminisce about the places and people you met along the trails.
Alternative 6 day tour: Cefalu'-Taormina
The ride will follow the same route as above with the difference that on the sixth day, instead of climbing Mt. Etna, we descend along the banks of the river Alcantara towards the Ionian coast to Taormina. This famous, romantic, historical town will be where we spend our final night.
Our horses all come from local farms and are of different breeds, including native Sicilian ones. They are all very docile and hardy. Suitable for all riders of all levels and all paces.
One of more guides will accompany you along the trails, pointing out the biodiversity and history of the area. If requested the guides can stop to visit historical sites through the towns and villages on the itinerary.
The association Sicily Horse Tours also offers packages that can include an extra week or more on a farm or 5* hotel with full or half day excursions included.
As the route is through high, rugged mountain areas this tour is best suited for experienced riders. The Association Sicily Horse Tours reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time, due to weather issues.