Chianti castles horse riding vacation in Italy

“An eight day, small group riding vacation staying on stunning organic farm in Tuscany, and an old coaching inn in Siena.”


Florence | 17th century organic farm | Loro Ciuffenna | Abbey of Coltibuono | Lupinari, Cennina, Montalto and Brolio castles | Siena | Five days of riding.

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Our top tip:
If you are a keen cook, bring your journal. The food is fab, and you
Trip type:
Small group vacation.
Activity level:
Some experience is advised, as long days in the saddle. But shorter rides can be arranged.
Traditional farmhouse, hotel in Siena.
Accommodation, transfer from Florence railway station, all meals except in Siena.
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Chianti castles horse riding vacation in Italy


The tour has been designed for not more than twelve walkers or riders so that no one will feel just one of a crowd. The farm where you will be staying has an organic certificate. There are about three hundred olive-trees which produce all the olive oil used in the kitchen; ducks and pigeons are raised for the table, hens lay eggs daily and a well-stocked garden provides fresh vegetables. Other food is bought at a local farmers’ market, Chianti wine comes from local vineyards and only Fairtrade tea and coffee are used.

The house has been carefully restored, using local materials: chestnut wood for the beams, terracotta for the floors. The furniture has all been bought locally. Wood for heating the house is brought from the Chianti hills: there is a large fireplace in the sittingroom and a woodstove in the kitchen which heats most of the house. All the water comes from a spring on the farm.

Jenny is an active member of CAI, the Italian rambling association and helps to find and maintain paths all over the countryside. All walkers and riders are encouraged to recognise and respect the local crops and to refrain from leaving litter (the horses sometimes let us down in this respect, but what they leave is strictly organic). Jenny likes to teach the local children not only to ride but to recognize trees and flowers of the area, while Eraldo tells them about the deer, the porcupine and the wild boar that roam the woods, as well as the birds: in spring it is common to hear hoopoes, bee-eaters and golden oriels, while the nightingales sing day AND night!


Everyone working at the farm is Italian, with the exception of Jenny, of course, who has however lived in the area for forty years and feels almost Italian. For 30 years Pietro, a peasant farmer, presided over the kitchen but since he died the cooking is now done by his son Sergio and Franca, a buxom local lady who also organizes cooking courses. Marco, Sergio’s son, does part-time work in the stables and the kitchen. Eraldo is our ebullient instructor and guide.

The Centre owns another farmhouse with a large barn on the edge of the nearby village, 200 yards away, and here we have held small photographic exhibitions and painting classes. Sergio and Franca regularly organize dinners for our guests to which the villagers are also invited. Sometimes they are all entertained by local musicians playing and singing folksongs, or poets improvising in “ottava rima”, a folk tradition which has recently been revived. We have a lot of plans for this venue but sometimes lack the time to carry them out. In summer Nicholas, Jenny’s son, organizes a “teatro di paglia”: he and his friends build an amphitheatre out of straw bales and local people come to act, sing, play musical instruments, as the spirit moves them. He has now formed a network of straw theatres, of which there are 35 scattered all over Italy. Nicholas, by the way, is vice-director of an ecological publishing house, 'Terra Nuova Edizioni' and managing director of the monthly magazine 'Terra Nuova'.

1 Reviews of Chianti castles horse riding vacation in Italy

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Beautiful countryside and a rustic, authentic venue. The horses were well trained and well cared for.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

It is good for singles as there are other people around and you are not on your own. There is limited time to do your own thing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The local village seems involved in the centre and employs locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great riding vacation, stress free in a beautiful setting.

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