Horseback Riding in Italy

Saints and Warriors


This riding tour in Italy is a fantastic opportunity to experience the Italian countryside by horseback and enjoy local cuisine.

The fortresses and castles which were so important earlier, especially during the 15th century conflicts between Florence and Siena, are now partially in ruins. Much of the land is going back to nature, which is all the better for riding, and the soft beauty of the countryside is enhanced. This ride features a real celebration of food and wine.

Situated in a tranquil region southwest of Siena, the beautiful Villa Ferraia serves as a hospitable central base for either full or half-day rides into the surrounding countryside. From the lovingly restored suites of this medieval hamlet riders have an opportunity to experience the enduring magic of Tuscany. The Saint and Warrior ride’s itinerary cleverly combines riding with an investigation of the region’s gastronomic delights.

Villa Ferraia is a restored hamlet dating back to 1204 CE. The setting is extremely peaceful; isolated by miles of flourishing woods and cultivated fields from any busy commercial centers. The rooms have been tastefully restored and furnished with antiques.

Delicious and generous typical Italian meals are served throughout. The meals are one of the greatest pleasures of this ride, and allow you to prepare, sample and enjoy regional and seasonal Tuscan cuisine. Some meals at the Villa may be prepared with participation from the guests who wish to learn about Italian cooking.

  • Overview:
    Most of the horses are Maremanna cross and Lipizzaners, with some other mixed Italian-bred horses. They are well cared for and responsive.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Maremanna, Lipizzaners
  • Trip Pace:
  • Tack:
    English and limited western
  • Weight limit:
    190 lbs

While riders are on horseback, there are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can enjoy the accommodations and region independently.

Siena train station.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide at the train station in Siena at 6:30 pm. Drive to the Villa Ferraia (a 40 minute drive). Settle into the rooms where you will be staying for the week, and relax with a welcome drink and aperitivo. Dinner at the Villa.

Day 2

Depart from the stables and head northwest, passing by the medieval village of San Lorenzo a Merse, where you can admire the Castle of Capraia. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Castle of Poderina. In the afternoon cross the river Merse and by the castle of Catiglioni che Dio Sol Sa before reaching the stables near the village of Pentolina where the horses will be kept. Return by car to the Villa for dinner and overnight.

Day 3

Return to your horses at for your day’s ride to the romantic Sal Galbano Abbey, the first example of the Gothic style in Tuscany. To get to this partially restored 13th century Cistercian abbey you ride through forests and ancient villages. Visit the abbey and take a short walk to the chapel at Monte Siepi, where you will see the famous sword in the stone which is said to pre-date that of King Arthur. Here you will hear the story of the Saint, the Sword and the Stone. Lunch today is at a nearby restaurant, after which you will ride to the Castle of Luriano. This castle dates from the 12th century and was used as the commercial and political customs between the Republic of Siena and Volterra. It has been owned by the same family since the 16th century and horses are bred on the property; they have recently begun to train the Anglo-Arabians to run in the Palio race. At the end of the day you will travel back to the Villa by car for dinner and overnight.

Day 4

After another magnificent breakfast you will be transferred to the Castle of Luriano, where you will ride through the trails and roads typical of the area before arriving in the small village of Scalvaia, where you will have lunch in a local restaurant. After a short siesta, continue riding back to the stables  along the hills of the Farma valley, one of the least unspoiled areas of Tuscany. Dinner back at the Villa with plenty of wine to taste and stories to tell.

Day 5

In the morning go on a gentle ride in the surrounding hills toa dmire some great views and panoramas. Back at the Villa and after a light lunch, visit a local winery to enjoy their production and taste some cheese and salami that match the wine perfectly. A visit to the local tack shop and local village will round out your day before going back to the Villa for the evening’s dinner.

Day 6

Explore the beautiful valley surrounding the Castello di Belagaio on horseback. Ride an ancient stone road to visit a horse farm which specializes in the breeding of Maremmano horses, historically used by farmers for working cattle. Indulge in a picnic lunch before returning to the stables  by a different route. Here assist the chef in preparing the farwell dinner with recipes from the culinary school and private restaurant at the Villa.

Day 7

Depart for Siena after breakfast.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may be modified. The Palio itinerary differs slightly to include visits to the festival.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Other trips can be set upon demand for groups of 2 or more from the end of October through the winter months.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Oct 23, 2022
Oct 29, 2022

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,690
  • Single Supplement
  • $800
Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Contact Megan Barrett

Many thanks for your help in arranging what was a wonderful ride in Tuscany. The Palio more than lived up to expectations and meeting Vittorio (another Italian instituion!) was equally memorable. We traveled to Siena a couple of days in advance to take in the atmosphere. It is a beautiful city and the Palio related activities were great fun. The quality of the rides we enjoyed in the second half of the week more than made up for the reduced number of riding days. Extended trots and long canters on lovely horses. The small fortified castello we stayed in is delightful and we got to cook our meal on the last night (by request!). We hope others will get the chance to experience the ride.

Pettingale, 2019