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LA SOMMA TRAIL RIDE

ON THE TRAIL OF A ROMAN CHARIOT – A RIDE TO MONTELEONE DI SPOLETO

This trail ride offers the chance to sample some local history and beautiful scenery in this lovely corner of unspoilt southern Umbria. Guests can either do just the trail ride, which is 4 days riding/3 nights away and 2 nights at La Somma (before and after the trail ride). Or they can do the whole week, w

ith the remaining 2 days riding at base (trekking and/or lessons as required).

Sunday

This trail ride takes us to the very pretty little medieval hill town of Monteleone di Spoleto, which is tucked away in the hills of the wild and spectacular Valnerina valley. We start the ride by meeting up with the horses, which will have been trucked to the village of Precetto. Perched on the other side of the bubbling River Nera from its twin village of Ferentillo, Precetto is a place where little has changed over the years, and both villages are guarded by ancient towers against marauding invaders. From here, we ride along a track that gradually winds up into the hills, passing the old customs point between the papal states and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, where the papal symbol of St Peter’s Keys can still be seen. This area is still known locally as the Salto del Cieco (Blindman’s Leap), after a band of brigands whose leader pretended to be a blind beggar, before robbing passing travellers and hurling them to their deaths. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch near here, with wine of course, and carry on over the crest of the hill where Monteleone di Spoleto beckons in the distance. After riding along winding trails, with amazing view in every direction, we’ll stop at the very comfortable agritourism just outside Monteleone di Spoleto, which will be home for us and our horses for the next 2 nights. Dinner and overnight.

Monday

Today, after breakfast based on local products, we ride on mainly level terrain along gentle paths around Monteleone di Spoleto. Some 100 years ago, a Roman chariot was found by a local peasant farmer in his field, who unwittingly sold it to a trader for a very small sum. The chariot is now in New York, and the object of a very bitter struggle, though you can admire the replica in the town itself. Picnic lunch before continuing the ride around Monteleone, with plenty of canters for those who want to. Dinner and overnight.

Tuesday

Today, we leave Monteleone di Spoleto and ride down a different trail, passing through the dramatically poised hill villages of Gavelli and Caso, where we will stop for lunch. From there, we ride towards Scheggino, a pretty little town on the river’s edge that is famous for the trout that swim right through the town centre. We carry on our ride along gentle paths until we reach Sant’Anatolia di Narco, and the former Benedictine monastery, now hotel, that will be our home for this night. The horses will be let out to graze nearby, fed and settled

while we take showers, have dinner and overnight. Our bags will have been delivered by car in the meantime.

Wednesday

After breakfast, we saddle up and ride along the banks of the beautiful River Nera, passing an ancient abbey and a number of villages. There will be a chance for some trotting and cantering, before we enter the village of Ferentillo, where the horse box and cars will be waiting to take us all back to base.

For photos of Monteleone di Spoleto, see: https://www.google.com/search?q=monteleone+di+spoleto&rlz=1C1ASUM_itIT573IT574&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=845&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-oqWo1NjQAhWBAsAKHV6wCRAQsAQIPg&dpr=1

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RIDING AND WINE TASTING

Spreading out as far as the eye can see around the lovely little hilltown town of Montefalco, known as the Balcony of Umbria for the views it commands, are more than 2,000 acres of vineyards. This very special trail ride offers an opportunity to ride through the rolling hills of an ancient landscape, and to taste some of the wines that are rapidly making a name for themselves in international circles.

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This programme can be enjoyed in two versions: just the trail ride, which is 3 days riding/2 nights away and 2 nights at La Somma (before and after the trail ride). Or as part of a whole week’s riding holiday, with the remaining 3 days riding spent at La Somma (trekking and/or lessons as required). The starting point of this trail ride will be the Fonti del Clitunno, a peaceful spot with a lake and small island mentioned by Virgil and Byron among others. This is a short drive away for riders and horses. The itinerary over the next 3 days will take in a stop at two well established wineries, with a short tour to see how the wine is made, and of course an opportunity to taste the result!

The programme is the following, though the order may vary slightly, depending on the weather and other factors.

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Sunday

After breakfast, the horses are loaded into the horse box and riders are transported by car on the scenic 30-minute trip to Fonti del Clitunno We tack up quickly and begin our ride along wide paths through olive groves and vineyards, with beautiful views whichever way you turn and opportunities for some trots and canters along the way. After a couple of hours in the saddle, it will be time for a welcome break, and we stop at our first winery – cantina in Italian – for a short tour and a tasting, perhaps starting with some bubbly spumante or a glass of locally produced white Grechetto or Trebbiano. Lunch will be served, based on local products, before we head off towards Montefalco, the wine-making centre of Umbria, with its medieval rampart walls and Romanesque churches. Our stopping place for the next 2 nights will be a comfortable agritourism outside Montefalco, where we will settle in the horses and pick up our bags which will have been delivered before. Dinner and overnight.

Monday

After breakfast, we saddle up and head towards Bevagna, which beckons across the hills in the distance. Originally an Etruscan settlement, this small stone-walled town subsequently became a Roman municipium, called Mevania and mentioned by Pliny, before being incorporated into the Duchy of Spoleto, and later, the papal states. Our next stop will be at a cantina that specialises in the rich red wines for which this area has become justly famous – Montefalco Rosso DOC e Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG – and there will be a chance to try them both, as well as to see how they are made and aged in oaken vats. This will also be the stopping place for lunch. From there, in mid-afternoon, we will ride along more gentle trails through vineyards and back to the agritourism, to untack and settle in the horses, before a shower and dinner.

Tuesday

Today we leave the wine-growing area and head towards another of southern Umbria’s treasures – the beautiful mountains of Monti Martani, famous for their ancient fossils. Or route will take us through a number of picturesque villages, and there are some trails for trotting and cantering. We’ll have a picnic lunch in a shady spot before loading the horses into the horsebox and being driven back to La Somma. Dinner and overnight.

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During this trip there will be an opportunity to visit Montefalco, with its many bars and shops, and its extremely pretty central piazza.

 

 

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Two Valley Trail Ride

 

Saturday

Arrive at La Somma and overnight

 

Sunday

Morning : Half-day ride followed by lunch

Afternoon:  Lesson in manege or free afternoon to go to Spoleto etc.

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Monday

Today we leave on the first leg of the trail ride. We ride along wide paths, with opportunities for several canters along the old Flaminian Way,before turning off and heading down through a series of picturesque villages such as Ancaiano and Belvedere , through woods and another tiny hamlet and into the beautiful  village of Ferentillo,with its ancient twin towers to guard against marauding armies and bandits. Ferentillo spans the fast-flowing Nera river that gives this stunningly beautiful valley its name- the Valnerina . We cross over the bridge to the bother side of the village ,called Precetto, and have va picnic lunch by the river. Afterwards,we ride along the riverbank, following the course of the Nera and passing through  several village,whith canters along the way. There is also a chance to stop for a beer  before we come to Scheggino , a pretty little town on the river 's edge that is famous for the trout that swim right through the town centre . We carry on our ride along gentle paths until we reach Sant' Anatolia di Narco, and the former Benedictime monastery, now hotel, that will be our home for the next 2 nights. The horses will be let out to graze nearby, fed and settled for the night  while  we take shower' s have dinner and overnight. Our bags will have been delivered by car in the meantime. 

 

Tuesday

After  breakfast we leave for a shorter full-day ride on trails around the scenic area with a picnic lunch en route. On our return we settle the horses into their picturesque paddocks close to the river in the monastery's grounds .You can watch them graze as you take an aperitivo from the hotel bar. Dinner is served in the monastery courtyard . 

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Wednesday

Today after breakfast, we saddle up and ride along part of the historic Spoleto -Norcia mountain railway,which has recentrybbeen converted into a spectacular trail for walkers and horse riders, passing through some of the ancient tunnels,and with dramatic views at every turn. This was the railway line that linked the two valleys of Spoleto and the Valnerina,before it fell  into disuse. We pass a number of picturesque old railway stations and through the beautifully  restored  village of Tassinare and another one called Forca di Cerro, which is the  highest point that the old trails had to climb before heading down to Spoleto. Here, we leave the old raiway line and wind our way down towards the pretty little town of Poreta in the Spoleto valley.  We will be having dinner and sleeping in a comfortable agritourism,and the horses will be settled in nearby.  

 

Thrusday

Poreta is famous for its olive oil production and after breakfast we ride along gentle trails flanked by olive trees on either side. This is also where  St Francis and his followers used to pass,and we ride past a  monastery ,whith several canters along the way before stoopping inaqn olive grove for picnic lunch. In the afternoon ,we meet up with the horsebox and cars, which will take riders and horses back to La Somma for  dinner and overnight .

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Friday 

After breakfast ,hal-day ride followed by lunch.

Afternoon : lesson  in manege or free afternoon.

Saturday 

Breakfast and depart.

Price :( full week) double pp €1765. Trail ride only : ( 5 night, 4 days riding): dobble pp €1339

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