Italy, Molise - Colle dell'Orso Trail Ride
This is a wonderful trail through hills, meadows and woods in the unspoilt rural Italian countryside. An opportunity to ride western style on reliable and friendly horses, all with their own character. Your trail takes you over narrow paths with magnificent scenery and you will ride through the so-called 'Magic Forest', staying in mountain lodges, rural hotels and the comfortable farmhouse.
High-light of this trek are the cows and semi-wild horses which live on a huge mountain plateau.
7 nights, 5 ½ days ridning, approx 5-7 hours per day during trail.
Preliminary day-by-day program
Saturday- You are expected to arrive on Saturday evening. After a welcome drink there will be dinner with your host/guide. A three-course Italian dinner will be served every night, accompanied by local wines.
Sunday - The morning is yours. You may sleep late, take your time over breakfast, do whatever you like. Before lunch there is a safety-briefing. Then we groom and saddle up the horses, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch we do a test-ride (three hours) to enable you to get acquainted with the horse you are going to ride on the trek. Dinner and BB are at the farm-house.
Monday - At about 10 a.m. we leave the house and ride through Alto Molise with its hills, meadows and woods. Picnic is at an idyllic place. After lunch we continue our way through the endless hills. At the end of the day we arrive at an “agriturismo”. They await us for dinner, which is based on regional specialities. We spend the night here, too.
Tuesday - After breakfast we continue the trail, following the Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera. A Tratturo is a 2.000 years old track that is still used to move cattle from the far south where grass is scarce in summer. After the Tratturo we reach Pescolanciano with its old castle. Here we stop for lunch, which will be served at a little restaurant. Next we go to the Colle dell’Orso. The trail gets steeper, climbing about 1,800 feet. The route leads us over narrow paths, through beech-woods with carpets of leaves. In the evening we reach a mountain lodge where we dine and spend the night. First of all we take care of the horses. We sleep in dormitories in sleeping bags.
Wednesday - Today is dedicated to the magnificent scenery of the plateau of Colle dell’Orso. During our ride we will enjoy the most splendid views of the Abruzzi and Matese Mountain ranges, with peaks of appr. 6,500 feet. The most impressive scene of all is, however, the herds of cows and semi-wild horses in the plains. We ride along or even transverse the herds. After this it is time for the picnic. In the afternoon the trail takes us to the so-called Magic Forest. This piece of woodland is completely sheltered by rocks and there are but two possible ways of access, which makes the visit quite adventurous. Leaving Magic Forest we go back to our mountain lodge. In the evening we make a camp-fire or light the fire in the fire-place to cook our barbeque.
Thursday - In the morning we enjoy the beauty of the Colle dell’Orso, called Magic Mountain by some, just one more time. The picnic will be in the garden of a little church dating from 1704. In the afternoon the route descends, leading us back to civilization. In the late afternoon we leave the horses in a small riding centre. The riders will be taken to a cosy hotel in Civitanova and we will have pizza in the restaurant of hotel.
Friday - Today we ride to the river Trigno. It has been dammed, creating an enormous artificial lake. We follow the Trigno to Pescolanciano, climbing the hills that border on the forest of Collemelucio. This is one of the forests protected by UNESCO. The project is called Man and Biosphere (MAB). Worldwide UNESCO protects 256 forests. Four of them are located in Italy; two of which in Molise. The last few miles on horseback take us over open heath land and dense oak-woods. About 5 p.m. we are back at the farm-house, unsaddle the horses for the last time and enjoy the farewell dinner.
Saturday - Departure after breakfast.
N.B. Due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances the programme may have to be be adapted.