Italy, Sicily- Cefalu to Etna Trail Ride
Cefalu to Etna Trail Ride starts from Cefalu and will take you between the four national parks of the Madonie, Nebrodi, Etna and Alcantara. Tehe slopes of Etna is fertile and and grows oranges, tangerines, lemons and olive trees.
The ride covers a distance of more than 200 km and at altitudes between 200 meters above sea level and 1600 meters on the Nebrodi. Depending on the season, it can take you up to 2000 meters on Mount Etna. Most of the ride goes through the wild, wooded landscape, only short stretches are paved road. The accommodation is of 3-star hotel / guest house and you can enjoy typical Sicilian cuisine. Lunch is usually a picnic along the way.
Saturday - Arrival: Arrival in Turismo Rurale Cefalù, a beautiful farmhouse in the countryside equiped with swimming pool.
In case of arrival before 4pm, a guided tour in the beautiful town of Cefalù will be offered. Dinner and overnight.
Sunday - Turismo Rurale Cefalù – Casalvecchio Geraci (approximately 7 hours riding): Breakfast and departure around 8:00. The route begins through a highly scenic and varied territory where we find cork forests, scrubland, vineyards, olive groves and pastures. After passing the territory of Saint Anastasia, home to an ancient Norman abbey and renowned winery, we continue through the countryside around Castelbuono, a charming medieval town rich in history and traditions, and we reach the wild valley of River Pollina (considered the eastern boundary of the territory of the Madonie), in which we have our picnic and then we continue to the farmhouse Casalvecchio Geraci, a recently restored nineteenth-century farm, on the banks of the river Rainò, a tributary of the river Pollina, in the typical Sicilian countryside cultivated with wheat and fodder. Here we’ll enjoy a hearty dinner of local produce, directly harvested on the farm. Dinner and overnight.
Monday - Casalvecchio Geraci – La Sugherita (approximately 5 hours of riding): From our farm walk along an old "trazzera" (ancient route dating back at least to the Bourbon) with a scenic overview through fields of wheat and forage up to an altitude of about a thousand feet and then getting to step Malpassetto, the border of the provinces of Palermo, Enna and Messina.We enter in the woods of the reserve 'Sambughetti-Campanito' where we eat the picnic, then we enter in the territory of Nicosia and Cerami, before going down on an old steep path and set in a forest of cork where we can visit a Prehistoric troglodyte dwelling on two levels and we reach the farmhouse "La Sugherita". Dinner and overnight.
Tuesday - La Sugherita – Rifugio del Parco (approximately 7 hours riding): In this stage we enter in the heart of the Park of Nebrodi along the famous "Ridge of Nebrodi" a long dirt road (about a hundred kilometers) between forests and high mountain pastures.
A place full of charm and extraordinary views on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aeolian Islands andin the other side on the Sicilian hinterland provinces of Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania and Etna. Through the beech woods in the territory of San Fratello, famous for its sanfratellani horses, a native breed which is very strong and durable, with a very large head. They can be seen grazing in the wild.
Lunch will be held in a small clearing in the shade of trees near a source of water (Nocita). We will arrive in the afternoon at the hotel Rifugio del Parco where will eat a great dinner of local Nebrodi products.
Wednesday -Rifugio del Parco - Monte Colla (approximately 8 hours riding): This is probably the most beautiful stage, runs for 40 kilometers along the "Dorsale dei Nebrodi" including mountains, forests and lakes and a landscape of amazing beauty.
Now we come to the lake Maulazzo, dominated by Mount Soro, the highest peak in Nebrodi (1847 meters) covered by magnificent beech woods, then the famous lake "Biviere di Cesarò" stopping place for migratory birds. Continue along the "Dorsale" where lush forests give way to panoramic clearings, from which you can see to the north the Aeolian Islands and to the south the majestic peak of Mount Etna.We will arrive in the evening tired but satisfied in Monte Colla, which is a unique aristocratic residence dating from the 18th Century that has been converted to a hotel. Monte Colla is more than 1400 meters in altitude, in the territory of Randazzo.
Thursday - Monte Colla -San Marco (approximately 7 hours riding): Breakfast and departure around 8:00. After leaving the farmhouse and its crops of cherries, we fall in the woods and go down in the valley where the river Alcantara born, and then up the other side and exit the Nebrodi Park after a couple of hours, before crossing the village of Santa Vittoria di Vittoria and to continue to fall and reach by much further downstream the river Alcantara that we cross several times in places of rare beauty and arrive in the territory of Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province) where we find our farm San Marco, just below the slopes of Etna. Dinner and overnight.
Friday - San Marco - Etna North (approximately 6 hours riding): Breakfast and departure at around 9:00. After going through a rich and charming area characterized by its agricultural crops of hazel, olive trees and vines, through streets lined by stone walls made of lava stone, we enter the Etna Park where among more or less recent lava flows switching from fantastic forest of pines, oaks and chestnuts, volcanic caves, breathtaking views of the mountains of Sicily and Calabria and we get to the pine forest of “Ragabo” at about 1500 meters. There we have the picnic and then we continue to go up through woods and lava flows until Piano Provenzana (about 1800 meters) and according to the season, the weather and volcanological conditions, we continue to climb up to the craters of the great eruption of 2002. A truck is waiting there to bring the horses home and cars escort us back to the farmhouse San Marco, where after a good dinner we’ll reflect on the beautiful images of the week's trail.
Saturday - Departure: After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your journey home.
NB - please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or volcanic conditions.