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8 Days Riding & Cooking Holidays in Italy

8 Days Riding & Cooking Holidays in Italy

  • Cilento, Italy

Cookery Holidays & Horse Riding in Italy

Located in one of the most beautiful spots in Cilento National Park, just a few miles from the sea, your holiday farm awaits. Surrounded by undulating hills and Mediterranean flora, settled in a functioning working farm of 40 acres, everything is prepared by the familys hands, which have been working there for years with passion and knowledge. You can taste it in their sausages, salami, goat cheeses, olive oil, wines, liquors, and honey. You will experience it in their stable of reliable well-trained horses, ideal mounts to explore the beautiful and rugged Italian countryside.

Highlights

  • 3 hands-on cooking classes
  • Horse riding tours along nature
  • Visit Elea-Velia archaeological site
  • Enjoy barbecue and local wine in the shadow of ancient trees
  • Taste diverse wines and learn how they are produced
  • Visit a goat cheese factory
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Meet local producers
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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During the holiday, guests will stay at a farm, located in one of the most beautiful spots of Cilento National Park. The panorama along the road is lovely and spectacular, changing from green olive trees to blue sea (scents of nature are everywhere). The farm is laid out on 40 acres of private land. In a valley of oak trees, olives and wine yards, you will find the riding track and riding school, the sheepfold and pigsty. The main part of the farm consists in old stables now restored. There is a spacious and comfortable restaurant where you can try the best local food and regional wines, a little storeroom, a shop for the homemade products, and a small cheese factory, where a very special goat cheese is produced.

To complete the farm, there is a swimming pool (opens at the end of April), two cottages with nicely furnished rooms or apartments, and wide-open spaces, to offer you relaxing hours and freedom of movement. Different kinds of accommodations will satisfy any of your needs: spacious, comfortable and well-furnished rooms and apartments, surrounded by a wonderful nature and beautiful view. The accommodations offer all comforts, terraces, gardens, all nearby the wonderful swimming-pool and solarium, in order to enjoy sunny days and a magical atmosphere.

Casa Cristallo

Right next to the swimming-pool, among ancient olive trees and Mediterranean scents, an old farmers home has become Casa Cristallo. Although it has been rebuilt, it still conserves a typical Cilento style. There are four comfortable double-rooms on the ground floor, each with mini-bar and private bathroom. On the outside, there is a large open space equipped with table and chairs, perfect to enjoy and relax along the splendid view that surrounds the farm. The atmosphere is calm and familiar, which will assure you an unforgettable holiday.

Casa Mortella

In the middle of the splendid nature right next to the pool, stands Casa Mortella, made of local stone. On the inside there are three very comfortable double-rooms, with mini-bar and private bathroom. Each room has a separate entrance and two have a big terrace with panoramic view, while the third room has an open space in front of the entrance. There are tables and chairs outside every room.

Casa Pendio

This old stone house is located in the historical part of the town, on a hill that offers spectacular views of the surrounding nature and sea, all the way to the ancient city of Velia. Ideal accommodation for a couple or family with small children; it has a large living room with a sofa bed and a comfortable kitchen. A stone arch separates the living area from the sleeping area, whose double bed is on an attic. During summer time, you can use the small terrace in front of the house to enjoy the peacefulness and relax among the fragrances of wild flowers.

I Lavatoi

Independent apartment in the historical center of Casal Velino, right in front of the ancient wash-basins, which used to be a meeting point for all women of the town. Accurately finished off in a very rural style, it can accommodate up to 5 people. On two levels, it has every comfort. There is a living area with kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom on the first level. On the second level, there is another room with a sofa bed, a private bathroom and a wonderful terrace with view on the bay of Casal Velino.

Il Corbezzolo

On the upper floor, there is an apartment called Il Corbezzolo, ideal for a family of maximum four people. It has a large bedroom with a splendid view on the hills, a bathroom with shower, and a living-room, with a sofa bed and kitchenette. The large terrace overlooking the olive trees will make your stay pleasant and comfortable, inviting you to relax in the evenings, drink some good local wine, and enjoy the overwhelming quiet and scents of nature.

La Quercia

On the upper floor of Casa Cristallo, there is a nice, comfortable country-style mansard. Right next to the pool it has three bedrooms, a bathroom with shower, a large living-room with sofa-bed and kitchenette. The apartment can host a family or a group of friends, up to six or seven people. On the outside of the house, there is a large open space equipped with table and chairs, to enjoy some relax and the splendid view that surrounds the farm. The atmosphere is calm and familiar and assures you an unforgettable holiday.

Day 1, Saturday

Arrival after lunch. Hidden Trails will greet you and invite you for a welcome drink. Before dinner, you will meet with your riding guide for the week, to go over with the itinerary. If there is still time, you can ride for an hour at the riding center, to get acquainted with the horses.

Day 2, Sunday - The Crest of the Gods

You will leave Casal Velino and ride along Velias coastal route for about 8 kilometers to the archaeological site of Elea-Velia, where the Eleatic School was founded by Parmenides and Zeno. The Angevin Tower overlooks the ruins. You will leave the horses outside and make a quick visit to the archaeological site, accompanied by an expert guide. Continue your ride through an ancient olive grove of the Pisciotta variety, to join the path of the Ridge of the Gods, close to the terraces sacred to Jupiter.

The path runs alongside the walls of the ancient village and is immersed in a beautifully preserved landscape, where you can breathe in the typical scents of the Mediterranean scrubland. Another 10 kilometers ride, up to an altitude of 250 meters above sea level, you can admire the exquisite landscape of the sea, the tower and the two gulfs of Ascea and Casal Velino.

Further inland, you will enter into the National Park of Cilento, keeping ahead of you the Sacred Mount (1705 meters above sea-level), destination of many pilgrimages. From the top of the ridge, you can admire Petrosa Lake, surrounded by its luxuriant vegetation. On your way down the ridge, you will ride along the shores of the lake (94 meters above sea-level) and enter a thick pine forest, where you will stop to rest and let the horses drink. Return to the farm in the evening. Less experienced riders can opt for instructions and shorter trails. Total distance: 18 miles.

Day 3, Monday - Cooking course

The cooking course of Cilento - Mediterranean will prepare and present some of the typical dishes of the region: Cilento - Mediterranean cooking: typical pasta recipes, pasta-sauces, meat and side-dishes. Vegetarian cooking: vegetables-legumes soups, season-vegetables, and stuffed vegetables. Pastries and biscuits: Cilento cake, cannoli with cream, and traditional cookies. It is also possible to learn how to make bread and participate in a guided tour to the mill, to see how different kinds of wheat are transformed into flour. You will also get a little book with some of the private recipes, so you can try it on your own once you are back home.

Start your lessons after breakfast. Claudia (your interpreter), will spend some time explaining what you are going to do and talk a little bit about the eating habits and traditions of Cilento. Then, each person gets a Moresani apron, which they can take home. Then, you will go into the kitchen, where aunt Melina, the main chef, is waiting to start. Each person will prepare every step of the recipe, while it is interpreted step by step in English. Each week is dedicated to different dishes but often it can be changed it if guests have special requests. When making pasta, everybody has to start from dough, then make the stuffing and the sauce. Together you can decide to eat your dishes for lunch or dinner, where Gino will offer you a bottle of wine.

In the afternoon you will meet and visit different locations. You will be taken to a wine producer, to taste different kinds of wines and learn how they are produced. In the cheese factory, you will see the making of goat cheese and taste it fresh. In an olive mill (if in season), you will attend the making of olives, and could also help with the picking. In a restaurant, you will participate in an analysis of extra virgin olive oil to show you how to distinguish good oil from inferior ones and how to use it in different foods. If you are really interested in food and cooking, you will really enjoy this farm, because you can see everything: from how the products grow and are eventually transformed into delicious dishes.

Day 4, Tuesday - Between the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance

Start out along the road that skirts the hills to the right of the farm and ride 3 kilometers to the small Church of San Giovanni (Saint John). The Church, which dates back to the 14th century, is thought to have been built by Basilian monks. Towards Celso (10 kilometers from the departure point), which is completely immersed in the countryside, along tracks which allow you to fully admire the beauties of the Mediterranean scrubland (broom, bramble, heather, holm-oak, oak, and sorb), you will enter through the arch of Mazziottis Palace (now a national monument), which belonged to a Baron and a very illustrious scholar. Celso, an ancient medieval village, was the scene of the events of the Risorgimento in Cilento.

You will then leave the village (418 meters above sea-level) and ride towards Pollica, passing woods of young chestnut trees and then again through the Mediterranean scrubland, that becomes the natural frame to the blue sea and spectacular coastline. Enter Pollica through a Franciscan Monastery, founded in 1611 by Prince Capano. Along the streets of the town, you can admire the typical stone portals and the 17th Century Palace Tower. Stop here for a picnic lunch. After lunch, leave Pollica and continue your journey along narrow paths, past gorges and streams, until you reach Pioppi and the sea. Afterwards, return to the farm. Less experienced riders can opt for instructions and shorter trails. Total distance: 20 miles.

Day 5, Wednesday - Cooking course

Take your cooking course in the morning. In the afternoon, visit local producers, spend free time relaxing, or organize a sightseeing tour.

Day 6, Thursday - Along the Crest of Mount Stella

After breakfast, you will saddle the horses and start riding towards Stella Mount. Follow the trails next to the river and pass through woods of intense Mediterranean scrub. After some kilometers, the trail will start rising up the hill to the Crest, where cows graze in complete freedom. The view from there is so beautiful that it does not seem real, like a painting. The hills are covered by olive trees that almost reach the sea.

Once you reach Guarrazzano, a very small town along the mountain, you will stop for lunch. Enjoy a barbecue and some good local wine in the shadow of ancient trees. After watering the horses, it will be time to saddle them again and start riding, until you reach the town of Stella Cilento. According to the history, inhabitants of this town were famous for breeding pigs. In fact, originally the town had the name of Porcili. Afterwards, it is time to take the road home, following a trail that allows you to view other small villages. Less experienced riders can opt for instructions and shorter trails. Total distance: 20 miles.

Day 7, Friday - Cooking course

Take your cooking course in the morning. In the afternoon, visit local producers, spend free time relaxing, or organize a sightseeing tour.

Day 8, Saturday - Departure

Departure after breakfast.

  • Ride along Velias coastal route, Guarrazzano town, and through the path of the Ridge of the Gods
  • Ride to Pioppi and the sea, Stella Cilento, and towards Stella Mount
  • Tour around Celso, Pollica, and Cilento National Park
  • Visit local producers: a corn mill, an olive mill, a cheese factory, and a winery
  • Visit San Giovanni Church and Elea-Velia archaeological site

This cookery and riding holiday will take place in the region of Cilento, Italy.

Nearby places

  • Celso, 13 kilometers
  • Church of San Giovanni, 3 kilometers
  • Elea-Velia, 8 kilometers
  • Naples International Airport (NAP), 90 miles
Activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding / rental
  • Mountain walking / trekking
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Shopping
  • Wine tasting / tour
General
  • Balcony
  • Beach nearby
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lake nearby
  • Mini bar
  • Restaurant
  • Terrace
Services
  • Convenience / grocery store
  • Local market

During this culinary holiday, guests will enjoy three daily delightful meals. A lot of them include traditional Italian dishes as well as homemade products. During your cooking classes, you will have the opportunity to taste and prepare a wide range of Italian and Mediterranean dishes, from typical pasta recipes, to Cilento cake, vegetable-legume soups, and cannoli with cream and traditional cookies.

Flavors of Cilento

Looking for the traditional ancient flavors is a unicity. Those flavors, often only a memory, are re-proposed by the family with an innovating taste. The wine cellar offers not only excellent wine, but also some of the best labels of the region Campania. A little shop inside the farm will allow you to buy self-made products, such as the highly appreciated goat cheese made in a little cheese factory.

Typical farm products

The aim is to prepare only products with genuine and high quality ingredients, to transform traditional recipes, in order to remain in the heart of those who will want to taste them.

Guided tours to the archaeological site of Velia and interesting walking tours along the crest of the gods, as well as the suggestive trails of Cilento, passing through ancient towns, are available. Participating in bowshot (archery) and joining in the main rural works on the farm (picking olives, milking the goats, making cheese in the cheese-factory), will make your stay interesting and pleasant. The farm is the ideal place for those who love open air sports. Nature is the real protagonist; you will want to go hiking through the uncontaminated woods and the typical Mediterranean landscape, or walk along beautiful trails, visiting the medieval towns of Cilento National Park.

Hiking Alta Via del Monte Stella

This route follows the crest of Mount Stella and is one of the principal mountain paths of the area. The excursion can be started in the town of Montecorice, in the village of Cosentini, Ortodonico, or in the town of Perdifumo. Starting from Cosentini, you will pass through an area called Montanari, reaching the country road. Starting from Perdifumo instead, you will follow the crest of Punta Carpinia, until reaching the equipped area of Monte Corbara. The path will bring you through a wooded area along the crest and offer you many panoramic views.

You will be able to observe Mount Cervati, the Alburni, Cape Palinuro, the gulf of Salerno, and the Amalfi coast. This itinerary, which offers a landscape painting of rare beauty, offers also a rich historical background. Along the way you will see the ruins of the Castelluccio and the Chapel of the Madonna della Stella, whose cult dates back to the pre-Christian age. Walking down from Mount Stella, through a beautiful wood, you will reach the so called Vivaio, an ideal place to relax. Total length: 3 hours and 30 minutes. Difficulty level: medium.

Hiking Casal Velino - Acciaroli

This route is one of the best known in the area and follows the southern slope of Mount Stella. It starts in the panoramic town of Casal Velino, following an easy path, which offers you splendid views on the country and takes you to the town of Celso. If you like, you can take the ancient road through the green valley and along the stream Mortelle, until you find a stony staircase that reaches Celso. From Celso, another panoramic path takes you to the convent of San Francesco and then to Pollica, a well-preserved historical center and small castle.

This route is all downhill, passing through the village of Cannicchio, unchanged in all these years and through a wonderful Mediterranean scrub, until reaching the coast. The walk ends on the sea and along the streets of Acciaroli: a characteristic seafaring town. This route can be also started in the town of Celso, going towards the village of Galdo, or following the river as far as Pioppi, where you can take a bath in its crystal clear water. Total length: between 2 and 5 hours. Difficulty level: medium.

  • 3 cooking classes
  • 3 horse riding days
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Table wine with dinner and lunch
  • Three daily delightful meals
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Train fare

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Naples International Airport (NAP).

Arrival by train

Please arrive Vallo della Lucania-Castelnuov train station.