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Madonie 6 days daily program

Madonie 6 days 2017.

“Mountain trekking for all, families included”

General introduction of the Experience.

Between one Etna trip and the next, we offer a trip in Madonie which is 6 days long (6 days, 5 nights, 4 days on horseback) with base in MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO Country House (3 nights) which is perfect for all kind of riders: beginners, intermediate, advanced and families due the possibility to adapt itinerary to all kind of riders, even in the same group (with 2 guides if necessary). This trip can be also made custom with a different length and program, if need to a group or family.

MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO offer very good services and in his vicinities there are a lot of points of interest to be visited on horseback. The week is a 6 days, 5nights, 4 days on a horse, designed to give to riders around 2/3 hours on horseback in the morning, 2/3 hours in afternoon, 3 nights at MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO and 2 nights up high in the mountains in PIANO FARINA Shepherds hut and Pomieri Hotel during a 2,5 days minitrek. Like so riders can enjoy horse ridesin the heart of Madonie Park sleeping one night in the comfortable HOTEL POMIERI and one night in renovated shepherd hut on comfortable camp beds and with a dinner cooked by Paolo. The trail rides are for all levels of riders. The 2, 5 days mini trek will take riders in the heart of the Madonie Park, up in the mountains till the 1800 meters of Mount Madonna dell ‘Alto.

Program day by day:

Day 1 Monday: Transfer from Palermo airport to MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO, siesta or swimming pool, dinner, night in MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO.

Day 2 Tuesday: breakfast, visit of CASTELBUONO CASTLE on horseback, picnic lunch, dinner / night in MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO.

Day 3 Wednesday:breakfast, Day 1 mini trek, picnic lunch. Dinner and night in Pomieri Hotel.

Day 4 Thursday: breakfast. Day 2 minitrek. Up to Madonna dell ‘Alto Mount and Monastery (1870 m). Picnic lunch. Dinner and night at PIANO FARINA Shepherd hut.

Day 5 Friday: breakfast. Departure for ride to go back to Masseria Rocca di Gonato. Picnic lunch. Dinner and night at Masseria Rocca di Gonato.

Day 6 Saturday:transfer to Palermo airport

End of Services.

Madonie Park Customer Riding Experience:

This is a trip for all kind of riders and families with kids (minimum age 8 years old). If in a group will be present different kind of riders, will be used 2 guides to do not mix beginners (or mix families) with better riders. Kid must be able to ride independently at least at walk.

Price: ask a quote. Price depend by number of riders in your group

The formula is full board, all included. Arrival on Saturdays, leaving on Saturday. 6 days, 5 nights, 4 days on horseback

Departure assured with 2

Maximum number: 10

Cancellation Policy.

+ 30 days before arrival: full refund 30 to 21 days before: 30% fees 20 to 8 days before: 50% fees 7 to 2 days before: 75% fees 1 day before: 90% fees no-show: 100% fees

Airports for arrival / depart.

The airport for arrival and departure of MAD 6 days trip is PALERMO

Transfer policy:

Note that in our price transfer is included. Many other operators ask for an extra payment.

Arrivals. Riders can arrive in the morning and afternoon but they need to be out with bags no later than 17,30 because need to arrive at dinner time. We suggest to riders to try to arrive between 10 and 15 to do not have a too long “transfer day” especially because planes may have delays and the “transfer day” can became really long. If a delay in afternoon flight will cause a too late transfer (let say effective arrival out with bags after 18, 30 or later), for the riders in delay it can be arranged a private transfer. It will cost 100€. If the times of arrivals will allow, we will do with riders a guided short visit of Palermo historical centre with a Sicilian fast food lunch (price not included in the package. We will wait planes with already arrived riders at a beach area not far from airport. Camp chairs will be available for the riders.


All riders will be transferred to Palermo airport in one trip depending time of FIRST departure flight. A full breakfast will be served at whatever early hour of the day before transfer (thanks to availability of Drinzi personnel). If riders have a very later flight they can visit Palermo on their own. In this case we will leave them at Palermo railway station where they can leave bags in the bag deposit. We will give them indications about what to visit and where to have a good lunch. From Palermo railway station starts the metro train that go to Airport (every 30 minutes). Cost is 5 €. Time of run: 1 hour. If riders want to have a private transfer by car at the hour of the day they want this can be easily arranged. The cost is 100€.

About Food.

We like to affirm that our trip is also a gourmet culinary experience on horseback. All dinners menus and restaurants were studied and choose to give to riders a real top Sicilian food experience. All recipes are made with “Zero kilometres” products coming just from the area. So are used only very fresh local vegetables, meats, cheese, wines, and breads. Even mineral water mostly comes from the Madonie Mountains and Etna volcano. All dinners have 4 courses: entry, pasta dish, main course, dessert and /or fruit. Local red wine and mineral water (or spring water) is included. Breakfast: continental breakfast, juice, croissant and cakes (where available). Those who prefer a savoury breakfast with boiled egg or cold cuts and cheese have just to advise in advance. Picnic Lunch. All picnics in this trip are saddle bags lunches with sandwiches and fruit.


Drinks included at dinner: mineral or spring water, local red wine. Other drinks: If customers will like to find at picnic lunch /dinner cold beer or other special beverages this will be provided paying their costs. The Customers will ask what they like and at end of trip they will pay the bill. If they would like to drink beer or other beverages in the country house before or after dinner they can order them on the number of room or their name and pay directly to the hosts before leaving.

Special food needs.

Those with particular food requirements (vegetarian, allergies, various) must advise at booking to have individually personalised food.

Picnic Lunches.

- Picnic lunch menu is every day a saddle bag lunch excluding day 2 that will be in Castelbuono with “Sicilian fast food” in a bar.

- Products used are local bread, cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, fruits.

Daily Time table (indicative)

Breakfast: from 8 Ready at the horses: 9, 15 /9,30 Departure: 9, 30 / 10,00 Picnic lunches: between 12, 30 and 13, 30 depending different places. Stop can vary from 1 hour to 1, 30-hour siesta time included Dinners: 19, 30 / 20,00

Single rooms management.

Single room supplement is 25 €


It is situated at 1.000 meters on the Madonie Natural Park not far from to the village of Castelbuono rich in history and monuments The country house it was realized restoring an ancient farm of a medieval Monastery. It is surrounded by oak woods facing the valley of the Gonato River.

MASSERIA ROCCA di GONATO has: - 25 cozy rooms with bathroom and shower. - Indoor and outdoor dining room for break/lunch/dinners - 2 living rooms with fireplace and TV big screen - Garden and gazebos for relax - The building is surrounded by oak trees - Swimming pool. - SPA, massages service, water trail, indoor Jacuzzi.


It is nested on a dominating hill in the middle of the Valley of Pomieri oak wood, dominated by Mount Pizzo Canna and Mount Ferro. It is a big Alpine chalet without any other building in the whole valley except a few scattered shepherds’ huts. From his windows the landscape is gorgeous. The place is very well known for his restaurant.

Hotel Pomieri has:

- 30 rooms with bathroom and shower. - Living room with TV - Dining room - Terrace. - Billiard - Pasture for horses and saddlery

About Piano Farina Shepherd’s Hutt.

It is a very ancient shepherds’ working place that was entirely renovated and enlarged to host visitors at lunches and dinners, to show them how are made local cheeses and to host them in one common room for sleeping. Used beds are our very comfortable camp beds with air mattresses, pillows, linen and sleeping bag.

Piano Farina Shepherd’s hut has:

- One Sleeping common room - Dining room - One common Toilette (no shower) - Kitchen - Terrace - Traditional cheese working place - Cows, goats, sheep - Pasture for horses

Silence and tranquility are the everyday ingredients of these 3 places out of any classic touristic route.


With groups till 6 will be along the trail one riding guide only. Plus 6 riders will be 2 guides. One more guide will move bags. If big differences of skills of riders can be used a second guide forming 2 groups: beginners and others.


The guide Franco Barbagallo was for 30 years a top globetrotting photographer. When he is guiding a trip as interpretive guide or third guide and/or interpreter, he will be more than happy to take photos with camera of riders for souvenirs during the trip, to give advices and tips to make better souvenir pictures.

Interpretation along the trip.

Franco Barbagallo wrote as a nature journalist many books and guides about Nature parks and reserves of Sicily. Along the way and at dinners will be given to rider’s lots of news about history, flora, fauna, geology, traditions, food and local products. All questions will be welcomed. Each rider at departure of trip will receive a very detailed day by day program with lots of news and the Map of the trip.


The official language of the trip is English. Franco speaks relatively very good and fluent English and also good French and he try to use it in case of French riders that are not speaking English. Paolo speaks a very Basic English. To help guides to have a better communication and avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations is VERY important that communications are on both ways: from guides to riders and from riders to guides. So if explanations and news are not fully understood or clear or not completely listen, or riders have any question or need more clarifications and details, we ask to all our riders to ask, to tell, to talk.To be active and not passive in communications. This especially in situation that need to change program, trail, sleeping or lunch places or whatever it can happen during a horse trek in the nature. If there is any kind of problem about horses, food, accommodations, whatever other aspect of the trip need that riders make it VERY CLEAR, IMMEDIATELLY AND ALWAYS, talking right away with guides.

Mother language English speaking riders have always to remember that they are not travelling with mother language guides and riders. So it will be kind to use simple talking, better speaking slowly, avoiding slang or idiomatic forms impossible to be known and understood by not mother language speaking people and guides.

Being a high mountain trip it is a medium /low speed but always with some trots and canters depending skills of riders.

Personal Equipment:

Helmet is MANDATORY ON THE RIDE. SAFETY FIRST! A really stupid fall that can happen even to the best rider can transform the trip miserable.

We strongly suggest carrying personal helmets.Helmet is a personal item for size, hygiene and model. IF someone do not have and do not want to buy we can rent them at 25 € per person per trip (payment here before departure). IMPORTANT:Who wants to rent a helmet has to advice in advance at booking before departure and give us size in centimetres.

Other Riding gear.

We will be crossing mountain areas at heights of up to 1880 meters. It is mandatory for all participants to have the following personal equipment: In July and august rain is very rare so:

- Rain / wind gear with rain /wind jacket. - one light pile - shoes: We suggest NOT wearing any kind of long riding boots. We DO suggest short riding shoes, short or long chaps. No running shoes or sneakers. - Sun glasses. - Anti UV solar cream at least factor 30 or 50 for north European people. - We prefer if anyrider bring his own water bottle for hygiene. - Personal baggage will be moved by car. There are no weights limits at the bags and their number.

Ear plugs.

Sleeping in countryside or nature it may happen to have during night some noises like: wind, rain, storms, lightings, barking dogs (this due we travel in shepherd’s country), snoring of room partner, early shower from other riders in other rooms, toilettes noises from other rooms, riders going to sleep later, noises coming from other guests of accommodation, and so long. Because it is so important to have a good sleep, we suggest to riders that has a light sleep to take with them always ear plugs “just in case”.

Assistance to riders.

If riders need assistance to mount or dismount for age, size, weight or any other problem we will give them full assistance. Other riders will mount and dismount always on their own following the rule to try to find as much as possible natural mounting blocks along trails and at beginning and end of the day to save backs of horses. Horses do not move and are easily moved to mounting spot so we never use to help a normal rider to mount or dismount if not needed. We ask to all riders that may need assistance to tell us about their eventual problems.

Grooming / Saddling:

Basic grooming and all saddling/unsaddling is made by the guides. Before departure of the trip will be shown how to prepare the horse to be quickly unsaddled by the guides and how to prepare the horse for picnic stops.

Riders have to clean every day only snaffle bit at end of the day, girth at end of the day, feet of horses in the morning. We groom very well only the areas where tacks will go on. Riders may complete to clean/groom their horse if they like at their wish before departure.

Change of injured horses

If one horse has a problem that will not permit it to continue the trip he will be changed during the night. Unless really extreme cases (never happened before) horses cannot be changed during the day. In four years of activity we had to change horses only 3 times for some health / injure problems and were done always at night.

First aid for riders.

One guide has in the saddle bag a complete first AID kit for all small injuries that can happen during a trek in wilderness (bruises, cuts, bumps after a fall) with: spray for ice, Voltaren, Anti pains, straps, oxygenated water, a spray to cover cuts with an antiseptic layer that isolate the skin from air, haemostatic and antibiotic creams, elastic bandages. In the minibus there are more medicines for other eventual disturbs.

First Aid for horses.

The same first aid kit can be used for horses during the trail for small scratches and cuts that can happen easily during a trip. Plus, there is the classic antiseptic antibiotic blue spray. In the minibus we have horse’s antiseptics, antinflammatory, as creams or shots.

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