Siena - Maremma or Maremma - Siena
The Tuscany tour leads on four-in-hand hitched carriages from Siena through the countryside into the Maremma, the wide open land between the coast and the forested hills south and east of the city of Grosseto. For the nights we have mostly private castles, vineries, stud farms and private estates with oil- and wine production. Some of the ways used are former mule tracks, steep, narrow, grown-over, so a big mail-coach cannot make this route. We therefore use hunting- or shooting breaks, seating 6 each, hitched with a four-in-hand team of horses. Luggage will be transferred by car from place to place. In some of the overnight stations we are guests of the owners, of the padrones, we are taken into their families and we are treated rather as guests than tourists. The meals are excellent, rich and always made out of local products. During the day we will sometimes picnic in the fields with wine, bread, ham, olives. Tour program is operated with full board; that is all meals and beverages are included.
Have a look at our selection of pictures of this journey.
6 days journey, 7 nights
Dates and Details on Request
Our horses are of the Old Oldenburg breed, the classical old German coach horse, and of the Kladruber breed, the horse once pulled the state carriages of the Austrian emperors.
Our carriages are the classical shooting (or Hunting) breaks, seating 8 persons and pulled by a team of four. Their springing is comfortable.
Luggage transfer is provided by us, so please mark your suitcases clearly with your name. You do not need too much luggage as nowhere a formal dress is expected. Details please see out of our dress code. If you want to take more than one suitcase per person we recommend to repack your suitcases, so that you do not need all of them every day. The other, not needed luggage can stay in our escort vehicles.
Guests make their own way to Siena. We meet around 07.00 pm in the hotel "Castagneto", a 3*-hotel in a former villa, with a view of the historic town of Siena. In the evening we visit the famous piazza del campo, where, during the summer, the "Palio", the horse-race takes place. Dinner in a typical restaurant in the old town.
We start around 09.00 am from the riding stable a bit outside of Siena, and drive along quiet country roads southward. First wide open country with light brown soil lays on both sides of the road. Later we come into oak forests. We cross a river (Merse) at a ford, than use an abandoned road through dense forests high above the river Merse. At the little town of Monticiano we will take a snack in the bar near the market square, surrounded by curious local residents. Another 1 ½ hours and we bend off into a rough track which leads us up and up to the castles of Luriano, where the Marchesa Misciatelli runs a private stud farm, breeding an old Italian breed: the Persano horse. The castle built out of natural stones rules over the oak forested hills, which are full of wild boars. We stay in the hunting lodge: simple rooms, clean and a cosy dining hall will host us for the evening and the night. Marisa, the energetic cook, will serve a hearty meal.
Not too early in the morning we hitch the horses and drive up the final steep track to the castle yard, where the Marquesa will serve a drink. After leaving this imposing place we ride a mile or so along the road and then off into the "Jungle": Narrow tracks and dense oak forests for a couple of hours. Now and then we cross a creek, sometimes the bridges are washed away, and all hands have to help to fill the gap with rocks and poles, to allow the carriage to cross the stream. After leaving the forests, we have a wide view and if visibility is clear enough, we sometimes can see the sea in the far distance. Shortly after noon we enter the private estate of Peruzzo. An estate of 12.000 acres. Signore Marucchi himself will welcome us and urge us to join him for lunch. Beautiful rooms with much private atmosphere, a breath-taking view over olive oil gardens and wine fields as well as oak trees. A superb Italian hospitality. We will stay here two nights.
Relaxing, walking around, taking a ride with the carriage to some neighbouring villages, a visit to the Etruscian tombs. In the evening, again, a typical Tuscanian dinner.
We take an early morning leave of the estate of Peruzzo and drive through wide flat country: land which has been recultivated and drained after a more than thousand years of malaria infected swamps. Now dairy land on both sides of the track. Lonely country, with almost no towns. Very few are built on top of the hills, more like fortresses than farm villages, to protect themselves from the raids of the pirates of North Africa and from the malaria down in the swamps. Early afternoon we arrive in a little walled-in place called Paganico where we will buy some food for the picnic. Shortly after leaving town we stop at the banks of the River Ombrone for a picnic. Another two hours later we arrive at the private horse farm of Poggio Caiano near Campagnatico where we will spend the night. A dinner served in the private house of the owners closes this day.
As we have a long distance ahead of us (some 50 kilometers) we will start rather early. Open country, hidden farms, rough roads. No taverns, no towns anywhere! We will have a picnic en route and give the horses some water. In the evening we approach Alberese, a small place, consisting out of a former palace of the Austrian arch-dukes (where we will be accomodated!), some houses, and a large state-owned estate with hundreds of wild bulls and huge herds of horses, the Maremma cattle and the Maremma horse! Here the "Butteri", the Italian mounted herders (like cowboys) are still working as they did some hundreds years ago.
We will spend two nights here. The morning offers an opportunity to those with a minimum of riding experience to join one of the Butteri (Cowboy) for a ride from 07.00 am to 11.00 am, sharing with him his daily work. The carriages will start for a ride into the (very restricted) natural reserve of Uccellina about 11.00 am, with a picnic in the caves inside the reserve. The evening will bring a farewell dinner in Rispescia, in a well known restaurant for sea-food.
After breakfast the tour will end. The next railway station is in Grosseto, with train departures nearly every hour either to Rome or to Pisa or Geneva.