I don’t think I can count the number of hours I’ve spent in the saddle. I can, however, remember every single destination trail ride. Riding a few miles up from our starting point at a barn in Colorado comes to mind. This trail ride kinda tops them all in terms of scenery.
I booked Kate and I a ride through Fun in Tuscany. It included pick up and drop off in the center of Florence, as well as a wine tasting/food pairing lunch (after the ride, of course).
The Stable / Il Maneggio
We found our tour group at the specified piazza in Florence quite easily and were quickly on our way out of the city centre in a private van. The stable was located a little over 30 minutes from our pickup point and surrounded by some of the most breathtaking countryside I’ve ever seen. We drank a few cappuccini as we waited on a patio, and sampled different kinds of honey. I never thought a honey tasting could be all that interesting… but the group we were with discussed in-depth the differences in each variety. The hazelnut blossom honey was my favorite. yum.
The previous tour was late getting back, so we hung out in the barn area, saying hi to the old goat and finding helmets that fit us. Just from the barn, the view was amazing. The tour guide helped the less experienced people up into their saddles first, and gave them brief instructions on steering, stopping, going, etc.
Kate and I, as we had the most experience, were at the back of the line. When I mounted from the ground without assistance and comfortably picked up my reins, he just blinked at me and said, “Ah. You’re good.”
The Trail Ride
Even though I was slightly bummed I wouldn’t be close enough to the tour guide to test any of my horse-related, Italian vocabulary… there’s something to be said for being at the back of the line on a trail ride. You don’t have to be nose-to-tail the whole time. We got to walk around a farm, through a slightly wooded area, and right down into a vineyard, going between rows of grapevines. It was sunny with a slight mist, which made the temperature PERFECT.
Of course, Kate and I would have been happy with a 5-hour trail ride, but it was so relaxing to sit in a saddle, in a quiet vineyard, after we’d been averaging 7 miles of walking a day through crowds of tourists. Instead of our feet being sore, now it was our riding muscles.
I’ve never spent this much time in a vineyard, but I definitely didn’t get tired of our tranquil surroundings! By the end, Kate and I were scheming of ways to get hired as the next trail guides. I wouldn’t mind riding that trail every day.
The Wine Tasting
The wine-pairing lunch was just icing on the cake. We piled in the van again to be driven to Torciano winery. We were sat at nice round tables in an adorable covered-patio that had garden-party vibes.
Our wine guide was part of the family who owns the winery, and he gave us a rundown of the history of the family as well as the wines. As our first wine was poured, he taught us how to “properly” hold the glass, swirl, smell, and taste the wine. I now know how to look like a snob at my next wine tasting, as well… And I’m still dreaming about the lasagne they served us.
Each wine came with a different small course. We had cheese and cured meats, salad, a meaty soup, heavenly lasagne, and biscotti to go with a dessert wine.
Overall? On a scale of 1 to 10, the day was about a 15. Definitely recommended!
actually looks fun. =)