Giovanni de Marchi, il Paretaio

Classical Dressage in Tuscany

A riding holiday in Tuscany ideal for those wishing to refine their dressage skills in the care of warm and highly-qualified riding instructors, with over 25 years of experience. Il Paretaio is situated in a peaceful, picturesque valley in Tuscany's heart; based at this 17th century farmhouse, you will follow the traditional principles of classical riding practised by riders competing in modern dressage. Choose from programmes to suit a wide range skill levels and which include rides across the beautiful Italian countryside, through sun-soaked olive groves and vineyards.
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Dressage stays
8 days / 6 days riding
From £1,100
Family holidays
from 14 y.o
Open to non-riders
  • Giovanni de Marchi, il Paretaio
    Lessons follow the principles of classical dressage
  • Dressage lesson at il Paretaio in Tuscany
    Dressage lesson with owner and teacher Giovanni
  • View of the Paretaio stables
    Dressage vacation in Italy
  • Traditional farmhouse on a hill in Tuscany
    Discover Tuscany on a riding holiday
  • Rider riding a dressage horse in italy
    Open to intermediate or experienced riders
  • Vineyards and horse trail in Tuscany
    Relax with a lovely ride through the vineyards
  • Rider enjoying a hack through olive trees
    Enjoy the Tuscan dolce vita
  • Riders during a dressage lesson in Italy
    Classical dressage in Tuscany
  • Dressage lesson at il Paretaio
    Dressage lessons to achieve elasticity and lightness
  • Dinner table at il Paretaio, Italy
    Delicious food is a highlight of this holiday!



- Lessons with groups of 2-3 riders maximum
- Authentic Italian cuisine in a very charming farmhouse in the heart of beautiful Tuscany with an outdoor swimming pool
- Benefit from highly-qualified instructors at an equestrian centre established over twenty five years ago
- Explore typical Tuscan landscape, rolling hills covered with cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves
- Discover the historic towns and nearby villages - Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, etc.
- Perfect also for the non-riders in your life!
- Other itineraries are available for less experienced riders
- New in 2020! Pietro de Marchi, son of the owners, is back from the UK where he pursued a competitive career eventing. He now teaches jumping lessons, available from 2020 onwards.

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    On your arrival in Florence, you will travel to the region of Barberino Val d'Elsa. To reach Barberino Val d'Elsa, you can either hire a car or request a private transfer (30-45 minute drive).

    You will have the chance to meet the team and your hosts at a welcome reception at the Il Paretaio equestrian centre and guest house at 7 pm.
  • Day 2 2: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    The training methods used at Il Paretaio are based on loosening your horse up and encouraging supple movements in order to achieve elasticity and lightness when using aids. They follow the traditional principles of classical riding that are also practised by riders competing in modern dressage. Throughout your lessons, they will teach you to feel physically and emotionally connected to your horse.


    During your stay, you will have the choice between two training programmes:

    PROGRAMME B: Classical dressage and rides out for experienced riders, with 7 dressage lessons and 2 half day rides.
    PROGRAMME D: Intensive training for experienced riders, with 9 dressage lessons and one half day ride or 10 lessons.

    Each dressage lesson consists of a maximum of 3 riders per instructor. Lessons in the morning are usually 50 minutes and those in the afternoon 40 minutes. In the summer - from June to September included, as it can be very hot, the length of the morning lessons will be shortened to 40 minutes

    During your lesson, you will address exercises such as the shoulder-in, lateral movements, leg yield, counter canter and flying changes... The sessions will show you the importance of rhythm, pulse and how to appropriately employ aids.


    Lunch is not included but can be had at the farmhouse if you wish; on the menu you will find a variety of delicious traditional Tuscan pasta dishes and salads. After a busy day, you will be able to relax around the communal dining table and enjoy a hearty Italian dinner with Chianti wine. This is the time to share your experiences from the day!

    In your leisure time, you can visit Florence and Siena, or the village of San Gimignano which are all easily accessible. There are buses that run from Barberino Val d'Elsa - although the journey by bus is a little longer than that by car, it does allow you to avoid traffic jams and parking problems.
  • Day 3 3: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of Programme B or D
  • Day 4 4: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of Programme B or D
  • Day 5 5: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of Programme B or D
  • Day 6 6: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of Programme B or D
  • Day 7 7: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of Programme B or D

    After breakfast, you will head to the airport in Florence to catch your return flight to the UK.
    If you wish to extend your holiday, Florence and Siena are very close by and are waiting to be explored! Both cities are easily accessible by bus, contact us for more details.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- Flights are not included.

- The above rates are per person sharing a double room, half-board basis (or b&b in the low season) and are based on programme B. Different itineraries are possible - please enquire for prices:

- High season: 3/04/2021 to 17/04/2021; 22/05/2021 to 30/10/2021; 25/12/2021 to 07/01/2022
- Season: 17/04/2021 to 22/05/2021
- Low season: 13/03/2021 to 04/04/2021; 30/10/2021 to 14/11/2021

PROGRAMME B : Classical dressage and trail riding for experienced riders
7 nights half-board/ 6 days on horseback
includes 7 dressage lessons + 2 hacks out

Low season: €1230/£1070
Season: €1325/£1165
High season: €1415/£1245

PROGRAMME D: Intensive dressage training for experienced riders
7 nights half-board/ 6 days on horseback
9 dressage lessons + 1 hack out or 10 dressage lessons

Low season: €1250/£1100
Season: €1355/£1195
High season: €1425/£1255

- Lessons are held with a maximum of 3 riders. Lessons in the morning are usually 50 minutes and those in the afternoon 40 minutes. In the summer - from June to September included, as it can be very hot, the length of the morning lessons will be shortened to 40 minutes

- Non-riders are welcome and will receive a discount - please ask for prices

- Please note that there is a small tourism tax payable locally: €4 (£3).

- An additional charge of approx. £30 (€35) is required for the trip over New Year cover cost of the New Year's Eve meal

- If you have signed up for this trip on your own, a single room charge of approx. £170 (€196) will be added to your invoice.

- If you wish to reserve the panoramic 'Tower Room', there will be an additional cost of approx. £110 (€130) / per week

- RETURN TRANSFERS ARE TO BE PAID LOCALLY, BUT NEED TO BE ARRANGED IN ADVANCE (prices in £ are approximate and may change depending on the euro):
Florence Airport - Equestrian Centre return : £150 (€170) per car (1 - 3 people)
Florence Train Station - Equestrian Centre return : £135 (€150) per car (1 - 3 people)
Pisa Airport - Equestrian Centre return : £255 (€290) per car (1 - 3 people)

- Beginners, as well as children under the age of 14 years, will only be able to join the trail rides after having their riding level evaluated during a lesson and verified by one of the centre's instructors.
- For riders over 85kg, please contact us before booking to ensure there will be a suitable mount available to you during your stay
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 instructor for 1 to 2 riders


Several horses equipped with the classical dressage equipment


Double or family room in a guest house


Half-board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day

Price doesn't include


Beverages and personal extras
Lunches (had and paid for locally)


International flights


Tourism tax payable locally (see dates and prices)


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Single room supplement


Transfer from Florence Airport/Train Station to the Riding Center, outward and return, per car and to be paid locally
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


Over 30 well-trained horses (Lusitanos, Anglo-arabs, Barb Arabs, English Thoroughbred, Dutch and Italian sport horses) which are assigned according to the skill level and wishes of the riders.
IMPORTANT: riders over 85 kg should contact us to ensure that suitable horses are available.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

For this particular itinerary you should be an intermediate to experienced level rider and have established the basics of flatwork in order to best benefit from the dressage lessons. You also need to have experience of riding in open country.

This is ideal for outdoors riders who would like to gain more academic experience.

Please note that riders over 85 kgs should get in touch with us.


Ideal for riders who are eager to improve their dressage skills or competent riders with knowledge of basic flatwork who are looking to start dressage.
You will work from the ground as well as on horseback to get the most from your lessons.

Tacking ability and participation

The horses are brought to you groomed, tacked up and warmed up so you can start work as soon as your lesson begins. You can, if you wish, go down to the stables to help prepare your own horse.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

No particular requirements as there are programmes to suit all abilities.

Equestrian equipment

Dressage saddles.
Helmets are mandatory. We recommend all our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Please bring your own spurs.

Travel info


The farmhouse consists of 8 double or family rooms with private bathrooms and 2 private family apartments.
It has original terracotta flooring, wooden beams, stone walls and traditional arched ceilings. There is a swimming pool that offers wonderful views of the Tuscan hills. Free wifi is available.
Tuscany is famous for its excellent cuisine and dinners are served with a good Chianti wine. The food is traditional Tuscan, created using fresh local ingredients and with the farmhouse's home-produced extra virgin olive oil. All guests eat together around one big dining table.


Half-board accommodation (breakfast and big, hearty dinners)
Lunch will either be had at the guest house or you will be free to make your own plans. You are able to eat at the guest house and pay locally for meals not included in the trip's price, or if you have hired a car you can explore what's on offer in the surrounding villages and towns.


Tuscany has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, cold winters and a rainy season from the start of autumn to the beginning of winter. The months that are the most humid are October and December - often seeing heavy rain that can last for several days.
However, autumn and in spring, it is still likely that it will be hot during the day, with a lot of sunny days. July and August are the hottest and driest months.

Guide and local team

Your instructors, Giovanni and Cristina De Marchi, started their careers training at a prestigious school in Portugal under the tutelage of Pedro de Almeida and Maître Louis Valenca - who themselves were trained by the great Nuno Oliveira. They work to adapt their lessons to the needs of their riders, whether accomplished or beginner, so that each student ends their course feeling more confident and at ease in the saddle. In their teaching method, passion rhymes with pleasure!

Giovanni and Cristina were recently joined by their son, Pietro de Marchi. Pietro is a BHS accredited professional coach and rider in dressage, showjumping and eventing. Pietro teaches internationally and has been training in the UK for the last four years specializing in training young horses to event and has reported very good successes. He participated at Burghley and has qualified a young horse for Badminton. During his equestrian career, he has had the opportunity to train with many international riders, among which one of them has been with the Dressage master and four times Olympian and European medalist, Richard Davison.


Tipping is not obligatory; however one can be made to the local team at your discretion.

Packing list

- A riding helmet is mandatory. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat: cap for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding

Upper Body
- Short or long-sleeved cotton shirts (to provide protection from the sun) or T-shirt in a quick-drying material
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm Goretex-style jacket (water-proof and breathable)

- 2 pairs of jodhpurs or long leather trousers
- 1 change of trousers (riding trousers or jeans)
- A swim suit for the pool
- Cotton or synthetic underwear (non-irritant)

Hands and feet
- 1 pair Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long boots.
- 1 pair of sandals
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Other useful items
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Toiletries
- Ear plugs (may be useful if sharing)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Vitamin C tablets
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Painkillers
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Visa & Health


British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Italy and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days

At border control you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information -

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade à l'étranger :
    Piazza Farnese 67
    00186 Rome
    Tél. : +39 06 686 013 02
    Fax : +39 06 686 015 66
  • Ambassade en France
    51 rue de Varenne
    75007 Paris
    Tél. : 01 49 54 03 00
    Fax : 01 49 54 04 10
  • Ambassade d'Italie
    ChancellerieElfenstrasse 14
    3006 Berne
    Tél. : 031/350 07 77
    Fax : 031/350 07 11
  • Ambassade d'Italie
    Rue de Livourne 38
    1000 Bruxelles
    Tél. : 0032/2/543.15.53
    Fax : 0032/2/537.57.56


UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.

For up to date information please visit:


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.


The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. UK citizens will require an adapter.

Budget and money

The main currency is the euro. You will find ATM ("Bancomat") in every city, town and most villages. Both credit and debit cards are used.

Telephone and jetlag

Phone code: +39