Rider and horse in the arena at Il Paretaio

Learn to ride - Tuscan Farmhouse

A traditional Italian riding holiday based at a 17th century farmhouse offering a high standard of riding tuition and hacking in Tuscany's beautiful countryside. Take riding and classical dressage lessons from passionate and experienced instructors and enjoy rides through the surrounding sun-soaked Tuscan vineyards and olive groves. Out of the saddle, you can relax by the pool, taking in the panoramic views, before enjoying traditional four-course Tuscan dinners and quality Chianti wine.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Dressage stays
8 days/ 6 days riding
From £1,040
Family holidays
from 5 y.o
Open to non-riders
  • Hacking at Il Paretaio in Tuscany
    Enjoy lovely, relaxed hacks in the countryside
  • Riders standing on a bridge for a picture
    This riding holiday is open to riders of different levels
  • Silhouette of a horse and rider in the stables at Il Paretaio
    This is based out of a gorgeous 17th century Tuscan farmhouse
  • Horse standing near a waterfall in Tuscany
    Riding holiday in Tuscany
  • Horseback riders amongst olive trees in Tuscany
    Discover Tuscany in the saddle
  • Horse in Tuscany
    Picture perfect!
  • Riding instructors riding dressage
    Instructor Giovanni demonstrating his dressage skills
  • Rider tacking up her horse at il Paretaio
    Horseback holiday in Italy
  • Il Paretaio, farmhouse and agriturismo
    The Farmhouse where you stay during your riding holiday
  • Scenery of Tuscany
    The beautiful rolling landscape of Tuscany



- A range of programmes to suit the needs of riders of all levels - riding lessons, hacks in the countryside and relaxing or sightseeing
- Stay in a 17th century Tuscan farmhouse with swimming pool surrounded by beautiful countryside
- Be taught by passionate and highly-qualified instructors
- Benefit from lessons in small groups, adapted to the level and age of each rider
- Enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and Chianti wine
- Explore the Tuscan landscape - sun-soaked rolling hills covered with cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves
- Discover the historic towns and nearby villages - Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, etc.
- A great opportunity to improve your riding technique in the magnificent central Italian countryside

    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 programme described here and listed price is for Programme A - Lessons for Beginners/Low Intermediate Riders. This programme is designed for beginner riders looking for general riding tuition. Lessons are designed to improve riding technique, you can either have ten lessons over six riding days or you can swap one of your lessons for a gentle hack into the countryside. More intensive riding programmes for more experienced riders are also available - see our Classical Dressage in Tuscany ride.

    Lessons are usually with just two riders. Occasionally there may be a small group riding together but the maximum is four, to ensure that participants receive a high standard of instruction. Lessons are 50 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon.
    Children's Riding Programme
    This week long riding programme is suitable for children and incorporates ten riding lessons during the stay. Children between the ages of five and nine will receive basic riding tuition whilst older children from ten to fourteen can be trained in dressage (depending on their previous riding experience). Children up to nine receive lessons of 30 minutes in duration whilst the older children will have 40 minute lessons if shared or 30 minutes if they are being taught individually.

    Please note: for safety reasons, beginners and children under 14 years cannot take part in the countryside hacks. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis by the instructors, however, Italian law stipulates that riders should be over 12 years old to ride outdoors.

    Your instructors , Giovanni and Cristina De Marchi, began their careers as instructors under the wings of the greatest horsemen of the Portuguese Riding School. Their son, Peter, who also teaches, is a show jumper but is still very attached to the basics of dressage.
    Lunch is not included but can be taken at the farmhouse if you wish (there are various salads and pasta on the menu). After a busy day, guests enjoy a hearty Italian dinner with Chianti. This is the time to share your thoughts of the day!
    During your leisure time, you can visit Florence and Siena, or the village of San Gimignano which are all easily accessible. There are buses from Barberino Val d'Elsa - they take a little longer than by car but allow you to avoid traffic jams and parking problems.
  • Day 3 3: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of programme A, B, D (see "Classical Dressage in Tuscany" for information on programmes B and D)
  • Day 4 4: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of programme A, B, D (see "Classical Dressage in Tuscany" for information on programmes B and D)
  • Day 5 5: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of programme A, B, D (see "Classical Dressage in Tuscany" for information on programmes B and D)
  • Day 6 6: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of programme A, B, D (see "Classical Dressage in Tuscany" for information on programmes B and D)
  • Day 7 7: BARBERINO

    Agriturismo Il Paretaio
    Choice of programme A, B, D (see "Classical Dressage in Tuscany" for information on programmes B and D)

    After breakfast, you will head to the airport in Florence to catch your return flight.

    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

- 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 A. Different itineraries are possible - please enquire for prices.

- It is possible for some riders to choose one of the above programmes whilst others in the same group choose the Classical Dressage in Tuscany trip.

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

- There is a single supplement payable if you end up in a single room (c. €196/£180); it will be refunded to you if later someone to share the room is found.

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

- Please note that for trips taking place over New Year's Eve, there will be a £30 supplement for a special New Year's meal.

- 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)
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 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 (it is possible to buy locally)


International flights


Tips to the local team


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


Transfers from Florence Aiport/Train station to the riding center, outward and return, per car and to be paid locally
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    30/10/2021 06/11/2021 £1,040 €1,225 $1,425 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    06/11/2021 13/11/2021 £1,040 €1,225 $1,425 Open Book now
    25/12/2021 01/01/2022 £1,200 €1,413 $1,644 Open Book now

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

Open to riders of different levels, from complete beginners to experienced riders.
Children from 5 years old can have lessons in the arena, but only competent children over 14 years old that are comfortable riding outdoors will be taken on hacks.

IMPORTANT: Riders over 85kg/ 13st/ 187lbs must consult us before booking.


You will work from the ground and mounted at different paces, with dressage up to High Level, depending on your experience.
Rides out in the countryside are mainly at walk and trot with some canter if you feel comfortable.

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

From beginners to experienced riders. No particular requirements are necessary 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.

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.


Meals 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)
- 1 pair of waterproof over trousers)
- 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
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- 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 - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

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: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy


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