Equestrian trails in Tuscany: six paths near Prato
170 kilometres to discover the nature of an authentic landscape
The equestrian trails in the province of Prato are part of a bigger project that includes a lot of places for horse riding in Tuscany. These 170 kilometres offer a slow discovery into the nature of the area within a rural, authentic landscape. In this territory there are a lot of protected areas, untouched landscapes and places to taste good food and wine. Let's go and discover the six equestrian trails of Prato province.
Carigiola Itinerary Length: 24 kilometres Riding Time: 1 day
This is a circular itinerary and can be covered in both directions: from Montepiano westwards you find the abbey of Santa Maria, the Alpe di Cavarzano, the Monte delle Scalette (recommended for expert riders only and it's better to lead your horse) and the Tabernacle of Gavigno. Then the trail goes to Peraldaccio and Cavanzano and returns to Montepiano. Along this itinerary, the vegetation is typical of the Apennines area, with beech forests at high altitude, oak woods in southern areas and enchanting chestnut groves. The waters of the many streams and torrents along the itinerary are clear and uncontaminated.
Upper Bisenzio Valley itinerary Length: 55 kilometres Riding Time: 2/3 days
This circular itinerary overlaps the Carigiola trail. The starting point is in Montepiano and the direction is southwest towards Luciana and Carigiola trail to the Tabernacle of Gavigno. Here the itinerary differs from the Carigiola one: it runs southward along the Apennine crest and turns downhill towards Castello, Luicciana and Lago Verde. This itinerary crosses the Bisenzio Valley, uphill to Rocca della Cerbaia and Montecuccoli. Then the trail runs above Vernio and back to Montepiano. Here the landscapes are characterized by woodlands of beeches, oaks and chestnuts.
The circular itinerary of Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve can be ridden either clockwise or counter-clockwise from Cascina di Spedaletto to Cascina Le Barbe and Le Cavallaie. The path continues north on the ridge line to Monte di Migliana and downhill to Luicciana through Castello. The landscape is typical of the Apennines, with extensive beech woods and chestnuts, oaks and hornbeam trees, depending on the altitude. In the uncontaminated torrents along the trail you can find rare species of fish and amphibians.
Calvana itinerary Length: 15.5 kilometres Riding Time: 1 day
The landscape of this itinerary is shaped by karst phenomena and a lot of grottos, dolines and karst springs giving the area a breathtaking view. The Calvana itinerary has this name because it skirts the entire length of the Monti della Calvana. From Valibona you can go west to Parmigno and Fabio. From here you can pass through Savignano and Sofignano up to Borgo della Mezzana and again on the ridge of Montecuccoli. The torrents that flow in this area are the perfect environment for rare amphibians and spectacled salamander. In the meadows of Monte della Calvana there is high biodiversity: interesting bird species, rare flowers and plants like wild orchids. The traditional livestock are present here with Calvana cattle, herds of cattle and sheep, and wild horses. Along this itinerary you can find also numerous farmhouses and rural buildings.
Montalbano itinerary Length: 25.8 kilometres Riding Time: 1 day
This itinerary covers a trail from the plain to the summit passing through Montalbano. From Artimino you can choose two trails: the first is the lower route that passes through Comeana up to the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano; the second is the upper route that runs through Carmignano before climbing to the Montalbano summit. The landscapes are characterized by variety: from farms to woods and Mediterranean maquis, from cultivated fields to vineyards, from olives groves to hamlets. Here you can find many great products like wine, oil, figs and other agriculture treasures. These are spots with wonderful views: Artimino, the Rocca di Carmignano and Pietramarina.
Monferrato-Piana itinerary Length: 31 kilometres Riding Time: 1 day
This itinerary begins in the Apennines in the Le Cavallaie locality, passes through Montemurlo hills after a passage in the Piana of Prato and arrives in Poggio a Caiano. From the Rocca di Montemurlo you can choose two paths: the path in the hills and the mountains heading north or the plain heading south. If you choose the first itinerary the landscapes are oak forests and olive grooves in the hills and chestnuts and beech trees in the mountains. There are also farmhouses and typical tower-houses. If you choose the second path the landscape changes quickly: from rural areas to urban and industrial ones. Here you can find wet areas with a lot of species of birds.