Carmine is a native of Molise. In his early years he ran his own highly successful bar/restaurant in Isernia. Besides being an excellent cook he became a horseman at heart. Setting up a riding-centre annexe hotel/restaurant soon became a dream of his. In 1992 this was realized together with two partners. This centre is still there and is nationally renowned.
In 2003 ALTAVIA was started, with the intention to creating a riding center specializzed in trekkings for international riders.
An old farmhouse from 1885 was completely restored and renovated. The house is located in a large protected area, surrounded by paddocks and fields from were many trails leave in all directions.
ALTAVIA, literally meaning Highroad, is a small-scale setup. It makes for an informal and cosy atmosphere.
For over 35 years I have been exploring my region on horseback. For more than 20 years and 60,000km in the saddle, guests from all over the world have accompanied me.
Little forgotten paths, romantic clearings, untouched nature, historical places, a nice gallop through the valleys and always new explorations and insights give me a lot of inspiration
deeply connected feeling to our landscape, which I probably know better than the back of my hand.
The history of Abruzzo and Molise is a very special one with its Samnites, the indigenous people and the old tratturos for the cattle drive, I like to tell you about.
Carmine speaks English and Italian, and is certified guides FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestre).
Sandra’s heart has been beating for Altavia since 2016.
With their passion for nature and horses, Carmine and Sandra make a complete team for successful trail rides. Sandra comes from Germany and accompanies you as a rider during your vacation and lets you forget everyday life quickly with her cheerful manner. In addition to German and English, she already speaks a little Italian.
Together with the horses are two dogs and we form the ALTAVIA family. Milù and Buck. accompany all the trails.
The horses have been selected for their character, looks and intelligence. They were all born in the mountains, so they are very reliable in this mountainous area.
All year long they live in a herd which makes them a close group. Besides most of them are related in some way or the other.
The horses are willing and easy-going. The tack is western. On Sunday morning you get a safety-briefing, followed by a short demonstration in western riding. After lunch it is time for a three-hour-ride so that all riders get acquainted with their horses and the terrain.
MOLISE AND THE ABRUZZI
Molise is situated south-east of the region Lazio (Rome) en north of Campania (Naples).
History in a nutshell
Long ago this was the territory of the Samnites. After three centuries of warfare it was annexed to the Roman Empire in 79 B.C.
In the 16th and 17th century the wool-trade flourished. In the south of Italy millions of sheep were kept. In summer they were taken to our mountains. This transport is called “transumance”. Hereto very old cattle roads, named “tratturi”, were used. With the arrival of cotton the boom came to an end and was never to return.
The Abruzzi and Molise were always considered and governed as one area. In 1963 Molise became a separate region. Nowadays it is sparsely populated. Out of 1.000 Italians six live in Molise; only 0,6% of the total national population.
Landscape and nature
The hills and mountains are sloping. In the Abruzzi the Apennines are taller and rougher.
There is no industry to speak of. Everything over here is still pure nature. The Abruzzi house approximately 40 brown bears. Furthermore there are wild-boars, foxes, hares, squirrels, chamois, eagles, falcons, owls, woodpeckers, bats and a handful wolves.
There is an outstanding wealth of flowers. Species we grow in our gardens or put in vases at home abound as wild flowers here. In early spring there are crocuses, primroses and violets. In May and June the roses, irises, various anemones and different kinds of orchids blossom. In July a beautiful and rare orange lily appears in the woods and autumn is the time of the cyclamen and autumn crocus.
On the plateaus and in the valleys we make long canters. The horses, however, have to climb and go down a lot. Therefore the pace is generally not very fast. The safety of the rider and that of the horse is the main thing!