Nature & OutdoorNature & Outdoor

Horseback riding in Emilia-Romagna, from the Apennines to the beach

by /// August 28, 2023
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes



Some get on their bicycles and embark on exciting adventures on two wheels, while others prefer to put on their hiking shoes and head for the countryside. Some others like to explore a destination from a different perspective, or rather from another height.

Horseback riding in Emilia-Romagna is a slow, sustainable and fun alternative to discover the natural wonders of the region, from the Riviera Romagnola to the Apennine mountains.

It doesn’t really matter whether you are an experienced rider or an absolute beginner. The range of horse riding experiences in our region is so vast that it is well suited to all ages and training levels.

On horseback in the Apennines

A cavallo in Appennino
On horseback in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines

Let’s start our journey with some ideas for a horseback ride in the mountains. The first trail we want to tell you about is called Grande Ippovia dell’Appennino Emilia-Romagna (The great bridleway of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines), a network of roads and paths that can be travelled on horseback, winding for more than 1,000 kilometres from Piacenza to Rimini through the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park.

Travelling one or more stretches of this bridleway, of varying length and difficulty – allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of the Emilia-Romagna Apennine environment, from the Arda and Nure valleys in the Piacenza area to its highest peaks, such as Mount Cimone, and the landscapes of the Gypsum Vein of Romagna Regional Park.

In addition to the great bridleway itineraries, there are many natural areas in which to enjoy a horseback ride with a view of the mountains. For instance, the Regional Park of 100 Lakes, in the province of Parma, an enchanting natural area on the border with Liguria that offers guided horseback rides of various levels. With over 100 kilometres of trails that can also be ridden on horseback and the fascinating scenery of its sandstone towers, horse lovers can find plenty to enjoy at the Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park in the Modena Apennines too.

Another destination to mark in your diary is the Frignano Park, full of marked itineraries for horses and riders through woods, lakes and small villages, to be covered in just a few hours or with a multi-day excursion.

Moving southwards to Romagna, we recommend a horseback ride in the Casentinesi forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park, which organises activities especially for children.

Riding in the Po Delta Park

Parco del Delta del Po, cavalli | Ph. Alessandra Pollina
Po Delta Park, horses | Credit: Alessandra Pollina

Among the most evocative horseback rides in Emilia-Romagna, one cannot miss the excursions in the valleys, woods and pinewoods of the Po Delta Park, listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.

Exploring it on horseback is the perfect way to connect with the surrounding nature and admire its multiple facets. From spring to autumn you can take part in guided tours on Delta horses, descendants of the docile Camargue breed, with rides departing from the village of Lido delle Nazioni.

Moving further south along the coast, you can find another perfect setting for a horseback ride in the nature of the Delta Park. It’s the Pialassa della Baiona, the lagoon area behind the beach of Marina Romea, not far from Ravenna. Riding through this area you can admire entire flocks of pink flamingos foraging in the shallow waters of the lagoon.

Horse riding on the beach

A cavallo sulla spiaggia | Ph. PriceM via Shutterstock
Horse riding on the beach | Credit: PriceM, via ShutterStock

What if we told you that horseback riding in Emilia-Romagna can also be done by the sea? Autumn and spring are the best time to enjoy the Riviera in peace and quiet, and to ride on horseback on the endless stretches of fine sand.

The beaches of Ravenna and Cervia offer interesting experiences for those who wish to ride on the beach, where the waves break on the shoreline.

In October, the village of Marina Romea hosts A Cavallo nel Mare d’Autunno (On Horseback in the Autumn Sea) a horse festival including guided rides on the shore for all levels, galloping, events and competitions, as well as “baptisms in the saddle” for children and absolute beginners.

The beaches of Cervia also pay homage to the world of horse riding with A Cavallo del Mare, a weekend of events for children and fascinating rides on the beach.

On horseback in the hills

A cavallo sui colli | Ph. canon_photographer via Shutterstock
Horseback riding in the hills | Ph. canon_photographer via Shutterstock

Not only sea and mountain rides. The hills also have a lot to offer when it comes to horseback riding in Emilia-Romagna.

So why not enjoy a ride in the hills of Bologna, more precisely in Valsamoggia? Located west of Bologna, this area is rich in opportunities for those who love riding in the green along scenic routes, gullies and rivers.

But the Rimini countryside is no less impressive either. Riding stables in the area specialise in excursions in the hills, along country paths and watercourses, often with a scenic view of the sea. The perfect setting for a horseback ride around Rimini!


Maria Grazia Masotti

An eternal dreamer, but I try to stay grounded. I was raised in the countryside but I love big cities. I’m always ready for a trip, as long as it’s sustainable.

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