Leave Rome to go to Verona on horseback. This is where it all started, this bizarre idea of a group of friends who are all horse lovers, but not yet conscious of their own cavaliers soul. Why not travel the entire length of the boot then, from the Alps to Sicily?
The answer came from Ippovia Italy (Italian horse track), a great green track to follow on horseback along tracks that join the Alps to the rest of Italy and then, from Rome, continues towards other European capitals. It is a very complex project, which began in 2001 with an initiative of the Italian Horse and Environment Society (non-profit organisation - SICA), in cooperation with Federparchi and CAI, with the aim of creating a national network of tracks in ten years so that anyone who wants to ride nature is free to organise the itinerary, but able to count on a safe and organised accommodation network.
Following the ancient tracks of wayfarers and pilgrims or the old stretches of consular routes, lovers of horses and nature can admire the rests of ancient cattle-tracks; Roman paved roads, experience history enclosed in the fascinating places that are found along the way. Along the ancient roads, the slow regular beat of hooves; the harmonious pace and silent company restore the cavaliers soul, helping it to listen to the voice of wild nature and slow down frenetic and chaotic life, strengthening our natural bond with the land.
Therefore, for the potential pilgrims the Rome-Verona Horse Track was inaugurated in 2003, about 700 kilometres with the reins in your hand to trot along tracks, mule tracks and farm roads: from Lazio to Veneto, from the Tevere to the Arno to then climb up the peninsula along the ancient Via Francigena which passes through the Val dOrcia, the land of Matilde di Canossa in Emilia Romagna and, finally, reaches the capital of horses, Verona, following the banks of the Adige. A road of horses and riders that revives history, that of transhumance, getting closer to our rural heritage, a historic wealth that must be protected. Not to talk of the eagles flight south, across Lazio, with all its parks, rivers and ancient history: Horse Tracks and Lazio parks inaugurated in 2004. The preparation of these tracks continues unhalted now and in November 2005, the new stretch was inaugurated and is waiting to be explored: Sicily Horse track, running from Cefalù to Taormina through four Sicilian regional parks.
These tracks are fully marked and reproduced in a guide, called Ippovia Italia, divided in three volumes which show the various itineraries that can be followed on horseback across rural areas and mountains in Italy, a real pocket sized map prepared by SICA.