A wonderful farm along the border between Valdarno and Chianti is the setting of a unique experience: join the Butteri in their daily work with the cattle after the legacy of the legendary Maremma cowboys.
It’s an unprecedented experienced compared to the more usual rides alongside with the Butteri (where you watch them more than anything else), or to horse clinics and stages in which they teach you riding and training techniques. Here, the goal is totally different: you will live first-hand the cowboys’ life by carrying out in first person the daily tasks of handling of a real herd in a real farm. What makes this experience possible is Ernesto Benini’s competence, host and founder of the thirty-year-old Dimensione Maremma Association.

The framework for this three-day adventure is the splendid La Forra farmhouse, perched on a hill in the Chianti region where the provinces of Arezzo, Florence and Siena meet. The farmstead has been tastefully renovated to provide guests with all comforts. It is equipped with three swimming pools, a yoga and massage room, and it also houses a very good restaurant, making the most of the farm-to-table products coming from the surrounding area and combining the rich Tuscan tradition with a modern and innovative cuisine.
The hospitality and the cultural highlights of Chianti, including its landscapes, wineries and a wealth of history and monuments, make the stay very pleasant even for people who just want to come along as companions.

The legacy of Maremma cowboys

Maremma cowboys are legendary figures, like the American cowboys, who created a style and reputation all their own! Butteri were shepherds in charge of the cattle in the latifundia (large landed estates) of the Tuscan and Latium Maremma. The breeding of Maremma cows was mainly practiced: these cows were kept wild in large marshy and bleak ranches, stifling in summer, cold and windy in winter, where malaria was more a certainty than a risk.

Living in this hostile environment, the cowboys provided for the needs of the cattle from dawn to dusk - often forced to keep watch at night, feeding themselves with a little bread and a vegetable soup in the evening, and sleeping on straw mattresses. In this harsh existence, their life and work companion were horses. In the breeding, training and herding, the Butteri have developed exceptional skills and traditions over the centuries, which have been handed down to great-grandchildren, enthusiasts and very active associations.Dimensione Maremma is one of them. In the heart of Chianti, La Forra, has brought this legacy to life again.

Chianti is one of the world-class tourist areas in the world
Characterized by the beauty and sweetness of its hilly landscape - shaped over the centuries by the man, with its extensive vineyards and its cottages perched on the hills and shaded by rows of cypress trees - Chianti has been for decades a coveted destination for foreigners from all over the world, willing to invest millions of dollars to buy marvelous houses. Rightly so, because here it is impossible to get bored: you can walk for miles in the silence of the woods, as well as visit historical wineries scattered in the area. The architectural and monumental wonders of Florence, Arezzo, Siena (to name the main ones) are just a step away; as well as the sea is not far-flung. While cheese, wines, cold cuts and specialties of a varied and wonderful cuisine are served in any trattoria or, for the most demanding ones, in the many starred restaurants in the area.

Info & details

Three days in the life of Tuscan cowboys


Accommodation in luxury farmhouse housed in historical buildings, in double room with private bathroom; availability of single use with supplement. Full board from dinner on Friday to lunch on Sunday, breakfast and dinner at the farm restaurant, lunch at the restaurant or a rich picnic outdoors provided by the facility (depending on season and weather conditions).

Horses and Riders

  • Horses: Maremmano
  • Riding style: working equitation, one-handedv
  • Equipment: scafarda (traditional working saddle) and bridle or filet
  • Experience required: sufficient familiarity with the three gaits
  • Fitness required: ability to spend 3 or 4 hours in the saddle
  • Minimum age: 12, with accompanying adult
  • Maximum weight limit: 100 kg (220 lbs)
  • Number of participants: min. 6, max. 8 horses for hire; it is possible to participate with one's own horse for a max. of 10 horses
  • Guides per group: min. 3
  • Spoken languages: Spanish, French, English
  • Guide presence: always, the guide stays entirely with the group

Itinerary and Ground

  • Terrain: dirt roads, sheep tracks, hilly meadows
  • Main difficulties: herding livestock

General Program Outline
Day 1 - Saddle up and kick-off.
Each rider will receive the necessary attention to find the confidence with the horse and be able to mount in total relax. Afterwards, the group will make its first outing on "trial" grounds and fences that facilitate the task. The group learns to round up the cattle, to lead the herd, and finally to separate individual animals from the herd and lead them into an isolated enclosure (sbrancamento). In the evening, dinner at the farm restaurant.
Day 2 - Herding in the open field.
After breakfast at the farmhouse, horses and riders move early in the morning to a 30-hectare hilly plot of pasture and woodland, where the herding techniques are repeated in much larger spaces, with a more numerous and unruly herd. After lunch, which depending on the season takes place on site or at the farm, you will move on to work with the horses, similar but more demanding than working with cows due to the greater speed and reactivity of the horses. In the evening, return and dinner at the farmstead.
Day 3 - Handling the herd independently.
On Sunday, you will go back to the plot, repeating all the fundamental operations of cattle management with greater autonomy. You will prepare for the transfer of the herd from one pasture to another. This is a sort of challenging final test that reproduces on a smaller scale the centuries-old experience of transhumance. You will then return to the farm for a farewell lunch. Goodbyes and end of the adventure!

The general program outline and activity timelines are purely indicative. The facility reserves the right to make changes, depending on weather conditions, horses and riders’ safety and security and any other relevant factor.

Your Fee includes

  • 3 days / 2 nights
  • Accommodation in double room with private bathroom, single use with extra charge
  • Full board from dinner on Friday until lunch on Sunday, breakfast included
  • The menu at the restaurant is fixed with 3 courses and includes traditional dishes
  • The menu includes water, coffee and wine. Lunches will be served at the farm restaurant or an outdoor picnic will be arranged, depending on the weather
  • Riders will be responsible for their horses from Friday afternoon to Sunday at noon
  • For riders with their own horse, stabling and feeding fodder from Friday afternoon to Sunday at noon

Extra services

  • Double room for single use
  • On the morning of the first day, private lessons are available upon payment
  • It is recommended to arrive the evening before, paying a supplement for the extra overnight stay
  • At the end of the experience it is possible to extend the stay including Sunday night, with supplement

Your Fee does not include

  • Transfer
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Beverages and drinks not included in the price or not included in the meals
  • City tax of €2.00 to be paid on site
  • Anything not mentioned in "the fee includes"

Three days in the life of Tuscan cowboys