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.
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.