Signature journey

Central Apennines

Abruzzo, Wild Heart of Italy

Cost

£ 1,895

Nights

7

Fitness level

Moderate

Group size

Min 6, max 12

Location

Italy: Central Apennines

Cost

£ 1,895

Fitness level

Moderate

Nights

7

Group size

Min 6, max 12

Location

Central Apennines, Italy

Abruzzo, Wild Heart of Italy

  • Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.
  • Majella National Park.
  • Gran Sasso National Park.
  • Rewilding projects and Bear Smart Community visits.
  • Daily birding and wildlife walks hoping to see the Apennine chamois, deer, wolves, pine martin, griffon vultures, eagles and the rare Marsican Brown Bear.
  • Ancient broad-leaf forests including Europe’s oldest Beech trees.
  • Spectacular landscapes and fascinating Apennine cultural experiences.
Day 1 Arrival in Rome and transfer to Perscasseroli

Arrive at Rome-FCO and transfer to Pescasseroli where we’ll stay at the charming Albergo Villino Quintiliani for 3-nights. Our local guide will give the group an introduction to the week. As sunset approaches, we’ll take a short excursion to try and observe wildlife followed by dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.

Day 2 Beechwoods of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park

We’ll rise early before sunrise for a wildlife watching session before returning to the hotel for a hearty breakfast. Breakfast is followed by a visit to an old-growth forest with UNESCO protected status where we’ll observe signs of the many animal species that live here. Many of the trees are truly ancient having started life in the Middle Ages with the oldest Beech trees having lived more than 560 years! We return to Pescasseroli for lunch and the afternoon is free to relax at the hotel or wander through the town’s charming streets. In the early evening, we’ll head out for wildlife observation until sunset and then return to the hotel for a late dinner.

Day 3 Mount Meta and Passo dei Monici viewpoint

Despite the late evening we start early to try and observe wolves as they move along the mountain slopes in the very early morning. After coffee and breakfast, we will move along the southern slope of Mount Meta, an important nature conservation area. We continue to an area where the endemic Apennine chamois live and hope we are lucky enough to observe them. Just steps away is the spectacular viewpoint of Passo dei Monici and if the weather is clear, it is possible to see Gran Sasso, Vesuvius, Capri and the Ischia Islands. There’s time to v the incredible panoramic view as we enjoy a tasty, packed lunch before descending and returning to our hotel in the afternoon. In the evening there’s time to relax over a leisurely dinner at our hotel.

Day 4 Ortona dei Marsi Bear Smart Corridor

After breakfast, we transfer to Ortona dei Marsi which is part of the LIFE Bear-Smart Corridor initiative aimed at creating coexistence corridors that connect the main protected areas of the region. The aim of the project is to connect local communities with wilder nature as a means to expand the Marsican bear population while maintaining coexistence. Here at Ortona dei Marsi the corridor connects the Abruzzo National Park with Sirente Velino Regional Park. We’ll join the local rewilding team in monitoring wildlife and performing damage-prevention activities. In the afternoon we’ll transfer to Majella National Park and our accommodation Agriturismo Pietrantica. If we’re lucky we’ll observe the short-toed Eagle, Golden eagle and Montagu’s Harrier.

Day 5 Majella National Park

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll start our walk to discover the impressive ridge line of the Majella massif which is home to rich biodiversity and endemic flora. Known by the people of Abruzzo as ‘Mother mountain’ it’s a place of spirituality, a land of mountain shepherds, hermits and brigands. First, we’ll pass through dense dwarf mugo pine scrub before we reach the rock inscriptions of Tavole dei Briganti. They were made by bandits and outlaws who resisted the unification of Italy in 1861. We continue along the rocky ridge until we reach the Fusco Bivouac mountain refuge with its spectacular views of the Murelle Wall. Panoramic views extend over the barren and desolate landscape yet rare, endemic plant species survive here and if we’re lucky we may spot the reintroduced herds of Chamois. After soaking up the atmosphere and views we start our descent back down to the valley and a welcome evening meal at Agriturismo Pietrantica.

Day 6 Orfento Valley

After breakfast, we explore the Orfento Valley, a deep gorge famous for its rich biodiversity, hermitages, caves and fairy tale landscape shaped by the force of water. The rich riparian vegetation flowing over limestone bedrock gives the fast-flowing streams gives a distinctive colour. As we wander through the lush landscape, we’ll enjoy a packed lunch before continuing on to the Gran Sasso National Park for dinner and overnight at Sextantio Albergo Diffuso.

Day 7 Gran Sasso National Park

After breakfast transfer to the magnificent plateau of Campo Imperatore and hike to Vado di Corno an enchanting point on the Corno Grande, which rises to 2912 m asl. For centuries, the unforgiving slopes and plains of the highest massif in the Apennines have hosted little more than tiny alpine hamlets and flocks of sheep. So vast were these flocks that they formed the backbone of the Medici family fortune, which began with the wool trade during the early Renaissance. In the prairies, the rare Meadow Adder is present and it is possible to observe flocks of Griffon Vultures.  We hope to hear the Tawny pipit sing and observe Common Wheaters and Red-billed Choughs. As we climb by van to an altitude of 2200 meters it will be possible to observe very closely, the White-winged Finch and with a short walk we will try to observe the Apennine Rock Partridge and Wallcreeper. Hungry from our efforts we’ll enjoy a self-grilled lunch of arrosticini a local style of lamb. In the afternoon we’ll visit the ruins of Santa Maria del Monte and stroll through the characteristic towns of Castel del Monte and Calascio. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 8 Departure

Departure to Rome-FCO Airport our guide will accompany the group back to Rome-FCO International Airport for our flights home.


Dates
  • 21-28 May 2023
  • 10-17 Sept 2023
  • 15-22 October 2023

What’s Included
  • 7 nights hotel accommodation.
  • 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners.
  • English speaking naturalist guide.
  • Transfers to/from Rome-FCO and activities as listed in the itinerary.
  • Binoculars and spotting scopes during walks.
  • Local taxes.

Not included
  • Lunches and packed lunches
  • Single Room Supplement
  • Personal travel & health insurance

What to Bring
  • Rain proof jacket and trousers.
  • Long sleeved top and trouser.
  • Layered clothing (wool and synthetics) for a range of temperatures.
  • Fleece or warm sweater and hat for cooler evenings.
  • Hiking boots.
  • Thermal underwear.
  • Extra underwear and socks.
  • Head lamp with extra batteries.
  • Swimming trunks/suit and towel.
  • Electricity adaptor (Europlug type c and F 230 volts).
  • Personal water bottle and any favourite snacks and personal medication.

Accommodations

3 nights at Albergo Villino Quintiliani in a DBL or Twin room with private bathroom.

2 nights in the Agriturismo Pietrantica in a DBL or Twin Room with private bathroom.

2 nights at Sextantantio Albergo Diffuso in a DBL or Twin Room with private bathroom.


Special Dietary Requirements

Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free and other allergy free meal options are available on request. Please inform us of your dietary requirements in advance of travel.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Rain proof jacket and trousers.
  • Long sleeved top and trouser.
  • T-shirts and shorts.
  • Fleece or warm sweater and hat for cooler evenings.
  • Hiking boots, or hiking shoes.
  • Extra underwear and socks.
  • Sunglasses, sun cream and mosquito/tick repellent.
  • Head lamp with extra batteries.
  • Swimming trunks/suit and towel.
  • Electricity adaptor (Europlug type c and F 230 volts).
  • Personal water bottle and any favourite snacks and personal medication.

Enquire about available trips

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