Italy is one of the top three cultural destinations in all of Europe, yet few people realize that it also has amazing wildlife on offer. On this epic journey, you will get to immerse yourself not only in the well-known historic sites, but also in national parks that hold some of the best wildlife attractions on the entire continent. You will visit spectacular mountain landscapes looking for tracks and sightings of wolves, brown bears, lynx, and several species of ungulates. In between, you will get to explore the ancient ruins in Rome, the renaissance masterpieces of Florence, and ultimately finish your journey in Venice.
Italy Wildlife & Cultural Immersion
Italy Wildlife & Cultural Immersion
September - October, May - June
Experience & Activity Level:
Previous tracking experience helpful but not required.
Participants should be in good physical condition.
3 star hotels & mountain huts
Starting at $5,690 per person ($330 single supplement)
- Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo
- Parco naturale delle Prealpi Giulie
- Venice (optional extension)
Italy is replete with ancient ruins, castles, and cathedrals, but also possesses stunning national parks full of large fauna and breathtaking views. On this one of a kind journey, you will get to combine two distinct experiences into one incredible program, merging the best of cultural pursuits with traditional naturalist activities. A perfect blend of outdoor adventure and urban sophistication, this unique combination will allow you to see the most important historical sites and museums, while also getting up close and personal with its natural wonders.
Your trip will begin in Rome, where you will spend a couple of days exploring the sites of the ancient city guided by a trained archeologist. This includes the Colosseum, the Forum, and other well-known landmarks from the greatest days of the empire. Afterwards, you will head east to the Apennine Mountains and the picturesque Italian village of Pescasseroli, nestled at the base of Abruzzo National Park. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by your expert naturalist and wildlife tracking guides who will give you an overview of the park and its amazing diversity of fauna and flora. The following morning, you will head up into the higher reaches of the mountains where you will spend the next three evenings in a cozy mountain hut.
Each day in the park you will be led by your guides to different habitats to look for animal tracks, sign, and sightings of prominent animals like the endangered Apennine brown bear and Apennine wolf, wild boar, red fox, red deer, roe deer, and chamois among many others. Your guides will teach you how to find and recognize their tracks, and also how to interpret what behavior the animal was engaged in, where it was headed, and where it might be now. They will also instruct you in some bird language exercises so that you can learn this valuable skill that will teach you where ground predators are lurking in the forest, as well as the whereabouts of aerial predators like the golden eagle.
Following your stay in Abruzzo, the group will depart for Florence to spend a couple of days surveying the architectural wonders and delving into the museums of the city that revived western civilization over six centuries ago. Your city guide will detail the most important happenings, artistic developments, and technological breakthroughs that changed the course of history and led to our modern society. In the evenings, you will have time to parade through the plazas to enjoy the splendid views of the town, and gaze out at the Arno River from the famous Ponte Vecchio.
Upon leaving Florence, you will stop at the renowned “Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia,” a UNESCO site. Here you will get a guided walking tour of the Roman excavations and visit the Basilica, with its exceptional mosaic pavement. Continuing north, you will arrive at Val Resia, located in the heart of the Parco naturale delle Prealpi Giulie in the Julian Alps. Here you will spend the next four nights at an educational nature centre in the heart of the park, about fifteen minutes’ walk from the village of Stolvizza and overlooking the pristine Mount Canin.
In Parco naturale delle Prealpi Giulie, you will have three full days exploring the park to look for wildlife sign and sightings, and to soak up the stunning scenery. Some of the animals and tracks you will be looking to observe include the lynx, European wildcat, wild boar, ibex, and chamois. The group will again conduct bird language exercises and be on the lookout for fascinating species like the Ural owl and other predatory birds. When your time in this majestic park comes to an end, you will be transported to Venice where you can immediately catch your return flight home, or choose an optional extension to your trip to partake in what this splendid city has to offer.