Adventures / Wildlife Adventures

Rewilding Adventure in Italy's Abruzzo Mountains

Track the 'Big 5' species of the Central Apennines Rewilding Area on foot in this biodiversity hotspot

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Trip Ref #10313

Adventures / Wildlife Adventures

Rewilding Adventure in Italy's Abruzzo Mountains

Track the 'Big 5' species of the Central Apennines Rewilding Area on foot in this biodiversity hotspot

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Italy

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

May-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Rome International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse · Mountain hut

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No previous experience is needed, but you need to be able to walk for up to 5 hours with elevation gains of 400-800m each day.

An incredible adventure created in partnership with expert local wildlife trackers

Ramble through mountainous valleys and beech forests on the lookout for brown bears, wolves, wild boar, chamois and golden eagles

Bookend long days in the wilderness with classic Italian food and tasty local wines in atmospheric mountain villages

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Rachel, July 2022

A beautiful part of the world. We were unlucky with our particular guide but lucky with the animal sightings - it was so special to see a bear. The hotel was lovely, great food and hospitality. The mountain lodge was great too, although you need to take at least a blanket as they said they supplied sheets, but these were only for the bottom of the bed. A sit mat would be useful too as sometimes where you sit for viewings is very dusty, and walking poles would help with the hills. The binoculars supplied were excellent. Having a small group size was great, and dawn and dusk walks with midday breaks to enjoy the hotel and village worked beautifully. The long day walk was longer the outlined in the trip description, but I think trips like this tend to be modified according to the conditions and where the animals are know to be. The best place to eat was just by the Hotel Iris, a gorgeous family run farm stay place called Agriturismo Maneggio Vallecupa

Helen, July 2022

n/a

Catherine, June 2022

Just returned from four amazing nights in the Appenines. Lots of hiking, beautiful views, excellent company, all topped off by the amazing sights of wolves, chamois, deer and even a bear!

Steve, June 2022

A fabulous trip! We were lucky enough to see both a wolf (at very close quarters) and a bear.

Included

Guides

English-speaking, expert wildlife tracker and rewilding guide

Accommodation

3 nights in locally owned guesthouses, 1 night in a mountain refuge

Meals

All your breakfast and dinners

Transfers

Transfers between Rome Airport and your base in the Abruzzo Mountains, and everything in between

Equipment

Binoculars and Nikon spotting scopes, and use of a thermal camera

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

12:00 on Day 1

Ends

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

17:00 on Day 5

Transfers

Your host will meet you at Rome Airport and transfer you over to Pescasseroli, your base for the adventure approximately two and a half hours away from Rome. On Day 5, your host will drop you back at the airport in Rome after the return drive. We suggest you book any onward flights to depart after 19:00.

Travel options

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome is well connected via numerous flights across the UK and Europe. US travellers can fly direct to Rome from various major US airports including New York, Miami and LA.

Train travel to Rome is an easy and enjoyable alternative for those looking to avoid flying on this trip. Rome Termini Railway Station is well connected to various major hubs across Italy and in neighbouring France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Travellers from the UK can take the Eurostar to Paris, followed by the TGV to Turin and then a Frecciarossa (Italian high-speed train) to Rome, all in a single day or with overnight stays in Turin or Milan.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfast at your accommodation is a classic international affair with cereals, bread, pastries and homemade cakes. Lunches are not included - you will buy packed lunches from the guesthouse or local shops and bakeries each morning to take with you on the wildlife tracking excursions. Please budget €10-15 per day for your lunches. Each evening you'll be tucking into traditional Italian dishes including maccheroni alla chitarra - a special type of spaghetti, soup with orapi (wild spinach) and beans, gnocchetti and grilled meat. The wider region outside the rewilding area has a strong sheep rearing culture, so plenty of local dairy products are available such as pecorino, ricotta, caciocavallo and a rare goat's cheese called Marzolina.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Pescasseroli

Your base for the adventure is in Pescasseroli, a beautiful and atmospheric rural Italian mountain village. You'll stay in one of the village's family-owned hotels and guesthouses, such as The Hotel Iris which offers traditional Italian hospitality surrounded by pine trees and mountain views. You'll stay in twin-share rooms. Depending on availability, you may stay at Hotel Valle dell'Oro, Della Piazza B&B, or the Albergo La Torre in neighbouring Civitella Alfedena.

Bisegna Mountain Hut

Terraegna refuge located in the municipality of Bisegna is a newly renovated mountain refuge in a remote location high in the mountains and only accessible by foot. The refuge provides warm Italian hospitality and cuisine, making a magical spot to rest in the mountains. The refuge has a spacious main area with a wood-burning stove and a cosy dining area for meals - the perfect place to relax after a long day's tracking. You'll stay in a shared sleeping area with bunk beds and a bathroom with a shower and toilet.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. This covers the nights in Pescasseroli - the night at Bisegna mountain refuge does not have a private room option. Please request this at the time of booking.

Day 1

To the Abruzzo's

Hiking

1-2hrs · 150m down

Meet your host at Rome Airport, hop in the van and drive through rural Italy to the town of Pescasseroli - your base for the next few days. Check into your guesthouse and meet up with your guide who will give you the lowdown on the rewilding efforts in the area and brief you on the adventure to come. Head out for an easy afternoon hike to get your first taste of Abruzzo National Park and catch the sunset before tucking into an Italian feast for dinner.

Day 2

On the prowl for wolf and bear sightings

Wildlife Tracking

4-5hrs

Rise before dawn to head out for a sunrise session to see the wildlife, often most active first thing in the morning. After breakfast, you'll hike through forests that are frequented by bears, martens and wild cats. Your tracker guide will lead the group through the forests, pointing out signs of bears and hoping for sightings to cap off a wild first day in the Abruzzo's. The guide is also on hand to ensure a safe and respectful passage through the home of these creatures who were close to extinction here but are making a comeback thanks to the rewilding work being done.

Day 3

Sunrise wolf tracking

Wildlife Tracking

4-5hrs

Another early start as you sip a pre-dawn coffee and head out to try to glimpse one of the Abruzzo's most enigmatic residents - the wolf. Hike through the twilight to a higher altitude where the wolves are known to pass-through. After sun up, head back down the valley and visit the Museum of the Apennine Wolf in Civitella Alfedena to learn more about the wolf's history of persecution and subsequent revival now happening in the Apennines. Enjoy lunch in a rural village before hiking up to the Bisegna refuge high in the mountains where you'll spend the night. You'll then set out into the twilight for an evening walk to listen to the howling of the wolves.

Day 4

Golden Eagles in Sirente-Velino Regional Park

Wildlife Tracking

4-5hrs

Take a short drive over to Sirente-Velino Regional Park, another area undergoing a return to nature as local farmers abandoned land over the years, allowing wildlife to come back. The area is a spectacular mix of towering mountains, deciduous forests and alpine meadows. Hike through this beautiful place on the lookout for deer and chamois and the largest colony of griffon vultures in the Appennines. With a bit of luck, you'll also witness a Golden Eagle flying overhead. Finish off another epic day with a feast of traditional Italian food and local wines.

Day 5

One last sunrise with the wildlife, return to Rome

Wildlife Tracking

1-2hrs

You'll be used to the pre-dawn escapades by now as you step out for one last sunrise stomp in the wilderness and hopefully another glimpse of a wolf or bear going about their morning business. After breakfast, it's time to jump back in the van and bid farewell to the mountains as you return to Rome in time for your flight home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's Included

  • Binoculars
  • Spotting scopes
  • Thermal camera
  • Hiking poles (use is optional, but if you prefer, you can organise with your host)

What do I need to bring?

BAGS
Soft duffel bag or rucksack
Daypack (20+ litres)

CLOTHES
Comfortable neutral coloured clothing for activities
Lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket
Fleece jacket or similar
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts for hiking
T-shirts
Underwear & socks
Swimsuit
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Warm hat
Something to sleep in
Waterproof hiking boots (worn-in)
Lightweight shoes for evenings

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Passports (and visas)
Travel insurance documents
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Bug spray
Quick-dry towel
Alcohol hand-gel
Face mask
Headlamp or torch
Small notebook and a pen/pencil
Reusable water bottle/Camelback (x1 litre)

OPTIONAL
Earplugs
Energy bars and snacks
Camera
Sleeping bag in case you get cold at night in the Safari Camp. There are blankets there, but some people prefer the extra warmth (we have some spare ones should you not have one)
Gaiters (optional for wet grass)
Powerbank and charging cable if you need it
Outdoor seat pad (optional, but highly recommended)
Any field guides you would like to use

Double/twin room in Pescasseroli

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Pescasseroli

Single room in Pescasseroli

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Pescasseroli

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private transfer from Rome Airport to Pescasseroli (each way)

Payable Before Departure

Private transfer from Rome Airport to Pescasseroli (each way)

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 130kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Our Rewilding Adventures take place in areas that are actively undergoing a process of ecological restoration known as rewilding. Increasingly, scientists and environmental activists see rewilding as a key solution to the ecological crises facing the planet. At Much Better Adventures we have followed this youthful movement closely, and it is clear that tourism has a role to play in helping to fund rewilding projects and show our adventurers the ecological transformations happening on the ground. Our trips explore these areas and particularly the species which are coming back to the returning wildernesses.

On any of our Rewilding Adventures, you'll be guided by expert wildlife trackers with a deep understanding of the rewilding efforts and the ecological improvements occurring in the areas they live and work in. You will search for and learn about keystone species such as wolf and bison which are either expanding from small historical numbers or being actively reintroduced. You'll see up close returning tree coverage and wildflower meadows, and even witness rivers running clearer due to the land growing wilder and withholding sediments. We aim for our Rewilding Adventures to instil a sense of hope that the damage which human activity has caused to the wild places on our planet can be reversed.

Every booking we take on a Rewilding Adventure directly supports and positively impacts the area in which your adventure takes place. Tourism provides a sustainable revenue stream to the local community, boosting the social and economic benefits from conservation and rewilding work, and therefore the incentives to support it.

Included in the trip cost is also a Rewilding Levy of 5% which goes directly to the rewilding project connected to the trip. On top of this, the Much Better Adventures Foundation channels an additional 5% of our revenues (not profits) from every booking to support reforestation and rewilding projects that advance our goal to protect the worlds wild places, one adventure at a time.

While we acknowledge that our Rewilding Adventures have a carbon footprint due to the need to travel to them, we have chosen the projects within our foundation for their potential to remove at least 2x more carbon from the atmosphere than enter it as a result of our trips.

This is a moderate adventure that can be managed and enjoyed by anyone with basic to good fitness levels. The duration of the days' hiking depends on the wildlife, and on average you'll be hiking for a few hours each day with elevation gains of up to 600m, however, there are plenty of stops as you wait silently with binoculars to view the various wildlife.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost and are not deemed compulsory in Italy. If you feel you received exceptional service from your guides then you are free to tip them at the end of your adventure, we suggest 10-15% of the trip cost would be a guideline figure in this scenario.

The tap water in this part of Italy is safe to drink. Please bring along a reusable bottle or two to take with you on the wildlife tracking excursions.

Temperatures in the Abruzzo Mountains in the summer months average an enjoyable 20° / 68°F. May and October will be cooler with averages of around 15° / 59°F. Rainfall is lowest in July and highest in May and October, so be sure to pack a rain jacket, though the region gets a lot of unbroken sunshine in the summer.

Yes, you can leave your main luggage in your room at the guesthouse or hotel in Pescasseroli. You can also leave your main pack safely at the hotel or guesthouse in Pescasseroli when you go to the Bisegna refuge for the night.

For current advice about travelling in Italy, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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