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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

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
Classic

Guesthouse · Mountain hut

OVERALL RATING

4.7

Based on 11 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

No previous experience is needed, but you need to be able to walk for up to 8 hours with elevation gains of 400-800m each day.

An incredible adventure in partnership with expert local wildlife trackers and conservationists

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

Day 1

To the Abruzzo Mountains

Hiking in the Abruzzo mountains, Italy. Photo: Host/Wildlife Adventures

Hiking

1-2hrs · 150m up · 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

Searching for chamois

Group Hike, Abruzzo NP, Italy. Photo: Host/Wildlife Adventures

Hiking

6-8hrs · 800m up · 800m down

After an early breakfast you'll head out for a big circular hike in the southern area of the Abruzzo National Park, past rock walls, along deep glacial valleys and through beech forests. Walking silently and respectfully you'll see one of the most important populations of Apennine chamois, meekly grazing between pastures and rocky walls. You may also see griffon vultures circling high above. Enjoy your packed lunch high up in the peaks before returning through forests to cap off a wild first day in the Abruzzos.

Day 3

Sunrise wolf tracking

Wildlife Tracking

6-8hrs · 500m up · 500m down

Another early start as you sip a pre-dawn coffee and head out to try to glimpse one of 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 watching, Central Apennnines, Italy. Photo: Host/Wildlife Adventures

Wildlife Tracking

6hrs · 400m up · 400m down

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. 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. Finish off another epic day with a traditional Italian feast.

Day 5

One last sunrise with the wildlife, return to Rome

Hiking, Abruzzos, Italy. Photo: Host/Wildlife Adventures

Wildlife Tracking

2-4hrs · 300m up

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, bear or wild boar 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.

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

Visas where required

Alcoholic drinks

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.

Outside view of Bisegna Refuge
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 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. You'll be able to leave your main luggage at the hotel and only take what you need for the overnight at the hut.

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.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

14:00 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. The airport is also well connected by rail into central Rome - https://www.italiarail.com/leonardo-express-roma-termini/

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.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's Included

  • Binoculars
  • Spotting scopes
  • Thermal camera
  • Hiking poles (If bringing your own, clean the ends to avoid soil contamination)

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack as your main bag
  • Daypack (20+ litres)

CLOTHES

  • Comfortable neutral coloured clothing for activities (camouflage colours, earthy tones and no bright colours are strongly recommended for most of the trip to improve chances of wildlife spotting)
  • Lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers and gaiters (for wet grass)
  • Warm fleece or puffy jacket for those chilly early mornings starts
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Long trousers for hiking
  • Quick-dry T-shirts (1 per day)
  • Shorts/Skirt
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Waterproof hiking boots (worn-in and soles cleaned)
  • Lightweight shoes for evenings

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Odourless Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Odourless Bug spray
  • Tick removal tool
  • Quick-dry towel and face cloth
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headlamp or torch
  • Small notebook and a pen/pencil
  • Reusable water bottle/Camelback (x1 litre)
  • Outdoor seat pad (highly recommended for while sat watching wildlife)
  • Light sleeping sheet for the mountain hut (blankets and pillows are provided)

OPTIONAL

  • Earplugs and eye mask
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Camera
  • Powerbank and charging cable if you need it
  • Any field guides you would like to use
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Pre/post trip accommodation in Pescasseroli (single room)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post trip accommodation in Pescasseroli (single room)

Per Night

Pre/post trip accommodation in Pescasseroli (twin/double room)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post trip accommodation in Pescasseroli (twin/double room)

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

Private airport transfer - each way (1-4 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer - each way (1-4 people)

Thea

A great experience. Our guide Domenico was super friendly and went above and beyond to make this trip enjoyable. The national park is stunning and it was an absolute privilege to see the bears, wolves and wild boars in their natural environment. I did not even mind getting up early during this holiday! I highly recommend this trip.

Katie

Great experience on this adventure. Real chance to switch off and just focus on nature and getting to know your group and guides without having to make plans and worry about logistics. The guides were knowledgeable and passionate. Staying in the mountain refuge was a highlight and of course seeing wolves, wild boar and stags. Yummy food, an interesting schedule of activities and falling into a comfy bed every night feeling satisfied with a fun and busy day ticked all the boxes for our holiday.

Faye

Amazing! Guide, views, group, food and experiences. Be prepared for a tiring trip with lots of early starts. However the days are so long and packed with hikes and wildlife watching that it felt like a week long trip!

Hayley

What an incredible trip! My first one with MBA, but definitely not my last. The big hike on the first day was tough, but has amazing views and we could go at our own pace. We saw a few chamois and some griffin vultures too! The early starts were early, 4-5am, but it’s the best time to see bears and wolves and that’s what we’re here for. We saw 5 wolves in total, and each felt like an absolute privilege (including 1 that had made a kill, and another 2 that crossed the road in front of us! It took our breathe away). We were very close to a resting mamma bear with cubs, but couldn’t see them behind rocks. Despite not seeing them it was wonderful to know they were there. The guides were incredible, Andrea in particular went over and above every single day, he is so knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife, and really fun. Sitting for 2+ hours in a meadow could have been a little tedious, but Andrea made it joyful. The mountain refuge felt like such a special place. A real highlight of the trip. The main accommodation exceeded expectations. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone that feels drawn to the types of activities listed. Just book it, it’s extremely special 🐺 💚🐻

Emma

I really enjoyed this trip and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. The guides were amazing and we saw lots of wildlife and even signs of bears. The whole team were great and the group I was with was great. 100% recommend this trip

Amanda

Great Trip, great experience, would love to visit this area again.

Sally

Very knowledgeable, friendly and punctual guides who really looked after us. Friendly group and great food back at the Inn, with friendly and helpful staff. Outstanding views and manageable long hikes - but not a march. Definitely recommend.

Sarah

Fantastic experience. Really knowledgable guide and great group

Rachel

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

Catherine

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!

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

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 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. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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. For all bookings with Much Better Adventures, 5% of our revenues (not profits) go in to our Foundation, primarily focussed on supporting World Land Trust to ensure our trips achieve Net-Zero emissions.

We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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 several hours each day with elevation gains of up to 400-800m, however, there are plenty of stops as you wait silently with binoculars to view the various wildlife. This trip can be include early starts and late finishes as these are the best hours for wildlife spotting, but time to rest in the middle of the day is factored in.

Sure can! Over 70% 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 - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements/

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

April 2024

Wednesday • 10th April 2024

to Sunday • 14th April 2024
3 Booked • 5 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Last Minute - 1 spot left at 10% off

Wednesday • 1st May 2024

to Sunday • 5th May 2024
5 Booked • 3 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 26th June 2024

to Sunday • 30th June 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 17th July 2024

to Sunday • 21st July 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 28th August 2024

to Sunday • 1st September 2024
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 25th September 2024

to Sunday • 29th September 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Wednesday • 16th October 2024

to Sunday • 20th October 2024
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

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