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Winter Hiking and Wolf Tracking in Italy

A rewilding adventure through the Abruzzo Mountains, created in partnership with local wildlife trackers and conservation experts

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Trip Ref #10314

Winter Hiking and Wolf Tracking in Italy

A rewilding adventure through the Abruzzo Mountains, created in partnership with local wildlife trackers and conservation experts

DURATION
3 nights
LOCATION
Italy
ANNUAL LEAVE
2 days off work
SEASON
Dec-Mar
GROUP SIZE
Up to 8 people
MEETING POINT
Rome International Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Guesthouse

OVERALL RATING

4.7

Based on 11 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

No snowshoeing experience needed, but bring a good fitness level and a warm jacket! It's an active few days with fairly challenging hikes

Clip on snowshoes to search for the elusive creatures of Italy's Central Apennines Rewilding Area

Eyes peeled for the ultimate apex predator, the wolf: this keystone species is an iconic symbol of rewilding efforts in this part of Europe

Head out on twilight hikes to hear the wolves howl before tucking into classic Italian food in family-run guesthouses

Day 1

To the Abruzzo Mountains

Hiking

1-2hrs · 2-3km · 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 weekend. 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

Wolf tracking

Wildlife Tracking

5-6hrs · 8-10km · 400m up · 400m down

Wake for a sunrise hike along the southern slope of the mountain, through an area frequented by wolves. Whilst you cross your fingers for sightings, your guide will talk you through the history of the wolves in the area and the role they play within the rewilding of ecosystems as a keystone species. Wolves have been making a steady comeback in this part of Italy, thanks in part to the creation and ongoing management of the Central Apennines Rewilding Area. After lunch, you'll take a short drive to Civitella Alfedena to visit the Apennine Wolf Museum, before some afternoon downtime at the guesthouse. Later, you'll head out for a torchlight hike and listen for the unmistakable howling of wolves.

Day 3

Winter hiking in the Apennines

Abruzzo, Italy
Host image - Wildlife Adventures

After breakfast you'll head off to explore the magnificent mountain chain of Mainarde – one of the least frequented and wildest areas of the Abruzzo National Park. The landscape here is stunning, especially in winter, with woody slopes giving way to snow-covered rocky hills. Keep your eyes peeled for endemic Apennine chamois and golden eagles soaring overhead. Hike along ridges and valleys overlooking the main mountain ranges of the Apennines – on clear days you can see all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Head out for dinner this evening to a cosy, local pizzeria in the village.

Day 4

The wilderness of Pianoro Le Forme

Wildlife Tracking

4-5hrs · 6-8km · 350m up · 350m down

Begin the day at dawn again, as you set out into the beautiful scenery of Pianoro Le Forme at the foot of Mount Meta – eyes and ears open for deer, chamois, and hopefully wolves, if you're lucky. Hike on through beech forest and mountain pastures to Passo dei Monaci. Warm up with a cup of rich Italian hot chocolate (the best kind) and a final taste of local delicacies, before bidding farewell to the Abruzzos and heading back to Rome.

Included

Guides

English-speaking, expert wolf tracker and rewilding guide

Accommodation

3 nights in a boutique, locally owned guesthouse

Meals

All breakfasts and dinners

Transfers

Transfers between Rome airport and the Abruzzo Mountains, and everything in between

Equipment

Snowshoes, poles, binoculars, spotting scopes and use of a thermal camera

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Departure day

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 wolf 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 this 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.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

13:00

Ends

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

17:00

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 3, your host will drop you back at the airport in Rome. We suggest you book any onward flights to depart after 18:00.

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.

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?

  • Snowshoes
  • Poles
  • Binoculars
  • Spotting scopes
  • Thermal camera

What do I need to bring?

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

CLOTHES
Waterproof and windproof jacket
Fleece jacket or similar
Down or synthetic jacket
Thick, warm and waterproof gloves
Base layers (merino best)
Buff or beck scarf
T-shirts
Thick hiking socks - multiple pairs
Sunglasses
Warm hat
Something to sleep in
Waterproof hiking boots (worn-in)
Lightweight shoes for evenings

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel Insurance documents
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Alcohol hand-gel
Face mask
Headlamp or torch
Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)

OPTIONAL
Earplugs
Energy bars and snacks
Camera
Thermos flask

*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 (Dec 2023-March 2024)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Dec 2023-March 2024)

Per Person

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Dec 2024-March 2025)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Dec 2024-March 2025)

Per Person

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

Payable Before Departure

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

Arthur R.
Beautiful Abruzzo

We had a wonderful experience. The weather was great, even though there was no snow, clear sunny skies made up for that. Sunrise high in the mountains, beautiful hikes through the woods to a wonderful valley where we saw Chamois and deer. What a wonderful area Abruzzo! Sadly we did not see any wolves but our wonderful guide Andrea tought us alot about them and the surroundings and the national park, and it was exciting to see the wolf-scats and traces to show that they are really there!

deryn v.
Great guide, some lovely animals,

Great guide, some lovely animals, great group, a pity about the lack of snow (and wolves). I was looking forward to snowshoeing, but the hiking through beautiful scenery was good.

christopher c.
Very luck to have two

Very luck to have two hours of ‘ wolf watching on first morning’. Also to see two golden eagles on day three. Valeria was an excellent guide.

Sophie

I had a great weekend looking for wolves, we were lucky enough to see a few, and hiking into the mountains using the snow shoes. Our guide, Andrea, was brilliant, so much knowledge and enthusiasm, I could easily have spent an extra week learning from him. Definitely take lots of layers, it gets cold sitting looking through binoculars early in the morning but we'd all stripped down to t-shirts when hiking the mountain! You do need to be quite fit and determined but if you're in two minds, I'd say go for it, you'll love it even if you don't manage to spot a wolf.

Caitlin

Amazing trip! Our guide, Valeria, was incredibly kind as well as being informative and passionate about the rewilding efforts in Abruzzo National Park. We didn't see wolves on our hikes, though we did see loads of tracks thanks to a heavy snowfall on our arrival day. We did manage to see four wolves in the town we stayed in, and even heard them howl (spectacular!). The area is gorgeous, and we had stunning views as we hunkered down to spot wildlife (highlights were a golden eagle, red deer, buzzards, and white-backed woodpeckers). I was also lucky enough to have a great group of people on the trip, so debriefing on the day over dinner and drinks was as fun as being out on the hikes. Overall, a fantastic trip with fantastic people--highly recommend!

Tim

Overall a great trip. The hikes were quite challenging in the snow, but rewarded with the stunning landscape and scenery. Would have been nice to have had an extra day or so to explore the area further. Valeria, our local guide, was excellent. Would recommend this trip to others - be sure to pack extra layers and especially extra socks!

Angela

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip - the Abruzzo's are a stunning region and well worth the trip out. We were unlucky to not see wolves; however they are elusive wild animals so nothing is ever guaranteed. We did hear them howling though, which was both eerie and beautiful. We also saw chamois, deer, foxes, hares and many signs of wolves (tracks, scat etc).

Our guide Valeria was excellent, full of knowledge and passion for the region, and so helpful with extra tips for what to do / where to eat, and coming to my rescue with tape when the sole of my trusty hiking boot suddenly gave up on me.

The hiking (both regular and snow shoe) was through some amazing scenery and should be manageable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Overall, I would definitely recommend the trip - whilst seeing wolves would have been the icing on the cake, not seeing them merely gives me a reason to go back and explore further.

Victoria

I can not recommend this trip highly enough. I’m not generally good with strangers so going on a trip with seven others I didn’t know pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot. But I needn’t have worried. The group were fantastic, Valeria the guide was great. I learnt so much about the Apennine wolves and other wildlife, the ecology of the area and conservation efforts that have brought the national park to the wonderful haven it is now. The iris hotel was great comfortable rooms, great food and friendly staff. We didn’t see any wolves on the hikes (luck of the draw dealing with wildlife is always a gamble) but however on two nights of my stay I did see three directly outside the hotel from my balcony crossing their territory. I would advise people to pay for extra days to make the most of Pescasseroli, it’s a beautiful place and you really can spend hours just wondering around admiring the charms of the town whilst stopping for the occasional espresso also take the time to pop up to the castle ruins so you can see the breathtaking views. Already planning to head back for another round.

Vincent

What a gem of an area at just 2.5 hours of Rome. The hikes and wildwatching are truly special and can differ a lot from each other eventhough they are all pretty close to the hotel. Although seeing wolves is by no means guaranteed, if you love hiking in mountains and learning about all local animals, this trip is for you!

Rose

I loved the trip to Abruzzo in Italy, the scenery was stunning, the wildlife was amazing as were the guides who were super knowledgeable and engaging. They are part of a brilliant organisation trying to protect, restore and connect habitats to support a range of wildlife including bears and wolves. This holiday helps ensure this work continues by donating a small % of the trip - so worthwhile and a great way to give back while still having a holiday

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 88kg 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 an easy adventure that can be managed and enjoyed by anyone with basic fitness levels. You'll be hiking and snowshoeing for a few hours each day with mild elevation gains of up to 400m, however, there are plenty of stops as you wait silently with binoculars to view the various wildlife, and hopefully a wolf pack or two. You don't need any snowshoeing experience.

Snowshoeing is a type of hiking that uses a special type of footwear - a snowshoe - to spread your weight over a larger area, allowing you to move easily across powdery snow-covered terrain. While today's snowshoes look modern, snowshoeing has actually played a vital role in Arctic life for centuries, with traders and trappers using wooden versions to move freely through the wilderness.

Snowshoeing is incredibly easy, comfortable and safe. You simply clip your snowshoe to the outside of your hiking boot and off you go. You'll be in the hands of local, experienced, and trained guides who know the area intimately and will guide you safely throughout the hike.

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.

Yes, you can leave your main luggage in your room at the guesthouse or hotel in Pescasseroli.

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

March 2024

Thursday • 21st March 2024

to Sunday • 24th March 2024
4 Booked • 4 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 28th November 2024

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

Thursday • 12th December 2024

to Sunday • 15th December 2024
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 9th January 2025

to Sunday • 12th January 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 23rd January 2025

to Sunday • 26th January 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 6th February 2025

to Sunday • 9th February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 20th February 2025

to Sunday • 23rd February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 6th March 2025

to Sunday • 9th March 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 20th March 2025

to Sunday • 23rd March 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

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