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A B R U Z Z O   A D V E N T U R E

O C T O B E R   2 0 2 4

Photograph elusive Apennine Wolves, Marsican Bears and other wildlife in Italy's Apennines this autumn

Rome, Italy

6 days

4 - 7 places 

From £1550

(Excluding flights)

BOOK NOW

Trip 1 : 7th - 12th October 2024 (provisional dates)

Trip 2 : 14th - 19th October 2024 (provisional dates)

If you would like to arrange a private workshop for an individual or group,

please get in touch above for available dates. If there is high demand, we will aim to take smaller groups on each trip for more intimate wildlife experiences.

Trip Overview

T R I P    O V E R V I E W

This 6-day workshop in the Apennines, namely the Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise region of Central Italy, will offer you the chance to observe and photograph the region's "Big Five" - the Apennine Wolf, Marsican Brown Bear, Apennine Chamois, Red Deer, and Griffon Vulture - at a fabulous time of year in spectacular surroundings. 

With rolling green mountain slopes dotted with medieval villages, crystal-clear rivers and lush beech woodlands, early autumn in Italy gives golden opportunities for nature photography. From late September, Red Deer rut alongside the azure streams of the Sangro River and in the valleys. Tired stags make easy targets for Apennine Wolves, which have just emerged from their dens with their cubs. The critically endangered Marsican Brown Bears (fewer than 60 left in Italy) come down to fruiting trees in village orchards; whilst on mountain screes, Apennine Chamois (a charismatic species of antelope) raise their young under the ever-present gaze of soaring Griffon Vultures. 

Target Species: Apennine Wolf, Marsican Bear, Apennine Chamois, Griffon Vulture, Red Deer. Also possibility of birdlife such as Golden Eagle, Rock Partridge, Hoopoe, Lilford's White-Backed Woodpecker, and Dipper. 

H I G H L I G H T S

  • See and photograph the region's "Big Five" - the Apennine Wolf, Marsican Bear, Apennine Chamois, Griffon Vulture and Red Deer - as well as spectacular birdlife and landscapes

  • Develop a rich portfolio of images showing animal portraits and seldom seen behaviours

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  • Enjoy local cuisine and culture in beautiful, unspoilt medieval hilltop villages of the Abruzzo

  • Local photography and nature guides with intimate expert knowledge of the area

  • Excellent guide to client ratio, with lots of 1-on-1 tuition (lower group sizes if all photographers)

  • Optional editing and image review sessions 

  • Learn how to track and identify elusive wildlife with fieldcraft 

  • 3 nights' stay in a comfortable guesthouse in the Abruzzo National Park

  • 2 nights in a mountain refuge deep in the wolves' territory in Sirente Velino Regional Park

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We will divide our time between two bases to maximise opportunities with the region's rarest mammals.

 

For the first half of the trip, we'll be based in the Abruzzo National Park at a lovely bed-and-breakfast. Equipped with private bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms, and a lounge area, this will be our gateway to one of Italy's most unspoilt wild regions. 

 

For the second part of your stay, we'll transfer to Sirente Velino Regional Park, staying in a fully-equipped refuge on Monte Velino with Wolves and Golden Eagles on our doorstep. This is a true immersion in the realm of the wolf. There are cosy dormitories (shared unisex), with running electricity, water, and wifi. Fabrizio the chef makes an excellent dinner for us on our arrival. The nests of Golden Eagles and Griffon Vultures can be viewed just above the refuge. 

O U R    B A S E

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Itinerary

I T I N E R A R Y

Day 1: After the group meet in Rome, we will transfer by car 1h30 to Pescasseroli, a picturesque village in the heart of the Abruzzo National Park. On our accommodation's doorstep are open plains and meadows where Apennine Wolf packs may be seen hunting Red Deer. We will spend our first evening looking for both species, until after sunset to catch the best light and maximise chances of late evening sightings. A hearty dinner with the group in a traditional restaurant in Pescasseroli, and a welcome presentation on the local fauna and our creative and respectful approach to photography.

Day 2: We will leave before sunrise to look for Apennine Wolves and Marsican Bears, the two apex predators for which this park is well known, in the plains, meadows and fruit orchards. We will use all methods at our disposal to ensure success - from checking out the area before your arrival and keeping up to date with park warden sightings, to using field craft, camera traps, thermal imaging cameras, and spotting scopes. Whilst we wait, we should be in the company of other wildlife such as noisy Rock Partridge, rutting Red Deer and packs of Wild Boar. Towards midday, we will return to town for lunch. In the afternoon, we will look for herds of Apennine Chamois, a charismatic species of mountain antelope. Our search will take us on a beautiful, gentle climb through beech forest and into a valley that overlooks scenic Lake Barrea. Dinner in Pescasseroli.

Day 3: The morning will be a repeat of Day 2, starting early and finishing around midday to maximise our chances of Marsican Bear and Apennine Wolf encounters and interesting light conditions. After lunch (either in town or on location), the early afternoon will be spent photographing Red Deer rutting and bathing in the crystal clear Sangro River. Birdlife such as Dipper, Hoopoe and Wryneck may also be observed along here, in the dappled light of the oak and beech forests. An evening session, with our party split into two groups looking for Marsican Bears in the meadows. Dinner in Pescasseroli. 

Day 4: A more leisurely start, targeting Red Deer and birdlife around town. We transfer to our next base in Sirente Velino Regoinal Park, a 1h30 drive north. It is a short walk to the refuge on Monte Velino, our base for the next two nights. Unlike other parts of the Apennines, this is not a touristic area at all, so this is a rare chance to visit true untamed wilderness in comfortable peace and seclusion. A sunset walk for Apennine Wolves and Red Deer. We will scan the peaks above for Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Rock Partridge and flocks of Alpine Chough. Chef Fabrizio will prepare for us a warming home-cooked dinner at the refuge. We may fall asleep to the howling of wolves. 

Day 5: We shall rise early to search for Apennine Wolves. We may not have to look far, as they may be on our very doorstep! At most, we shall walk between 30 to 60 minutes to our lookout spot. We know four separate wolf packs in this area, and we have very high chances of coming across them this morning. We shall again use all methods at our disposal to track them., until the sun is too high. After lunch, we'll ascend a little to photograph Griffon Vultures and Golden Eagles, which both nest on the cliff ledges above the refuge and may offer spectacular fly-bys at eye level. Dinner back at the refuge. 

Day 6: A final sunrise/morning session for the Apennine Wolves and Red Deer, before our return to Rome and flight home.