PIEMONTE IN AUTUMN
Fungi of the Alpine Foothills
The stunning scenery of the Western Italian Alps has been Paul Cardy’s home for most of this century, and this tour is centred on his base for the last seven years, the little hamlet of Coassolo. Now we can again visit Italy without restrictions we can enjoy Piemonte’s many superb natural history sites amid the finest autumn splendour. The focus will be fungi, a wealth of species to be found in the extensive deciduous and coniferous forests, and in open alpine grasslands.
A comfortable and welcoming base in a picturesque village will see us enjoying delicious Piemontese cuisine as we discuss all we’ve seen during the day.
On the Po plains the walled Savoy hunting reserve of La Mandria has mixed broadleaf forest, scrub, open grassland, and agriculture supporting a wealth of wildlife. Moving up the anastomising Valli di Lanzo we pass through oak forests then spruce/pine and larch, with fine views of the snow-capped peaks on the frontier with France.
The range of fungi is exceptional. Amongst the species we’ll encounter are Cystoderma amianthinum, Lepista nuda, Amanita citrina, Amanita phalloides, Hypholoma fasciculare, Tricholoma sulphureum, Clitopilus prunulus, Lactarius evosmus, Lactarius deliciosus, Lactarius deterrimus, Russula atropurpurea, Russula amoena, Suillus placidus. Boletus edulis, Phlebia radiata, Fistulina hepatica, Flammulina velutipes, Trametes gibbose, Spathularia flavida, Craterellus cornucopioides and Guepinia helvelloides. Particularly associated with larch will be Lactarius porninsis, Hygrophorus speciosa, Hygrophorus laricinum, Hygrophorus lucorum, Suillus cavipes and Suillus viscidus.
There will be much to enjoy aside from the fungi. Colchicum autumnale may still be in flower and there is a decent chance of seeing one or both of Chamois and Ibex. Fire Salamanders still move about the forest floor. During our visits to the higher areas we will encounter both Chough and Alpine Chough, and Alpine Accentor too. In clear skies Golden Eagles drift over. Black Woodpeckers call in the forest where we’ll likely see Nutcracker and the characterful Crested Tit.
Fungi. Also Landscapes and Birds. Italian Cuisine
Relaxed and easy. Up to two or three miles on some days though less on others, and always at a slow pace, suited to photographers. Mostly on well-constructed footpaths, but the best fungi are often some yards away on steeper slopes or rougher ground.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Italy. Services of your leaders. Please note: items of a personal nature including insurance, drinks and tips, are not included.
One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.
We’ll spend the entire tour in the Hotel Italia set amid the lush green Lanzo Valleys in Piemonte. The Hotel has very pleasant spacious rooms and a restaurant that provides the most wonderful meals. The cuisine can be as much a part of this trip as the natural history with dishes from all over Piedmonte, particularly those centred on local produce from the Tessa Valley. All rooms have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Stansted to Turin. Indirect routes with KLM are available from other regional UK Airports*.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Generally warm and sunny though cooler wet conditions may be encountered on the odd day. That said when we move up into the higher valleys it can be quite cool.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Fungi and bird checklists are available.