A Butterfly tour in association with ZOOLAB, Turin: The rare butterflies of the Po Valley, Piemonte and Liguria. Orchids too
Lying beneath the vaunted alpine meadows of the Italian Alps is an intriguing lesser-known mosaic of lowland and foothill habitats rich in both butterflies and flowers.
The tour is the brainchild of Simona Bonelli, author of the first Italian Red List of Threatened butterflies and head of ZOOLAB at the University of Turin. She has designed this tour, which is also supported by the Butterfly Conservation Europe, to provide us with the opportunity to see some of Italy’s most endangered butterflies as well as a wide range of other species. We’ll explore the upper Po Basin in Piemonte and the wonderful foothills protected by the Parco Naturale Delle Capanne di Marcarolo, where the Apennines curve round the Mediterranean to meet the Alps between Piemonte and Liguria. Here we’ll find the Italian Festoon, Zerynthia cassandra, and the rare Marsh Fritillary. The semi-natural calcareous grasslands are home to many orchids and at this season we can see abundant Orchis laxiflora and the regional endemic Himantoglossum adriaticum. Under shrubs by the woodland edge is Epipactis placentina and the very rare local endemic Aquilegia ophiolithica. Twin-spot and Lesser Marbled Fritillaries are attracted to bramble flowers and we’ll also see Black-veined Whites in abundance as well as Spotted Fritillaries, Glanville Fritillaries, Large Tortoiseshells and the Pearly Heaths. Large Coppers are a fabulous site, increasingly rare in Europe, but here their burnished copper wings are shining in the sun of wet meadows in the Po Valley. Not far outside Turin we’ll find Molinia meadows and a mix of Riparian forest types where we’ll look for Pearl-bordered, High Brown and Twin-spot Fritillaries, Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails, Short-tailed Blues and the beautifully-marked False Ringlet, one of Europe’s rarer butterflies and declining at an alarming rate.
Butterflies. Also Flowers.
We will be ambling up to three or four miles on most days, optionally a little more on one or two, and the pace is always slow, ideally suited to photographers. We’ll be in some damp habitats on this trip!
Included in the Price
All flights. Transport, accommodation and all meals in Italy. Services of your leaders. Please Note: Drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 12. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.
For the first two nights we’ll stay at the Val della Torre close to Caselette in the elegant Vald Hotel. Next is a night Ca’ Villa Club an Agriturismo Resort in the hills above the Large Copper site. The Ca’ Villa is a restored eighteenth century farm house set within the beautiful countryside. For the second half of the tour, four nights, we’ll be based in the lovely wooden-built Agriturismo Pian della Castagna. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Gatwick or London Stansted outbound to Turin, returning from Genova to London Gatwick or London Stansted. Indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Warm and sunny, midday temperatures sometimes reach 32°C, though it is cooler in the Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo. There will be showers during the holiday, and occasionally more prolonged rain.
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. Butterfly and bird checklists are available.