Wildlife at Leisure
Relaxed Wildlife Holiday Tour to Sibillini Italy with Greentours
A Special Note: The Sibillini area was hit by two earthquakes last year and there was much damage to villages and infrastructure, particularly to the south of the area we visit. However now most of the roads are open and after a recent check we are happy that the tour will be able to go ahead with an itinerary much the same as last year, on one or two days there may be a little extra driving. We are also that happy that both the routes we’ll use and the areas we’ll stop at are now safe. The hotel that we used last year and advertised for this year was damaged and though the restaurant there will probably be open by the time we return at the end of May (and we will visit) the hotel will not be. We have found an excellent replacement in the Antico Mulino which is nestled in the base of a valley a few kilometres north of the original accommodation. We urge you to come and enjoy this wonderfully rich and beautifully region still – its inhabitants could certainly use the support of visitors after last year’s trials!
The Renaissance Painters were captivated by the clarity of the light in Central Italy’s Umbria and Marche and during our visit we’ll probably think that little has changed since then for this is a very rural and untouched part of Europe. The sublime mountain landscapes include deep gorges, high flowery plateaus, many snow-capped peaks, and extensive woodlands. The many tiny villages that populate the seven-hundred square kilometre Sibillini National Park seem to be part of the landscape itself, a place where nature and man have at last found a way to enhance each other.
Red-billed Chough and Alpine Chough will be a noisy accompaniment to us on the passes where the snow-streaked alpine turf is alive with Crocus vernus, and extensive populations of Muscari neglectum and Scilla bifolia. Red mats of Moss Campion adorn rocky outcrops whilst the plateau grasslands are alive with clumps of yellow or purple Viola eugeniae. Androsace villosa offers its pretty white yellow or red centred blooms in tight clusters and we’ll see fine shows of Green-winged Orchids and Elder-flowered Orchids as well as Man Orchid, Italian Orchid and both White and Sword-leaved Helleborines. We’ll wander an easy trail along the spectacular gorge Gole dell'Infernaccio where Polygala flavescens and Saponaria ocymoides bloom and Rock Buntings and Firecrests will try to distract us from orchids such as Early Spider Orchids and both Lady and Monkey Orchid.
Medieval villages and towns pepper the surrounding hills and it seems one is never out of sight of a hilltop castle or beautiful church. In the 1500s this was thought a region of necromancers and devil worshippers, wizards and witches. Now though Sibillini’s glorious beech woodlands will be just bursting into spring leaf and so this is the perfect time to witness a wonderful woodland floor blooming. Collared Flycatchers and Bonelli’s Warblers will just be taking up territories as we photograph glades decorated with Hepatica nobilis, yellow Anemone ranunculoides, and glorious displays of Cyclamen repandum. Red Squirrels and Green Woodpeckers will be evident as we marvel at the range of hybrids between Primroses and Cowslips. Migrant Whinchats, Northern Wheatears, Red-backed shrikes and Ortolan Buntings seem everywhere but we’ll have a hard job looking up from superlative clumps of Spring Gentian and the gorgeous trumpets of Gentiana dinarica. Short-toed Eagles soar overhead and Quail call as we try to discover the differences between the three Globularia species found in these amazingly rich and beautiful landscapes.
Flowers. Also birds, landscapes, and Medieval Towns and Villages.
No more than two or three miles in any one day, and always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photography.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Italy. Services of your leaders. Please note: the drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 12. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.
We’ll be staying in a lovely old converted watermill, the Agriturismo Antico Mulio, situated a few kilometres north of the Rifugio Altino, the accommodation originally listed for this tour. The Rifugio was damaged in earthquakes in 2016 and though the restaurant will be open in May the hotel (probably) won’t be. The Antico Mulino lies in the verdant Tenna Valley a short distance away from the medieval village of Montefortino. Each room is elegantly furnished and very comfortable. All rooms have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Stansted to Ancona. Indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Usually warm and sunny, though some rain is likely and it can still be quite cool and even occasionally cold in the higher areas.
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. Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.