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Mountain goat (chamois) sat on cliffs edge with rolling green mountainsides in background.

Wildlife Tracking in the Apennines

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

8 Days

Prices Start from

$2,778pp (ex. flights)

Suitable for

Couples Adventure Traveller Photographers

Join expert nature guides to explore the rugged wilderness of Italy’s central Apennine mountains. Set camera traps, follow bear and wolf tracks and learn about conservation efforts to protect the wildlife. Stay in picturesque villages, home to traditional cultures and dine on sublime local food and wine. This is an immersive nature experience – guided by experts, supporting conservation and giving Steppes clients a privileged insight into Europe’s wilder side.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Side profile of a wolf. 1

Wildlife of the Apennines

Walk through ancient beech forests and lush valleys in search of bears, wolves and wild boar.

Mountain view against blue skies. 2

A Night in the Wilderness

Stay in a spectacular wildlife cabin, tucked away high in the mountains.

Brown Bear, Italy, © Umberto Esposito - Wildlife Adventures 3

Support Local Conservation

Spend time in the company of passionate and knowledgeable conservation experts.

View over pretty village rooftops to turquoise lake and mountains beyond. 4

Wine Tasting and Culture

Enjoy the delights of this historic wine region famous for the world-renowned Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Why we like it

Encounters with Italy’s endangered carnivores are by no means guaranteed but by trekking in the mountains with researchers from Salviamo L’Orso, you’ll be sure to have the best chances of seeing this region’s wonderful wildlife. This trip is not for those who want wildlife experiences delivered on a plate but is for anybody with a love of wild, remote places and the wildlife that lives there. A donation to Salviamo L’Orso is included in the price of the trip.

This is not an off-the-shelf itinerary. It has been careful curated by the wildlife travel team at Steppes in conjunction with wildlife and conservation experts at The European Nature Trust. The itinerary can easily be changed to meet with your individual needs while still keeping the essential ingredients of privileged access and insight into the work of The European Nature Trust.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Pescasseroli

  • Day 2

    Pescasseroli (Abruzzo National Park)

  • Day 3

    Pescasseroli (Abruzzo National Park)

  • Day 4

    Terraegna Mountain Refuge (Abruzzo National Park)

  • Day 5

    Mountain Refuge - Santo Stefano di Sessanio

  • Day 6

    Santo Stefano di Sessanio

  • Day 7

    Santo Stefano di Sessanio

  • Day 8

    Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Day 1

Pescasseroli

Check into your accommodation before meeting with your European Nature Trust guide. Before dinner, take a short introductory walk into the Abruzzo National Park.

Day 2

Pescasseroli (Abruzzo National Park)

View upwards into canopy of large beech tree surrounded by dense forest.

After a hearty breakfast depart the hotel in search of wildlife. Walk through UNESCO protected ancient Beech forests and learn about the inhabitants of this ecosystem. The wildlife can be elusive, however your guide will be on the look out for sign of their presence. Bears, wolves and pine martin all reside in these forests. Set a camera trap in the hope of capturing some footage before a late evening return to the hotel.

Day 3

Pescasseroli (Abruzzo National Park)

Two wolves on rocky hillside with lake behind.

An early start today for some wolf howling at dusk and the hope of seeing wolves who are most active very early at the morning. Spend time on the southern slopes of a mountain, home to panoramic views and pastures of deer as well as other wild ungulates. Historically, this area has been frequented by wolves. Later, transfer to Civitella Alfedena to visit the Apennine wolf museum. There will be time to relax this afternoon before another wildlife walk in the evening and a traditional dinner of local produce.

Day 4

Terraegna Mountain Refuge (Abruzzo National Park)

View over pretty village rooftops to turquoise lake and mountains beyond.

After breakfast take a leisurely cycle ride by e-bike along a panoramic lakeside ring route. Pass the beautiful medieval towns of Barrea, Civitella Alfedena and Villetta Barrea. Meet with local farmers, shepherds and honey collectors, and understand how they live alongside the wolves and other wild animals. This evening travel to the Terraegna mountain refuge, reached by 4WD and on foot (a hike of between one and two hours dependent on fitness levels). Arrive at the isolated mountain cabin where you will dine and spend the night in the wilderness.

 

Day 5

Mountain Refuge - Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Stone archway with view through to blue skies and mountains.

After breakfast at the refuge, search for wildlife and check for camera trap footage. Mid morning, arrive in the valley and transfer to Villalago for lunch. Visit one of the Bear Smart Communities and its inhabitants together with experts from Salviamo L’Orso – witness first hand the work being done to reintroduce the Marsican brown bear into these areas, ensuring bears and humans can coexist peacefully. Cross the natural gorge of Sagittario valley to reach Santo Stefano di Sessanio where you will enjoy dinner and overnight.

Day 6

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

View towards hilltop fort surrounded by mountains with smatterings of snow.

After breakfast embark on a horseback ride from Santo Stefano di Sessanio to Piana delle Locce in the magnificent plateau of Campo Imperatore. Here admire the Gran Sasso, the Apennines highest peak. After lunch rest at the hotel before an evening walk to the old castle of Rocca Calascio followed by dinner.

Day 7

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Ground level view of purple crocus in soil with out of focus workers planting in background.

After breakfast take to the water for a canoe tour on Tirino, considered the most beautiful river in Italy. Clear waters, rich vegetation and riverside wildlife will be your companions for this fantastic journey. After lunch visit the historical villages of Capestrano and Navelli both rich in history, art and culture and renowned for their saffron production – known as the red gold of Abruzzo.

Day 8

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

After breakfast depart for your onward journey.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Brown bear, Abruzzo, Italy
Brown bear, Italy by Umberto Esposito
Side of a dark brown bears body and head amidst green foliage.
Marsican bear

Marsican Brown Bear Conservation

As a result of poaching, poisoning and land fragmentation, numbers of the Marsican bear have dwindled from their hundreds to around 50 remaining today. Thanks to projects by Salviamo L’Orso, awareness around this issue is growing, and huge efforts are being taken to protect and grow numbers within the Abruzzo National Park. Projects involve raising awareness of the bears presence and educating local communities with the ultimate goal to expand the area in which the bears can roam securely and coexist with their human neighbours.

Valley and Trees, Italy, © Umberto Esposito - Wildlife Adventures
Apeninnes in Italy © Umberto Esposito
Wild goat (chamois) stood on sloping alpine hillside with pink flowers in foreground.
Apennine chamois

Abruzzo National Park

Two hours east of Rome lie the National Parks of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the jewel in the crown of Italy’s park system. A rewilding area and biodiversity hotspot, landscapes of ancient beech forest, high altitude prairies and soaring mountains are home to species including the grey wolf, Marsican brown bears, red and roe deer, golden eagle, wild boars and the endemic Apennine chamois.

Woman in Mountains, Italy, © Umberto Esposito - Wildlife Adventures
Italy

Wildlife Experts

Expert nature guides will be on hand to ensure the best possible wildlife sightings. Our partners have an intimate knowledge of this region and an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Umberto Esposito – a mountain guide and naturalist photographer was inspired by his first encounter with the wolves and bears of Abruzzo during the nineties. Pending availability, meet with professional photographer and local wildlife expert Bruno D’Amicis for a slide show of his work documenting the wildlife of the area.

Stone archway with view through to blue skies and mountains.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Accommodation

We have chosen small hotels and lodges for their location, individuality, eco-credentials and the warmth of their welcome. Over seven nights, stay in a traditional 1920’s villa, a rustic mountain wilderness hideaway and a beautifully renovated cave hotel in the medieval town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio.

We're waiting to help you

It all starts here

Let’s put that once-in-a-lifetime trip in your hands. Get in touch with the team and we will work with you at every step to make sure that it’s extraordinary.

01285 880 980

Get in touch with our travel experts to start<br> creating your tailor-made holiday.

Start planning your trip

A note on price

The below price is based on a group of six people travelling to Andalucia. Contact our team for an individual quote.

This Itinerary
Price
From $2,778 Per person

When to travel

Spring (May – June) and Autumn (September – October) are the best seasons for travel to Abruzzo and for observing the Marsican brown bear and other wildlife. Spring is particularly enchanting when colourful orchids flower and villages emerge from wintertime.

Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?


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