Ecowise Italy guides small groups of ecotourists into protected areas and other ecologically rich and biodiverse landscapes in Piemonte, offering them enriching and unforgettable opportunities to discover new perspectives on ecology and interact with nature in a deep and engaging way.
Being situated between the Alpine and the Mediterranean bioregions, the area where we lead our tours has a fascinating complex of ecosystems and a spectacular variety of flora and fauna. Exploring broadleaf woodlands, mountain forests, high altitude grasslands, riparian zones and Mediterranean maquis you might be lucky enough to see wild boar, wolf tracks, osprey nests, red squirrels or a herd of ibex!
You will also enjoy wandering through traditionally managed rural landscapes such as hay meadows rich in flowers and butterflies, or coppiced woodland with their profusion of wild flowers.
Below is a list of our Wildlife & Ecology tour proposals, which can last from a weekend through to a week. To ensure that you are really comfortable and well looked after, we have selected a range of quality accommodation options in the areas where we lead our tours that offer high quality services and great Italian hospitality. Details can be found in our Where to stay page.
If you are a family travelling with children, we suggest you check our Family Ecoadventures page, where you’ll find programs that have been specifically created for family holidays.
“Glorious walks led by Adam with his wonderful enthusiasm for nature and the environment, made our trip not only educational but great fun at the same time. We had time to appreciate the beautiful countryside from early morning magical mists, to the ever changing autumn colours of the late afternoons.
From gentle hills with far reaching views of the snow covered Alps to the clear running waters of the rivers. Our stay could not have been more perfect”
Zuleika Henry, UK
WILDLIFE AND ECOLOGY TOUR PROPOSALS
Bird watching trips
This region of Europe is rich in bird life, due to the quality and diversity of its ecological habitats and its role as a transitional route and stopping-off point for migratory species travelling between Europe and Africa. Ecowise Italy plans itineraries that maximise your birding time in the field and provide you with as much time as you want to relax and enjoy other aspects of your Italian rural vacation. Our bird watching trips are arranged to allow you to visit some of Piemonte’s principal areas of ornithological importance and explore a series of habitats such as Alpine mountains (where you could see golden eagle, short-toed eagle, bearded vulture, nutcracker, wallcreeper), lakes (where you could see purple heron, Italian stilt, night heron, squacco heron, great reed warbler, melodious warbler), rivers and riparian zones (where you could see sacred ibis, white stork, osprey, cetti’s warbler), and wooded hills (where you could see bee eaters, hoopoes, black woodpecker, golden oriole, honey buzzard, hen harrier). This vacation is much more than a bird watching trip; it is also a chance to take a refreshing break in a little known Italian region with enchanting natural landscapes, delicious local cuisines, characteristic wines and delightful accommodation.
Alpine bioregion excursion
TThe Piemonte Alpine bioregion, with its high mountains and wealth of flora and fauna, is a spectacular and exciting area to visit and is still untouched by mass tourism and full of wildness and magic. Rich in biodiversity, with an estimated 30,000 animal species and 13,000 species of plants, these mountains have over 80 mammalian species including endemic insectivores, large ungulates like ibex, chamois, red deer and populations of wolves and lynxes. They are home to around 200 species of nesting birds including golden eagle, black woodpecker, wallcreeper, nutcracker and capcaillie; 21 amphibians, 15 reptiles and a selection of endemic arthropods and fish. We lead trips into the most ecologically rich areas of the Italian Alps, including national parks and nature reserves where you will experience some of the most untamed nature in Europe and have the opportunity to encounter wildlife in an intimate and memorable small group context. You will be accommodated in comfortable mountain chalets or mountain refuges in tiny and secluded stone-built villages where we you will also have a chance to enjoy traditional mountain dishes, locally produced wines & cheeses and to experience the tranquillity of these spectacular environments.
In the footsteps of the wild wolf
During this trip we will spend some precious time in a remote Alpine area inhabited by a small population of wild wolves that have spontaneously returned to the North-Western Alps from their range in Central Italy. We will learn about wolf ecology and discover the amazing story of how this shy and persecuted top predator is returning to some of its former European haunts after having been eradicated almost a century ago. Our adventure will lead us into some pristine mountain valleys where we will look for wolf tracks and signs and get in touch with the reality and mythology that surround this most enigmatic and elusive animal. We’ll look at the theoretical and practical reality of wolf conservation and meet with some of the rangers that are actively involved in trying to change prevalent attitudes toward this elusive predator. We’ll be accommodated in authentic mountain chalets where, if we are lucky, we’ll be able to hear wolves howling at night!
Wild flowers and green excursions
This ‘wild flower safari’ will allow those of you who love flowers and botanising to discover Piemonte’s exciting flora and diversity of natural plant communities.
February and March are the months to witness the profusion of spring woodland flowers and to experience the regenerative power of nature’s awakening in this undiscovered part of Italy. During April and May you can celebrate the wild cherry blossoms in the Monferrato hills and see the spectacular wild flower meadows with their wealth of butterflies and colour. June, July and August are great months to visit the Piemonte Alps to see the high altitude meadows festooned with blossoms, wild alpines and rock-garden plants growing in their native rocky ranges as well native rhododendrons, daphnes and a wealth of other horticultural delights. September and October is the season when the wide variety of local wine grapes mature, and you can participate in the traditional grape harvest (vendemmia) and share the experience of making wine with local peasants who have carried out this age old practice since the dawn of history. From your comfortable rural accommodation you’ll appreciate the spectacular autumn colours which transform the rolling hilly landscape into an impressionist vision and enjoy the Italian hospitality and wealth of traditional dishes, delicacies and local wines.
Guided Italian nature hikes and landscape rambles
This vacation is a great way to discover Piemonte’s beautiful countryside, experience its wildlife and immerse yourself in its timeless landscape of lush vineyards, pristine wooded hills, picturesque hill-top villages and flower-filled meadows. Each day we’ll explore novel aspects of the area and experience new sceneries, following pre-roman footpaths that wind their way through the hills and into wooded valleys, as we try to connect with the ‘soul’ of this ancient landscape. We’ll explore the area’s fascinating history and culture as well as the richness and biodiversity of its natural environment and ecology. The days’ walks will not be too demanding or extreme in terms of pacing or distance and will be calibrated according to your experience and expectations. You will stay in a charming tiny village in a stylish and comfortable rural accommodation and have an opportunity to really get to know the place and relax into the calming pace of the Italian rural lifestyle.
“Walks with you in the beautiful surrounding countryside were all the more enjoyable because of your extensive knowledge of all the animals and plants to be seen and even not seen! When you added to that a real understanding of the related ecological issues the pleasure was complete”
Dr. Justin Schlicht, UK