|The best of Italy. Birding, nature, culture and gastronomy tours|
|Fom the Italian alpine region through the Tuscan and Umbrian hills, to the rugged island of Sicily, Italy offers some of the world's most entrancing and varied wildlife and cultural experiences.ORNITOUR is Italy's first, and one of only few, privately operated birdwatching tour organizations. For more than 20 years we've arranged and guided trips for all levels of interest, including those of photographers. In addition to, or combined with birding tours, we arrange outings for botany enthusiasts (there are numerous magnificent and rare orchid species to be found all over Italy, for example), as well as tours for reptile, mammal, butterfly and other afficionados. Italy hosts numerous endemics (nearly 5,000 animal species), such as the Sardinian Long-eared Bat, the recently described Sicilian Pond Turtle, and the Piedmont Anomalous Blue Butterfly. Moreover, portions of the country are classified as Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hot Spots. We also offer nature tours combined with cultural, gastronomic and wine excursions.||
Piedmont Anomalous Blue Butterfly Polyommatus humedasae . Italy hosts numerous endemics (nearly 5,000 animal species), such as the Sardinian Long-eared Bat, the recently described Sicilian Pond Turtle, and this Piedmont Anomalous Blue Butterfly (© Johannes Van Donge)
perspective of Ornitour
|ORNITOUR'S president, Dr. Mauro Bailo, has published a birdwatching magazine, authored numerous articles on birding, and has given frequent ornithological lectures, in addition to leading dozens of tours in Italy and around the world. He personally oversees the details of every ORNITOUR trip, and leads most of the tours. Each trip is supervised by English-speaking specialists and local guides who are thoroughly knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, culture, art and cuisine of the places we visit. We know how to track down the most elusive grouse, and we can lead clients to the trees where the Eurasian Pygmy Owl is breeding.
In the same day we can take you deep into the Alps to see the Capercaille, Black Grouse, Hazelhen and other species. Then, after an Alpine lunch of pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta infused with kale and Fontina cheese), we can visit the Venice lagoons for wader and gull sightings.
Even the most seasoned client always sees something new on an ORNITOUR trip. Perhaps that's why almost 75 percent of ORNITOUR clients return for subsequent tours with us.
The Eurasian Capercaillie's display is a sight to behold. He cocks his head, with feathers all on end, then he cackles faster and faster before beginning a peculiar grinding noise. Capercaillie display areas can be found just a couple of hours from Venice, Verona and Northeastern Italy's most renowned wineries (© Attilio Giorgio Mutti).
only half the adventure
|Ah, Italy! Only here can you add the Purple Swamphen to your life list in the morning, admire the spectacular high jumps of the Little Bustard in the afternoon, then spend the evening under the stars watching La Traviata in Verona's ancient Arena.
Why not combine your nature experience with the historical, artistic and gastronomical riches found only in Italy? We can design countless combo packages based on our clients' interests and proficiency levels.
A Mediterranean tour, for instance, might include observing the spring migration of tens of thousands of birds and dozens of species, such as the rare Black Stork, Egyptian Vulture and Pallid Harrier. Later you can visit ancient Greek temples, get acquainted with the masterpieces of Sicilian Baroque, and go sunning, swimming and sailing on some of Italy's finest beaches.
Or, at the Po Delta Park, you can view the rare Ferruginous Duck, along with hundreds of migratory bird species, then be in Venice in time for a moonlight gondola ride down the Grand Canal or in the city of Ravenna with its revered Byzantine mosaics and UNESCO-classified heritage sites.
Expect spectacular displays from the Little Bustard, as well. You can see it a few kilometers from the finest beaches in Italy in Sardinia. Here you can also taste some curious delicacies, like Carasau bread and casu marzu. The latter means "rotten cheese." We'll leave it at that now (© Roberto Savioli).
The cathedral in Noto. The cities on Sicily's east coast host the most important examples of Italian baroque. Each is worth a visit, but nature enthusiasts will find wonderful wildlife spots nearby, such as the Pantani di Vendicari and the Simeto Oasis. Here it's possible to see numerous species of herons, ducks and waders, especially in spring and fall. What's more, an impressive raptor migration takes place every spring in the Strait of Messina (© Mauro Bailo).
The Gargano headland juts like a spur into the Tyrrhenian Sea, towards Eastern Europe. It’s a biodiversity hot-spot for orchids: more than 80 species in 17 genera have been recorded. Pictured is Ophrys tyrraena, endemic to Gargano. Like many other wild areas in Italy, Gargano is within a few hours' drive from our most famous cities; in this case, Rome and Naples (© Giancalo Marconi).
|Wine and food weekends|
|Another ORNITOUR specialty is our Gastro-Enology-Ornithological Weekends (see our link WEGO), which you can attend on its own or add onto your nature tour.
Each Italian region has its unique culinary tradition, and during these weekends, together with morning birding and evening owl-prowls, you'll learn about the culture, history, and production of such local products as cheeses, cold cuts, pastas, truffles, wines and liqueurs. You'll hear lectures by local artisans, and you'll tour some of the most acclaimed wineries in the country (in some cases, in the world!). You'll sample a wide range of delicacies, with the opportunity to purchase each product, often at reduced cost.
Not only plants and animals can go extinct: this Aztec pyramid shaped cheese, a DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) called Montebore, was saved from extinction in 1982, when its last producer, a sweet old lady from a small village in northern Italy, confided her cheese making secrets to a friend. This friend is now the sole producer of the savory cheese. A perfect match for Montebore is the wine pictured here, a Timorasso 2006, which consistently receives the highest ratings by Italian wine experts. We’ll visit both the cheese laboratory and the winery owned by our friends Roberto Grattone and Luigi Boveri, respectively
|Let us craft an Italian tour package designed especially for you or your group. We can promise it will be a lifetime experience that you'll never forget.
Feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail with any questions or proposals. We always respond promptly.Whatever type of tour suits your fancy--crakes and Chianti, dragonflies and Donatello, or reptiles and ruins; whether you're travelling solo, in a private group, or if you're a tour operator, we can craft an Italian tour designed especially for you (and one that satisfies everyone in your group, if applicable). Either way, it will be a lifetime experience you'll never forget.
Ciao and benvenuti in Italia!
via Meucci 5
25086 Rezzato (BS)
+39 348 8713313
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