page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157
page 158
page 159
page 160
page 161
page 162
page 163
page 164
page 165
page 166
page 167
page 168
page 169
page 170
page 171
page 172
page 173
page 174
page 175
page 176
page 177
page 178
page 179
page 180
page 181
page 182
page 183
page 184
page 185
page 186
page 187
page 188
page 189
page 190
page 191
page 192
page 193
page 194
page 195
page 196
page 197
page 198
page 199
page 200
page 201
page 202
page 203
page 204
page 205
page 206
page 207
page 208
page 209
page 210
page 211
page 212
page 213
page 214
page 215
page 216
page 217
page 218
page 219
page 220
page 221
page 222
page 223
page 224
page 225
page 226
page 227
page 228
page 229
page 230
page 231
page 232
page 233
page 234
page 235
page 236
page 237
page 238
page 239
page 240
page 241
page 242
page 243
page 244
page 245
page 246
page 247
page 248
page 249
page 250
page 251
page 252
page 253
page 254
page 255
page 256
page 257
page 258
page 259
page 260
page 261
page 262
page 263
page 264
page 265
page 266
page 267
page 268
page 269
page 270
page 271
page 272
page 273
page 274
page 275
page 276
page 277
page 278
page 279
page 280
page 281
page 282
page 283
page 284
page 285
page 286
page 287
page 288
page 289
page 290
page 291
page 292

The Gargano Peninsula is a sparselypopulated promontory jutting into theAdriatic Sea just above the 'boot' ofItaly. It is an area of enormous botanicalinterest, yet, until recently, it has remainedrelatively unknown. A region of rollinglimestone hills and tiny, arid fields, itslandscape is punctuated by small medievaltowns and scarred by the erosion that hascreated numerous caves, dolines, swallowholes, deep gorges and rock bridges.Along the northern side of the peninsula,Aleppo Pines and the elegant spires ofItalian Cypress line the white cliffs whichplunge to the wine-dark Adriatic Sea. The fact that the peninsula was once anisland, making it geographically isolated,and the lack of intensive farming mustaccount for its exceptionally rich plant-life.Over 2,000 plant species have beenrecorded here, including 69 species oforchids (the greatest concentration ofdifferent orchid species in Europe). It wasfor this reason that the Gargano Peninsula,just 65 kilometres long and 45 kilometreswide, and reaching a maximum height of1,065 metres at Mount Calvo, was recently declared a national park. It is also,of course, the reason behind this excitingNaturetrek tour, on which we hope to seeover 40 of these orchids, together with anumber of bulbous plants and a highproportion of the endemic plant species.This will not be a strenuous tour. We will befar too busy looking at plants to walk fast!It is, however, a 2-centre holiday, starting atMonte Sant'Angelo, an attractive, clusteredmedieval town situated 800 metres up on alimestone escarpment overlooking thesouth coast. We will take some time towander its winding streets and to visit itsfamous shrine of St. Michele Archangelo.Our hotel, situated on the edge of thetown, enjoys wonderful views of the Gulf ofManfredonia, and only a short walk away isan ancient chapel surrounded by flower-laden terraces - a favourite pre-breakfastwalk of many clients. We will not move far on our first day, for wewill spend the time exploring the rockyterraces close to our hotel, wanderingamongst colourful rockroses, asphodelsand large patches of pink ButterflyOrchids. We will also see the endemic paleGoldendrop (Onosma lucana) andencounter our first Bee Orchids, Ophryspromontorii,O. passionis var garganica,O.apulica,O. bertolonii,and possibly O.bertoloniformis,together with the morefamiliar Burnt-tip, Green-winged and MilkyOrchids. On another day we will explorethe Bosco Quarto, walking through an areaof Oak and Hornbeam woods and smallrocky fields. On the way, we will stop tosee a mass of Iris pseudopumila,Narcissuspoeticus,the Pheasant's Eye Daffodil, andcarpets of the lovely Anemone apennina,while during our walk we will seeDactylorhiza romana,the Roman Orchid, aswell as large patches of the beautiful blueIris lutescens, growing in the open fields.Another expedition takes us to Monte Sacro.We picnic below the mountain in flower-filledfields, with yet more orchids: Orchis intacta,the Dense-flowered Orchid, and Ophrysbiscutellaamong them. At the top of MonteSacro there are interesting ruins of the oldabbey of St. Maria. Walking up throughQuercus ilexwe come across Ornithogalummontanumand, in open places, Orchisquadripunctataand O.pauciflora.We will spend the latter part of our holidaybased at Peschici, on the Gargano's northcoast. During our drive across thepeninsula we will enjoy a picnic in theForesta Umbra. This is a good place towalk and see Narcissus poeticus, thePheasant's Eye Daffodil, and blue patchesof the lovely Anemone apennina. We willspend some time exploring the forest, avast woodland reserve of Beech, Holm andTurkey Oak, Hornbeam and Italian Mapleset in the heart of the peninsula. Peschiciis a small and charming fishing village thatspills down the cliffs into the sea. Insummer this is a busy seaside resort butduring our visits we will almost have it toourselves. Our hotel looks out over theharbour, with steps winding up behind usto the old town. From here we will spend a full day inexploration of the north coast. We willmake many botanical stops but our site ofkey focus is Bosco di Spinapulci, a rockyhillside with many familiar Mediterraneanplants, including Cyclamen repandumandsome interesting orchids, includingSerapias cordigera,Ophrys parvimaculata,and the Fragrant Bug Orchid, Orchisfragrans. During the last part of the day wemay take the opportunity to explore theGargano's largest dolina, its limestonecontent assuring us of interesting flowers.By the end of our holiday we will have hadsome wonderful experiences in a relativelyunknown area, and enjoyed the genuinefriendliness of the local people, thebeautiful scenery, excellent local food(including some superb fish!) and winesand, we hope, will have returned with alengthy and highly interesting plant list.Flowers of Italy'sGargano PeninsulaAn 8-day holiday of gentle botanical walks in search of the unique flora - especially the profusion of orchid species - of the Gargano Peninsula.Monday 15th April - Monday 22nd April Cost: £1,295Monday 22nd April - Monday 29th April Cost: £1,295Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationPESCHICIFOREST OF UMBRAVIESTEMONTE SANT'ANGELOMANFREDONIAFROM/TO BARIMT. CALVOOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Bari and transfer toMonte Sant'Angelo.Day 2/5A daily programme ofgentle botanical walksfrom our base in MonteSant'Angelo.Day 6Transfer to Peschici.Day 7Botanical walks fromPeschici.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationTwo comfortable and friendlyfamily-run hotels, both with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade A/B.FocusPlants, especially the region'swealth of orchids.LeadersAndrew Cleave and Lee Morgan. Single room supplement £150.Extensions Arranged on request.Web quick search: ITA0285View from Monte Sant'AngeloOphrys bertolonii

Tuscany is, in so many ways, the veryessence of Italy. The name aloneconjures up the vivid images sobeloved of painters: those rollinglandscapes outlined by dark cypress treesand enlivened by vibrant splashes of redpoppies, the whole bathed in thatwonderful light seemingly peculiar to Italy.Olive groves, vineyards and magnificenthill-top towns nestle alongside some of themost famous artistic and cultural treasuresin Europe. The modern Italian languagewas born here from the famous works ofDante and Boccaccio, whilst the regionalso witnessed the birth of the greatRenaissance period. The centre of it allwas Florence, where important works of art testify to the genius of the likes ofLeonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.Tuscany is also home to such othercultural gems as the medieval cities ofSiena and Pisa and the smaller SanGimignano. This fascinating and uniquetour will enable us to combine some ofthese wonders with the rich natural history of the region.We begin our holiday with a flight to Pisa,from where we will head south-westtowards the coastal strip and inland hills ofMaremma, our base for the next fivenights. En route we will stop at thestunning little medieval town of SanGimignano. Perched on a hill, with itsfamous towers silhouetted against the sky,it resists all efforts to bring it into themodern world. The hills and coastline ofour destination are protected within theRegional Park of Maremma, which claimsto be the last virgin coastal landscape onthe Italian peninsula. Stunning countrysidecombines coastal marshland, cliffs andpristine sandy beaches backed by standsof Umbrella Pines, Mediterranean maquisand forested hills. Herds of the region'scelebrated white cattle and wild Maremmahorses graze amongst picturesque farms,pastureland and olive groves. The flora istypically Mediterranean and speciesinclude Narrow-leaved and Grey Cistus,Strawberry Tree, Tree Medick and a varietyof heathers, whilst on the sandy beachesCatchfly (Silene littorea), Crucianellamaritimaand Chamomile (Anthemismaritimus) are found. Such varied habitatssupport a wide selection of birds, includingsuch species as Purple Heron, YelkouanShearwater, Short-toed Eagle, Montagu'sHarrier, Peregrine Falcon, Scops Owl,Stone Curlew, Great-spotted Cuckoo,Roller, Hoopoe, Subalpine and DartfordWarbler and Zitting Cisticola. Travelling through rolling hills, scatteredwith small medieval towns and castles, wewill visit a variety of fine sites for flora andfauna during our stay in the region. Thesewill include WWF reserves at Orbetello,Bosco di Patanella and Bosco Rocconi.Orbetello Lagoon is a Ramsar Site, onaccount of its strategic importance duringbird migration, and at the time of our visitsuch species as Greater Flamingo, GlossyIbis, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, GreatWhite Egret, Whiskered Tern, GoldenOriole and Great Reed Warbler may all beseen. The reserves also hold numerousbutterflies, amongst them Swallowtail,Scarce Swallowtail, Southern Festoon (athreatened species in Tuscany), Two-tailedPasha and a variety of coppers, blues,fritillaries and skippers, whilst such orchidsas Pink Butterfly, Bog, Yellow Ophrys,Ophrys saratoiand Monkey Orchid arefound here. Surrounded by crystal clearwaters, the main attraction of picturesqueGiglio Island is its colony of Audouin'sGulls, one of the rarest gull species in theworld and a Mediterranean endemic. Herewe will also hope to see Cory's andYelkouan Shearwater, Peregrine Falconand Blue Rock Thrush. Mouflon, theendemic butterfly Elban Heath and manyplant species, such as Linaria caprariaandthe Sea Lavender Limonium sommierianum(both endemics of the Tuscan archipelago)also occur on the island.The botanists in our party will relish timespent on the Argentario promontory, anarea second only to the GarganoPeninsula when it comes to abundance oforchids within Italy. Some 42 species havebeen recorded here, amongst which areYellow Ophrys, Ophrys saratoi, Small-flowered Tongue, Naked Man, Green-winged, Pink Butterfly, Dense-flowered,Man and Monkey Orchids. We will alsohope to find flowering gladioli, Asphodelusaestivus,Anemone hortensisand Star ofBethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)amongst other species. Next we will travel to the National Park ofForeste Casentinesi, stopping en route toexplore Siena, one of the greatestmedieval towns in Europe and a treasure-house of Gothic architecture and artmasterpieces. Casentino is an area of firand beech forests in which we will bebased for our final two nights. Here we will search for woodland wildlife and, whilst Wolves do occur in the forest, they are elusive and rarely seen. Our tourconcludes with a short visit to Florence(flight times permitting), where we willwander over the shop-lined Ponte Vecchio and soak in the sights of themagnificent buildings dominated by thebreathtaking dome of the great cathedral.One of the most beautiful and famouscities in the world, Cradle of theRenaissance and home of the Medici,Florence is overwhelming. TUSCANY TYRRHENIAN SEA PISA FLORENCE SAN GIMIGNANO CASENTINOSIENA GROSSETO RISPESCIA GIGLIO ORBETELLO ISLAND REGIONAL PARK OF MAREMMA ELBA 86Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Pisa; transfer toMaremma.Day 2/5A daily programme ofnatural history walksfrom our base atMaremma.Day 6/7Siena and Casentino.Day 8Florence, then flyLondon.AccommodationComfortable hotels with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade A/B.FocusPlants, birds and butterflies, plusthe chance to enjoy a little of Italy'sfine cuisine, Renaissance art andarchitecture. LeaderPaul Harmes. Single room supplement£160.ExtensionsExtra nights in Florence or Pisaarranged on request.Web quick search: ITA09Tuscany in SpringAn 8-day exploration of the natural history and cultural treasures of Tuscany.Thursday 2nd May - Thursday 9th May Cost: £1,395The Duomo, FlorenceLarge CopperAudouin's Gull