An extraordinary adventure in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio & Molise
Could there be anything better than celebrating your birthday with a pair of snowshoes on your feet? Not for our adventurous Ciociarian friend, Isabella! With husband Mirko in tow, Isabella headed for the farthest corners of the Ciociaria region to celebrate her recent birthday in January. And like a true winter-born Capricorn, her ideal holiday consists of climbing mountains in the snow…
My Extraordinary Birthday in a Snow-Filled Mountain Wildlife Park!
“On a chilly January day, we set off for an extraordinary birthday adventure to the National Park of Abruzzu, Lazio and Molise – which stretches across the Apennine Mountains from the mountaintop village of Picinisco in the Ciociaria region within Lazio, through to Abruzzo and Molise on the other side.
Our final destination was on the Abruzzo side of the mountain, to a traditional ‘mountain refuge’ that has been transformed into the Rifugio Selva Bella single handedly by the amazing Felicia Park.
Felicia’s hospitality and in-depth knowledge of the national park and its’ wildlife overwhelmed us – she is an expert in all the local animals and birds of the mountain as well as foraging for wild orchids and mushrooms in the forests. She is so well-known for her local expertise throughout the local regions, that she often hosts photographic workshops and nature walks. A strong, independent woman, Felicia lives in the wild mountains with only the company of her cats and faithful dog Arya, the undisputed master of the refuge!
The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise is one of the largest national parks in Italy, and offers numerous walking routes for lovers of the wildest and most unspoiled nature here in the Wild Heart of Italy. During your walks, it is not unusual to spot wild animals such as deer, foxes, weasels, badgers and the beautiful Marsican bears– however thankfully it’s not as common to see wolves on your path (they keep clear of humans!).
We strapped on our snowshoes for our day of exploring the mountaintops of the national park. It was an amazing day!
Returning back to the Rifugia Selva Bella (“The Refuge in the Beautiful Forest”) in the early evening after our snow-filled adventure day was such a great pleasure. We entered the cosy wooden house piled high with snow outside, into a warm dining room with the other guests and a crackling fire.
Felicia truly opens her heart and her home to all of her guests, and is happy to sit by the fire and show you through her photo albums and her natural landscape books. Mirko and I spent an enchanting evening with the other guests sitting down to a long table groaning under the weight of home-cooked lasagna, meatballs, regional artisanal cheese and handmade sausages.
With the snow outside and our cheerful fire crackling away inside, this was a dream birthday experience!”
Contributed by Isabella – Ciociaria, Central Italy for Silver Compass Tours.