For a group of family or friends a made-to measure tour can prove to be surprisingly cost-effective - we can provide a sample quote
Our base lies within easy reach of some of the world’s great art, incredible hilltowns, unique architecture and landscapes from flower-filled meadows to mountains and spectacular coast. There are Roman remains and the astonishing history of the Etruscans is revealed everywhere through ancient tombs, ancient, incised walkways and hilltowns. Although natural history work forms a large proportion of our output there has always been ‘bread and butter’ agency work for ‘travel’ and editorial work. We are still discovering the most incredible archaeological sites, way off the beaten track and hardly known...
We excel at providing for small groups with diverse interests eg naturalist/photographer males with long-suffering partners (and vice versa). It is what we are, in fact so whilst the naturalists are out in the fields with PaulHD ‘normal folk’ can explore the history and culture of this rich area with Lois ...
So where are we?
We live near Orvieto with its ornate Duomo - it has to be one of the most photogenic cities in the whole of Italy lying about 90 mins north of Rome. There, between Orvieto and Bolsena with its immense lake, we live in a farmhouse which we have brought back to life from a shell, doing the bulk of the work ourselves - you can witness the level of our foolishness here.
All around us lies traditionally worked farmland, rich in bird, flower and insect species - bats, foxes, porcupine and the occasional badger inhabit the Etruscan tomb system behind the house. But it is not just natural history, for we have a deep love of many things Italian from the architecture through history to the food...we are both maniacally keen cooks (it is the Italian national interest after football!) and know excellent places to lunch and dine where your pockets will not be emptied.
Bed & Breakfast From spring 2011 we available two spacious double rooms with ensuite facilities: one can be arranged as two singles the other features an impressive (and very comfortable) 4-poster made by PaulHD and walls with’trompe l’oeil’ decoration by Lois Ferguson (...another aspect of what we do!). We are in easy reach of much of the best of Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria with superb local walking, lots of Etruscan history and an unrivalled network of contacts and a fund of knowledge to make your stay memorable.
Our bit of Italy - let us tempt you.
We are deeply involved with Italian friends in local conservation and educational projects and this involvement has provided us with unique contacts and a deep knowledge of some rich habitats close to home where you can relax, take your time and get photos you never believed possible.
We base our close-up and macro courses and workshops in this area, the one we know best, so that at any time throughout the seasons we can ensure you get the best of what is available as subjects change with the seasons. There are innumerable fungi in autumn and winter, orchids and insects in spring, treefrogs, butterflies, moths... even fireflies and glow-worms. Again, within two hours we can be beside the sea and exploring extensive dunes or travel inland to heights of over 2000m and a true alpine environment. Closer still, to home lie orchid and butterfly-rich meadows, ancient ponds and the most wonderful ancient woodland imaginable with a rich natural biodiversity... including hundreds of species of fungi. Whatever the season we can help open eyes to some astonishing imaging possibilities.
From early April at Podere Montecucco, our home, we have nesting nightingales (7 pairs this year) close to the house, hoopoes and cirl buntings: in late May there are bee-eaters, golden oriole (two nesting pairs), red-backed shrike and many others...we have logged 35 species of butterfly without trying and too many moths to count (including Clifden nonpareil). We cannot boast orchids but there are superb sites within 20 minutes. We can also arrange 1, 2 or 3 day accompanied excursions for you eg. to the Sibillini, Mt Terminillo...even Gargano
We have groups of clients who come back year after year having given us a brief to find something interesting and this is where our extensive knowledge of Italy comes in. We can cater for varied interests and needs throughout Italy and the islands - if you contact us with your thoughts we can put shape to them and give an estimate depending on the level of accommodation and food you want. In Italy even the smallest restaurants will provide excellent home cooking...
Again, if you want to mix a few days sightseeing and photography with a cookery course or even some intensive language tuition we can provide excellent teachers and instructors who can offer both....
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