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Orchids & Spring Flowers of Sicily

Orchids & Spring Flowers of Sicily


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Join us in Sicily for a relaxing week, focusing on the island’s orchids & other spring flowers!


Sicily is the largest of the Mediterranean regions and one of just five autonomous provinces amongst the 20 Italian regions.

At various stages of its history, dating from the earliest signs of human activity in 12,000BC, Sicily has had a lengthy list of occupants from those who formed colonies (Phoenician, Greek) to invaders who created Roman, ByzantineArab and Norman rule. Their legacy is an astonishingly rich and diverse  culture, embracing the architecture, arts, music, literature and an exceptionally varied cuisine that draws on the produce of the island and the seas that surround it. 

The archaeological sites are second to none with some of the finest Greek temples to be found anywhere at Agrigento, Segesta and Selinunte as well as numerous UNESCO heritage sites, particularly in the south east.

A rich natural heritage survives in a spectacularly varied landscape, much of it modified over the millennia by the human hand. The spring displays of wildflowers are remarkable and Sicily has a particularly good orchid flora with several endemic species to be found in localised areas. High mountains host birds of prey and there is a rich insect fauna.

Paul Harcourt Davies first visited in 1980 and has been back numerous times since being involved in research on orchids and their conservation. He is known internationally as a flower and macro photographer but wears his knowledge lightly and is ready to help beginners and experts alike. Lois Ferguson has managed numerous Sicilian archaeological trips for major agencies…Paul and Lois are Italian citizens. Together they bring a deep knowledge of the flowers, insects, birds, history, archaeology, food and wine which adds so much to this tour giving a unique experience to clients.

Springtime is by far the best for experiencing the floral wealth and this begins early, thanks to its southerly position in January and February. Sicily is just 5 km from mainland Italy across the straits of Messina and some 150km from the coast of N. Africa at its western tip.

In early April there are numerous wild orchids to be found in stony limestone areas though some of the specialities occurring in the south east of the island are not to be found until closer to the end of April and can be easily missed…our tour is timed to find these.

We fly into Catania airport in the south east and from there travel inland to a very comfortable agriturismo situated where one can amble in the mornings or evenings and get a feel for the wealth of the Mediterranean flora and fauna.  Our days will be taken up exploring the surrounding countryside, for example, of particular interest are the tombs of Pantalica in an area rich in wild flowers and where orchids abound in the surrounding countryside if you know where to find them…

Some of the prize species and subspecies form part of the Late Spider Ophrys group (Ophrys fuciflora) group such as the very distinctive Ophrys lacaitae with its broad yellow triangular lip. Then there is O. oxyrryhnhcosO. calliantha and O biancae as well as abundant mirror ophrys (O. speculum) and a lovely  Sicilian endemic the Crescent Ophrys (Ophrys lunulata). 

We shall throughly explore the nearby Iblei mountains with gentle walks, visit gorges, lakes and also the coast to take in a wealth of different habitats and an astonishing variety of plant species as well as birds, lizards, butterflies and much more many of the sites are protected as National Nature Reserves

In Sicily it is important to experience the culture, in its widest sense. as well as the natural aspects for these are inseparable. Whereas much of the surrounding countryside is heavily grazed in Sicily as it is in Greece, the roadsides and archaeological sites are protected and form oases of life and colour with numerous species of flowering plant, butterflies and other insects

We shall also be able to visit some astounding archaeological sites and enjoy the varied cuisine for which Sicily is famed.




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Telephone from inside UK: 01473 254658  (Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm)

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