The Dolomites - Wildflowers & photography

15th - 22nd June 2019

These high mountains on the borders between Italy and Austria are comprised mainly of the eponymous ‘dolomite’, a calcium-magnesium carbonate that originated beneath the sea from the long dead skeletons of microscopic marine organisms. However, where we stay there are outcrops of ancient granitic rocks, forced through the layers of Dolomite by geological upheavals to create acidic outcrops. The diversity of rock types creates a scenery perfect for dramatic landscape photography that allows us to experience a profuse flora of astonishing diversity.

We always seek a degree of solitude in this region which is popular with holidaymakers during the best time for wildflowers. We make extensive use of cable cars to get to the heights (up to over 2900m…) which allows photographers to carry equipment and to spend fruitful time wandering in flower meadows and ambling on way-marked trails through landscapes of a majesty hard to describe.

This region is a favourite of ours for those wide-angle macro photography images that have become something of a signature. Alpine plants, the veritable jewels of the botanical world, can be set in your images against rock pinnacles, some snow-capped…and, of course, we show you how it is done for maximum impact.

For more information, check out the ebook by Paul Harcourt Davies and Clay Bolt - Wide-angle Macro The Essential Guide which is regarded as THE book to read if you want to tell stories with your camera setting subjects in their surroundings.

Small, but exquisite alpine plants abound in these alpine regions making wonderful images for macro photography- snowbells (Soldanellas), cushions of moss campion (Silene acaulis), yellow Rhaetian poppies and endemic plants such as the devil’s claw (Phyteuma comosum) secure in rock clefts. Slightly lower down the mountains come lush meadows and species-rich ancient forests …here and there we find the legendary lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) certainly Europe’s most exotic orchid.

The alpine and subalpine flower meadows of the Dolomites are as rich as any in Europe - brilliant spikes of orange lilies (Lilium bulbiferum) flourish along with Martagon lilies (Lilium martagonium) accompanied by numerous species of wild flowers and a rich variety of butterflies and other insects that thrive on the plants. Our walks are gentle and varied, chosen for their flowers and views over mountains, lakes and waterfalls.

Flower photography ideas abound on our photo tours in the Dolomites



Itinerary

Day 1
After flying to Venice we meet you at the airport and transfer you to our comfortable family-run hotel in Colfosco

Day 2
We explore paths down near the river, through lush hay meadows and along the road that leads to the Gardena pass where we find numerous orchids including the Globe orchid (Traunsteinera globosa)

Day 3
Journey with numerous stops to the Sella pass and a unique landscape of huge rocks with innumerable alpine species such as three different species of the delightful ‘snowbells’ Soldanella alpina, S pusilla and S. minima

Day 4
Transfer in leisurely fashion to Campitello and another family-run hotel. En route we visit the Gardena pass and its rich flower meadows where orange and martagon lilies abound. We arrive in time to visit the village of Pian just above Campitello…a reminder of times gone by with a wooden architecture that has all but disappeared in the Dolomites.

Day 5
A day of local exploration along mountain and riverside tracks to find some glorious flowers…including Lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolum) and a cable car journey high above the village to Col di Rodella

Day 6
Travel towards the vast bulk of the Marmolada and an area of flower and butterfly rich alpine meadow…full of wild orchids and with granite outcrops above where we might, with luck, find the ‘king of the alps’ (Eritrichium nanum ) depending on how late or early the flowering season is.

Day 7
Exploration of the Fassa valley…and a wide array of flower-rich habitats from river valley through woods to high screes

Day 8
Return home via flights from Venice.

NB Weather can be unpredictable in any high mountain region and the Dolomites are no exception. We often chop and change days to make sure that you see as much as possible. In some years seasons are early and some meadows will be cut accordingly…we have a very good knowledge of the region and will endeavour to find others higher up..it is all part of the challenge.

15th - 22nd June 2019

Cost - €1850




Accommodation

To minimise travelling up and down mountain passes we stay in two places, Colfosco and Campitello di Fassa, in comfortable family-run hotels with wonderful access to both dolomite and granite mountains via the network of cable cars that function in the summer months. We changed locations a few years ago, back to places we had previously used before because of better access to a variety of habitats…ancient pine and beech woodlands, riversides, alpine meadows and high screes. All rooms have private en suite bathrooms.

Food & Drink
For those who are lovers of Italian cuisine the Dolomites (Trento region) has a strong Austrian influence through its history as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It is good and wholesome… polenta features highly along with pasta and the cakes are wonderful…ideal mountain fare. In both the hotels we use the food is excellent and varied. There are also some interesting wines, particularly the whites that originate in the Trento and Veneto regions on the southern borders of these mountains.

Practicalities
The Dolomite paths are excellent and clearly way-marked but there are occasional parts some might find vertiginous, whereas others will delight in the view. Our trips are gentle and be assured that we avoid anything with steel ropes and iron ladders. However, if you are at all concerned about degree of difficulty then please talk to us. We make sure that you see the best of the flowers wherever we can.

• Whereas daytime temperatures can be very pleasant we are often at high altitude and so lightweight extra layers are advisable as part of your luggage.
• In every mountain region paths are stony: light boots will suffice but good ankle support is essential. It is important you feel comfortable.

What's included
  • Pick up to and from airport (usually Venice). Flights to be coordinated with others in group but we aim to pick people up around midday on the first day and drop people back at the airport on the last day again, at around midday.
  • All transport during the tour
  • All accommodation and meals including wine at lunch and dinner

What's not included
  • Flights.
  • Personal expenses e.g. drinks, coffees, gelato...
  • Insurance


Contact us for a booking form