-Bears, wolves and beautiful landscapes in Italy's wild heart-
Boasting several world class national parks, the Central Apennines are a nature lover's playground. A complex system of mountain ridges and vast tablelands, this great topographic knot is the final refuge of many animals and plants that were once widespread across all of Italy's mountainous areas. These include the endemic Apennine Chamois and the iconic Marsican brown bear, of which there may be fewer than 50 left in the wild.
Living in Europe, nature is often much closer than we think. Less than two hours’ drive from the cafes and colonnades of Rome is a land that is both wild and wondrous. With craggy peaks topping out at nearly 3000 meters, ancient beach forests inhabited by bears, wolves and wild boar, and skies patrolled by golden eagles and griffon vultures, the Central Apennines truly are Italy’s “wild heart”.
Boasting several world class national parks, the Central Apennines are a nature lover’s playground. A complex system of mountain ridges and vast tablelands, this great topographic knot is the final refuge of many animals and plants that were once widespread across all of Italy’s mountainous areas. These include the endemic Apennine Chamois and the iconic Marsican brown bear.
Dotted with picturesque medieval towns and villages, the Central Apennine region is also home to a captivating local culture. With a heavy reliance on local nature, many residents practice “transhumance” sheep farming, beekeeping and fruit or nut farming.
It is this unique combination of nature and culture that makes the Central Apennines a thrilling destination ripe for exploration. Experiences offered by the European Safari Company focus not only on wildlife and nature, but also on local people who still live and work amongst bears and wolves.
There are currently around 60 Marsican brown bears (including newborns) roaming the Central Apennines, making their situation precarious. Today rewilding efforts focus on the development of a number of “coexistence corridors”, which enable these animals to move safely between the area’s network of national parks and nature reserves, diversifying genetics and boosting bear numbers.
"Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience."
- Francis Bacon
Umberto Esposito was born in 1982 and took up the interest in photography when he was just a kid.
After finishing his studies he started his career as nature guide, working between Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, thus merging two big passions in his profession: nature and photography.
The experience he had at the end of the nineties when he encountered his first bears, and the emotion that the first images he made evoked, drove him to what is nowadays his profession.
In 2009 he started Wildlife Adventures, a company engaged in spreading the emotions he had as a youngster to those who visit the mountains of the Central Apennines.
He is a hiking instructor registered with the Alpine Guides of the Abruzzo region and also a nature photographer. He is convinced that the environment has a very important role for people and for society and he works every day on this principles.
He is an author of various education and environmental communication projects and regularly works together with the local authorities and various NGOs.
He is co-author of Forest Beat a multimedia projects of photography, focused on the ancient Apennine beech forests and he has published articles and images on various magazines.
"It would be fitting, I think, if among the last man made tracks on earth would be found the footprints of the great brown bear"