Central Italy’s undiscovered beauty

This package was coordinated by MEET project parnter Lazio Region and created by the managers and the people of the protected areas of Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve. 

The tour is provided by the local tour operator  Cooperativa L’Ape Regina. 

This test tour is a result of the MEET project’s objective to develop an integrated strategy to settle an Eco-Tourism Development Model for the Mediterranean Protected Areas that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows. By participating in this tour you will be part of a small group contributing to the development of a new sustainable travel concept which aims to support conservation and benefit the local communities…

NOTE: This package is designed for travellers with a low-medium fitness level interested in nature, culture and soft adventure (2- 4 hour hikes). Minimum age 6


Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve: The Protected Area

“Central Italy’s undiscovered beauty” eco-tourist package in Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve is strongly consistent with the MEET brand pillars: nature conservation, authentic eco-tourism activities, soft adventure and the relation between man and nature. Since its first establishment in 1983, Protected Area included nature oriented tourism within its main objectives and has therefore received the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST) award. The small dimension and slow pace of the area facilitate sound experiences and close links with the local community, through low impact activities and infrastructures. Habitat conservation and a shared care of the Nature Reserve’s precious biodiversity are the main priorities at every level.

Biodiversity & Conservation in Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve

Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve safeguards wide woods in a gentle, hilly landscape crossed by the Paglia river. Its almost 3,000 hectares are dominated by mixed oak woods, Mediterranean maquis, fields, olive groves and wetland vegetation close to the river banks. Thanks to its particular geographical position and local historical events, the Reserve safeguards very rich flora and fauna characterized by several rare species, thus forming an astonishing reservoir of biodiversity. More than 1,000 plant species have been recognized and listed in an area of less than 30 square km

The Nature Reserve also hosts several species that are endemic of central Italy such as the Italian wolf (Canis lupus ssp. italicus) or a very rare and endangered herb called Santolina etrusca. Moreover, at least 8 species of endangered bats fly around in the woods at nigh time. Small and isolated ponds or wetlands may host the water violet (Hottonia palustris) and are also the ideal habitat for the rare and delicate European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis).

The generous cultivated land all around is crossed by the famous Via Francigena, the Medieval pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome, and this marks out the whole area with a very strong and detectable link between nature, history, culture and traditions.

Conservation activities supported by the MEET Package

Some of the main conservation activities in the park include the monitoring and active protection of the scattered isolated small wetlands inside the Nature Reserve. Specifically, work is done to safeguard their ecological function which is essential for endangered plants and animals linked to water such as many species of amphibians, the water violet, the European pond turtle, etc. Main activities:

  • protection against boar trampling by means of electric fences
  • reactivation of springs
  • installation of monitoring instruments (rain gauge, camera traps, etc.)
  • elimination of invasive plants

A portion of proceedings from the sale of the MEET packages will go towards these specific conservation activities.

Who will you MEET during your trip?

Chiara and Marco, the owners of the “Agriturismo Pulicaro”, are a young couple with two small children who decided to dedicate their life to sustainable agriculture and rural tourism.

The wise and elderly Alessandro is the last charcoal burner of the area.

Adio is one of the most appreciated innkeepers of the district, but also a poet, a skillful photographer and a careful keeper of local rural traditions.

Lady Cecilia and her family, who have owned the Castle of Proceno since the XVII century.

Antonella and Silvia, guardian angels of the Museum of Flowers.

Iside, one of Italy’s most famous chefs.

Experts and rangers of Monte Rufeno Reserve.


Before you depart, please consider the following:

Visa requirements

No Visa for Italy if you come from European countries. Please check the information with the Italian Embassy in your country as well as the validity of your passport or ID.


Currency in Italy (and all the European Union) is EuroGoogle Currency Converter

Weather Conditions

Local weather conditions are characterized by hot and dry summers, mild temperatures as well as an alternation between bright and sunny days with short periods of rain during spring or autumn, and cold winters.

In the month of October our territory shows mean temperatures between 8°C and 21°C. In the daytime it’s usually sunny and warm but mornings and evenings may already be quite chilly. Rainy days are not so frequent but heavy rain and thunderstorms may occur.

Clothing tips

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip, please take with you:

  • Backpack
  • Raincoat, other waterproof clothes
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers
  • Water flask
  • Hiking shoes and a pair of comfortable walking shoes
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses


An insurance covering each participant during transportation and all activities which are part of the program, is provided. Participants are also advised to take out their own personal travel insurance.

Health and safety

In Italy water is always drinkable, unless otherwise indicated. In the same way all food is safe. For each meal you will be given details on ingredients and preparation.

All the activities have been planned following strict safety rules. However, the program includes hikes and outdoor walks that require proper attention by participants.

Ticks are present throughout Italy, particularly in spring and summer. In our region they do not represent a serious health risk. Nevertheless, we recommend long pants and closed shoes for all outdoor activities.


Information on electricity and adaptors used in Italy:

Residential voltage: 230 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Plug type: C, F, L

Plug standard: CEI 23-34 CEI 23-50



The Tyrrhenian coastal belt of central Italy between the Apennines and the sea is characterized by the presence of a wide geological area of magmatic origin due to the presence of many volcanoes which were active until some 100,000 years ago. The landscape is therefore shaped by the weathering of these particular rocks and displays the alternation of hills, plateaus and deep ravines where creeks and streams flow. A rich soil enables the presence of luxuriant woods as well as fertile grasslands and meadows.

This specific orographic situation marks out also the so called “Upper Tuscia” district, which includes the northern part of the Lazio region (Viterbo province) up to the border with Tuscany. At the very center of this district stands a wide, volcanic, circle shaped lake called Lake Bolsena. Before the Roman domination this land was inhabited by the Etruscan people.

Just a few kilometers north of the lake stands Acquapendente, a small Medieval town and, within its territory, the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve.

Main distances, in kilometers, between Acquapendente and:

Rome – 130

Florence – 150

Siena – 90

Viterbo – 50

Orvieto – 30

Bolsena – 15


Final Tour Itinerary

Download the final trip itinerary here.


The package foresees pick-up and drop-off in Rome central station (Termini), easily reachable from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) by train (Leonardo Express, departing every 30 minutes, journey time of 30 minutes, arrival at platform 25, see below). The transfer from the airport to Termini and back will occur in an independent way for all participants.

Monte Rufeno Pickup

The appointment with the tour leader on October 12th, is from 4 to 4.45 pm at platform 1 in Termini station. From there, the guesthouse will be reached with a train trip of about 1 hour and 20 minutes departing at 5.12 pm and a minibus journey of about 30 minutes. Arrival at Pulicaro guesthouse is expected at 7.00 pm.

The departure on the last day, October 16th, is planned with a train arriving in Rome at 10.50 am. From Rome railway station, Leonardo da Vinci airport will be reached individually as the first day.

Hanna Salo (tour leader) +39 333 8425597


Accommodation is provided at Pulicaro rural guesthouse (“agriturismo”), which ensures single rooms for all participants (please give us information about your preferences concerning single or double beds).

Towels and bed linen are provided.

Read more about Agriturismo Pulicaro and MEET on the MEET Network Blog!


In Italy tipping is not required, it is up to the customer.


Italian cuisine follows the Mediterranean pattern of eating—it focuses on simple, natural ingredients, such as tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains. In the inner regions of central Italy, proteins most commonly used are meat (pork, beef, chicken), cheese, eggs and beans, rarely fish. For all meals provided by the package there will be the greatest attention to any particular dietary requirements (vegetarianism, allergies, religious or cultural needs).

Shopping & Local Products

During the trip, there will be some opportunities for shopping in small traditional shops (local food or crafts). Some farmers visited will probably present some of their products which travellers will have the option to buy.

Your MEET Tour Leader

Your MEET tour leader will meet you upon your arrival and be with you until your departure. They will be the connection between you – the traveller – and the local people & territory, sharing their local knowledge and advice on how best to enjoy your unique experience. Their role is to ensure that all aspects of your trip run smoothly. It sometimes happens that unexpected situations may occur, in which case your leader will keep you well informed and may require your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, they are there to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask!


Basic greetings:

English Italian
Hello Ciao!
Good evening Buona sera
Goodbye Arrivederci
See you tomorrow A domani
Please Per favore
Excuse me / sorry Mi scusi / mi dispiace
Thank you Grazie
You’re welcome Prego
Have a good day Buona giornata!
Enjoy your meal Buon appetito!
Cheers Salute!


Introducing yourself:

English Italian
Hello, my name is… Ciao, mi chiamo…
What is your name? Come ti chiami?
How are you? Come stai?
Nice to meet you Piacere di conoscerti
I come from Italy, Spain, Germany.. Sono francese, spagnolo, tedesco…