While the wolves and the bears are the wild animals getting all of the attention in the National Parks of Abruzzo, the preservation of the wider habitat is beneficial for many smaller species, otters included.
Still, they need a little help and the 'Corpo Forestale dello Stato' has set up a breeding center for the otters at Caramanico Terme above the Orfento Valley, province of Chieti, in the Majella national park.
Together with the European Breeding Programme they have created a area designed to reproduce conditions in the wild. The hope is to encourage regular breeding and eventual release back into the wild.
The famous Marsicano brown bears are extremely difficult to see and we advise heading to the Riserva Naturale Montagne della Duchessa on the Lazio Abruzzo border.
But the wolves can be experienced close up at the Centro Visita del Lupo near Popoli in Abruzzo. Run by the Cooperative Il Bosso, the visitor centre offers the chance of seeing the work being done to reintroduce the Appennine wolf into central Italy, by all accounts too successfully..
On the first Thursday of May we recommend a visit to the small hamlet of Cocullo. There, the Festa dei Separi takes place when the statue of San Domenico Abate is covered in snakes from the local woods and paraded through the village.
What happens to the serpents following the midday procession is anybody's guess but La Festa dei Separi is to be done once.