These biodiverse oases offer sanctuary to a variety of bird species and mammals. Among them, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, common kestrel, and woodpeckers grace their natural habitats.
These captivating wildlife reserves merge the wonders of nature and the allure of history, making them ideal for explorers, bird enthusiasts, and photographers. But we are also making it the base-camp for our didactical project, with courses, events and a ranger’s academy to teach the rangers of tomorrow.
Woodlands shelter the elusive black woodpecker. Raptors like common buzzards and kestrels rule the skies. Evenings resonate with owl calls and the songs of the Eurasian scops owl.
Larger mammals like roe deer and wild boar thrive. The region is witnessing the resurgence of wolves and rare sightings of the elusive golden jackal.
In the midst of this wonderland lies Park La Mandria, a former royal game reserve. Here, you can witness the majesty of ospreys, cranes, and great egrets, all within close proximity to a bustling city.
Park La Mandria preserves the lowland forest habitat that has become scarce in northern Italy due to intensive agriculture. In addition to free-access visitor centers, such as Ciabot degli Animali, the park boasts an array of wildlife observation stations and photo hides.
Ciabot is where you can embark on a learning journey, with courses, workshops, and activities tailored for both adults and kids. Capture the beauty of insects and small reptiles through macro photography, or immerse yourself in the natural world through educational programs. Come and visit us in our homeland, we’ll happily introduce you to the wonders of our country!
“Park La Mandria is Nature on the outskirts of Turin!”
Highlights & Key Facts
Castelletto Merli's varied landscapes are home to a rich avian population. Woodlands echo with the melodious songs of Eurasian blackcaps and common nightingales, while the striking Eurasian jay adds vibrancy. Meanwhile, Park La Mandria boasts an array of birdlife, from the majestic ospreys to the elegant grey herons and the charming tufted ducks, all amidst the enchanting backdrop of this former royal game reserve.
The rolling hills of Castelletto Merli offer not only a tapestry of avian life but also shelter to roe deer, wild boar, and, most notably, a resurgent wolf population. The presence of these apex predators marks a crucial development in the local ecosystem, emphasizing the region's commitment to wildlife conservation. Park La Mandria mirrors this diversity, providing a refuge for these charismatic mammals in a setting where history and nature intertwine seamlessly.
Year Round Wonder
These areas are opened year round, offering a variety of activities and catering for all kinds of photographers and visitors. Come and visit our visitor center in Park La Mandria or for a session in our hide in Castelletto, you will always be welcomed with a smile and all the info you need.
You can access our headquarters through the nearby airports of Turin Caselle (1h 10min), Milan Malpensa (1h 30min) and Bergamo Orio al Serio (2h 10min)
For the Park, you can reach this natural wonderland through nearby airports, including Turin Caselle (25 min), Milan Malpensa ( 1h 30min) and Bergamo Orio al Serio (2 h 20min).
Park La Mandria counts of one of the last examples of lowland forests in Po Valley; with its oaks and hornbeams hosts an array of wildlife including the returnees grey wolves.
Both the areas account of different grasslands made for crops or (in the case of the Park) to ensure grass for horses hosted in some of the structures and for the ungulates such as boars, red deers, fallow deers and roe deers.
Lakes & Streams
The Park hosts some artificial lakes and ponds, but also channels, streams and the Ceronda river, which hosts a diverse array of species. Here you can see the common kingfisher but also the elusive lamprey and the now endangered river crayfish and river crab.
The Hills near Castelletto, offer a captivating ecosystem. This picturesque region boasts rolling landscapes, vineyards, and woodlands that provide habitats for a variety of avian species, such as hawks, woodpeckers, and finches. This rich blend of natural and cultivated environments makes it an ideal place for both nature lovers and wine enthusiasts to explore and enjoy.
Delight in the melodious tunes of Moltoni's Warbler as it graces the hides of Castelletto Merli, serenading visitors with its charming songs.
Witness the agility and hunting prowess of the Sparrowhawk as it soars through the skies, a symbol of nature's precision in both areas.
Catch a glimpse of the striking Green Woodpecker as it forages for ants and insects in the lush landscapes or simply having a bath, adding a burst of color to the natural tapestry.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Marvel at the Great Spotted Woodpecker's rhythmic drumming and vibrant plumage as it thrives in the woodlands.
Enjoy the company of the Cirl Bunting, a charming bird that adds a touch of serenity with its cheerful presence and delightful songs.
Encounter the secretive Badger, a symbol of resilience, as it roams the protected landscapes, contributing to the biodiversity of the Park La Mandria and Castelletto Merli.
Be captivated by the Hawfinch's distinctive appearance and melodious calls as it graces the woodlands and gardens, showcasing nature's artistry.
Watch the acrobatic displays of the Red Squirrel as it scampers through the trees, a beloved and iconic resident of the reserve's rich ecosystems and one of the most endangered.
Observe the impressive Buzzard as it soars gracefully over the landscape, epitomizing the spirit of wild freedom within this natural haven.
Listen to the cheerful songs of the Redstart, a feathered artist that brightens the surroundings with its delightful presence, bringing harmony to the reserve's wilderness.
Climate & Seasons
Summer Season from 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F).
Winter (December - March)
Naturalistic Photography: In Winter you can still see different species from our special beverages and hides, call us to reserve your spot.
Didactical activities: The cold season is perfect to stay inside our warm structure to read the books of our collection or to spend some time with other science and nature enthusiasts, participating to one of our didactic offers.
Spring (April - May)
Macro Photography: Spring is the perfect season to try the macro photography for the first time, as in this season a lot of insects start to re-populate the area after the winter cold.
Naturalistic Photography: In this season also a wide variety of birds start to make their comeback in the area from their winter homes down in Africa; you start again to see Black Kites, Bee Eaters, Hoopoes and many others.
Summer (June - August)
Naturalistic Photography: During Summer a wide range of birds use our beverage to find some refreshment from the hot sun; in this time of the year you can spot different species visiting our hide in Castelletto.
Autumn (September - November)
Vivid Fall Colors: The Natural Park La Mandria along with the vineyards and forests of Monferrato, near our headquarters, transform into a symphony of autumn colors, with the foliage creating a captivating setting for photography and sightseeing.
Didactical Courses: With schools opening after the summer break, also the didactical activities of our reserve restart. Come for our courses, conferences and events, we await for you.
Night Sky Photography: Autumn offers a perfect season to try to embark on an astronomical adventure; despite having some light pollution, Park La Mandria is already a good starting point for beginners without the need to move far away from the city comforts.
Travel with Skua Nature
Our committed team is here to ensure your every need is met, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction exceed your highest expectations.