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Italy’s wilderness: walking in the Majella national park

Dixe Wills has to drag himself away from delicious home cooking to explore the summits of Majella national park and its array of wild flowers

As we walked down the drive of the Pietrantica agriturismo in the tiny clifftop village of Decontra, we were treated to one of the world’s great sights: a beaming Italian mamma in a floral pinny, whose sole mission in life was to take us under her wing and feed us up.

The heartfelt hospitality and heart-meltingly delicious food cooked by Marisa for my friend and I over the following three days were a wonderful bonus. What we had actually come for was the wilderness.

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Sacré bleu! French holidays lose appeal for Britons

Visitor numbers slump by a fifth in four years, but Spain, Belgium, Italy and Norway all see a rise

From Henry V to Peter Mayle, Britons have long been invading France with enthusiasm in order to claim a small corner of it for themselves.

But figures published by the Office for National Statistics suggest that the nation’s love affair with the chateaux of the Dordogne and the patisseries of Paris may be on the wane, with visitor numbers having slumped by a fifth in four years.

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