Milano Marittima is a cute destination for family travel on the Italian Adriatic coast. Besides sea activities and fun at the beach, a visit to the Butterflies House is a must see when families are on holidays on the Italian Adriatic Coast.
Outside it’s still raining, but a beautiful picture on my Facebook wall reminds me that spring is about to come. Alessandro, a family friend, has posted the photo. “The first butterfly of the year,” he wrote, and his comment warmed my heart.
Alessandro has a deep interest in butterflies, so nobody knows the beauty of spring better than him. Reading his words, I travelled through time, “flying” back to last year when we visited the House of Butterflies in Milano Marittima, on the Adriatic Coast. The place is real, but when you get inside, a fantastic world of colours warmly welcomes you.
Every child has tried, at least once in his life, to catch a butterfly. Even when we grow up, their hypnotic and colourful dance fascinates us. Unfortunately, it is tough, both for kids and adults, to be able to observe a butterfly quietly, for a long time, at a close distance.
What? Didn’t you know that butterflies have a proboscis?
Gosh!! Then you have to go to the Butterflies House!!
A 500 square meters greenhouse, with excellent food corners to feed dozens of butterflies coming from India, Africa, Australia and South-America. Believe me: the House is a fantastic place to learn something about the most beautiful and funny insects on the planet!
Butterflies: a micro-universe to be discovered
Did you know that the round spots that some butterflies have on their wings are fake eyes to scare enemies? Real eyes are instead much smaller and made by thousands of little lenses, providing the insects with the widest possible view angle.
Antennas are used to smell, while the proboscis is used to reach the sweet nectar
. Proboscis can stretch as long as the entire body of the insect. When the butterflies don’t use it, the proboscis is rolled up, always ready to extend again if there is a new sweet drink to taste!
Birds, bats and lizards are butterflies’ worst enemies. To protect themselves from being eaten, butterflies use lots of tricks. Camouflage, to name one! Some butterflies look very similar to plants. Some others have wings identical to dead leaves. Others choose to have a bad taste, to stink or even to be poisonous.
Some butterflies are even more clever: for example, they are not poisonous but using camouflage, they look identical to butterflies that have this effect! And some caterpillars decide to look like guano. Yes, birds poo! Isn’t that smart? I bet birds won’t eat them!
How long does a butterfly live? Some of them live just a few days, others up to 18 months. Unfortunately, they spend a long time in hibernation, or they have to fly more 6.000 kilometres to find a warm place.
And do you know what happens if you touch their wings???
Please, don’t tell me you believe the story of their magic dust!!!
Metamorphosis and the first flight
Inside the greenhouse, you can meet colourful butterflies, and ugly caterpillars as well.
Also, you can have a look at the nursery, where the pupae (this is the name given to those that are no longer caterpillars but not yet butterflies) hang upside-down. Every Sunday morning, at 11 a.m., you can admire the first flight of newborn butterflies. This wonderful event alone is worth the entire trip to Milano Marittima!
On other days, specialised staff will teach you all about metamorphosis: from egg to caterpillars, and then from pupa to butterfly. For details on days and times, have a look at the House Website.
What we like about the Butterflies House
The Butterflies House is a goldmine of good ideas, and we particularly love those thoughts for kids. They must be booked in advance, and you can ask for an English, German, French or Spanish guide. We recommend the following:
LITTLE HELPERS WANTED
For half a day, kids from 8 to 14 years old, become part of the operating staff of the greenhouse. They will take care of the butterflies and the Greenhouse. Isn’t it great?
On March 30th, at 3 p.m., an astonishing “butterfly treasure hunt” will take place.
Good to know:
- How to get there: Highway A14, Ravenna exit; then drive along State Road S.S. 16 towards Milano Marittima and follow the signals to “Casa Delle Farfalle & Co.”
- Opening hours: from March 16th to November 3rd, 2013;
March and October: open every day (except Monday) 9.30-12.30 and 2.30-5.00
April, May and September: open every day (except Monday) 9.30-12.30 and 2.30-6.00
June, July and August: open every day 9.30-12.30 and 2.30-7.00.
- Tickets: euro 8,00 per adults; free for children if not taller than 1,00 mt; 7 euro for children up to 12 years old. Workshops and activities must be booked in advanced; programme and costs can be found on their website.
- Kids facilities: educational workshops, birthday parties, gazebos and green areas, a fantastic bookshop with a wide choice of games and books for children.
- Nearby: Hotel Valverde, in Cesenatico. This is a family hotel with excellent facilities for children.
Booking and information
Casa delle Farfalle & Co.
Via Jelenia Gora 6/d, Milano Marittima – Ravenna – Emilia Romagna
Tel. 0544 995671 fax 0544 998308