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My husband and I both love animals, and specifically birds of prey. We actually plan on owning a raven one day! So when we found out there was a falconeria right here in Vicenza (where we live), we had to go as soon as possible! And we definitely didn’t regret it! Falconeria Zen is an incredible and unique animal experience in Vicenza, Italy and should not be missed!

The Birds at Falconeria Zen

I have to start with the most important part! Falconeria Zen has an impressive range of birds and can therefore accommodate a range of experiences. All of the birds are incredible and each gives such a unique experience and teaches you something different! I’ll include pictures in this section and videos of the birds at the end of the post!

  • Frey – a European Hawk or Common Buzzard. Frey was the bird we spent the most amount of time with on the “Hawk Walk”. We spent an hour or so with him, walking with him and experiencing him fly to us and eat out of our hand! He is absolutely magnificent and it’s breathtaking to see him in action. 
Frey on perch, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
Frey looking like a cute little poof on his perch!
Frey, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
And Frey, alert and ready to go as we head towards the trail. I love seeing the difference in the birds when they're relaxed versus when they're ready to hunt.
  • Savannah – a Tawny Eagle or African Eagle. I was so excited to meet Savannah, since we have the same name! She’s 23 years old and was unfortunately very neglected and abused the first 20 years of her life, being kept on a small balcony and unable to even spread her wings fully, let alone fly. This has left her slightly disabled but she’s beginning to recover thanks to Sylvia at Falconeria Zen!
Savannah on Perch, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza Italy
You can sort of see here, how Savannah's wing droops slightly. She's incredibly majestic nonetheless
Savannah, perched on gauntlet, Falconeria Zen
Brandon loved holding Savannah, I passed this time but definitely plan to next time!
  • Shiva – Indian Eagle Owl. My personal favorite, because I love owls! Shiva was absolutely gorgeous and stunning to behold. We got to experience him flying to us around sunset, and (although he had trouble spotting the food sometimes) eating out of our hands! Sylvia also has a female Indian Eagle Owl, who’s also gorgeous, although her and Shiva apparently don’t get along too well.
Shiva, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
Have I mentioned I love owls?! Shiva was so relaxed and just...chill. This may have been because he was a little sleepy since it was late afternoon.
Shiva, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
I loved watching Shiva move his head around, all 270 degrees! It was my first time being close to an owl, let alone holding one, and I loved it!
  •  Dean – Miniature Falcon. Dean isn’t listed on the Falconeria Zen website but he is so much fun! We got to go out with Dean just before the Hawk Walk with Frey and he was incredible! He’s so fast and it’s amazing to watch a bird of prey his size maneuver and eat from your hand.
Dean, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
An incredible shot we got of Dean, all puffed up and ready to go!
Dean, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy
He may be small, but don't let it deceive you! This little guy flying at me at full speed to grab some chicken from my hand was a little intimidating!
  • Lupe – Harris Hawk. We didn’t get to meet Lupe (this time) but we hope to next time! She’s apparently rather stubborn and belongs to one of the only species of hawk to hunt in groups. She’s also quite the world traveler: she was born in America, raised in Holland, and now resides in Italy!

Experiences at Falconeria Zen

Falconeria Zen offers a multitude of experiences and has something for everyone. When I first spoke with Sylvia on WhatsApp I was a little apprehensive of what she meant when she said we’d have a “mixed experience”, but it turned out to be an amazing, once in a lifetime experience that we’ll cherish forever.

  •  Meet the Birds.  Obviously you can’t have an experience without meeting the birds! It was amazing to walk around the corner and see Frey, Savannah, and Shiva perched in the grass. Meeting them, learning about them, and getting to know them was such a great experience. Sylvia is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly loves all of the birds dearly. 
  • Hawk Walk. We were lucky enough to get to go out with both Dean and Frey (this was the mixed experience Sylvia mentioned!) Each of them provided a vastly different experience, and both were absolutely awe-inspiring. I don’t want to spoil too much – but both of them have some tricks under their wing that are sure to amaze you! While younger children (or nervous adults!) may not be able to have Frey fly to them, Dean is great for everyone! You should check out this video below for a sneak peak of this incredible animal experience in Vicenza, Italy!
  • Raptor Assisted Stress Reduction. I was very intrigued when I saw this listed on the Falconeria Zen website. After all, who doesn’t need some stress reduction in their life? When I asked Sylvia about it, I was even more impressed and appreciative that they offer the experience. This is geared towards people with disabilities, specifically Sylvia has given this experience to a few autistic children as a unique means of therapy. It was most definitely relaxing to be around the birds and focus on them, and I love that Falconeria Zen is so inclusive and able to provide experiences suitable for anyone and everyone. You can read more about the Raptor Assisted Stress Reduction (RASR) here on their website.
  • Courses. This is immediately what my husband was interested in, especially since he plans on getting a raven later on. As of late November when we visited, Sylvia told us Falconeria Zen plans to hold full falconry courses next year. This of course depends on how many people they have who want to participate in the courses, but this is something my husband and I would love to do. I would honestly recommend to anyone who loves birds of prey or animals in general! As of now, Falconeria Zen does offer shorter courses, which you can check out here.

Where is Falconeria Zen?

Falconeria Zen is located in Ponte Di Barbarano in Veneto. It’s just barely outside the city of Vicenza. Falconeria Zen is a true small, local business. And as such, our initial experience started right in Sylvia’s backyard. There, we met the birds before she drove us to a clearing on a hillside with a gorgeous view. Here we flew Dean and got to feed him and see him in action. From here, we went just around the corner and walked a trail to a small church. We watched Frey fly along the trail, and got to marvel at him in action. Aside from him flying to us and watching him eat, we got to see him accomplish some incredible feats, like catching food midair and eating it!

More Details of Falconeria Zen

We arranged our incredible animal experience at Falconeria Zen in Vicenza by messaging Sylvia on WhatsApp. Her contact information is listed both on their Facebook Page, and on their website. We were amazed at the price she gave us for this once in a lifetime experience: just 30 Euro per adult and 20 euro per child to meet her incredible feathered friends. We personally threw in an extra 30 euros, because we absolutely fell in love with the birds and Sylvia was an incredible guide. The money goes straight to feeding and caring for these incredible animals, so we couldn’t help but give more. 

Shiva, Falconeria Zen, Vicenza, Italy

And there you have it! Falconeria Zen is truly a once in a lifetime experience which is fun for the entire family! Spending time with these breath taking birds of prey is both educational, and incredibly soothing and relaxing. We definitely plan to return to Falconeria Zen, Sylvia, and the birds sooner rather than later (my husband is actually considering doing an apprenticeship with Sylvia!) so I’ll definitely be updating this post with more information as we explore more of what they have to offer. We’re so excited to go back and watch and help this unique small business grow! I highly encourage anyone and everyone who can to check out Falconeria Zen, this incredible animal experience near Vicenza, Italy! 

And, as promised, here are some more videos of these incredible animals!

That last video was our absolute favorite! Frey, and all the other birds, were absolutely breath taking to behold and interact with. I hope this post has inspired you to check out Falconeria Zen, for an incredible animal experience in Vicenza, Italy!

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An Incredible Animal Experience in Vicenza, Italy - Falconeria Zen
An Incredible Animal Experience in Vicenza, Italy - Falconeria Zen
An Incredible Animal Experience in Vicenza, Italy - Falconeria Zen
An Incredible Animal Experience in Vicenza, Italy - Falconeria Zen

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19 Comments

    1. It was absolutely incredible! I can’t recommend it enough, I truly think it’s something everyone should experience once in their life. There’s something so relaxing about interacting with the birds.

  1. wow! What a beautiful experience this must of been. The birds are beautiful creatures – its something completely different for a travel experience!

  2. This is awesome! I love seeing the birds of prey as well and I have a place not too far from my house here in Canada. I’m with you, the owl is my absolute favorite as well. I keep hoping to see one when I’m out hiking in its own natural habitat, but no such luck yet.

  3. What an amazing experience this is and how special that they rescue these birds and care for them. Your photos are lovely and the videos you have included with the slow-motion aspect are just brilliant. I would love to visit Falconeria Zen one day to see this first hand. Fabulous post.

    1. Thank you so much!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and it means a lot that you appreciate it and my photos! I definitely hope you get to experience Falconeria Zen or another similar place!

  4. I’m an animal lover too, but I think you’re braver than me! Birds of prey intimidate me, but I find them gorgeous and fascinating as well. This sounds like a wonderful experience!

    1. I was still too intimidated to hold Savannah, the African Eagle! Even little Dean spooked me when he first flew to my hand. But I became super comfortable with the birds pretty quickly! They were actually super soothing and relaxing.

  5. I had no idea that there were these kinds of experiences in Vicenza! What an incredible opportunity to see birds of prey up close. And I had never seen a Frey or Savannah before – what absolutely stunning birds.

    1. I was so surprised there was something like this in Vicenza as well! There’s also an Alpaca farm right here in Veneto as well, that I can’t wait to visit once the travel restrictions relax!

  6. Until a few minutes ago, I did not even know that “falconeria” is a thing. But what a beautiful institution that is. A few years ago we visited an aviary where you could watch the birds, but you could not get in close contact with them as you did. So, this seems to be a great institution.

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