A magical mushroom tour at 365m above sea level

Wild mushrooms are a hot commodity in the hills of Italy and each year hundreds of Italians will die from mushroom poisoning. On October 20th, 2012 a family of four from Pisa, all died from the mushrooms that they had collected earlier that day.


The mushrooms that killed this innocent family are appropriately named the Death Capthere is currently no cure for those that ingest this mighty mushroom.

This past Sunday we headed into the Sardinian mountains to hunt mushrooms, wild rabbit and sparrow. I’m just kidding about the latter two. What we did find was a lot wild mushrooms blooming between, beneath and on top of cow dung. It was a splendid afternoon I tell you – the winds were cool and the afternoon sun was warm and bright.

Wild mushrooms dotted the rugged mountain tops and I made double sure that there were no cows – in any radius.

My husband has been mushroom hunting for years; as a child he would spend his mornings collecting fresh mushrooms to later sell for a few lira down at the local supermarket. Two years ago – we made such a huge haul of mushrooms that I pickled them into 15 different jars!

We were a little late at getting out mushroom hunting this year and plenty of the mushrooms were already being attacked by small worms in the stalk. We left a ton of rotten mushrooms mountain top and made our way back home with about 5kg of Sardinian mushrooms.

I’d just turned on the T.V when the 5 o’clock news came on and we heard the story of this family in Pisa. My husband assured me that the mushrooms we picked are not poisonous. However, I did protest and he was grossed out by all the worms that we decided to ditch our loot of mushrooms.

(Click on any photo to view original size.)

Pick with care; know your shrooms!

Are you a mushroom hunter?

Related articles:

A Gathering of Mushrooms – via My Sardinian Life
Two die after eating death cap mushrooms – via ABC, Australia
Poisonous mushrooms – via Wanted in Rome
Mushroom hunt claims 18 lives – via The Independent

About Jennifer Avventura

Canadian Freelance writer living in Sardinia, Italy. A serial expat who has lived in Australia, England and Cayman Islands. She eats Nutella with a spoon and hides under the bed during lightning storms. When she's not out running 6k you will find her sitting at the computer - writing her novel and searching for worldwide waitress work.
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17 Responses to A magical mushroom tour at 365m above sea level

  1. The Hook says:

    Awesome shots! I love mushrooms..

  2. Kathryn says:

    I love mushrooms but I’ve never dared pick them in the wild! So sad about the family from Pisa. I remember hearing about two local ladies who died a few years ago near here. They had been hunting mushrooms for years before they got it wrong.

  3. It’s such a cool idea! I would definitely be afraid of eating poisonous ones. I know absolutely nothing about mushrooms, haha! Sounds like you guys had fun with the hunt even if you ended up tossing them!

  4. adinparadise says:

    Love your amazing photos. I love mushrooms, but would only eat bought ones. We’ve had several incidences of people dying from eating wild mushrooms in South Africa. 😦

  5. Great photos. When I was a child, my father taught me and my siblings to hunt morels. My husband and our son hunt them in the spring.

  6. YES! Been a mushroom-hunter since my parents learned me as a child, and since I have learned more. But I never take a chance of course. It can be so fatal to do a mistake, as you told about. It is very, very sad when this happen, and most people these days don’t know whats edible or not in nature.

  7. Lisaman says:

    I got my few Bolets in the forests but am amazed at just how many kinds there are out there…those death caps killed a family in South AFrica a few weeks ago..It is quite scary that people don’t have them checked before they eat them!!

  8. Not much room for error if you make the wrong choice! How sad for that family. I think hunting for mushroom photos is safest 🙂 (but those fresh edible mushrooms are so incredibly delicious!) ~ Kat

  9. I enjoyed this post about mushrooming, though it was a shock to learn that people die from eating poisonous mushrooms. The photo slideshow with comments about everything being big was lovely plus fun. Thank you for taking me to Bella Italia for a little while. My grandparents, Gus and Rosina Torelli, grew up in the region near Mount Vesuvius.
    Blessings to you!

  10. I’ve always wanted to go mushroom hunting. It seems like a fun autumny thing to do!

    P.S. I would have ditched the mushrooms too, after hearing about the tragedy of the family that ate the poisonous ones.

  11. Rosemarie says:

    Great photos even down to the worms!!! I just love mushrooms, but other then going to a mushroom farm to purchase, I have never hunted for the wild ones! Very sad about the people in Pisa. I think you both made a good decision on tossing your haul! Next year will be better! Have a great day! May God Bless!

    The Sard/American,

  12. colonialist says:

    I lack the knowledge to hunt them, and after several deaths in the area my father came from, he refused to eat them at any time. I love them, though.
    Someone should invent a simple chemical detection for the poisonous ones – I believe that some poisonous varieties are so similar to edible varieties they even fool the experts.

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