In Piovene’s opinion, they are the most legendary mountains of central Italy. Their names remember it: Pizzo del Diavolo (Devil’s Goatee), Gole dell’Infernaccio (Hell Canyons), Passo Cattivo (Bad Pass), Passo delle Streghe (Witches’ Pass), Ara della Regina (The Queen’s Altar), Lago di Pilato (PIlato’s Lake).
Stories that become places and then paths, for hikers’ happiness. There is always a fairytale that goes with the trekking: from the Queen Sibilla, who gives the name to the Apennines in Umbria and Marche, from dancing fairies who jump under the moonlight, to witches hiding in snakes’ skin.
The Sibillini Mounts are enchanted. And spectacular, always different, in an alternation of stony crests and round hills, grassy sides and rock walls, rocks and canyons. The trip is never banal, between rugged hills - that remember the Alps - velvet fields of Castelluccio planes, villages hidden between hills and woods, where deers, boars and his majesty the wolf.
Legends, astonishing horizons, white streets that twist and turn among the slopes. It is an invitation for those who like walking or cycling, seeking landscapes and emotions. Also foreigners have discovered it: HFholidays, one of the most important English tour operator specialized in trekking and outdoor activities, declared the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini (Sibillini Mounts National Park) the best European destination for naturalistic tourism.
The Park, created in 1993, besides guarding an extraordinary environment for what concerns fauna and flora, embraces four provinces (Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata and Perugia) and collects 18 municipalities full of history: three at the source of Nera river (Visso, Castelsantangelo and Ussita); two in Umbria, suspended in the Middle Age (Norcia, birthplace of San Benedetto and Preci); Fiastra, with its lake and Amandola, close to the hills on the Adriatic sea; the city of parks Arquata del Tronto; the small and spiritual Acquacanina, chosen by Benedictine monks; the sporting Bolognola, that together with Sassotetto tests cyclists; Montefortino, very close to the Gole Dell’Infernaccio (the canyon between Sibilla mount and Priora); Montemonaco that is the door for the Sibilla Mount and San Ginesio, viewpoint over the Sibillini; Montegallo, on the ‘wheat road’ (followed by harvesters going to Umbria and Lazio); Cassapalombo with its fortress; the quiet villages of Fiordimonte, Pievetorina and Pievebovigliana.
Travelers, to orient themselves, can count on a network of “houses of the Park” that, as information points, help with the planning of the trip and give every information. As well as the Museums, to keep on with the raid in culture, traditions and territory.
There are several occasions for hikers, thanks to the paths designed for the discovery of mountain and nature, easy itineraries that start from villages and follow a theme, activities such as snowshoes or hang-glider, rafting, lake sailing, horse-riding, orienteering courses.
In addition, stops for food and shopping in traditional shops.
It is a different world and the only suggestion is to visit it at a slow rhythm, following the small streets, doing many breaks, between squares and alleys, colored slopes and the scents of a generous cooking.
The Sibillini Mounts National Park is by now the emblem of the union between tourism and natural environment. The only possible form of tourism here is the sustainable one and the active holiday is available for the whole year, changing sports and destinations.
Almost every path is numbered and classified. The ‘Grande Anello’ (Great Ring) is one of the most well-known itineraries, thanks to several striking attractions: it is possible to walk after coalmen, between hermitages, falls, chamois and eagles, along the streets of faith, until Pizzo Acuto and Gola dell’infernaccio, between woods where deers live and following the legendary Guerin Meschino. Here you have 124 kilometers that braces the mountain chain, divided in 7 or 9 stops and all signaled, equipped with mountains huts for hikers or, as an alternative, with traditional accomodations.
For the less trained, there are several urban itineraries that start from the medieval villages and easy walk at the feet of the mountains or in the countryside.
The guides of the Park launch every month hiking, educational and nature interpretation activities. To give an idea, next April they have ready donkey riding and snowshoes itineraries, a three-days trip from Garulla to Montegallo, and a whole week of walk on the entire itinerary of the Sibillini, trip that requires experience, training and suitable equipment.
To be kept in mind also the proposals of the Local Tourism System “Sibillini Mounts, Land of Parks and Magic”, that collects 32 municipalities of the provinces of Ascoli Piceno and Macerata, three Mountain Communities (Monti Azzurri, Monti Sibillini and Camerino), the Natural Reserves ‘Abbadia di Fiastra’ and ‘Torricchio Mountain’ and a huge part of the Sibillini Mounts territory.
To learn about news and promotions of the mountains huts, you just have to click on “sibilliniwilderness” website.
Let the magic of this mountains enchants you: Sibilla, the witch, still charms modern travelers and knights on two wheels.