If you are looking for a scenic and adventurous destination in Italy, you might want to consider hiking in the Monti Sibillini National Park. This park covers more than 70,000 hectares of land across the regions of Le Marche and Umbria, and boasts ten peaks that soar above 2,000 meters. The park is named after Monte Sibilla, where a legendary prophetess named Sibyl was said to live in a cave and offer wisdom to those who sought her. The evocative place names summon the magic of this wilderness, once believed to be a haunt of witches and sorcerers.
The park offers a variety of trails for walkers of different levels of experience and fitness. You can explore the narrow valleys and rushing rivers that cut through the mountains, or enjoy the pastoral landscapes below the tree line. The park is also home to 18 charming towns that have a long and rich history and culture. You can visit the medieval castles, abbeys, and art galleries that showcase the ancient relationship between the land and its people. You can also taste some of the local delicacies, such as cured meats, truffles, mushrooms, chestnuts, honey, and vin cotto (cooked wine).
The Monti Sibillini National Park has many trails that you can follow to discover its natural wonders. Some of these trails are ancient paths that have been used for centuries by people and animals. Others are more recent and marked by signs and maps. You can choose the trail that suits your interests and abilities, and enjoy the scenery along the way. You can find information about the trails here. If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Monti Sibillini, you might want to join a local tour. A local guide can show you places that you might not find on your own, help you reach the top of Monte Vettore, or tell you stories about the region and its people. We highly reccommend going with Dino from Marche in Spalla.
Walking in the Monti Sibillini National Park is a rewarding experience that will immerse you in nature and culture. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll or a challenging hike, you will find something to suit your preferences and abilities. The park is a place of beauty, mystery, and adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories. We choose four different hikes, with various levels of difficulty, to guide you when visiting this beautiful park.
Piani di Ragnolo
If you are looking for a scenic and relaxing hike in the Sibillini mountains, you might want to check out the Piani di Ragnolo, a stunning plateau that offers amazing views of the sea and the mountains. The Piani di Ragnolo are located between the villages of Sarnano and Fiastra, and you can access them from a trail that starts near Santa Maria Maddalena, a small hamlet between Sassotetto and Pintura. Here you will see a sign for Villa Lucio (here on GoogleMaps), a historic house where you can park your car near the ski slopes.
From there, you will walk along the asphalt road towards Acquacanina for about 50 meters, passing by Villa Lucio on your left, until you reach a dirt road that goes uphill and is marked with a “G”. This road will take you to the pass of Monte Pizzo Meta in about 30 to 40 minutes. You can choose to continue to the summit of Monte Pizzo Meta, or you can explore the plateau by following the well-defined path that runs along the ridge.
The views from the ridge are breathtaking. On one side, you can see the blue of the Adriatic Sea on the horizon, and on the other side, you can admire the majestic peaks of the Monti Sibillini. The best time to visit this area is in spring and summer, when the plateau is covered with colorful flowers that create a contrast with the green grass and the rocky landscape.
Another option is to continue and park you car at this parking spot, from here just take your time to walk around and enjoy the views.
This hike is perfect for a day trip, as you can combine it with a visit to Sarnano or Lago di Fiastra, two charming places that are worth seeing. Sarnano is a medieval town that has preserved its ancient architecture and traditions, while Lago di Fiastra is a crystal-clear lake that offers many activities such as swimming, kayaking, fishing and picnicking. For lunch a spot definitely worth a visit is La Patata Bollente, while Z-Chalet is a hip mountain bar where you can get something to drink and eat (the music can get quite loud sometimes).
If you are looking for a moderately challenging hike in the Monti Sibillini National Park, you might want to consider the Lame Rosse, a natural wonder that consists of red earth pinnacles that rise up from the ground and create a stunning contrast with the green-blue waters of Lake Fiastra. The walking route, back and forth on the same path, is 7 kilometres long with a height difference of 250 meters. Therefore, this walk is suitable for most people.
The walk starts at the large dam of the Lago di Fiastra. On top of the dam, you have a beautiful view over green gorge and the beautiful blue water of Lago di Fiastra. You can park your car at the dam. Then you walk to the end of the dam and go through a tunnel. After the tunnel you continue up the path and start the climb.
The trail is marked with the number 335 and is mostly easy, except for the last part where you have to climb a steep scree slope. The beginning of the path bends to the right and not much later you walk on the path along the gorge. After about half an hour you will be walking sheltered on a forest path. You might run into a mountain biker during your walk on a Sunday morning. When you arrive at the fork go left. The trail climbs slightly further and after about an hour and a half you arrive at a dry riverbed. From here you walk in the sun and continue up the riverbed. Very soon you will see the first red rocks appear!
You can easily combine the walk with a visit to the beautiful mountain lake of Lago di Fiastra. Here you can cool off in the fresh water, rent a canoe or sup, or just relax on a rug with a good book. Directly on the lake is a small bar (Verde Fiastra). There are several ‘coves’ around the lake where you can park the car and descend to the lake by stairs or path.
If you are looking for a more challenging and rewarding hike in the Monti Sibillini National Park, you might want to consider Monte Sibilla, the mountain that gives its name to this stunning range. Monte Sibilla is 2,173 m high and offers spectacular views of the surrounding valleys, peaks, and even the sea on clear days. It is also a place of legends and myths, as it is said to be the home of the Sibyl, a prophetess who could foretell the future.
There are several routes to reach the summit of Monte Sibilla, but one of the most popular and scenic ones is the E10 Anello del Monte Sibilla, which starts and ends at the Rifugio Sibilla, a mountain hut at 1,540 m. In the summer months you may not be able to get to the rifugio by car, there is a bus from Montemonaco. This circular route is about 12 km long and has a total elevation gain of 635 m. It requires good physical condition and some experience in mountain hiking. We also don’t reccommend this hike if you are afraid of heights as you will be walking on the actual ridge, with steep drops of both sides.
The hike begins by ascending to the right of the Rifugio Sibilla towards Monte Zampa, a smaller peak at 1,791 m. The trail is steep and rocky at first, but then becomes more gentle as it follows the panoramic ridge that leads to Monte Sibilla. Along the way, you can enjoy amazing views of the Infernaccio Gorge, Monte Priora, Lago di Pilato, Monte Vettore, and more. The ridge is also rich in flora and fauna, such as wildflowers, birds, and butterflies.
The most challenging part of the hike is the final ascent to the summit, which involves a short scramble over rocks with the help of a chain. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the Sibillini Mountains and beyond. You can also see the entrance to the Grotta della Sibilla, a cave where the Sibyl was said to live and receive visitors who wanted to know their destiny.
After enjoying the summit, you can continue along the trail that crosses the top of Monte Sibilla and descends to a dirt road that will take you back to the Rifugio Sibilla. This road is not very pleasant to walk on, as it was built for military purposes during World War II. However, it is the fastest way to complete the loop and return to your starting point.
Another challenging and rewarding hike is Monte Vettore, the highest peak of the Sibillini. This hike offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including the famous Piano Grande of Castelluccio, a vast plain covered with colorful flowers in spring and summer. Monte Vettore is not only a beautiful mountain, but also a place of legends and myths. According to some stories, it is the home of the Sibyl, a prophetess who could foretell the future. Another legend says that there is a hidden lake under the summit, where a fairy lives.
The hike to Monte Vettore starts from Forca di Presta, a mountain pass that can be reached by car from either Norcia or Arquata del Tronto. There is a spacious parking area near the Rifugio degli Alpini, where you can leave your car and start your hike.
The trail is marked as hard and requires good physical condition and hiking experience. The hike is about 10 kilometers long (round trip) and has an elevation gain of 900 meters. The trail is well marked with red and white signs and numbered as 101.
The first part of the hike is through a forested area that provides some shade and protection from the sun. The trail ascends gradually until you reach Monte Vettoretto, a smaller peak at 2052 meters. Here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Piano Grande and Castelluccio below.
The second part of the hike is more exposed and steep, as you climb up to the summit of Monte Vettore. The trail can be very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays, as this is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers. The view from the top is breathtaking, as you can see the whole Sibillini range and beyond. On a clear day, you might even spot the Adriatic Sea in the distance.
• Check the weather conditions before you go, as they can change quickly in the mountains.
• Bring plenty of water and some snacks.
• During the summer months it might get quite busy on the trails in the weekend so try to do them during the week.
• The temperature can change significantly at high altitudes, so bring layers of clothing that can keep you warm and dry. A windbreaker or rain jacket is also recommended, as well as a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and gloves.
• It is advisable to start early in the morning to avoid the heat and the crowds and to have enough time to complete the hike before sunset.
• Always respect the nature and the wildlife and do not leave any trash or damage behind.
I hope this guide will help you plan your hike and have a wonderful time in the Monti Sibillini National Park!