Sibillini

  • © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • High summits of the Sibellini Mountains - © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • The Sibellini Mountains, le Marche  - © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • View of Monte Bove in the Sibellini Mountains from valley flank, Le Marche - © flickr user- Roy Luck
  • Lago di Pilato - © Flickr User - Francesco Gasparetti
  • Lago di Pilato - © Flickr User - Francesco Gasparetti
  • Lago di Pilato - © Flickr User - Giulio

Key information: Sibillini

  • Classic glacial landscape at the heart of the Italian peninsula, with grassy, treeless upper slopes with huge views. Famous for their wildflower-crazed meadows.
  • A form of walking bliss.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating82
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating82

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,467m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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High summits of the Sibellini Mountains - © flickr user- Roy Luck

WALK SUMMARY

The Sibillini Mountains sit at the heart of the Italian peninsula, east of Perugia and Spoleto and straddling Umbria and the Marche. They are part of the long Apennine chain, with many peaks over 2,000m and a high point at Monte Vettore (2,476m). They are now protected as part of the Sibillini Mountains National Park.

As a once-glaciated area, you will meet scraped cliffs, cirques, corrie lakes and U-shaped valleys, as well as gorges, waterfalls and caves. The grassy, treeless upper slopes are walking bliss, with their huge views.

The Sibillini are famous for their wildflower-crazed meadows, indeed whole plains, in springtime (take a bow, the famous Piano Grande) below high, grassy ridges. There are said to be around 1,800 floral species in the park. Wildlife includes wolves and wildcats – and porcupines, animals it is easy to forget are European natives – as well as deer. 150 species of bird will delight you, from golden eagles and other raptors to partridges and finches.

As well as stunning landscape and natural life, the region is rich in historic and characterful towns and hilltop villages, making for wonderful day-walk bases or multi-day hopping points. The towns include Visso and Norcia. Castellucio above the huge Piano Grande plain is a special example. Note, though, that the horrendous earthquakes in 2016 inflicted terrible damage on the area’s towns and villages, which are a long way from recovered as of 2019.

There is a huge variety of great walks here, from short explorations to multi-dayers, so you can easily spend a week here. There are plenty of fine paths, many marked, so you can find walks to suit you. There are also plenty of rifugi to stay in, so you can head out for a long trek.

Famous walks

The great high plains of the Piano Grande, below Castelluccio, are ablaze with wildflowers in spring, a famously glorious sight which, along with the lovely temperatures, bring walkers here in their droves.

Monte Vettore: as the highest mountain in the range and a stunning walk, Vettore attracts plenty of walkers. There are various routes, but the best walk up is the long path from Foce, which climbs valleys to highland pastures, then on up along ridges to the high summit. Probably the best views in the entire range. 8hrs/17km. 1,580m of climb, so a long and demanding day.

Monte Priora: A fine, exciting 2,333m mountain, the third highest in the Sibillini. Superb high ridge walking after initial climbs.

Gola dell'Infernaccio: This extraordinary gorge is a walking delight. Deep in its bottom is a Roman salt route, which you can follow to the head of the gorge and back. High on a flank of the gorge is a hermitage built on the foundations of the first Cappucian monastery. Nearby is a 30m waterfall. You can combine the gorge and Monte Priora.

The Sibillini Traverse: so called by the Lonely Planet. An east-west traverse of the northern part of the NP, but also a return walk. It follows a thrilling ridge, bagging three of the Sibillinis’ main peaks (Sibilla, Cima Vallelunga and Monte Porche (2,233m)) plus six other summits over 2,000m. The centerpiece of the ridge is a 4km-long, airy, ­narrow spine. 18km/6 hours+ for the whole route. Those who aren’t up to the full ridge walk will still be hugely rewarded by climbing Monte Sibilla.

The circuit: Grande Anello dei Sibillini (GAS)

An excellent circuit of some 120km around the outer hills, ridges and slopes of the Sibillini. Described in the Cicerone book. 

Other fine walks

The Gole della Valnerina are deep gulches which were carved out by the River Neva. Claimed to be two of Italy’s best gorge walks.

Lame Rosse: climb steeply to wind among unlikely red sandstone pinnacles (‘blades’), with superb views of Lake Fiastra, with a circuit continuing along the Fiastrone river valley gorges, with some wading needed. 9km, 5/6hrs.

Monte Bove – a huge rocky tower, unusual for this area (some suggest it feels more like a Dolomite).

The Valle Tre Santi is a deep and stunning gorge above Sarnano on the eastern side of the range. Enjoy delightful bird life. Follow a path through cliffs to the high Pintura summits. Huge views.

The Dello Zafferano trail, along which saffron was once carried from Abruzzo.

Lago di Pilato, in under Monte Vettore (see above), is itself a fine day walk even if you don’t feel like heading on up the mountain for some peak bagging.

Villa San Raffaello, near the park entrance, is a charming place, and an excellent, clued-up base for walkers; it can provide guides, and groups to join. www.villasanrafaello.com

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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Books and Maps

Suggest books and maps

Walking books  (support us: find books using our Amazon link)       

Italy’s Sibllini National Park – Gillian Price for Cicerone: as usual, an inspiring book, packed with routes and valuable information. Recommended.

Hiking in Italy – Brendan Sainsbury/Lonely Planet. 3 routes here.

Find these and other books on Amazon.

Other books (support us: find books using our Amazon link)

Lonely Planet Italy – Damien Simonis/Lonely Planet

Rough Guide Italy – various/Rough Guides

Lonely Planet Tuscany and Umbria Virginia Maxwell/Lonely Planet

Walking and eating in Tuscany and Umbria – James Lasdun, Pia Davis/Penguin

Find these and other books on Amazon.

Maps

1:25,000 maps can be got locally.

GPS is useful.

Stanfords: A good online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks). Also try Maps Worldwide.

Best times to walk/weather

Best times to walk

Spring and Autumn are the best times to walk here. Summer is too hot. Winter can be bracingly beautiful, but is not for most of us.

Weather

Generally fine in season, but come prepared for unpredictable mountain weather – very cold in winter.

For detailed weather information, have a look at: www.worldweather.org or www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/country-guides

Getting there/transport/permits/fees

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Check the current visa positon for people from your country.

Perugia and Spoleto are both reasonably convenient for getting to/from start and end points. Perugia has flights from the UK (Stanstead) and elsewhere. Skyscanner is an excellent (relatively new) site for finding the flights you need.

Norcia and Visso are the main local towns.

Car hire is easy, but driving isn’t always straightforward, with rough white roads in places in the NP.

Those on organised expeditions are likely to be transported from/to arranged start/departure points.

Local taxi services generally exist in the towns, can (eg) take to or pick you up from a roadhead, or transport luggage.

You can arrange a guide.

Possible problems, health, other warnings

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  • Mountain weather: snow, rain, thunderstorms, severe cold and wind are possible at any time of year and the weather can change rapidly. Come prepared.
  • Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
  • Heights and exposure: the heights can be dangerous and exposure severe; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
  • Harmful animals, including wild boar, snakes, scorpions, stinging/biting insects and plants.

See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, and does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Make sure you have appropriate insurance.

Guided or independent? Sibillini walking holidays

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You can do these walks independently, but come fully prepared.

Some people form or join organised/supported expeditions. Choosing a suitable guide or company is of course vital. If hiring a guide locally, meet him/her and get comfortable before committing. Make sure all requirements are understood and agreed – including, of course, remuneration!

Expedition organisers include:

Villa San Raffaello, near the park entrance, is a charming place, and an excellent, clued-up base for walkers; it can provide guides, and groups to join. www.villasanrafaello.com

Naturetrek provide an eight-day natural history tour of the Sibillini mountains. https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/tours/italys-sibillini-mountains

Girosole provide a guided tour in the Sibillini mountains https://www.girosole.com/italy-walking-tours/sibillini-guided-hike/

PLEASE HELP Walkopedia by recommending any reputable tour organizers that you know of – local or otherwise.

Accommodation

The guidebooks have a selection of possible accommodation, and there are accommodation websites. See Useful Websites below.

There are various mountain huts in the area, usually in superb or at the least very pretty and charming locations. They provide food as well as sleeping, from dormitories to double or family rooms. You do well to book ahead. The contact details of huts in a number of the best areas are in the Cicerone book as well as in local websites.

Villa San Raffaello, near the park entrance, is a charming place, and an excellent, clued-up base for walkers; it can provide guides, and groups to join. www.villasanrafaello.com

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Other information and tips; responsible tourism and charities

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Useful websites and information

There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.

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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks in Italy

Italy has a huge variety of great walks. There is likely to be a good walk within range wherever you may be.

Other activities in Italy

Biking, climbing, birdwatching.

Culture, history and people watching.

Coastal/sea fun and chilling.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

© flickr user- Roy Luck

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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© flickr user- Roy Luck...
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