Italy's Sibillini National Park
Walking and Trekking Guide
Walking and trekking guidebook to Italy's Sibillini National Park in the Apennines. 21 day walks and an 8-stage multi-day trek, the 120km Grande Anello dei Sibillini are explored alongside sketch maps and plenty of practical information. Easily reached from airports on the Adriatic coast and Rome, the Sibillini straddles the Marche and Umbria.
SeasonsRefuges open from mid-April to mid-October; August and midsummer weekends very busy; higher ridges may have snow until June; excellent winter walking with snowshoes or touring skis, best with a local guide
CentresAmandola, Balzo, Castelluccio, Norcia, Nursia, Preci, Castelsantangelo, Visso, Ancona, Pescara, Perugia
DifficultySomething for all abilities, low-level strolls, ridges and walkers' peaks; the GAS requires no mountaineering expertise
Must SeeThe Grande Anello dei Sibillini 8-day trek, Sibillini National Park, Monte Vettore, Monte Sibilla, Piano Grande, Monte Bove
This guidebook describes 21 day walks, and one 8-day trek (Grande Anello dei Sibillini) in Italy's Sibillini National Park. Including short strolls and suitable for all walkers, with day walks ranging from 3.5 to 20.5km, the Sibillini in Italy's Apennines are easily reached from the budget airline destinations on the Adriatic coast and from Rome.
The Monti Sibillini straddles the Marche and Umbria, close to the towns of Norcia, Ascoli Piceno, L'Aquila and Perugia. Details of accommodation, refreshments and public transport along all the routes are also included with full-colour sketch maps and profiles. The area has a long walking season, from early spring to late autumn, and refuges open from mid-April to mid-October. Little known to foreign visitors, they offer vast highlands smothered in wildflowers, canyons burrowing deep into mountainsides, accessible ridges with breathtaking views and over 50 peaks, many over 2000m.
The wondrously varied landscapes of the Sibillini make for memorable outdoor holidays at any time of year, and holidaymakers of all grades of walking expertise will find something to get their boots into. There are leisurely strolls across flowered meadows and paths down eerie canyons, dizzy high ridge itineraries and a host of walkers’ peaks. Thanks to dedicated nature lovers and environmental activists, in 1993 this wonderland finally became the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, encompassing 700km2.
- he most convenient places to fly into are the airports on the Adriatic coast: Ancona, Pescara and Rimini. Also fairly convenient are Rome’s two airports. All have bus connections to railway stations.
- 21 day walks and a 120km, 8-day trek
- long walking season from early spring to late autumn
- first English-language guidebook to the area
- details of accommocation, refreshments and public transport along all the routes with full colour mapping, profiles and photography
When to Go
Exploring the Sibillini
How to Use this Guide
What to Take
Food and Drink
The GAS – Grande Anello dei Sibillini
Stage 1 Visso to Cupi
Stage 2 Cupi to Fiastra
Stage 3 Fiastra to Garulla
Stage 4 Garulla to Rubbiano
Stage 5 Rubbiano to Colle di Montegallo
Stage 6 Colle di Montegallo to Colle le Cese
Stage 7 Colle le Cese to Campi Vecchio
Stage 8 Campi Vecchio to Visso
1 Valle del Fiastrone
2 Lago del Fiastrone and the Lame Rosse
3 Cascate dell’Acquasanta
4 Bolognola Sentiero Natura
5 Upper Valle dell’Ambro
6 Val di Panico and Pizzo Tre Vescovi
7 Monte Priora
8 The Monte Bove Circuit
9 Gole dell’Infernaccio
10 Monte Sibilla Circuit
11 Monte Porche and Palazzo Borghese
12 Nocelleto to Forca di Gualdo
13 Preci and Sant’Eutizio
14 Monte Patino
15 Foce and Lago di Pilato
16 Castelluccio to Lago di Pilato
17 Monte Vettore
18 Monte delle Rose
19 Castelluccio and the Piano Grande
20 The Dogana Loop
21 I Pantani
Appendix Italian–English Glossary
In combination with a compass, a detailed topographical map showing natural features is essential for exploring the Sibillini on foot. The sketch maps in this guide are only intended as a rough guide and are limited by space restrictions. Hopefully all walks will go well, however in adverse weather conditions such as low cloud with limited visibility, orientation can become a real problem as landmarks are few and far between and a clear map comes into its own.
The best walking map is the ‘Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini’ scale 1:25,000, published by SER (Società Editrice Ricerche). It is on sale throughout the park and neighbouring towns, and can also be ordered from www.edizioniser.com. Kompass also do a decent 1:50,000 walking map – map 666 Monti Sibillini – which is available in many overseas outlets. It obviously has less detail, but the smaller size makes it handier to use. Be warned however that Walks 1 and 2 are missing from it, as is a chunk of the GAS Stage 3. Lastly, do not be tempted by the sketchy 1:50,000 map sold at Sibillini Park Visitor Centres as it is grossly misleading.
Users of the GPS will be pleased to know that the waypoints relevant to the long-distance trek GAS described in this guide can be downloaded from the website of the Sibillini Park at www.sibillini.net.
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There's been an increase in cases of TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) across Europe, Italy included. Walkers should be aware that they may pick up ticks while walking through grass and woodland up to approx 1500 metres altitude. Not all ticks carry the disease but better safe than sorry. Simple precautions and plenty of useful information is available on the website: https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/tick-borne-encephalitis. Vaccination is also an option.
My wife and I have just returned from a weeks walking in the Sibillini National Park in Italy. As can be imagined, the after effects of the earthquakes are still obvious with closed villages (red zones), blocked roads and many paths affected by rockfall. Information on road closures is not readily available. Limited accommodation is available. We did a number of walks from the Cicerone guide and climbed some other hills. Beautiful scenery, great food and wine plus amazingly cheerful people. (Courtsey of Graham Little)
CAI, the Italian Alpine Club, is working constantly on restoring access to paths and routes in the Sibillini mountains as well as many parts of the Italian regions of Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo affected by earthquakes. The web site http://ripartiredaisentieri.cai.it/ is packed full of walking and cycle routes to encourage visitors to return to these beautiful areas and bring much-needed work to the local populations who are slowly moving back to pick up their lives again.
Though the web site is in Italian, maps and tracks are available so visitors can easily make plans.
Good news: after aerial reconaissance in December the Sibillini Park Authority say that the paths on the Grande Anello dei Sibillini GAS ring route have not been damaged. (Walkers will need to check whether or not accommodation is open.)
For the time being, valleys to be avoided include: Valle dell'Acquasanta, Infernaccio, Valle del Lago di Pilato (from Foce), Val di Panico, Bove, Tenna and the Lame Rosse canyon.
The Park now has temporary premises and can be contacted for information through www.sibillini.net and its Facebook page where updates are posted; http://www.facebook.com/pages/parco-dei-monti-sibillini/61831404807
VERY IMPORTANT: More strong earthquakes in October 2016 have caused extensive damage across the Sibillini, landscape and villages included. Walkers should avoid the areas for the time being.
August 2016Warning from the Italian Mountain Rescue:In the wake of the disastrous earthquake on August 24, continuing earth tremors have caused rockfalls and path damage in the Sibillini mountains. Walkers are advised to check locally before embarking on walks and for the time being avoid canyons and ridges routes.
June 2014Accommodation info changed:p59 Altino (1035m) accommodation at Rifugio Altino www.rifugioaltino.it, open year-round tel 0736 610929, mob 338 6769985 or 339 4329874.
p56 Rifugio Giglio Rosso Rubbiano www.rifugiorubbiano.com Tel 0736 859184
Stage 6: route changes have been reported - the GAS evidently no longer goes
via Colleluce or Astorara - follow the new signposts and waymarks.
p72 Rifugio Campi Vecchio temporarily closed
(Thanks to Annette Machon)
p.38 Additional place to stay in Visso – B&B Casa dell'Artista tel 0737 9364.
p.66 – Rifugio Vittorio Ratti is now known as Rifugio Genziana and the phone no has changed to 0743 828623
with thanks to Tom Kemp
Grande Anello dei Sibillini (GAS):
Stage 4 - Rubbiano: B&B Ca' de la Rossa could be a convenient substitute for the still-unopened rifugio. Tel 333 8412523 or email: email@example.com
Stage 5 - Colle di Montegallo: changed phone and improved new management for rifugio tel: 0736 806310.
"We spent the first 16 days of September walking in Italy's Sibillini National Park and our main gude was Gillian Price's excellent Cicerone Guide. Thank you.
Sibillini remains a truly outstanding walking area with a wide and largely untapped appeal - and we hope that Cicerone will firmly keep it in its sights.... We've used dozens of Cicerone Guides over the last 30 years... and this was an especially good one in bringing this wonderful park to life."
Reader review, October 2014
The Park is renowned for its wild flowers and dramatic scenery although it is not well known outside Italy....As with many Cicerone guides, this little book is a must for any walker visiting the area.
Strider (Long Distance Walker's Association) April 2009
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Gillian Price has trekked throughout Asia and the Himalayas, but now lives in Venice and is exploring the mountains and flatter bits of Italy. Starting in the Italian Dolomites, Gillian has written outstanding Cicerone guides to walking all over Italy as well as Corsica and Corfu. An adamant promoter of public transport to minimise environmental impact, Gillian belongs to Mountain Wilderness and is an active member of the Venice branch of CAI, the Italian Alpine Club.View Articles and Books by Gillian Price