|Ambro creek, Monti Sibillini National Park, near Montefortino, Marche, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Walking and hiking holidays in Le Marche and the Sibillini National Park
Le Marche, is a region that the Italian's describe as "all of Italy in one province" as it encapsulates everything from dramatic mountains to rolling hills sprinkled with Medieval villages and more. The region is bordered by neighbours Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo and Emilia Romagna and shares many of their best geographical features, yet is relatively undiscovered and surprisingly accessible.
The Marchighiani, or people of Le Marche, remain closely linked to the land and life here is centred on the family and on self-sufficient communities of farmers and craftsmen, where the local Le Marche market consumes most of the local produce. The wonderful medieval Le Marche towns offer the visitor an amazing range of history and historic architecture, that ranges from Art Nouveaux villas to characteristic stone cottages, and are home to wonderful art, over 1000 working theatres, fantastic markets and year round festas where you can sing and dance, eat and drink great local fayre, and enjoy the local crafts and customs.
The region is split into 5 provinces and is bordered by the Adriatic Coast in the East and the Apennine Mountains to the West, and the Sibillini Mountains, one of the highest sections of the Appenines, in the South West. They stretch 40km and contain 10 peaks in excess of 2000m. The whole area is a hiker's and cyclists paradise and a National Park was created in 1993 to protect the area's many mountain paths and old mule tracks, hermitages, romanesque architecture, flower-filled plateaux, rivers, stunning waterfalls, caves, gorges and lakes and a wide array of fauna that includes Golden Eagles, Falcons, Brown Bears, Wolves, Porcupine and Boar. Inside the park there are a number of refuges with bars and ristorante offering great food at very reasonable prices.
The geography of Le Marche between mountain and sea consists of vine-clad hills, medieval villages and a rich mosaic of farmland land rolls down from the west to the sandy adriatic coast with its sophisticated shopping, ristoranti, gelaterie and nightlife.
The Sibillini National Park tourist offices have a detailed topographical map that is essential for a Marche walking holiday and a wealth of information on the area, its geology, geography, flora and fauna. The National Park also produce walking and mule trekking itineraries and lead guided walks throughout the spring, summer and autumn months. These hikes and walks vary in difficulty and terrain and many aim to introduce the visitor to the Park's history, wildlife and the area's artisans. The Alpine Club of Italy (CAI) also arrange a similar schedule of walks.
The National Park web site has a number of visitors centres who will provide you with a wealth of information, suggested itineraries and information on the food and products being made by the artisans within the Park. There are 18 ancient towns within the park and many other places of beauty in the surrounding countryside. Before visiting the Sibillini National Park you should look at the Visiting the Park page of the Official web site, this has a great video of the area and fantastic information on museums, horse riding, mountain biking, walking and trekking, events, wildlife, how to get there and where to stay.
The Sibillini Mountains are home to many ridges that afford the hiker spectacular views all the way to Umbria and Tuscany to the West and the Adriatic Sea to the East, a glacial Lake "Lago Pilato" under the highest peak Monte Vettore, according to legend a guilt-wracked Pontius Pilate is said to have drowned himself here, there is also the "Grande Anello" a 120km, circular route with an accompanying book, the route takes 9 days with overnight stays at the refuges that provide cheap board and lodgings, these are also great places to eat well for very little money whilst you are up in the mountains. It is also home to two of Italy's most famous gorge walks; Gola del Fiastrone up near aquamarine Lake Fiastra and Hells Gorge which cuts 16km through dramatic limestone cliffs and is home to a monk who has lived a hermit like existence building a church single-handedly for the last 20 years.
The medieval Spa town of Sarnano is an ideal location for a walking holiday in the region as it is on the edge of the National Park and very close to many of the trails and road access points at high altitude. Just outside Sarnano are some beautiful Italy Holiday Villas, rel=nofollow http://www.villasanraffaello.com, Le Marche has 4 lovely apartments and a big pool set in 8 acres is of farmland, the mountain views from the Villa are spectacular and they supply guests with numerous detailed le marche rel=nofollow [http://www.villasanraffaello.com/free-time/marche-hiking-walking.html]walking itineraries. Some of these are in the hills near the villa and others high in the Mountains, with directions, elevations photographs and information on what you will see and experience on the hike. Alternatively, they can hire your group a qualified Mountain guide
Jim Bob Hardesty, walker, hiker, traveller, and lover of all things Italian. Good friend of the Conrads, porprietors of http://www.villasanraffaello.com mentioned in the above article
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?DIY-Walking,-Cycling-and-Hiking-Holidays-in-Stunning-Le-Marche-Italy&id=2481821] DIY Walking, Cycling & Hiking Holidays in Stunning Le Marche Italy