The Sibillini Great Loop Route is a hiking path of about 124 km that covers the entire Sibillini mountain range in Umbria-Marche Apennines.
Divided into 9 stages, it is fully signposted and it allows to know, in addition to the variety of landscapes and natural beauty, part of the inestimable cultural and historical heritage that this territory preserves.
The Sibillini Great Loop Route is one of the most beautiful routes in central Italy. Through the nine stages you can circumnavigate the territory of the Sibillini National Park, visiting the history of its small villages and the wilderness of its mountains. The tour embraces the Park clockwise, starting from the village of Visso and returning in the same village after passing through some characteristic places, such as the ancient route of the Kingdom of Naples, the Sanctuary of Macereto, the town of Fiastra and its lake, the Abbey of St. Salvatore, the Museum of the Argenta’s Valleys, the Abbey of St. Vincent and St. Anastasio, Mount Vettore and much more.
On the way you can enjoy the Apennine landscape and admire the wildlife that lives in the Park. The excellent organization of the park, as well as the wide availability of information about the paths, allows a dynamic organization of the tour, giving the chance to change the length depending on your availability of time and energy.
3rd STAGE: Fiastra - Monastero (9 km)
The path winds along the ridge that from ‘Punta di Ragnolo’ and ‘Pizzo Chioggia’ goes down towards the Fiastrone Valley. Along the first stretch you will enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Fiastra, while later is visible the deeper section of the Fiastrone Valley, with the gorges carved out by the river in the massive limestone and the red stone cliffs.
Along the way you cross some pastures bordered by woods, which in the hottest and driest areas gives way to holm oaks. There are many testimonies of the ancient presence of man in this valley: the ruins of Col di Pietra (XIII sec.), The Abbey of St. Salvatore in Monastero (XI sec.) and the Friars’ Cave, overlooking the gorges, which was inhabited by Clarenis, dissidents Franciscan monks, forced by the population to leave the settlement. Along the way you meet one of the rare oak forests of the Sibillini Mountains and along the forest you can enjoy fantastic views on the impressive red stone cliffs.
Also known by the name of Santa Maria in Insula, the abbey is located in the village of Monastero, in an isolated position. Founded by San Romualdo (very significant figure in this area) in 1009 on a previous small Benedictine church of the eighth century, San Salvatore was run by monks for a long time. The current structure has basically lost its original style and size features, with the exception of the central nave and the cross vaults Romanesque crypt, supported by nine sandstone columns. The original building had four corner towers on the outside which probably had a defensive function.
The ruins of an ancient fortress, situated on a rocky outcrop at the entrance of the Fiastrone Valley, a place of settlements prior to 995. After the year 1000 it became a feudal nobility fortress, the last defensive and controlling bastion of the territory. The Fortress had walls and probably also a village with a church.
The best known among the many caves along the Fiastrone Valley. It overlooks the gorges and it was inhabited by Clarenis, dissidents Franciscan monks. Over time they built first a small church and later a hermitage with several floors, of which today we can still see some remains. Around 1587, it is told that in the cave lived seven friars. From the second half of the '600, with the gradual abandonment of the friars, the vegetation slowly took over, and the degradation was slow and unstoppable. Only after the intervention, the sacrifice and the stubbornness of some friars of Colfano, the area has been completely cleaned and today it is one of the most suggestive attractions of the area.
City of departure: Fiastra
City of arrival: Cessapalombo
Length (Km): 9
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 518
Difference in downhill (m): 528
Highest point (m): 1026
Lowest point (m): 637
Duration (h.): 3