The Sibillini Great Loop Route - Stage #6

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.

6th STAGE: Rubbiano - Colle di Montegallo (14 km)

The route crosses the eastern side of Mount Zampa, and then goes down to Tofe, in the river Aso valley. Then it goes up to Altino to continue at the foot of the long ridge that from Mount Banditello (1,873 m) and Mount Torrone (2,117 m) takes to Mount Vettore (2,476 m).

We are in the "Magical Slope", whose heart is Mount Sibyl on which there is a cave where, according to legend, you enter the realm of the mythic Sibyl. The cave was reached in the Middle Age by scholars and knights-errant, who came from all over Europe to unravel the mystery that still surrounds this enchanted mountain.

As if by magic, along the "reapers’ path" that leads to Colle di Montegallo, you meet Piceno’s oldest rural church: Santa Maria in Pantano. The frescoes inside depicting the Sibyls testifies the ancient and frequent custom of combining Christians and pagan rites.

Along the way you meet chestnut trees, whose presence, on the Sibillini Mounts, is limited to a few areas, as bound to the presence of marl-arenaceous lands. Chestnuts have represented in the past one of the basic food for the people of these mountains.

See the previous stage #5 See the next stage #7

Monte Sibilla Valle dell'Aso Altino grotta della Sibilla Santa Maria in Pantano Santa Maria in Pantano Santa Maria in Pantano

Points of interest

THE SIBYL’s CAVE
THE SIBYL’s CAVE

The Sibyl’s Cave, also called "Alcina’s witch" or "Fairy’s", is a cavity which is located at 2,150 meters near the summit of Mount Sibyl, accessible only on foot. Surely inhabited since prehistoric times, the cave owes its name to the Apennine Sibyl’s legend, according to which it was the access point to the underground kingdom of the Queen Sibyl, a prophetess condemned by God to live in the depths of the mountain. The current appearance of the cavity definitely contrasts with evocative descriptions and the myth created by various legends: the cave is in fact inaccessible, reduced to a crater full of boulders and debris due to clumsy interventions made with explosives to widen its entrance.

SANTA MARIA IN PANTANO’s CHURCH
SANTA MARIA IN PANTANO’s CHURCH

It’s the oldest rural church of the Piceno area, dating from the ninth century, situated near Colle di Montegallo, under the imposing Mount Vettore, and accessible only on foot. The Church has the name "in Pantano" to the presence of a luxuriant water spring. Its position on one of the most important Piceno Apennine mountain passes made it a point of reference and a prime destination for travelers, pilgrims, shepherds, laborers and merchants. Its symbolic value - a meeting point between the pagan and the Christian culture - is due to the strong relationship established over time with the past’s beliefs and traditions in the Sibillini’s area. The singularity of the interior frescoes testifies it: there are prophets and evangelical episodes together with fairies and sibyls.

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Technical data

City of departure: Montefortino

Departure: Montefortino

City of arrival: Montegallo

Arrival: Montegallo

Length (Km): 14

Difficulty: hiking

Discipline: Trekking

Type of Itinerary: Short routes - Half day

Difference in height (m): 720

Difference in downhill (m): 470

Highest point (m): 1184

Lowest point (m): 732

Duration (h.): 4