While staying in Pievebovigliana, our friends took us to the Sibillini Mountains National Park – Parco Nazionale dei MontiSibillini
Monti Sibillini are a mountain group and are part of the central Apennines, situated between eastern Umbria and Le Marche encompassing the provinces of Macerata, Fermo, Ascoli Piceno and Perugia
The area is paradise for anyone interested in outdoor activities and wildlife. Walking trails crisscross the area. Rifugi (mountain huts) welcome hikers every few kilometres with a restaurant and a warm bed (most open summer only; maps are available at local tourist offices).
There’s a good driving-circle around the mountains, which you can easily reach from Norcia (in Umbria) or Ascoli Piceno, Macerata or Ancona.
Our first stop was Cascia where we visited the beautiful Shrine to Santa Rita.
Then we drove to Rocco Piceno, where we walked up to the church at the top of the mountain.
We then drove on to Norcia, simply gorgeous. You could easily spend a full day or stay over in Norcia.
We ate the best pasta in one of the many restaurants.
Then watched Medieval festivities in the main piazza.
Norcia is known for its air and scenery, and is a base for mountaineering and hiking. It is also widely known for hunting, especially of the wild boar (cinghiale), and for sausages and ham made from wild boar and pork, to the point that Norcia has given its name to such products: in Italian, norcineria.
From there we drove over more mountains to Castellucio. A very quaint village needing a little attention.
Then we returned to Varnelli’s bar for a wine or gelato to recap the great day that we all had.