A flight at dawn, low, over the Sibillini Mountains of Italy. Now this was a treat for an early morning indeed. Those of you that know me will be quite aware I enjoy getting up and out early. And to go on a great adventure involving mountains? Even better.
This was one of those days where that feeling was made even more special.
From a little runway in the heart of the beautiful Le Marche region of Italy, not far from Amandola, we hopped on our little plane that would take us up and around the peaks of the Sibillini Mountains, and more.
The Sibillini Mountain Area
The Sibillini Mountains are known in Italy as Monti Sibillini. They are part of the overall Apennines Mountain Range that stretch up the Italian Peninsular.
They are situated between 2 Italian regions, Umbria and where I was, Marche. It is a stunning place to see. Snow and ice on the mountain tops and lush green Valleys and plains below them.
Sibillini Mountains National Park (Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini) covers an area of 70,000 hectares and the mountains are quite compactly substantive with most of the summits being over 2000m (6,500 feet).
The highest peak in the Sibillini Mountains is Mount Vettore which is 2,476 m (8,123 ft) above sea level.
A small plane and lots of windows to give us great views. Briefing done and we were ready for take off.
Within only a couple of minutes of flight the green hills and villages of the region were a sight to behold below. With the backdrop of the mountains themselves, topped with snow, making the scene ever more remarkable.
The Gorges and Landscapes
As you rise in the air you get to see the whole area in its entirety almost. The land changing as the altitude changes.
The green plains down at the bottom then the darker greens and rock as you climb up to the snow of the peaks.
You also get to see the huge gorges that were carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers. For example the Gorge dell’Infernaccio that I have hiked up. To see from above as well as within is a wonderful experience.
The area is full of legends, some stories lost through time and some passed down but their names persist.
In the Middle Ages the Sibillini Mountains were a centre point for many myths and legends. From fairies to demons. It was known as a mecca for all things black magic and demonic.
Apparently a prophetess named Sybil or Queen Sibill or other variations was known to live in a cave, deep up a gorge here on Monte Sibilla. She could apparently read into the future. You can see how legend and etymology passed down to the naming of the mountains.
Another legend is linked to Pontius Pilate, a glacial lake on Mount Vettore, called Lake Pilato. Again we hear that this area was a place for witches and wizards.
But there is a legend that when Pilate died in Rome his body was being transported over the mountains here and fell into the deep tarn/lake after an accident.
Each year around Spring or Summer the waters turn red. The legend says it is Pilate’s blood but we now know that it is thousands of small red coral crustacean, that are endemic to this lake alone, spawning as the weather conditions warm up.
Mountains From Above
Mountains from any angle are amazing to see with your own eyes and it was special to see this whole mountain area at low level in a plane.
Of course I love to climb them to see them first hand but to see them this way truly was special.
Even as we turned around to head back to the runway, the views just kept on coming, and the weather stayed perfect for us too that was a relief.
Looking down at towns I had explored and rocky tops with ancient villages yet to explore. Smerillo and the fissure in the cliff and more.
Landing back on the runway I asked if we could go up again…. You know what?! I will some day soon 🙂