Ecco Le Marche
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For all the nature-lovers out there, spring has finally come, and we can start a new hiking season! Actually, Isabelle is the real hiker, I am just here to record what she previously experienced. I am the expert on food, let’s face that!

Today’s hiking trail (check the GPS link to track it live) takes you to the Monte San Vicino, the mountain that has always meant home for me. It’s not so high, just under 1500m, but its peculiar form is the one that I have been seeking each time I came back home. I love the landscape it creates in every season, but in winter it brings out its best. Its snowy peak has also inspired a traditional saying: when Monte San Vicino puts its hat on, your umbrella should you take along (my translation 😉 )

First of all, drive to the parking spot of the hamlet of Pian dell’Elmo, where you can spot also a camping and a 70s hotel-restaurant. The top is already visible from here! We have to climb up a little following the asphalt road, direction Matelica, and then enter the wood, path 173C. This path runs through a beech forest for a long time and offers pleasant shade especially in the summer. Beech forests are not common in Central Italy because it is actually too hot for these deciduous trees.

 

Primroses and wild crocuses sprout very early, and poke their way through this late snow. Occasionally we leave the forest and enter open spaces where we enjoy the beautiful views, especially the lake of Cingoli. To enjoy what the magic Mother Nature has to offer, you’d better walk into the woods at the end of May/in early June when the fields are full of orchids, wild daffodils and wild peonies. Nevertheless, also during the summer, Monte San Vicino welcomes its hikers with scented thyme tapestries and hundreds of fluttering butterflies!

From the parking lot there are 550 meters of altitude, and the final part is just a short climb through the dunes to the top. From the highest point, where a metal cross proudly stands, you can benefit of a grandiose 360 degrees panorama: you can see the Adriatic Sea, the Monte Subasio in Umbria, the Monte Amiata of Tuscany, and even the Gran Sasso in the Abruzzo. You can bring your picnic basket and relax a little bit here.

The way back is happily just descending, but beware of the loose stones on the path. To go back we take the path 112 a which turns into the 112 ag. This then changes into the 173 a and ends at the parking lot.

The total time is about an hour and 15 minutes, however, you can also make it shorter. You do not have to stop at the parking lot of Pian dell’Elmo but continue through the forest towards Matelica. Once out of the forest and after a sharp turn to the right, there is a sign on the left at an inlet. Park there, cross the field and then take the path 173 c up to the top. From here it approximately takes 40 minutes to reach the top.

Provided  with the right clothes and footwear, this trail can be done in every season; just make sure of the weather conditions, because on foggy or rainy days, the vista cannot be as stunning as said before. We (better, Isabelle) recommend the first sunny day after rain, because of all the damp is out of the blue.

Good cards are the one of Fabriano, Cagli and San Severino Marche or those issued by Riserva Nazionale Regionale of the Monte San Vicino and del Monte Canfaito.