Nature & Outdoor
Departing from the Adriatic coast and moving inland, following the flow of the Marecchia River, crossing little villages and breathtaking views, in a short time we will reach the heart of Montefeltro. It’s that historical region on the borders to Emilia Romagna, Republic of San Marino, Marche and Tuscany .
Right here, in the most northern part of the Umbrian-Marchigiano Apennines, touching no less than six municipalities (Carpegna, Frontino, Montecopiolo, Pian di Meleto, Pennabilli, and Pietrarubbia), the Interregional Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park extends over a protected area of almost 5,000 hectares, and today we’re going to present it.
Amidst great expanses of woods (with Turkey oaks, beech trees, hornbeams, ashes, etc), the meadows and countryside landscapes, the fortresses and little villages tell the beauty of this borderland, that has always been a bone of contention: it’s a landscape made of green and round hills, at whose centre huge rocks with flat tops tower as if they were giants.
On shiny days, the chalky rocks of Sasso Simone and Simoncello, which have been looking at each other for millions of years with their unique dark profile, along with Carpegna Mount (1415 m), are visible even from the coast.
What to do
The Park is perfect for many activities that vary according to the interests.
Trekking lovers, for example, might challenge themselves by trying several available tracks.
The entire area is well-equipped with several rests stops, and it features an extended network of tracks that allow you to reach almost every part of the main excursionist destinations.
Among these, the two last stops of Alta Via Dei Parchi, the path that from Mount Fumaiolo leads to the Hermitage of Madonna del Faggio, are certainly worth a mention.
Whether in summer or winter, whether on foot, on skis (see the ski area), on a saddle of a horse or of a mountain bike, you can practice any kind of sports and satisfy your curiosities about nature, geology or animals.
Otherwise, you can wander across the many villages that dot the whole area of the park or you can surrender to your love for good food, visiting one of the many countryside festivals that celebrate the food and drink tradition.
And don’t underestimate the changing of the seasons: the same place will remarkably change its dresses and colours at every new season. This is the case with the locality of Cerretana, which extends from the foot of the two rocks up to Cantoniera di Carpegna: in autumn it turns to green-red shades, becoming a wonder for the eyes.
During the late spring days, the highest parts of Mount Carpegna, covered by grazing lands, are beautified by a variety of orchid species that paint with their innumerable colours the entire landscape.
The Places in the Heart
CITTÀ DEL SASSO
As the major part of Montefeltro, even the area covered by the Park has been the aim of conquests and power struggles.
It was during the second half of the 16th century (1554 aD)that it had a moment of fame when it was chosen to become, according to the will of the great Cosimo de’ Medici, an impregnable city, from which he could control all the surrounding territories.
Of that city – Città del Sasso – there’s not much left today. In the past it must have counted about 50 houses, all of the equal dimensions, including the captain’s residence, the courthouse, the prison, and a chapel that was added to the existing church: it was a real stronghold, built according to the late Renaissance urban principles
Of this absurd chance taken by the young Florentine prince, today are just a few traces left, hidden in this harsh and wild environment: very soon this experience turned into a failure because of the harshness of the territory and the difficulty of reaching the mount’s peak (1627 aD).
CIPPO DELLA CARPEGNA
If you are bike lovers, you will certainly agree with us. Cippo Della Carpegna is an unforgettable experience.
Even the great cyclist of Romagna Marco Pantani came here for his trainings: 6 km of sheer strain, with slopes reaching up to 18/20%: it’s a brief but extremely trying uphill way that can fold even the most expert cyclists.
The track is also known just as “Il Cippo”, and it clambers up Mount Carpegna, running through woods and green meadows until reaching the blow-up dedicated to the “Pirate” Marco Pantani. You will be struck by the vastness of the sky and the breathtaking view on the Republic of San Marino, Mount Fumaiolo and Mount Aquilone, the valley of the Marecchia river, and, in the clearest days, even the Adriatic sea.
“The Carpegna is enough for me” used to say the great cyclist of Romagna. Well, we sure believe him!
THE VILLAGE OF PENNABILLI
Maybe it’s because it hosts the so-called “Luoghi dell’Anima” (lit. “places of the soul”), an open-air museum born from an idea of the bright poet of Romagna Tonino Guerra, that the village of Pennabilli, at the foot of Mount Carpegna, is one of the places that you can’t miss, especially the part lying in Emilia-Romagna.
Since the 2010 Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club, the village has always been a destination for many illustrious personalities, proving its eternal charm. Lately, its attractiveness has further improved, thanks also to new comfortable accommodation, which, along with its excellent traditional cuisine and a rich calendar of events, make it still a beloved destination.
The entire area is equipped with facilities, and it features the Nature Museum of Pennabilli (MUSSS), the Wildlife Park in Pian Dei Prati, hosting domestic and wild animals, and environmental education centres.
Furthermore, the area hosts several museums and information points that welcome tourist and school groups; museums and accommodations, such as Ostello di Calvillano and Foresteria di Frontino; as well as agritourisms, camping sites, and restaurants for any need and taste.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located between the regional borders of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park is easy to reach by car. Otherwise, you can also go for the train+bus option.
On this link, you will find all the information on how to reach.
Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair
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