On a recent stay up in the rarified air of Castelluccio di Norcia to celebrate the start of yet another one of my trips around the sun (aka, birthday), I hiked a few of the trails inside the vast Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini (National Park of the Sibillini Mountains) and captured some breathtaking views of the Piano Grande (Great Plain).
Like Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who, along with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, conquered the treacherous summit of Mount Everest in 1953, I, too, had a Sherpa-of-sorts leading the way around some of the scenic routes of the park that straddles the border between the regions of Umbria and the Marche of central Italy.
Meet Giancarlo, my sure-footed trailblazer born in Rome, not Nepal.
Armed with hand-whittled walking sticks and canteens filled with fresh mountain stream H2O, our small “attack team” maneuvered its way high above the vast plain below.
On Day-1 we tackled the Sentiero Blu (Blue Trail) out to the Fonte di San Paolo; Day-2 we headed up to Forca di Presta and the Rifugio degli Alpini; and, on Day-3 it was the steep climb up the Sentiero Viola (Purple Trail) to the cross at the top of Monte Veletta. Whew!
Unlike Sir Hillary, none of the members of our “expedition” received a Coronation Medal or were knighted on the spot by Queen Elizabeth II for our efforts in conquering the trails and steep climbs around the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains.
But, thanks to “Sherpa” Giancarlo, we did make our way safely back to a few watering holes to toast the terrain we just traversed.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images
Amazing scenery, so refreshing!
Thanks, Ioanna. Btw, where have you been?
I know, I know, I am all over the place lately yet noowhere in particular…. But i am back! Blogging is an addiction, how could i escape? 😉
Welcome back from your self-imposed exile. 🙂
Hahahaha thank you! Nice to be back! 🙂
Good for you, Tom, and happy birthday (late.) Sounds great, especially the celebration part. 🙂 Just wondering. Are you retired? You seem to do lots of amazing trips. Not trying to be nosy, though. I try to only be nosy with wine. 🙂
Yes, I’m retired but determined to remain vertical and active. 🙂
The only way to be. Good for you!
Wonderful photos! My kind of place; I love wide-open vistas. Happy birthday!
Thanks, Ruth! Being from CO, you know about wide-open spaces, right?
Yes! That’s one reason I live here. 😉
Wonderful pictures. Hiking is my passion so will keep this place in mind if I ever get to travel to Italy.
Jill — Glad you’re bookmarking Castelluccio di Norcia.
Beautiful photos! Looks like it’s been really worth the effort and sweat 🙂
A bit of sweat, but well worth it for the fantastic views. Glad you noticed.
What a great way to celebrate your birthday, Tom. Wonderful pics. 🙂
Grazie mille, Sylvia!