Me and My Sherpa

Me and My Sherpa  ©Tom Palladio ImagesOn 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.

Me and My Sherpa | ©Tom Palladio ImagesMeet 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!

Me and My Sherpa | ©Tom Palladio ImagesUnlike 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



Written by

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


  1. 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. 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: