The legs are demanding proper rest but the heart and mind have no time for these trade union style requests. Should fully enjoy that state of bliss induced by the crystalline air, the endless green landscapes at over 1500 meters high.
We walk for about two hours, but by choice. We could leave the car in the village or in a convenient parking near Castelluccio di Norcia, but do you really want to loose that?
It is July 7, because this year the miracle, the floral explosion, was made to wait a bit, which has allowed us to organize ourselves better, to arrive in time for the show, and here we are, out of breath that gives way to a long sigh of admiration. The Pian Grande is there below us with its amazing colourful carpet, an explosion of colours that leaves you breathless.
Red, purple, yellow, green, blue the good Lord, if you need him to, does things right, does not skimp and in this case truly gives his best . We are enchanted like all those who for about a month or so (June – mid July) are lucky enough to witness this continuous change and succession of colours.
The photos do not stop and only after long happy time with that vision do we take the path back toward the Gualdo spur, to the little chapel of the Madonna della Cona, where the monument to the shepherd stands, the figure that has always been very important in this so beautiful area but also so hard and difficult for the man with its cold winters and the long distances to be covered on foot.
The Forca di Gualdo and the Pian Perduto bring back memories of epic battles between Norcia and Visso for domination of the vast plateau and for its strategic presence of Castelluccio di Norcia that oversaw the two large flat plains, Pian Piccolo and Pian Grande.
There are large flat areas, precious places dotted with a succession of rugged mountains. Truly these mountains are the places that keep forever the many ancient legends, of which one of them, after whom the entire park is named, is that of Apennine Sibyl, the oracle to whom the bravest turned to seek divinations and answers.
For over two thousand meters on Mount Sibilla, there is a cave that is believed to have been the magical origin of the myth. But legends do not end here but continue already on the mountain in front … Yes Mount Vettore, the highest peak, encloses a small perennial glacier that gives rise to a pond of crystal clear blue water, called Lake Pilate, yes he, Pontius Pilate, by means of a legendary chariot, after a long ride, found eternal rest in the icy waters together with the legendary chariot.
I myself have met many years ago, when I began to frequent these places, an old shepherd called Peppone, keeper of ancient knowledge, who changed sometimes, into the wizard of the Sibillini Mountains.
In short, between walks, breathtaking views, visions, myths and legends, lunch time arrived and we stopped in the beautiful small village in the Comune di Castel Santangelo sul Nera, called Gualdo, where you can refresh your weary limbs at the Trattoria dell’Erborista and, without spending a fortune, eat delicious local produce, lamb chops DOC, crostini with truffle and many other good things.
Ah, speaking of magic, you know what the locals call the twins who manage the place? The Maghetti … Enough to stay interested!