Walking Umbria, Walking the Marche

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Landscapes of UMBRIA and THE MARCHE: walks and car tours

by Georg Henke

I found this book immensely helpful while planning for a vacation touring Umbria by car. The car tours are fantastic and hard to plan by yourself without the help of a person with intimate knowledge of the area. I loved the picnic recommendations… A great book in this excellent series. I strongly recommend it to anyone visiting Umbria. (BZ, Amazon)

Don't let anyone tell you that Tuscany is the most beautiful part of Italy. I reckon Umbria is just as good, if not better, as it is more varied. From the plain of Assisi to the highest mountains this book will get your imagination going. Some of the walks are in remote and mountainous areas, and are not for the unfit or faint-hearted, but if you are touring then there are others such as the walk near Passignano on Lake Trasimeno which are no problem for the less energetic. Another great little book in the series. (AL, Amazon)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

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Description

UmbriaUmbria promotes itself as ‘Italy’s Green Heart’, and it’s true that the colour green dominates the landscape — from the glistening silver-green olive groves above Lake Trasimeno to the dark green holm oak woods edging the Valle Umbra and Valnerina and up to the oak forests, mountain pastures and high grassy plateaus of the Monti Sibillini. This picture is not only true for Umbria, but also for the lesser-known neighbouring region of the Marche. Naturally there is a wealth of art and architecture to be seen en route, whether you travel by car or on foot.

Area covered: All of Umbria and the Marche (except for the heavily developed Adriatic coast).The main focal points are the two most beautiful areas of the Apennines in Umbria and the Marche — the idyllic, deeply-etched valley of Valnerina in Umbria and the legendary Monti Sibillini which rise to almost 2500m and lie mainly in the Marche.

The best months for walking in Umbria and the Marche are from September to June.

Where to stay

Recommended tourist centres are the starting and end-points for all the car tours. While details of public transport are given for each walk, you really need a hire car to make the best of all the possibilities in this guide.

Edition/contents etc

8 car tours, each with suggestions for picnics en route, 37 main walks with many shorter and longer variations
136 pages + 2 touring maps; large-scale (1:50,000) walking maps
2nd ed, 2010; ISBN 978-1-85691-384-3; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $17.99

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Getting there and getting about 7
Recommended reading 7
A country code for motorists and walkers 7

Touring 8
Car tour 1: MARE DEL UMBRIA – PERUGIA AND LAKE TRASIMENO 10

Car tour 2: FROM ORVIETO TO TODI, VIA AMELIA 14

Car tour 3: ASSISI, MONTE SUBASIO AND THE VALLE UMBRA 17

Car tour 4: FROM SPOLETO THROUGH THE MONTI MARTANI INTO THE SOUTHERN VALNERINA 21

Car tour 5: UMBRIA’S LONELY EAST: FROM SPOLETO TO THE MONTI SIBILLINI 25

Car tour 6: THROUGH THE CENTRAL APENNINES VIA LITTLE-KNOWN MOUNTAINS AND HISTORICAL TOWNS 29

Car tour 7: FROM URBINO THROUGH THE MONTEFELTRO 36

Car tour 8: ASCOLI PICENO AND THE MONTI SIBILLINI 40

Walking 45
Maps and waymarks 45
When to walk 46
Equipment 46
Walk descriptions, grading 47
Safety and precautions 47

THE WALKS
1 Passignano, Lake Trasimeno and Maggiore 49
2 Monte Tezio di Perugia 52
3 Circuit above Lake Corbara 54
4 From Santa Restituta to Monte Croce di Serra 56
5 From Assisi across Monte Subasio to Spello 58
6 The Menotre Falls and the monastery of Sassovivo 61
7 Across the olive groves of Trevi 64
8 Monteluco, above Spoleto 67
9 From Cesi across Monte Torre Maggiore to the
ruins of Carsulae 69
10 From Ferentillo to San Pietro in Valle 72
11 Through the Valnerina from Scheggino to Piedipaterno 75
12 Lonely mountains above the Valnerina 79
13 In the mountains round Gavelli 81
14 From Sant’Eutizio through Valle Castoriana 83
15 Above the rooftops of Gubbio 85
16 From Miratoio to Sasso di Simone 87
17 Above Furlo Gorge 90
18 On Monte Nerone near Piobbico 93
19 On Monte Nerone near Pianello 95
20 Around Fonte Avellana Monastery on Monte Catria 97
21 On Monte Cucco 99
22 Above the gorge of the Rio Freddo 101
23 Through Valle Scappuccia near Genga 104
24 The Gola della Rossa near Frasassi 106
25 Through the Apennines near Fabriano 109
26 Hermits’ caves above the Fiastrone Gorge 111
27 Above the Castelluccio Plateau 113
28 Along the slopes of Monte Utero 115
29 From Castelluccio to Lago di Pilato 117
30 Below the rocky pyramid of Monte Bove 119
31 Mountain trails above the Ambro Valley 121
32 Through the Infernaccio Gorge 124
33 In the Monti della Laga near Acquasanta 125
34 Colle San Marco, near Ascoli Piceno 126
35 On Montagna dei Fiori near Ascoli Piceno 128
36 Through the Gola di Salinello 130
37 Above the sea on Monte Conero 131

Index 135
Fold-out maps inside back cover

Guidebook index

Abbazia di Sassovivo 61, 62
Acquasanta Terme 40, 44, 125
Amandola 40, 42
Ambro, gorge, stream, valley 121, 122-123
Amelia 14, 16
Apennines 5, 6, 21, 29, 40, 46, 47, 48, 109, 110
Arquata del Tronto 44
Arrone 21, 22
Ascoli Piceno 40, 44, 126, 126, 127, 128
Assisi 17, 18, 20, 58-59, 59
Badia San Pietro 131, 134
Baschi 15
Bevagna 17, 20
Borgo Cerreto 77, 78
Cagli 29, 30
Campello Alto 19, 65, 66
Campello sul Clitunno 64, 65
Campi Vecchio 27, 83, 84
Carsulae 21, 22, 23, 69, 70-71
Casali 119, 120
Cascata
della Volpara 125
delle Marmore 21, 23

Cascia 25, 28
Case Barboni 88-89, 88
Castel Rigone 10, 11
Castel San Felice 24, 28, 75, 76
Castello di Pissignano 19, 65, 66
Castello Procoio 53
Castelluccio 25, 27, 43, 113, 114, 114, 117
Piano Grande or Altopiano (Castelluccio Plateau) 4-5, 27, 40, 43, 113, 114, 117
Castiglione del Lago 10, 11
Cesi 21, 22, 69, 70-1
Chiusi (Tuscany) 10, 12
Citta della Pieve 10, 12
Civita di Bagnoregio 14, 15
Civitella del Lago 14, 15
Colfiorito 17, 18
Palude de 18
Colle San Marco 126
Corciano 10, 13
Due Sorelle (beach) 131, 132-133
Elcito 33
Eremo
delle Carceri 58-59
San Marco 126, 127

Esanatoglia 34
Esino, river, valley 107, 107
Fabriano 29, 35, 109, 110
Fematre 25
Ferentillo 21, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77
Fiastrone Gorge (see Gola)
Foce 40
Fonte Avellana (monastery) 29, 31, 97, 97
Fonte Vecchia 121, 122, 122-123
Fonti del Clitunno 19
Frasassi (caves, gorge, nature reserve) 29, 33, 106, 107
Freddo, river, gorge, valley 100, 101
Frontone 31
Furlo 91, 92
Gorge (see Gola)
Gavelli 81, 82
Genga 104, 105
Gioiella 11
Gola
dell’Infernaccio 42, 124
del Fiastrone 42, 111, 111
della Rossa 106, 107
di Furlo 36, 39, 90, 91
di Salinello 130, 130

Guardea 14
Gubbio 29, 35, 85, 86
Infernaccio Gorge (see Gola)
Isola Maggiore 10, 11, 49, 50, 51
Isola Polvese 10, 13
Labro 21, 23
Lago
di Chiusi (Tuscany) 12
di Corbara 15, 16, 54, 55, 55
di Fiastra 40, 42
di Gerosa 41
di Piediluco 21, 23
di Pilato 40, 117, 118
Trasimeno 49, 50-51

Lakes (see Lago)
Lugnano in Teverina 14, 15
Madonna dell’Ambro 42, 121, 122, 122-123
Madonna della Neve 25, 27
Madonna di Macereto 43
Magione 10, 13
Massa 30
Matelica 34
Meggiano 25
Menotre, waterfalls, valley 61, 62
Mercatello sul Metauro 38
Miratoio 87, 88, 89
Monastero 111, 112
Montagna dei Fiori 40, 128, 129, 129
Monte
Bove 43, 119, 120
Catria 34, 96
Conero 6, 131
Corsegno 109, 110
Croce (near San Felice) 102-103
Croce di Serra (near Santa Restituta) 56, 57, 57
Cucco (mountain, nature reserve) 29, 35, 99, 100, 102
dell’Eremita 81, 82, 82
delle Rose 112, 113, 114
Nerone 30, 93, 95
Subasio 58-9
Tezio di Perugia 52
Torre Maggiore 22, 69, 70-71
Utero 115, 116, 116

Montefalco 17, 19, 20
Montefeltro 36, 87, 88
Monteleone di Spoleto 25, 28
Monteluco 67
Monti
della Laga 125
Martani 21, 22
Sibillini 6, 25, 26, 40, 47, 111, 119

Nera, river (see Valnerina)
Nocera Umbra 17, 18
Norcia 25, 27, 28
Orvieto 1, 14, 16
Pale 61, 62
Panicale 10, 12
Passignano sul Trasimeno 10, 11, 49, 50-51
Pennabilli 36, 38
Perugia 10, 12, 53
Pettino 17, 19
Piagge 126, 127
Pianello 30, 95, 96
Piedipaterno 75, 76, 77, 78
Pieia 95, 96
Pietralunga 29
Pietrarubbia, Castello di 37
Piobbico 29, 30, 32, 36, 39, 93
Pissignano, Castello di 19
Pontuglia 73, 79
Porano 1
Portaria 21, 22
Portonovo (bay) 131, 134
Preci 25, 26
San Felice 100, 101
San Feliciano 10
San Leo 36, 37, 38
San Leonardo 124, 124
San Pietro in Valle 21, 24, 72, 73, 74
San Severino Marche 29, 34
Sant’Angelo in Vado 36, 38
Sant’Antolia di Narco 75, 76
Sant’Eutizio 26, 27, 83, 84
Sant’Ubaldo 85, 86
Santa Maria Giacobbe 60, 61, 62
Santa Restituta 14, 16, 56, 57
Sarnano 40, 41, 42
Sasso di Simone 36, 38, 87, 88
Sassocorvaro 36
Sassoferrato 29, 32
Sassovivo Monastery (see Abbazia)
Scheggino 21, 24, 75, 76, 77
Schioppo 73, 80
Sensati 73, 79
Serra San Quirico 33
Sirolo 131, 132, 133
Spello 17, 20, 58-59
Spoleto 21, 24, 25, 28, 67, 68
Titignano 14, 16, 54, 55
Todi 14, 16, 54
Trevi 2, 6, 17, 19, 64, 65, 66, cover
Trivio 104, 105, 105
Urbania 36
Urbino 36, 37, 39
Val di Castro 33
Valle Castoriana 83, 84
Valle Scappuccia 104, 105, 105
Vallecchia 44
Vallo di Nero 25, 28, 76, 77
Valnerina (valley of the river Nera) 6, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 62, 63, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79
Visso 25, 26, 40, 43
Vitoschio, river, valley 31, 93, 94

Current update

Umbria and the Marches, 2nd ed (2010); updated 30/01/16

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

General: Very happy with the Umbria guide, although we left England before 2nd edition was available. Excellent walk selection and high level of accuracy. (User, 6/10)

Car tour 2: The author says that the castle at Guardea is not open to the public. Whilst it is not open on a daily basis, there are certain days when it IS open and guided tours are available. (User, 6/10)

Car tour 7, picnics: At Miratoio one only goes a short way left uphill on Walk 95; when it descends again (marked) one leaves the waymarked route by going up right towards a fence with a gate. But don’t go all the way there: fork left on a clear path in the woods to the “small concrete building”, then carry on to the top as described in the book… The Gola di Furlo is closed throughout at present. (User, 5/15)

Car tour 8: After 106km, “In the small village of San Lorenzo al Lago take the road towards Visso”:  this is by a T-junction near the lake not indicated, at this point it says it’s the road to Fiastra. But Fiastra is not shown on all maps, since it’s just a part of San Lorenzo – but tourists don’t know that. So better to write: In the small village of San Lorenzo, at the T-junction take the road towards Fiastra, where you’ll find another signpost indicating your way to Visso. (User, 5/15)

Walk 10: This is a recommended walk to the saddle below Monte Solone but the route down to the monastery is barred by some barbed wire fencing just before the farm (mentioned in book). The farm is also host to at least 4 very frisky farm dogs and we were not prepared chance our luck with dogs (lesson learned in the past). As a sentier route which has been recently repainted up to and at the saddle, clearly the locals have not made sure that the route is clear down to the monastery. (User, 6/12)

Walk 14: Our comments below are particularly relevant to this walk and indeed we used route 501 from Campo Vecchio to complete the return to Sant’Eutizio having spent nearly 7 hours, including breaks on this walk in ambient temps of circa 25C. Fortunately, even though we carry sufficient water, we used at least 2 springs to re-fill, whereas on other walks the springs were dry. (One overall comment we’d like to make about this particular guide, having used seven others on our previous exploits, is that the timings appeared to us to be rather tight. I am in my early 60’s and my wife in her mid-fifties, both of us very fit and used to walking on all types of terrain, but did find it rather hard to reconcile our walking speed to the times quoted. May be we are finding it harder as we grow older!! I would also seriously suggest that a good quality compass should be carried as some of the navigation benefits from such use.)(User, 10/15)

Walk 20: The start of this route is now way marked in Red/Yellow. After the 20min mark/50me passing under the barbed wire gap in the fence line the red earth track is now covered with stone. At Font Val Canale spring the round concrete building is totally shrouded in brambles and difficult to see, although the 5 round water troughs are clear still. The route passes through a shaded wood with holly but the original track has been obliterated with recent logging(still in operation on the day we walked) and a new 3-4metre wide logging track has been blazed through to the 50 min mark, a grassy ridge. There are no longer any benches at the Font delle Gingualdese and the spring has dried up. After following the faint goat track to the summit ridge of Monte Val Canale we could not find any trace of the wire fence or any sign of red/white way markings, again logging operations were being carried out. We did find very fresh Red/Yellow way marks again and followed that route back to our car. We then searched for the Red/White way marks for route 173 to follow it down to Fonte Avellana. The marks are now very feint and it appears that the Red/yellow way marks have been used to identify an alternative route. Indeed on one tree the route 173 marks were obliterated by lichen. (User, 10/15)

Walk 23: We chose not to start in Monticelli but to to do so from Capola Villa. However, you cannot fully reach the village by road from Genga, as at some point in time there has been a land slip that has taken a 50/60 metre stretch of the road away. The locals now park a vehicle on one side, walk across the slip and continue either on foot or by using a second mode of transport as witnessed by us to the village. They are forever resourceful !! Otherwise this circular part of Walk 23 was very good. (User, 10/15)

Walk 25: The whole area now has a series of local circular way marked routes that have been colour coded. We chose to complete the short walk and in the first hour ignore a right turn with a Yellow way mark/sign ‘Torante’. At the junction at the end of the thorny undergrowth section there is now a multi walk signpost, one of which points to Eremo San Cataldo. Ignore a further Yellow way mark and sign ‘Torante’ off to your right. At the Eremo there is a large scale map showing these new trails and another when you reach Esanataglia. (User, 10/15)

Walk 27: Route really unclear after 1h10 min point. Turned right at a path marked by 2 cairns which then climbed north which we presumed to be the trail mentioned.  Arrived at what we took to be the ”saddle” as described but found no sign of the “level forest trail” to the left.  Had to return the way we had come. (User, 5/14) + Between 35mins & 1hr 19mins, ignore a track to the left with a Blue EU sign and continue ahead. At 1hr 10mins the track is marked with a boulder and several cairns, Before leaving the wood, turn right where 3 trees are marked with Red tape and a single cairn. Using this track, at first head for the lowest part of the saddle, now marked with a cairn, using a line of sight. On the other side of the saddle turn left onto what we describe as a stony, undulating track, not a “forest track” with the rocks of Monte Rose on your left and the steep wooded slope to your right. (User, 10/15)

Walk 33: This walk was quite clear and easy to follow but because there had been a lot of rain we were unable to cross the side streams at the end of the walk after the 3h10min point. (User, 5/14)

Message: Hello,

I write to present my family’s country inn for a possible inclusion in your next Umbria and Le Marche guide. The Locanda della Valle Nuova (www.vallenuova.it) is set in a big organic farm in sight of Urbino (northern Le Marche). The Locanda itself and the area are included in some “outdoor” italian guides and the Locanda is included in some international Guides (i.e. Alastair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay, Guides de Charme). We offer charming accommodation and organic home made food: we make our own bread, liqueurs, juices, preserves, pasta, etc. and in autumn we also have truffles from our woods (truffle hunts with our neighbour and his dogs can be arranged for guests in October and early November, it might be a “different” and interesting way to walk one’s way around the area…). There are 2 very nice walks (mostly on tracks, perfect for walking, biking or horse riding) starting from the Locanda’s door (9 and 13 km) and the area is really good for both moderate and “serious” walking. At the Locanda we have plenty of information (maps, cds) about the walks and we would be happy to suggest some itinerary, should you be interested in analizing this area.