Mystical Trails – Discovering “The Temple of Valadier” in Genga

It is really reducing defining this place misterious…or even mystical…because I would rather say magical! It could be an amazing location for any fantasy film: an octagonal temple framed in mountain’s cave which gets deeper into darkness. If I were an enchantress I would definitely make this place my home (and I do not exclude I’ll become one some day!).

san vittore genga valadier temple

The path to reach the entrance arch to “Temple Of Valadier” is really easy (actually I was expecting something more arduous!) but, for adventures’ lovers there are always other interesting trekking itineraries from near village of S.Vittore or even a speleologycal path inside the obscurity of the cave behind the church (on my “to try” list!).

cave san vittore temple of valadier

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Inside the cave, as in all this area, there are water infiltrations coming down from the rocks. As usual, I went there in Converse, but to avoid skids on slippery soil I do recommend more serious shoes!

genga temple of valadier

The Temple Of Valadier in its neoclassical shape and doomed roof was erected here by willing of Pope in 1812. It started to be a pilgrimage site for those seeking forgiveness, but the local population already knew this cave from ancient times and used it as refuge. From these stories comes the other name for which this place is well known: “Refuge of Sinners”. Nowadays even the crude hermitage at the entrance is abandoned, but the uniqueness and mystical strenght of this place is kept untouched.

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And from obscurity of the cave, it is nice to think some mythical creatures are hiding while staring curious tourists wandering in faint light!

temple of valadier genga italy

My personal Kapadocja – postcards from Sibillini “Lame Rosse”

lame rosse path fiastra

Have you ever been in Kapadocja? I haven’t (…yet!). But from photos of this unique land, I clearly imagine it quite similar to a place a lot-more-near me but unique as well in its own way. This place gave name to a path through Sibillini natural park called “Lame Rosse” (“Red Blades”). No need of a big imagination to understand why this red and consumed cliffs earned such a name!

lame rosse path map fiastra

Among green woods, walking approximately for an hour from Fiastra lake, here they are…

fiastra lame rosse path

….eroded  for million years (and still are!), the red peaks could perfectly fit one of Gaudi’s architectures.

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Surrealist rounded shapes (as muffins’ creamy tops 🙂 ) and deep narrow clefts to explore. The red cliffs has a millionaire story to tell to curious wanderers, whispered in this place’s silence and with your nose up, you actually ask yourself how is possible that a so fragile landscape (at least at the sight!) is still here instead of totally crumble under the wind.

fiastra sibillini trekking le marche

This tiny canion as been compared in its creation’s process to American Grand Canyon: the second is undoubtedly far way more big and spectacular, but let’s say this Le Marche corner looks just like its miniature. The easy path into shady woods make Lame Rosse a perfect destination for not-so-expert excursionists’ day trips…which is exactly our case!

sibillini lame rosse le marche

If you are on vacation in Le Marche, but you suddenly have a craving for Kappadocjan dreamy landscapes, take your trekking shoes (and you will need them on this pebbly ground!) straight into Lame Rosse path…and send us a thank you postcard! °v°

Getting serious in spontaneous herbs picking! – A picking-tour through Le Marche fields

le marche spring

Seems that finally first bursts of spring are making their way in our Italian middle-earth!

We are winter-addicted but beside snow, it’s a fact that colors and warm breezes always melt the heart! Plus: it’s the perfect season for Picus expeditions! First stop: an outing to Le Marche countryside looking for spontaneous herbs!

grass le marche italian herbs

As grass picking is a serious thing around here, whose secrets and habits has been passed on generations, we called an expert! Meet Elda: 80-something years old & super sprint granny raised up during the Second World War in San Paterniano (Ancona), when grass picking did not mean just fun and health but was sometimes the only remedy against poverty. ”Especially in a country family with 5 daughters” she pointed out.

italian grandma picking herbs

So we have the expert but we actually do not know where to start!

Unless you do not have a favourite secret field, the first step is wandering and wandering looking for an abandoned or uncultivated field, perfect environment for spontaneous grasses’ growth (also because there are no pesticides).

Otherwise, you can take advantage for next year buying some seeds and spreading them in your field or garden….next year you will have an amazing & natural harvest! As this plants are spontaneous you do not even need to cultivate them, just sow the seeds accidentally and leave some of plants flowering, that’s all!

Of course for us the field’s quest is part of the fun! Along with the straw hat 🙂

pick herbs up le marche italy

Consider that not in all fields you can find the same herbs: there are some kinds we did not find in our picking-tour as for example the borage or “Borragine” (but this is just a great excuse for making a second round! 🙂 )

So here is what we had in our baskets at the end of the day and a brief guide on how-to-recognize these wild herbs:

spontaneous herbs le marche italy

Elda also gave us her mother’s favourite recipe with these spontaneous plants…so make sure you’ll be here for our next cooking-post! °v°

CiaspoLOVERS — Snowshoes walks in Sibillini & CO.

ciaspole umbria le marche abbruzzo

Good-winter-morning!

Time to check the wardrobe for snowy outfits & … CIASPOLE!

Yes, I mean…we are ready for some winter sport with SNOWSHOES, a camera and a hot spiced wine glass (funny kind of phisical activities mines!)

Sibillini mountains are finally snow covered so there is no better time of the year to enjoy our central Italy mountain-side 🙂 through Le Marche and Umbria.

Choose your itinerary or (why not??)… let’s do them all!

ciaspole - snowshoes- sibillini1. ON APPENNINI ROOFTOP

A snowshoes walk (CIASPOLATA, as we call it) above Castelluccio di Norcia (PG) upland, from Val Canatra’s woods to Pian Piccolo severe glimpses. Million of different itineraries and views to choose, depends on the level of snow, weather conditions and … day-mood!

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 ciaspole- snowshoes- Le Marche  2. CIASPOLATA UNDER THE STARS

At deepest night…counting stars…in Castelluccio di Norcia.

Actually, an experince beyond emotion.

castelluccio di norcia umbra le marche

Senza titolo-2c     3. WALKING IN SNOWY WOODS

“La Macchia Cavaliera”, a legendary name for a mistic and beautiful forest, above Pian Piccolo and Castelluccio’s landscape… are you up for adventure? 🙂

sibillini - umbria - marche

ciaspole in sibillini   4. SNOWSHOE WALK IN USSITA

A walk through idyllic landscapes and cocoon-like forests, till Monte Bove’s 500 mt side. With a hint of luck you could also see chamois and eagles.

ussita - le Marche

ciaspole - snowshoe walking    5.ON WOLF’S TRAIL

Animal lovers…who’s afraidof the wolf?! Here is the perfect itinerary for those who enjoy following footprints with snowshoes. This time through Ragnolo fields.

WOLF FIASTRA MACERATA

ciaspole - snowshoes- sibillini  6. PRATA PEAK, SIBILLINI’S BALCONY

A balcony on the heart of Sibillini mountain chain. Breathe pureness and enjoy the amazing view on Monte Vettore group, central Appennini and Castelluccio. (Remember to take a picture!)

monte prata

ciaspole in sibillini   7. SUNSET ON RAGNOLO FIELDS

OK, stars or sunset..breathtaking anyway 🙂 A different saturday night, walking through snow covered Ragnolo fields accompanied by first stars.

RAGNOLO SUNSET

ciaspole- snowshoes- Le Marche  8. CIASPOLATA ABOVE THE MOUNTAINS

An ring-shaped itinerary and you don’t need to be an expert to survive! You will reach Monte Coglia and the amazing view on Fiastra lake (from above!)

fiastra - le marche

ciaspole - snowshoe walking    9. SEEKING LENTIL

There is a big treasure hidden in Castelluccio’s upland… We are determined in discovering and then eating it! Let’s join the expedition!

LENTIL IN CASTELLUCCIO DI NORCIA

Enjoy snowy weekends in Central Italy!

Keep Following °v°

Le Marche through the curtains of the waterfall!

Umito-Marche-Italy

We started our journey at the borders of Le Marche region (Italy) looking for “Volpara falls” early in the morning with 3 degrees…BRRRRRR!!

But it totally worth it! So…follow the arrow this way!

Umito-Marche-start In the heart of “Gran Sasso & Monti della Laga” National Parc, from the little town of Umito, we followed a path thrown into a “Lord of the Ring” scenario with green moss on big rocks and red leaves’ carpet. Seems only white elfs where missing (or maybe we haven’t noticed them!). volpara falls marche

Umito-Marche-Italy-woods

Getting deeper into the beech forest you find lots of little rivers and falls easy to ford (and very very adventurous!), or abandoned caverns from local sheperds who also used to make traditional woodpiles at path’s borders.

Umito-Marche-Italy

woods-Parco nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti della Laga-Italy volpara-falls-marche Here we are! Volpara falls and their tipical sandstone slipways…mind the wet flor & have a nice (and earned!) pic nic! Keep following Picus! °v°

Wandering at fall’s beginnings

A perfect afternoon itinerary … THE Perfect Afternoon itinerary!

10 minutes from Treia (MC), in the heart of Le Marche, there’s an easy panoramic path to the castle’s ruins of “La Roccaccia”.

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A tower and few walls … enchanted deep green and red surroundings in this period of the year!

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An air of mistery lingers in these ruins … the bloodthirsty master of these lands, Grimaldo di Aurelio, used to plunder and fire these lands, kidnapping the poor farmers in the castle’s basement.

roccaccia5That’s the origin of a lot of legends like the one  talking about a mysterious weaver and her gold loom in the castle’s dungeons.

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By the way… we haven’t seen her!

Only birds, an astonish view and the first autumn colors! °v°

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