Hiking Tour of Italy: Interview With Our Guide Francesco in Umbria
Mont Sibillini – also known as the Sibillini Mountains – are captivating no matter what the season, and they are near and dear to our heart at The International Kitchen. In the springtime our hiking guide Francesco particularly loves the 70,000 hectare park. That’s because, wild flowers spring up everywhere, making the national park and countryside awash in color. Francesco has been guiding people on these beautiful mountain paths for the past 15 years. Here he talks about his lifelong love of this wonderful part of Italy – and why he thinks you should come visit on a cooking and hiking tour of Italy.
What do you love about the Sibillini Mountains?
Being a hiking guide on the mountains where I grow up is something special and is not easy to explain what the best quality of this territory is. What I love and what I think my clients appreciate most of Sibillini is the beautiful woods, waterfall, breathtaking views, the amazing wilderness, the peaceful atmosphere, the remote, little and ancient villages and churches on the mountain. During a walk on the Sibillini mountains, even when you don’t go on the highest mountains, you can walk the all day not seeing any other human being and not hearing any other noise but the wind on the tree leaves and the birds’ voice!
What are some of your favorite memories from hikes in the mountains?
There are many special moments I remember with pleasure about walks on the Sibillini. Most of them are connected to wild animal sightings: when I meet wolves, golden eagles, apennine chamois, wild cat, or some of the other very rare and charming wild animals, it is always a thrill! But the memories of when I discover some of the most beautiful places for the first time will be in my mind forever.
What’s your favorite season to hike?
My favorite season for walking in the Sibillini National Park is the spring time until the end of July, when the beautiful mountains are covered by millions of flowers, very often rare and absolutely amazing.
Why do you think guests would love to explore this particular mountain range?
The place where I prefer to go for a walk in Umbria is the Sibillini Mountains between Norcia and Castelluccio. This continuous walk through ancient woods overlooks the plain of Norcia and the plateau of Castelluccio. The arrival in the extraordinary village of Castelluccio, so isolated and noble, surrounded by towering mountains and across the plateau, is great.
Experience the stunning beauty of this part of Italy during our Cooking and Hiking in the Umbrian Hills vacation. In addition to two hikes, the trip includes two hands-on cooking classes with Chef Emanuele, a black truffle hunt, and excursions to other local points of interest.
By Liz Hall
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