Perhaps this is the most popular of all the official hiking trails within the boundaries of the Pollino National Park. It’s presumably the most populated, too, – especially at weekends and during the summer holiday season. – The traditional starting point for this short but trying hike is generally Colle dell’Impiso (from italian “impiccato” – “hill of the hanged man”). With an altitude of 1573m / 5160ft it is the highest pass accessible by vehicle, and surely the most spacious of the very few parking opportunities around.
IN PREPARATION …
The Sibillini Mountains are part of the central Apennines and can be roughly divided in a northern massif, with the majestic Mt. Bove (2169m / 7116ft), and a southern massif which reaches its highest elevation with the peak of Mt. Vettore (2476m / 8123ft). One of the more easy accessible trailheads is the mountain pass Forca di Presta.
The original “Centenario” trail (ital. Sentiero del Centenario) was inaugurated in 1974, on the occassion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano). The trail is partially equipped with steel cables, ladders and pitons. Erroneously it is sometimes referred to as a Via Ferrata, which it is surely not. Sadly, after many years of neglect, the equipment in place is generally in a very bad state (damaged or torn steel cables, detached anchors and wobbly iron ladders). The good news is that the trail can still be used, also without this assistive equipment.
The entire Majella massif, with its deep ravines and its vast and desertlike high plains, is a very special place for long hikes in relative solitude. Although it has higher peaks to offer, for instance Monte Amaro (2,793 m / 9,163 ft) and Monte Acquaviva (2,737m / 8,980ft), the sight of this beautiful mountain is unmatched by the peaks surrounding it from either side.
Monte Pizzone is one of the less frequented mountains of the Majella massif. With a height of only 2,214 meters (7,263 ft) its summit is not often given the time of a day by hikers or climbers. Indeed, scaling this mountain generally does not require any mountaineering gear or advanced climbing skills. It should not be underestimated, though, because in terms of endurance and commitment it is easier to reach the higher peaks of this range.
The Majella massif has many interesting facets and holds some of the highest peaks of the entire Central Apennine. Although being one of them, Monte Sant’Angelo (2,669 m / 8,756 ft) is perhaps one of the loneliest peaks of this range. Rarely climbed by those heading straight for Monte Amaro, or turning earlier for Monte Acquaviva, its lofty mountainside fortress is seldom given the time of a day and remains mostly undisturbed even through the main hiking season.
The Alburni are part of the Subappennino Lucano. Approaching from the south or east they can easily give the impression of being just wooded hills. From the north and west, however, these mountains present imposing cliffs that form a continuous and almost unscalable looking wall of rock. A great way to get acquainted with the Alburni is by an ascent, or better by a traverse of Monte della Nuda, with 1,704m (5,590ft) one of the main peaks of this range and arguable the most panoramic.