Grande Sky Country?

July 1, 2008 / Places
Castelluccio, Umbria
Italy is not commonly associated with the “big sky” look of unlimited vistas, so the Piano Grande (Big Plain) of the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini in eastern Umbria is legendary.

Once an ancient lake at almost 1500 meters above sea level, it is a cool mecca for nature lovers throughout the summer. In early summer, this natural undeveloped basin blazes with a carpet of colorful knee high wildflowers, planted a millennium ago. Pretty as the landscape is, the farmers and monastic communities (St. Bernard was born here) grow it as winter forage for their famous pigs. Few bushes interrupt the flower carpet of some of the most competitive plants in nature’s kingdom.

Clean air, beautiful scenery, 22-degree C° temperatures and lentils (the culinary specialty of Castelluccio, the town you see in the distance), the color green — what’s not to like? Saddle your horse (available for rent in the valley) or horse-power and visit — before the visitors pick all this year’s blooms!

Lisa Finnerty

by Lisa Finnerty

Founder of Secret Gardens Italy, www.SecretGardensItaly.com, a tour company of the grand and historic Italian gardens, and www.yourgardenshow.com, a social network for gardeners.

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