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Piano Grande!!

The Telegraph (UK News Company) in their weekly travel article “One-minute wonder” this week featured Italy’s Piano Grande. The Piano Grande is located about 80 miles from Perugia. This small and highly unknown corner on the eastern edge of Umbria is rarely explored by tourists. The Piano Grande is a vast, upland plain, situated above 4,000ft, ringed by the Sibillini Mountains. Perched in the middle of this ‘Great Plane’ is the quaint village of Castelluccio. In late May and early June it is renowned for its extraordinary floral displays: swathes of wild crocuses one week, narcissi the next, grape hyacinth, wild tulips, poppies, thousands of orchids and rarities such as snakes’ head fritillaries, among many others.

Also located within The National Park of the Sibylline Mountains and not far from the Piano Grande are; Monte Vettore with an altitude of over 7,400ft, marking it the highest peak in the region, and the hiker’s dream destination, the laghi di Pilato (Pilate’s lakes). The entire area is riddled with ancient myth and legend, among them, that in the park’s highest peaks, dwelt the prophesying Sibyll, and also where the biblical Pontius Pilate was cast into the lake along the slopes of Mt. Vettore to his final resting place. The lakes are also home to a small red crustacean (Chirocephalus Marchesonii), endemic only to these bodies of water giving the lake’s shallows an orange hue. Reaching the national park may take some careful planning because most public means of transportation simply don’t go there, however, with such a high concentration of natural wonders this trip definitely merits the effort.

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