Monte Nerone is an imposing mountain among the Apennines of Le Marche region, reaching the impressive height of 1525 meters which makes it the second tallest mountain in the area after Monte Catria.
The origin of the name is still uncertain but assumptions and rumors abound: some of the locals believe that it was given this name when, after an earthquake, black smoke billowed from the “Fosso dell’Infernaccio”; while others state that the origin of the name is tied to the Roman consul Claudio Nerone; a more plausible possibility ties the name of this mountain to the findings of an ancient statue of the God Mars. Legends aside, it is likely that the name “Nerone” was given due to the look of the mountain, whose peak is often hidden among threatening dark clouds.
A typical Monte Nerone landscape
Monte Nerone is surrounded by the Municipal Districts of Apecchio, Cagli and Piobbico, all small towns in the province of Pesaro and Urbino. Its beauty is given by its pristine nature and spectacular panoramas all year long. Monte Nerone is a true Marche-region wonder, an unmatched jewel in the Pesaro province.
The history of the mountain is varied and ancient: it is said that this peak was beloved by many peoples of the past, starting from the Picenes and Ethruscan all the way to the Romans who left their mark on these lands.
As one climbs down from the peak, the landscape changes and Monte Nerone allows discovering all its hidden marvels which make this mountain a true jewel made of charming rural landscapes. Steep walls are present from where to enjoy climbing, while almost unreachable canyons are the ideal locations for rafting enthusiasts, and yet again breathtaking karst phenomena, ancient ruins of castles and hermitages all to be discovered, all the way to a great variety of caves enjoyed by spelunkers hailing from all over Italy. These fresh and wild places, a little natural paradise of sorts, represent extraordinary natural shelters where to find relief from the searing heat of summer.
Monte Nerone, where sport reaches 1525 meters
Monte Nerone and its surroundings are certainly a point of reference for sport enthusiasts. In winter, the mountain boasts sky facilities that welcome people from all the nearby areas, while in summer, it offers a variety of nature trails that can be enjoyed with the help of expert guides, where to discover the marvels of a place that has much to offer.
Monte Nerone is the temple of sports. In fact, in addition to skiing activities, it is also the perfect place for spelunking excursions, rafting in the torrents and climbing its slopes. In addition, for a few years now, the mountain has been a highly sought-after destination by biking enthusiasts, since the three different roads that lead to its peak offer the most challenging slopes in Le Marche region.
On the other hand, those who love to hike will find a vast network of trails that allows exploring the most characteristics spots while enjoying paths of varying difficulty.
Impressive is the famous Trail No. 1, which leads from Piobbico to the peak passing across the “Balza Forata”, likely the best of the entire area with its 1200 meters difference in height. In addition to the more traditional sports, Monte Nerone offers also horseback riding excursions, paraglading or hang-gliding and in winter a snowpark for snowboarding that is one of the best equipped in the region.
All these sport structures can be reached from the three paved roads near the peak, which make access truly easy to those who love nature untamed and untouched.
Caves and waterfalls born from the rock
Monte Nerone is a mountain with a wide variety of landscapes and all the area surrounding it is known nationally and internationally for its significant geological importance: on its slopes there are calcareous rocks, stratified of marine origin dating back all the way to the Jurassic age. The mountain was also found to be a treasure trove of fossils of extinct animals, all well preserved now at the Apecchio Museum.
A great variety of caves make Monte Nerone a highly sought after destination for spelunkers and tourists and from among the most spectacular caves are without a doubt Buca delle Tassare, the deepest in Le Marche region, Buca grande, hosting a well of 40 m created by karst phenomena that channels the waters towards mysterious underground networks and Grotta degli Orsi (Cave of Bears) which takes its name from the high concentration of bear skeletons and bones found in it. Unique and intriguing is Grotta del Drago (Cave of the Dragon), so called because during winter from its small opening a cloud of vapor emerges, reminding of dragon’s breath. Just as interesting is Grotta dei Cinque Laghi (Cave of Five Lakes), where several underground lakes are found. In addition, as it is usual with every calcareous mountain permeable to water, the torrents are difficult to see but during the wet season make the narrow gorges come alive with tall and spectacular waterfalls.
Not to be missed is Fosso di Monte Nerone found at an altitude of 1300 meters, its highest point crossing the imposing pit of the Infernaccio Valley along which impressively steep cliffs and waterfalls can be admired.
Monte Nerone Nature Park
The Monte Nerone ecosystem offers flourishing vegetation and a wide array of wild species of animals. In order to protect and preserve the environment, a nature park was created collecting all the environmental variety of this mountain. Whoever visits the place will notice the several wild animal species that inhabit it but will also enjoy picking mushrooms and truffles. Along the slopes of the mountain, there are forests and vast pastures that change while proceeding to the top. There are plenty of holm oaks, manna ashes, hornbeams and beech trees embellished by underbrush dotted with cyclamens, orchids, violets and lilies. Wildlife is also varied, including several types of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Among the mammals it is easy to spot wild boards, deer, hares, hedgehogs, squirrels, moles, porcupines, foxes, martens, and badgers and, to a lesser degree, Apennine wolves. In addition, among the birds, there is a large variety of crows, doves, woodcocks, woodpeckers, cuckoos, swallows, hawks and buzzards. Nocturnal birds include bats, owls, barn owls and civets. Water is home to salamanders, toads and frogs while in the most oxygenated bodies of water it is possible to find trout, shrimps and crabs. On the peaks of the Nerone mountain it is possible to find a rare pair of Golden eagles and the unique Coturnice, a small mountain pheasant of sorts.
From the bottom of the valley to the peak in a blink!
Monte Nerone is an open sky museum where it is easy to see scholars and paleontologists hard at work who, over the years, brought back to life precious natural findings such as fossils and skeletons of extinct animal species. In addition, thanks to Monte Nerone’s geological structure, several natural caves of extraordinary beauty were discovered and are now open for visits with the help of expert guides.
Monte Nerone is an imposing mountain with a very distinct appearance and its conformation and significant extension made it a massif in the truest sense of the word, given that in addition to the main peak it also boasts many secondary peaks among which Montagnola (1486m), Monte del Pantano (1427m), Cimaio (1227m) with its steep walls and Cardamagna (962m).
Monte Nerone offers a great variety of environments that make it particularly attractive for a full range of tourism activities. The tallest areas of the mountain are affected by the presence of man, hosting two equipped cabins sitting in the middle of the vast meadows that make the place particularly crowded
The true hidden jewels of Nerone, however, can be found at lower altitudes, in the wild faces where the calcareous rocks have been dug by the erosive action of the water, creating impressive and narrow gorges and exceptionally beautiful karst phenomena. Monte Nerone features also interesting cultural aspects, which include historical elements such as ancient fortresses and hermitages still present across the territory, as well as the abundance of fossils preserved at the Apecchio Museum of Fossils.
The Monte Nerone area is also known for another unique reason: on its land, thanks to the extraordinary water originating from the springs of the mountain, several draft beer establishments are present which made of quality their motto and which were awarded at major international competitions.
Photo credits: www.apecchio.net
Photo credits: www.vivereapecchio.it
Photo credits: www.scioviemontenerone.it
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