Castelluccio And The Piano Grande 2014 – A Photo Journal


Every year we try and head over to Castelluccio where the famous lentils of Umbria are grown. One of the most famous centerpieces of the area is the Piano Grande, a huge 16 square kilometer plain surrounded by the barren Sibillini mountain range that once was a glacier lake. This entire area falls in the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, one of the most recently established Italian national parks, which is divided between Le Marche and Umbria. The Piano Grande attracts tourists from across the globe every spring and summer when the plains are covered in a breathtaking abundance of wildflowers called the fioritura. This area is also responsible for growing Umbria’s famous lentils, Lenticchie di Castelluccio, which are named for the small village that overlooks the plains.

It is always as lottery when you visit the Piano Grande to see the wildflowers as so many weather factors affect when they are in full bloom. This past winter and spring were very cool and rainy here in Umbria so we waited an additional week before we made the trip but unfortunately we were still too early. The flowers were not yet in full bloom, and in fact we later learned the wildflowers were not in full bloom until the second week of July. Despite missing the full magnificence of the fioritura, there were enough flowers to create a colorful background for our photos, and the Sibillini mountain range is always awe inspiring no matter what the season.

Castelluccio, Piano Grande & the Sibillini Mountains 2013
Fioritura al Piano Grande 2012
The Splendor of Piano Grande & The Sibillini Mountains 2009


Pian Piccolo, or Small Plain Looking Towards Castellucciopgrande2

Views From Castellucciopgrande4

Store Selling Cured Meats, Dried Beans & Lentils In Castellucciopgrande8

Piano Grandepgrande10


pgrande14 pgrande16

Castelluccio As Viewed From Piano Grandepgrande20




The magestic Sibillini Mountains

Deborah Mele
July 2014


15 Responses to “Our Cinque Terre Adventure”

  1. 1
    sally — September 30, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    wow! That really seems dangerous, and I must day bravi! you are very brave! Happy you had a nice time anyway !


    Deborah Reply:

    Sally, probably more stupid than brave. Next time we’ll listen!


  2. 2
    Carol — September 30, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    I’ve loved visiting and staying in Cinque Terre and hiking the trails. I read that in October 2011 a devastating flash flood caused considerable damage especially in Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Did you see any residual damage to the towns or closed businesses? Thank you for a wonderful report and for bringing back many fond memories.


    Deborah Reply:

    Carol, we were told most of the damage took place in Monterosso and Vernazzo but the clean up must have been very good because there was little evidence of the floods left in either town. On our hike, just before we reached Vernazza, there was half of a house hanging on a cliff showing exactly where the mudslides came through.


  3. 3
    Laura — September 30, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

    Beautiful region ! We hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso last week. It was extremely hot and the hike very difficult for beginners but we made it !


  4. 4
    Anna Fratazzi-Markowski — October 1, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    We visited Cinque Terre in July just before the devastating flood in October 2011.. I was very happy to see your pictures especially of Vernazza as it was truly in ruin after the flood but from your pictures it looks like it has significantly recovered. Thanks for the update..


  5. 5
    Anna Fratazzi-Markowski — October 1, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    We visited Cinque Terre in July just before the devastating flood in October 2011. Vernazza and Monterosso were especially devastated from the pictures on the internet. I am happy to see from your pictures that they have significantly recovered. Thanks for the update.


  6. 6
    Janet — October 1, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Thank you Deborah. My maternal grandparents immigrated from Sicily with two babies undertow back in 1911. I don’t think I’ll ever get to visit there. I love your pictures and writing of beautiful Italy. Sicilians, I have heard are not well thought of by the mainlanders. I don’t care too much. I enjoy your site so much! I have been to Australia and took an amazing hike in Three Sisters Blue Mountains. I will never forget it! Thank s again.


  7. 7
    val — October 1, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    I’m glad you came out unscathed–those trails can be hairy in sunny weather. Sometimes travel can make us throw caution to the wind, or maybe go into something not quite knowing what you are getting into. I felt that way in Portofino National park in May, when I ended up on a trial where you have to hold onto chains! When you return to the region, the area around Lerici (Montemarcello) is quite beautiful as well.


  8. 8
    Lynn — October 1, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    Thanks for the story…you are braver than I am!!!! Glad you made it safely!


  9. 9
    Peggy Hakanson — October 1, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I’m glad to hear you made it through okay…what an adventure!

    My World Cultures class at the CP Center watched a wonderful episode of Rick Steves touring Cinque Terre…of course for him, the weather was absolutely perfect!

    What kind of accomodations did you stay in while you were there…Mr. Steves recommended staying with locals who rent out rooms because of the great prices and homey conditions.


    Peggy Hakanson and the World Cultures Class at the CP Center in Oakland, CA


    Deborah Reply:

    Peggy, thanks, yes it really was an adventure! We actually stayed in a hotel in Monterosso because we were traveling with a small dog. Most of the towns have very limited accommodations though so renting out rooms is more of a necessity.


  10. 10
    Eileen Behun — October 2, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    visiting cinque terra is on my bucket list, but at my age, definately not hiking. So glad you made it safe and sound.


  11. 11
    Ilene Modica — October 2, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    My husband & I got there two years ago and loved every moment. We could see ourselves living there. Weather wasn’t fantastic when we went and the trail was closed. We will be back again to CinqueTerre. Your pictures brought back so many wonderful memories.


  12. 12
    gabriela — November 13, 2013 @ 11:07 pm



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