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Points of Interest

Spaccatura delle Lecce
Spaccatura delle Lecce

The Natural Environment

The Apennines are characterized in their higher altitudes by beech woodlands and mountain pastures, by rocky slopes and deep gorges from which the watercourses spring. The mountains gently slope down to an area of high hills still characterized by precious woods and by pastures.
At lower altitudes there are some copses and some cultivation, the via Flaminia and the historical centers, and finally the rivers Sentino and Chiascio.
The mountain surroundings are populated by the wolf and, probably, by the wild cat; moreover, there are the fallow deer, the wild boar, the porcupine, the marten, and the hare. There are also some specimens of golden eagle, the hawk, the partridge, the rock partridge, the eagle owl, the kingfisher.
The river crayfish still lives in the high part of the watercourses together with the brown trout.

St Emiliano and Bartolomeo in Congiuntoli Abbey
St Emiliano and Bartolomeo in Congiuntoli Abbey

The History of Man and its Signs

The original Umbrian civilization was replaced in its first expansion by the Roman one and already in 220 BC the censor Caio Flaminio started the building of the via Flaminia to link Roma to the high Adriatic area.
Helvillum Vicus (Fossato di Vico), Suillum (Sigillo), Ad Ensem (Scheggia) - respectively Roman federate center, municipium, and Statius - were always in the Roman political and cultural orbit first, and then in the Byzantine one, forming with their territories a piece of the passage that definitively linked Roma to Ravenna despite the pressure of the Longobard dukedoms. Castrum Costacciari (Costacciaro) was built by the Town of Gubbio around 1250 to fortify the eastern town border together with Scheggia; Sigillo and Fossato instead were part of the territory of Perugia that assured to itself, thanks to the passage road, the access to the salt market from the Adriatic Sea.
The archaeological finds linked to the via Flaminia are of great importance, conserved in antiquarium, and still visible in their original monumental settlement at the Pontespiano.
The historical centers of the four Towns are of great importance for their culture and landscape, rich in walls and defensive towers, in churches, in pictures, in fossils collections, in rare archival documents.
In the northern part of the territory there are several Benedictine and Camaldolensian abbeys, and among the most important ones: Sant'Emiliano in Isola Fossara and the Hermitage of San Girolamo in Pascelupo.


The Most Important Environmental Features

Rio Freddo Gorge

Deep carving marking mainly the eastern border of the Park. It is an imposing gorge which has been dug during the last million of years by torrent Rio Freddo in the calcareous massif of Lias Inferiore.

Balzo dell'Aquila Ravine

Deep carving of the liassic limestone of Mt. Catria.

Le Lecce

Imposing natural walls of the western slope of the Park, situated immediately above the village of Sigillo.

La Muraglia delle Liscarelle

Characteristic white marly-calcareous formations outcropping from ancient detritus and cemented breccias.

Corno del Catria
Corno del Catria

Corno di Catria

Solemn and spectacular formation of Massive Limestone. Site chosen by several species of avifauna living on the rocks.

Pian delle Macinare

Outstanding plateau characterized by karst phenomena, situated at 1135 m a.s.l. Rich in meadows and imposing beaches, an ideal scenario for hikes and cross-country skiing.

"Cacuminal" meadows

Seminatural grasslands used as pastures. You can mainly find Gramineae like the Fescue grass and the Brome. In spring, when several flowers bloom, these meadows become a multicolored palette.

Subterranean Caves in Valdorbia (Scheggia)

A network of tens of kilometers of great galleries, artificially dug on the left and right bank of the River Sentino in order to obtain marl from cement and lithographic stone.


Beech Tree Woodlands

Centuries-old beech tree woods, like the ones of the Madre dei Faggi near Val di Ranco and the ones, even larger, of Col d'Orlando, of Mt. Le Gronde, of Niccolo, and of Corno di Catria.

Valle delle Prigioni
Deep and engraved canyon deriving from the corrosion of the limestone by the stream, a sight for visitors which reaches its climax when the watercourse and the path cross the rocks of Scarpa del Diavolo.

Rio Freddo and Rio delle Prigioni
Rich in clear and pure waters, two main perennial high-mountain watercourses Apennine chain of Umbria and Marche.
The river Chiascio, the river Sentino, and the river Burano-Metauro, three among the most important watercourses of central Italy.


Valdorbia Paleontological Site

The fossils, stone stamps of organisms which lived in very far geological epochs, are a great and fascinating natural element and, at the same time, an inexhaustible source of study of what happened in the past geological eras. In the area of Monte Cucco Park this heritage is even more astonishing and rich in finds.
The paleontological material is contained in the Jurassic-Cretaceous calcareous and marly sedimentary rocks (from 200 to 120 million years ago). The most interesting fossiliferous horizons come from Calcare Massiccio, Rosso Ammonitico (Middle-upper Lias, 194-180 million years ago), Grigio Ammonitico (Malm 155-145 million years ago) and, more rarely, from Calcare Maiolica. In these strata there are mainly ammonites, index fossils of the Jurassic period, belemnites, brachiopods, lamellibranches, gastropods, and cephalopods.
The ammonites are spiral shells, whose interior consists of hollow chambers separated by walls. They were Cephalopods molluscs (the tentacles came out of the head which, in case of need, stretched out of the shell) very similar to the current Nautilus, with which they shared the floating system: the inner chambers were filled with water or emptied in case they wanted to go down or came back to the surface.
In Sigillo, the Study and Research Center "Anzia Mercuri Brascugli" has organized, with the support of Banca dell'Umbria and in collaboration with the Earth Sciences Department of the University of Perugia and the Municipality of Sigillo, a display with the most significant finds, completed with an explanation regarding the research activities carried out in the field and enriched with a scientific itinerary to promote the knowledge of this field. The display has been organized on the occasion of the establishment of Monte Cucco Park Authority.

Mt. Cucco Cave
Mt. Cucco Cave
Monte Cucco Cave
Monte Cucco Cave

Mt. Cucco Cave

Mt. Cucco Cave has had a complex and long exploration history, whose evidences are still visible today. Here and there, it is possible to see names and dates engraved on the walls with the black smoke of the torches: "Andromando 1555", "Ludovico 1551". However, the first written documents about a tour in the cave were left by Earl Girolamo Gabrielli, who talks about his tour in 1720.
Between 1883 and 1891, Gian Battista Miliani, a brilliant papermaking manufacturer from Fabriano, as well as an experienced mountaineer, carried out the first systematic exploration campaign of Mt. Cucco Cave. The results of his research activities were published in the Bulletin of Club Alpino Italiano, n. 58 of 1891 with a detailed report called "La caverna di Monte Cucco" (The cavern of Mt. Cucco), completed by the first planimetry of that part of the Cave that today is known as the hiking branch.
From the end of the 19th century, it will be necessary to wait for decades until someone comes back to explore the many subterranean areas of Cucco. At the end of the 1950, some speleologists from Perugia started a series of research activities which, leaving from Miliani branch, led them in 1969 to reach the maximum depth of 922m and to sketch on the paper, after covering them meter after meter, over 30 km of galleries (Italian record for depth and development until the mid 1970s).
Mt. Cucco Cave, with its 30 kilometers and more of galleries and with a maximum depth of over 900m, is one of the most important hypogeal systems in Europe and, without a doubt, one of the most famous and studied in the world. The natural show that could be appreciated only by expert speleologists opens today for about 800m of subterranean route for those who want to live a unique sensory experience, a journey to the bowels of the earth developing among stalactites and stalagmites, galleries, labyrinths, and underground passages.
Further information:

Hang glider
Hang glider

Sport and Environment

The particular geographical, geological, faunistic, and vegetational aspects of the Park favor many activities in the open air. The main activity is without a doubt the excursionism: every year thousands of people go along the more than 120 Km long thick path network, with the "Sentiero Italia" and the "Sentiero Europa 1".
Gliding (hang gliding and paragliding) can be practiced in Monte Cucco, thanks to the favorable ascending currents.
The huge and fascinating subterranean world of Monte Cucco gives the possibility to practice speleology, while the considerable presence of superficial and subterranean waters running through the gorges and ravines give the possibility to practice canyoning.
Moreover, it is possible to practice cross-country skiing in Pian delle Macinare, sport fishing along the river Sentino and the stream Rio Freddo, mountain-bike and horse riding excursionism along the several itineraries.
Moreover, the whole Park, thanks to the great environmental variety is a very important place to practice environmental education.

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