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The magic of Pilato’s lake
A breathless landscape in the heart of Sibillini mountains
by Nadia Stacchiotti
The Pilato’s lake is the only natural stretch of water of Ancona and thanks to its story and position, is surely the most beautiful. Reaching the lake is very difficult: it is situated in the National Park of Sibillini Mountains at the base of monte Vettore at almost 2.000 meters of altitude.
There are three paths that allow to reach the lake, but all of them involve at least three hours of walk. One trail starts from Forca di Presta, another from Foce di Montemonaco and the third one from Forca Viola that is the longest but also the easiest. The lake is situated in the middle of a big hollow surrounded by a white scree, the vegetation is scarce and you have a good chance to see residues of snow also in Summer.
The water is really limpid and clear, but is strictly forbidden to touch the water and have a bath. The reason is that if you get too much close to the river you could squash the eggs of a rare creature: the Chirocefalo dei Marchesoni. We are talking about a red little shrimp that lives only in this lake and is less big than the little finger’s nail! If the water isn’t excessively agitated by the wind you will succeed to find it that swims undisturbed in its personal lake.
The history tells us that this lake was well known since ancient times and, despite is uncomfortable position, was destination of pilgrimage. The legend tells that the oxen wagon carrying Ponzio Pilato reached the Redentore peak and left the body falling until the lake. Since that moment this place began destination of so many necromancers that the authorities had to put forks in the valley to block the passage.
The lake belongs to the Montemonaco municipality and right in the Sybil’s museum, a mythologic crature whose cave isn’t far from here, you can find interesting informations and in particular a misterious stone with some incisions that was found in the pebbly tract between the two lakes. The stone could contain the names of three Spolentini chevaliers that have probably visited the lake around 1500 in order to ask for a propitiatory ritual.
Nadia Stacchiotti, Racconti di Marche blog
Visit Ancona: helpful hints
The nearest airport to Ancona is the Bologna airport. First you reach Bologna Central Station from the airport by bus (rides every 15 minutes, it takes 30 minutes and costs 6€). Then you can travel to Ancona by Train: Trenitalia Company offers lots of options for different prices and duration.
You can easily visit Ancona on foot or using public transports. Bus ticket costs 1,25€, for more information and different options visit the ATMA website.
What to do
Ancona is the capital city of Le Marche region in the north of Italy.
It is usally a passing-by-place, here you catch all the ferries connecting the two side of the Adriatic Sea (Italy to Croatia, Albania, Greece, etc.). But it worthes also a visit, take a walk on its beautiful beaches and discover the city centre: the Dome, the fountain of Calamo and the Jewish cemetery. Here you can find some ideas for a tour in Ancona by Italia Slow Tour ambassador Chiara.
Nearby, consider a tour to the impressive Frasassi Caves.