L’altopiano di Montelago, uno scrigno di bellezza
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In the Scarzito Valley, known as the Scurosa Valley in its highest part, the small village of SEFRO, surrounded by a particularly charming nature, is home to various architectural jewels.
For instance, amongst other works, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta) is home to a wooden Crucifix and a painting of the Assumption both from the 16th century. Another jewel is the Church of St. Tossano (Chiesa di San Tossano) located in the hamlet of Agolla, right above the cemetery. The church has been there since the 14th century and its current appearance is the result of many renovations it underwent up until the 15th century.
The Varano Tower is located downstream of the village. The tower consists in the remains of the medieval castle belonging to the Da Varano Lords of Camerino, who sought refuge here in 1259 after the sacking of their city by the Ghibellines. The old military post consists of the ruins of the keep and a fortified building that currently houses the so-called Museo degli attrezzi agricoli (Museum of agricultural tools), an emotional testimony to rural culture and local craftsmanship.
Walking along the river, we arrive at the Church of St. Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro), which appears in the 1429 Statutes under the name “church of the monks”. From here, one can reach the Church of the Madonna of the Calcinari (Chiesa della Madonna dei Calcinari), dating back to the 15th century and housing many devotional frescoes, some of which attributed to Girolamo di Giovanni. There is also the Church of St. Michele (Chiesa di San Michele), in the hamlet of Agolla. Here is possible to admire a “Crocefissione” (Crucifixion) in the artistic style of Lorenzo d’Alessandro and a “Madonna col Bambino” (Madonna with the Child) of the Manneristic movement.
Not too far from the main town centre there is Bosco Incantato (Enchanted Forest): here, in a space that is part of the Sant’Albertino hill, near a public park with a well-equipped playground, young visitors are welcomed by friendly elves and fairies. This fascinating trail weaving through the green woods will lead you to discover these tiny creatures’ mysteries and secrets.
In Sefro, nature is the undisputed sovereign of the territory. The Montelago Plateau is a traditional hiking destination and excellent starting point for walks immersed in the green. It is a spectacular karstic basin at 900 meters above sea level which provides with many limpid and fresh springs that guarantee constant flow, spectacular appearance, and abundance of fish of the River Scarzito.
It addition, it is not by chance that every 15th of August, the Sagra della Trota (Trout Festival) takes place here, enriching and enlivening the narrow streets of this small town with its offer of traditional local dishes. Moreover, for the last 4 years, during the month of May it is possible to enjoy another food festival, La Trota e il Verdicchio (lit. The Trout and the Verdicchio), a well-known meeting place of two culinary traditions of the area.
The landscape value of the river reaches its peak in the picturesque waterfall that is located right in the town centre, ready to greet all its visitors.
The Scarzito valley is also surrounded by mountains featuring the typical summit pastures and some of the woodiest slopes in central Italy. The widely varied flora of this habitat favours a rich wildlife which includes wolves, golden eagles, Montagu’s harriers, buzzards and other elegant birds of prey.
The caves dedicated to Blessed Bernardo Quintavalle, St. Francis’ first companion who then retired here in exile, preserve all the charm of an uncontaminated and sublime natural environment. The story that the rocky walls tell is fascinating: The Blessed, faithful observant of the Franciscan rule, was forced to flee from Assisi just after the death of St. Francis, because of the clash with friars who wanted a more mitigated rule. He chose the Marche region without hesitation, and lived in this mountain place, far from the rest of the world, for over two years, using a cave as a refuge and another – with a horizontal stone to act as an altar – as a church.
In the Church of Saint Tossano, in the hamlet of Agolla, you can admire one of the first frescoed representations of St. Francis of Assisi in the region!
What did you say? You do not believe in elves and fairies? We are ready to lead you to their tracks: with this original trail immersed in greenery, you will discover step by stepthe mysteries and secrets of these little creatures!
Breathe in deeply and let’s get going! Waiting for us there are the picturesque scenery of the Montelago Plateau, Blessed Bernardo’s Caves and the Scurosa Valley, with its beech woods and enchanted forest!
This territory is a renowned fishing district, notoriously rich in rivers and fish. The trout, in particular, is the absolute protagonist of unmissable events for those who love these flavours, such as La Trota e il Verdicchio (The Trout and the Verdicchio in May) and Sagra della Trota (Trout Festival in August).
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