A glittering jewel in Le Marche Region of Italy
No holiday in Le Marche region of Italy is complete with a visit to Lake Fiastra with its great beaches & swimming. If you fancy straying off the beaten track in the West of the region, you will inevtably be drawn in by the majestic Sibillini Mountains.
When you succumb to the Mountain’s allure, be sure to visit the turquoise waters of wonderful Lake Fiastra (lago Fiastra). A shimmering sapphire in the Sibillini Ring
A short drive from the beautiful medieval villages of San Ginesio, Caldarola and the delicious Spa town of Sarnano.
Lake Fiastra is a reservoir created in 1955 that supplies both water and electricity to local communities and is a closely guarded local secret.
Beaches, swimming and nature
On hot Summer days at Lake Fiastra a natural alchemy combines the light and sandy lake bedrock with the sunshine to create a glorious, shimmering acquamarine mirage that glitters seductively.
Unlike the packed uniformity of the Adriatic beaches, swimming at Lago Fiastra in Marche Region takes place from spacious natural beaches with dramatic mountain views, there are adventure parks, wild flora and fauna, superb hiking and the restaurants are also superb.
The main beach at lago di Fiastra is found at the village at San Lorenzo al Lago, where the roads from the ski resorts at Bolognola and Sassotetto and the main road from Sarnano, Tolentino and Macerata converge.
A bridge, between the church and bar, takes you up to the village of Fiastra and to upland pastures and the towns of Pievebovigliana and Fiordimonte beyond.
At San Lorenzo you will find boats to rent and over the bridge to the left there are shadier swimming and sunbathing areas, free brick built communal BBQs and adventure activities such as zip wires across the lake, mule trekking, tree top walks and archery. There are even two campsites at Lake Fiastra
Restaurants & Gelato
Most of Fiastra’s bars and restaurants are also located at San Lorenzo, these include the great artisan gelateria di Emma for home made Ice creams, the Pizzeria Polevrini near the beach and on the main beach, down the road to the right of the bar opposite the church, there’s also a good bar serving snacks, sandwiches and drinks.
To the left when facing the church you will find Il Gatto e Il Volpe, this unprepossessing restaurant and bar really punches above its weight and has some great locally caught game and meats. The surroundings maybe basic but the meals are succulent and are fantastic value.
The Village of Fiastra
Over the bridge between church and bar at San Lorenzo al Lago and up the hill you will find the village of Fiastra.
As you enter the village, there is a small road on your right which takes you up to the ruins of the 10th century Castello Magalotti and a church with jaw-dropping views of the whole lake and surrounding mountains.
Also at the village of Fiastra is the superb agriturismo Il Tribbio; where you will find great hospitality and fantastic home cooked food served up on shady terraces with sublime views. If you want a great value rooms and mountain holiday with swimming and hiking nearby this is a great place to stay as well.
Fishing at Lake Fiastra
At the Lake of Fiastra sport fishing is allowed all year round providing you have the right permits required by law.
The fish are abundant and can be seen through the crystal waters especially up at the dam. They include perch, trout, Tench, Rudd, Roach, Chub and Carp. There are a number of annual Fly fishing and other Sports Fishing competititions with Fishermen from all over Italy.
Lake Fiastra offers a wide range of walking options depending on your level of fitness.
The hiking routes include the natural wonders of Lame Rosse, the Cool Fiastrone gorge, Hill climbs and shore walks.
Please remember to always take water with you as there are no places to get a drink. Here’s a selection of walks.
1) Lame Rosse (The red blades) 4km 2hrs there and back
Park at the dam and cross the dam, go through the tunnel and up the hill and where the path forks at the top fork right. The well-marked path offers great views of the mountains and the gorge below after an hour you will reach what looks like a beach that stretches uphill to your left.
Walk up the gravel to your left, despite the bouncing sunlight, the heat and strain after 5 minutes you will enter the wind eroded sandstone pillars that look more like an Arizonan desert landscape. You return using the same path but the path does continue and you can continue to the Fiastrone
For a much longer walk you can start your walk from San Lorenzo al Lago to the Dam and on to Lame Rosse.
2) Caves, Gorge, River and more from Montalto.
Lame Rosse, Fiastrone Gorge and the Grotta dei Frati walking from Montalto
This shady trail follows a well beaten track and is an ideal Summer walk from Villa Montalto near Cessapalombo. So whilst the starting point for these walks are a short drive from Lake Fiastra (via Monastero), it is well worth it as this gives you access to the tracks and trails used by medieval monks and the Partisans during WW2.
The beautiful green and lush scenery overlooking the valley of Fiastrone gives the walker a range of interesting options.
At the halfway stage, you will reach a junction; the path to the left leads to the Gorges of Fiastrone and the river(Walk B), while the one on the right leads to the impressive Lame Rosse (Red Blades) (Walk C) . Alternatively, go straight on and 15 minutes up to the Grotte dei Frati (Cave of the Friars) (walk A)
2a) Grotte dei Frati and the Partisans cave 3km 1.5hrs there and back
Going straight on. the first cave that will appear will be that dell’Asino, also known as the cave of the sink and straight ahead you will find the Cave of the Friars. You will find a small church nestled in the rock with a small altar and a stunning view overlooking the valley.
Continuing on you will find the cave of the Partisans, used during the Second World War by the resistance fighters as a refuge and hiding place. Reaching this cave can be very a bit difficult because of the narrow path and the drop and is not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo.
2b) Route to the Fiastrone Gorges: 5km 2.5hrs there and back
Following the fork on the left, descend gradually until you reach a second fork 2-300 mt later. Both directions (left and right) lead to the valley, but the right one is preferable as it comes at a point closer to the dramatic cliffs of the Fiastrone Gorges and the remains of a second monastery.
Remember that routes both lead to the river bed, so to return, you can also evaluate the other marked path. There are paths along the river but they jump from bank to bank so a pair of waterproof boots and flip-flops are recommended
2C) Route to the Lame Rosse (Red Blades) and Dam Lake Fiastra:
8km 3.5 hrs there and back
The Trail Hike going right at the junction will take you from the parking lot to the Red Blades and the dam of Lake Fiastra.The route is fully marked with posts with red and white flag and is not particularly difficult. The total distance is just over 8 km.
3) Panoramic & circular beach walk Lake Fiastra
3hrs 30 mins 6km easy
Starting at the Lago di Fiastra village of San Lorenzo. Follow the Sarnano/Bolognola road for 200 mt. past the intersection and take the road on the left marked Church of the Madonna del Sasso Bianco (see sasso bianco on the map). As you enter on the street, you can park your car.
This route gives the walker spectacular views of the Sibillini Mountains and of Lake Fiastra and the first section of hiking follows the route of the Great Ring of the Sibillini, which stretches for over 120 km within the National Park to nearly all municipalities.
After about 15-25 minutes of walking, you will see on your left a route that goes downhill to the lake. Turn left and enjoy the landscape that opens up to the dam and the Fiastrone Gorge. Just before you reach valley, you will meet another path where you have to turn left again to get on the road.
On the road by the lake, cross the road, turn left and take the path down to your right, turn left follow the path that that hugs the shore, and that will bring you in about 60 minutes to the village of San Lorenzo. Take your swimming gear and have a dip in the topaz blue waters of emerald or even and enjoy the incredible mountain vistas. Make sure that you take a hat and suncream.
4) Fiastrone gorge from Monastero 3.5km 2hrs there and back
Follow the road beyond the dam heading East and you’ll reach a sign on your left for Monastero. Take the turn and drive until you reach the Cimitero, park your car and take the path that skirts the left of the Cimitero wall.
This path leads all the way down to the River Fiastrone, fork left along the river and follow the path to the gorge. Please remember to take flip-flops and waterproof boots. Even in the height of Summer the water will give you brain freeze.