Like mighty Monte Priora but being much lower than the latter, Monte Castel Manardo branches off from the Monti Sibillini main ridge to the east. It is a long and broad meadow ridge, plateau – like in the summit region. You will have a hard time to find the highest point of the mountain as there is no stake, cairn or summit cross to mark it. Thus it seems that Monte Castel Manardo is not a very attractive goal.
You can hardly name this meadow plateau a real “mountain”, that is right.
Nevertheless I think that Monte Castel Manardo is a very nice “stroll” from Rifugio Città di Amandola. The trail up to the mountain offers marvelous views over the rolling hills of the Marche. It is like a view out of an aeroplane.
Then you enter the realm of the broad meadow ridges where the rest of the world seems to disappear until you reach the summit plateau with its views on Monte Priora, Pizzo Berro, Pizzo Tre Vescovi and the Sasso Tetto skiing area.
You then can stroll on on the ridge to Forcella Bassete and ascend Pizzo Tre Vescovi, too, one of the 2000er summits of the Monti Sibillini main ridge, and go back to the Rifugio on some trails and forest roads cutting through the south slopes of Monte Castel Manardo. A more than nice loop. Descending to the Rifugio, you again will have the aeroplane view on the Marche hills, now bathing in warm evening light, the horizon adorned with the Abruzzi peaks like Gran Sasso / Corno Grande.
The west – east running ridge of Monte Castel Manardo branches off the main ridge at Cima Tre Vescovi and is bordered by the del Fargon valley and the Pintura di Bolognola ski area to the northwest, by the Valle Tre Santi to the northeast and the upper Ambro valley to the south. South of this deep and gorge like valley, which is called “Infernaccello”, too, in comparison to the more southward Gola del Infernaccio, stands Monte Priora and its neighbour Pizzo Berro.
Whereas Monte priora blocks the views to the southwest and west, the views to the north are untroubled from Monte Castel Manardo. In the far north you can see Monte San Vicino and Monte Catria on clear days.
Getting ThereBest main trailheads for Monte Castel Manardo are:
You reach Amandola and the Rifugio Città di Amandola / Campolungo by car:
South of Amandola center road number SP 83 to Montefortino and Montemonaco branches off from road number 237. Follow SP 83 for about 400 m to the hamlet of Casa Innamorati. Take there the right hand road (signpost to Abbadia, Monte Amandola, Rifugio Città di Amandola). Follow this road up to Garulla, Garulla Superiore and then (dirt road) to the Rifugio / Campolungo trailhead.
You reach Bolognola by car:
From Sarnano take road number SP 120 up to Sasso Tetto ski area and then down to first Pintura di Bolognola (broad parking area) or second down to Bolognola village.
Main Routes Overview
Follow trail number 241, starting at the Rifugio. The trail climbs up the east slope of Monte Amandola, a sidekick of Castel Manardo and then does a long traverse in northern direction. Don´t follow trail number 242, which branches off to the right about 15 minutes above the Rifugio.
The trail zigzags up north of Monte Amandola and reaches the broad meadows of Pescolla and the forest roads coming up from Bolognola. Now the trail disappears; best follow a jeep track leading up to some sheepherders hut.
Pass by the hut and leave the jeep track to the left where some signposts / cairns show the continuing trail number 241. The trail disappears again, just follow the broad ridge up to the summit plateau.
For a nice loop you can descend via the west ridge to Forcella Bassete (nearly no trail visible, no marks, always stay on the ridge), use the trail, which descends from Pizzo Tre Vescovi to the forest roads on the south side of Monte Castel Manardo (signposts to Campolungo). Follow then the upper, nearly level forest road back to where trail number 241 crosses this road and descend on trail number 241 to the Rifugio Cittá di Amandola / Campolungo.
Alternatively follow trail number 241, later number 273 or 274 in western direction to the summit of Pizzo Tre Vescovi and return via these trails to Forcella Bassete. Follow the above described loop route.
Most start at the Pintura di Bolognola parking area and follow the forest road number 25 until, below Forcella Bassete, trail number 26 branches off to the left.
You arrive the same trail junction when you start at Bolognola village, follow road number 311 and trail number 313, also called “Strada delle Catene”.
Ascend Forcella Bassete and follow the west ridge in some ups and downs to Castel Manardos summit. The map shows a marked trail, number 241. There are nearly no marks and mostly there is no visible trail. Nevertheless if you stay on the ridge you can´t miss the summit.
It seems to me that the hiking route from Rifugio Cittá di Amandola to the summit can be done as ski tour, too.
From Pintura di Bolognola, the parking area of the skiing region follow up the ski slopes to their highest point at the north ridge of Monte Castel Manardo. Follow then the north ridge up to the summit.
Short, easy and fast ski outing.
Red Tape & Accommodation
Monte Castel Manardo is in part lying within the “Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini”.
All the south side and the northwest slopes belong to the park, whereas the northeast slopes are outside this protected area. The National Park border runs along the east-west-running ridge and the north ridge of Monte Castel Manardo and is marked with signposts there.
The homepage of the National Park shows many regulations, all in long and rather complicated articles in Italian language.
Admission to the National Park area is free.
Best stay on the trails whenever possible, do not bivouac within National park realms. No fire, no littering, no disturbance of animals and no damage to (protected) plants.
You find accommodation of all kinds, including campgrounds in or around the National Park villages:
Rifugio Città di Amandola
Gear & Mountain Condition
Monte Castel Manardo is a year round summit.
The ski routes from Rifugio Città di Amandola and from Bolognola are not very long or very difficult.
Nevertheless you need full avalanche gear for Monti Sibillini ski outings. The Regione Marche has an avalanche bulletin to be consulted before starting you ski tour.
Don´t underestimate the avalanche danger within Monti Sibillini!
Late spring, summer and autumn is the time for hiking. You need full hiking gear and rain protection and some warm clothes as the weather within Monti Sibillini can change rapidly and dramatically (summer thunderstorms).
Maps & Guide Books
Club Alpino Italiano – Sezione di Ascoli Piceno: Monti Sibillini, Carta dei Sentieri, scale 1 : 25.000, SER Societa Editrice Ricerche, 2011
Gillian Price: Italy's Sibillini National Park, Walking and Trekking Guide; Cicerone Press, 13 Jun 2013, ISBN 9781852845353
Guida al Parco nazionale dei monti Sibillini; CARSA; 2nd edition 2009; ISBN: 978-8850101535
Available only in Italian
Rolf Goetz: Umbrien, Assisi – Perugia – Nationalpark Monti Sibillini; Die schönsten Tal- und Höhenwanderungen; Rother Verlag, 2nd edition 2013; ISBN 978-3-7633-4324-9;
Available only in German and only parts of it for Monti Sibillini
Ursula und Claus-Günter Frank: Marken – Adriaküste; Ravenna – Rimini – Urbino – Ancona – Monti Sibillini; 50 Touren , Rother Verlag 2nd edition 2014 ISBN 978-3-7633-4342-3
Available only in German and only parts of it for Monti Sibillini