Monte Velino is one of the highest mountains of Central Italy with an altitude of 2487 meters
. It belongs to the Appenino Centrale Group close to the boundary between Lazio and Abruzzo Regions. Its calcareous structure is easily recognizible from all the most important summits in Abruzzo and Lazio, and with good weather condition its shape can be seen even from Rome.
It is frequently ascended by most of the hikers living in Central Italy, both in summer and in winter. In summer the ascent can be long, tiring under a persistent sun, even if the landscape is really amazing. In winter easy snowy routes reach the summit and skymountaineers find something to do. Close to the summit there are two minors summits: Monte Cafornia (2424 m)
and Monte di Sèvice (2331 m)
, belonging together with Monte Velino summit, to the Velino massif. On the North-West side of Monte Velino, we should mention the Val di Teve
, covered by wonderful beech-woods. The U-shaped valley, rare case in Appennino, remember us its glacial origin. This valley separates the Monti della Duchessa, with the homonymous little lake. The South side slopes down steeper towards the villages of Rosciolo dei Marsi and Massa d’Albe, not so far from the Altopiano del Fucino and Avezzano. At North-East there are the Altopiani of Campo Felice and Piano di Pezza, which represent a very famous ski-area in Abruzzo.
The final ridge to the summit
The morphology of the area including the Monte Velino makes it not a lonely mountain, being located within a complex group of ridges, valleys and minor summits connected with two others important mountains of the area: Monte Sirente
and Serra di Celano
. From this point of view, we could consider Monte Velino even a group of mountains, as well as the near group of Monte Sirente, which is separated by the carsic Altopiano delle Rocche.
The main starting points for the routes of the S-SW side
are from the villages of Corona-Massa d’Albe (894 m), Rosciolo dei Marsi (899 m), Cartore (944 m) while, if you decided to hike from the N-NE side
, the suitable starting point is Piano di Pezza (1535 m).
: The fastest way is the Highway A24-Roma/L’Aquila. If you want to approch the S-side of Monte Velino, after 60 km turn right following the Highway A25 towards Pescara and exit at Magliano dei Marsi (10 km). Proceeding few kilometers, you arrive at Corona di Massa d'Albe; Rosciolo dei Marsi and Cartore are very close. If you are interested in the N-side, continue the Highway A25 and exit at Celano (28 km from the connection with the A24). Take the road towards Ovindoli-Rocca di Mezzo and few kilometers before Rocca di Mezzo, in front of the hotel (Caldora), turn left following for about 10 kilometers the road up to Piano di Pezza. The last kilometers are not asphalted.
A well developed system of marked trails exists. The Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) of Avezzano, L’Aquila and Rocca di Mezzo hardly worked in the past to facilitate the approach to the Velino and the other summits of the massif.
All the routes in spring-summer are considered not difficult but in some cases are almost tiring. You have to hike about 4-5 hours in a very interesting environment.
- From Piano di Pezza
and the SE ridge – Trail n° 1- yellow-red indication, 3:45-4:00 h ascent. For the descent following the same trail of ascent about 2:45-3:00 h. The complete crossing descending from the summit to Massa d’Albe-Corona (about 3:00 h) is an alternative.
- From Cartore
following the Valle di Teve and NE-ridge – Trail n° 2, 8, 8a and 1- yellow-red indication, 5:00 h ascent. For the descent by the same trail of ascent about 2:45-3:00 h. The trail along the Valle di Teve is forbidden for the hikers from mid-February to mid-May due to the presence of the eagle.
- From Rosciolo dei Marsi
(Passo le Forche) – Trail n° 3, 3a - yellow-red indication, more than 4:00 h for the ascent. For the descent by the same trail of the ascent about 2:00-2:15 h. Not all the ascent is well marked by yellow-red indication. Alternatives for the descent are the ridge of the Monte Rozza (W-ridge), almost without indication but with an easy recognizible route and a trail of Pesco Mucchio (yellow indication), 2:00-2:30 h.
- From Corona
(Massa d’Albe) throught the S ridge (II) – Trail n° 6 (not well marked) – yellow-red indication, 5:30-6:00 h the ascent. The most alpinistic ascent with about 80 meters of rock (Camino-Canalino) to be climbed (caution required in winter and spring if there is snow; crampons and ice-axe required). Descent by the same route or by the so-called Canalone (3:00-3:30 h).
No fees and parking pass are required. You are in the Regional Natural Park of Velino-Sirente
and you must respect the specific rules stated for the protection of the environment. Some routes are forbidden during the spring.
The Park of about 60000 hectars is completely part of the Abruzzo region (Central Italy). Information about the park is available calling the phone number 0039-0864-797775.
When To Climb
Literature describes mainly the routes to be ascended in summer and spring, when the nature is bright. However I visited the Monte Velino in advanced spring when the snow was still present; it has been a wonderful experience too. The sun was not exausting, as in summer, and the relevant difference in hight between the starting point and the summit (about 1500 m) was better tolerated. Nevertheless if you are interested in the flora and fauna of the Regional Park and you don't like the possibile negative effects due to the sun and heat togheter, spring and autumn should be better.
In case of need and emergency you can call the phone number 800.25.82.39, operating in all the Abruzzo region.
Nine refuges are within the Natural Park, including the Natural Oriented Reserve “Monte Velino”
and the Partial Natural Reserve “Montagne della Duchessa”.
With reference to the ascent to Monte Velino the refuges are:
- Rifugio Capanna di Sèvice
(2119 meters), 10 beds. Phone: +39-0347-6873118. The key of the refuge is at the tobacco shop in Magliano dei Marsi (contact Danilo Santoponte +39-0863-51133) or to the Bar Martino in Magliano dei Marsi (+39-0863-517889). Two rooms, one always open. This refuge is on the trail from Rosciolo;
Capanna di Sévice
- Rifugio Vincenzo Sebastiani
(2102 meters), 12 beds. CAI Roma, phone +39-06-6861011). This is the base for trail form the Piano di Pezza.
An international reference can be the AccuWeather
, web site.
In addition, a useful site could be the Aeronautica Militare-Servizio Meteorologico
web site (In Italian).
Books and maps
Two books in Italian including not only routes towards the Monte Velino but even in Abruzzo and in the Regional Park:
- Stefano Ardito "A piedi in Abruzzo"
, 2003 (in Italian). Guide ITER (Subiaco, Roma) – ISBN 88-8177-029-6;
- Narciso Galiè, Gabriele Secchioni “Parco Regionale Sirente-Velino-Le più belle escursioni”
, 1999 (in Italian). Edited by Parco Regionale Sirente-Velino and Club Alpino Italiano-Società Editrice Ricerche – ISBN 88-86610-12-2
The main maps are:
- CAI (Delegazione Abruzzese) – “I sentieri della provincia de L’Aquila. Gruppo Velino-Sirente” CdC L’Aquila (1:25000);
- IGMI Fogli n° 146 III NE (Monte Sirente), 146 III SE (Pescina), 146 IV SE (Tione degli Abruzzi), 145 IV SE (Magliano dei Marsi).