|Lat/Lon:||42.82085°N / 13.21340°E|
|Season:||Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter|
|Elevation:||4265 ft / 1300 m|
The 16 square kilometers large karstic plateau is an inseparable part of Monte Sibillini and one of the greatest tourist attractions of this mountain range. As trailheads, quite some points above this high plateau can be used - all for the summits of Sibillini group. But the plateau is so beautiful and majestic that it can be also a goal of a trip on its own. On a hill above the plateau there's Castelluccio, the only settlement far around. Even if the last earthquake destroyed it almost completely, the village can offer you some support.
The trailheads above Piano Grande are used for hiking and tour skiing. The best hikes are on the highest summits of Monti Sibellini, but other hills around the plateau can be nice and easy goals as well. In addition with outings, connected with mountains, paragliding, biking and horse riding is also popular.
But even if you only drive up there and do some photo shooting, you can have a great day. The plain can best be explored by completing a mountain bike round tour (the start is for example at Sibillini Ranch).
It's a karstic plateau, surrounded by rounded mountains, built of limestone. Through the last ice ages the huge basin (actually more of them, interconnected) was a lake and its sediments resulted in flat surface when water flew away. Nowadays in the SW part sinkholes can be seen, draining meandring water underground. That part of Piano Grande is still quite wet, while other parts are suitable for cultivating and for grazing animals.
The highest mountains of Monte Sibillini are rising NE of Piano Grande: Monte Vettore, 2476 m, Cima del Lago, 2422 m, Cima del Redentore, 2448 m, Cima dell'Osservatorio, 2350 m, and others are all nice hiking goals. On all other sides many lower mountains are rising, their altitudes are mostly between 1600 m and 1800 m.
Above Piano Grande the following points, reachable by car, are worth mentioning, first of all as trailheads for tours on the highest peaks:
Piano Grande and Castelluccio can be reached from three sides:
Since 1993 the whole area is incorporated into the 70,000 hectares big national parc, so you should obey its rules. The link to the official site of the park is here.
When you decide to use it as a trailhead for your mountain tour, of course! But joke aside, as Piano Grande can also be a goal on it's own, the additional advice is - in times of mountain spring. That is June and July, when the whole plateau, or just big parts of it can be covered with blossoming flowers of all kinds and colors. But to hit just the time of the biggest feast, you must also be a bit lucky. In 2019, I guess most of live webcams were down, so this way of checking in advance did not work.