The Quest for the Queen of Faeries: The Cry of the Sibyl



Via Montemonaco (AP): Northbound and Southbound through A14 Bologna-Taranto Highway (toll road), through the parallel State Road SS16 (freeway). Province capital cities and the largest urban centers can be reached via smaller, parallel thoroughfares which go from the coastline inward: route SS3 "Flaminia" crosses the Umbria region from Rome to Fano; route SS76 follows the Esino river from Fabriano to Jesi and Ancona; route SS77 connects Foligno with Civitanova Marche through Tolentino and Macerata; route SS4 "Salaria" connects Rome and Rieti with Ascoli Piceno and San Benedetto del Tronto.

Montemonaco – Sibilla Shelter: Exit Montemonaco following Montegallo directions and, just about 500 meters outside town, follow "Gole dell'Infernaccio" road signs. After 4 Kilometers there is a crossroad with the Sibilla Shelter signs to the left. Drive the graveled road for about 5 Kilometers. This road can be used safely by any type of vehicle. The Sibilla Shelter stands at 1,540 meters a.s.l.
Park the car and continue on foot.

Sibilla Shelter - Mount Sibilla (Trail #1): continue onto the ragged road cut adjacent to the shelter, ascend steadily until reaching the Fairies' Cave; the mountain top is a little farther up.
Mount Sibilla (Trail #2): take the trail behind the shelter and ascend rapidly until reaching the ridge. Follow the crest all the way to the Fairies' Cave; the mountain top is a little farther up.


Twelve years after our first expedition on Mount Vettore (see ALONG THE WAY OF NECROMANCERS: MOUNT VETTORE) we find ourselves again at the foot of the enormous ring of the Sibillini Mountains. We know the symbolic importance of this place; we feel the energy surging from the clouds-covered peaks, as elusive as their innumerable mysteries, hidden within the silence of their sun-scorched valleys.
We take off on a Friday morning from the Gola dell'Infernaccio near the village of Rubbiano (779mt a.s.l.) and walk along the trail that cuts through Mount Zampa for several kilometers, with the idea of reaching the graveled road that leads to the Sibilla Shelter 1540. The last distance we venture off-trail and ascend vertically upon the mountain, through an area of scattered trees which have been recently planted. At the end of the trekking we stand at few hundreds meters from the shelter, so we take onto the white road and arrive at our first pit stop soon after.
The Sibilla Shelter is situated at 1,546 mt a.s.l., near a natural spring which we use to replenish our water supply. For the next 24 hours we would not find any other water source on our itinerary.
After resting we resume our journey and walk up until reaching the crest of the mountain. It is sunset and we need to look around for setting up camp. We spend the night at 1,900 mt a.s.l. in a slight depression of the rocky terrain, under the light of a breathtaking red moon rising above the Ascoli Piceno's valley. With it, the mountain range populates with thousands of shadows. On the opposite side, in the North (before the sky became too light) we observed Venus and Jupiter perfectly aligned at their closest distance.
The following morning, at sunrise, we pack up and set out to reach the main objective of our expedition: the Fairies' Cave or Sibyl's Cave (2,150 mt a.s.l.). We arrive at the spot in the late morning after walking through the entire Southeastern ridge of Mount Sibilla.
There, we take our time to observe and note about the status of the cave's entrance, eat our lunch and take some rest. Afterwards, we hike to the top of Mount Sibilla (2,173mt a.s.l.) and descend along the western ridge to intercept the white road that goes back to the Sibilla Shelter.
At this point we go off-trail again, cutting through the steep grazing perched upon the North walls of the Mount. At the bottom of it there is an old shepherd hut called Casale Lanza, built right before the beginning of the forest surrounding the Tenna river springs. At Casale Lanza we prepare to spend the second night.
It is there, while sitting, at sunset, upon a hill overlooking the Gola dell'Infernaccio that we witness the most astounding vision: the mysterious, unfathomable image of Queen Sibyl looming over the Mount Priora's walls.