There are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Italy, one of them is the region of Marche, located in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. Marche offers a variety of natural and historical attractions, from sandy beaches and rocky cliffs to rolling hills and snow-capped mountains. In this article, we’ll focus on one of the most scenic and unique places in Marche: Lame Rosse and the Lake Fiastra.
What are Lame Rosse?
Lame Rosse (Red Blades) are a geological formation of red clay pinnacles and towers that resemble a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. They are located above Lake Fiastra, a man-made reservoir created by a dam on the Fiastrone river. The name Le Lame Rosse comes from the color of the clay, which is due to the presence of iron oxides. The clay was deposited millions of years ago by an ancient sea that covered the area. Over time, the sea retreated and the clay was exposed to erosion by wind and water, creating the peculiar shapes that we see today.
How to get to there
Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra are situated in the municipality of Fiastra, in the province of Macerata, within the Sibillini National Park. The park is part of the Apennine mountain range that runs along the spine of Italy. The park covers an area of about 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) and includes several peaks over 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) high, such as Monte Vettore (2,476 meters or 8,123 feet), Monte Sibilla (2,173 meters or 7,129 feet), and Monte Bove (2,169 meters or 7,116 feet).
To get to Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra from Rome, you can take a train to Civitanova Marche (about 3 hours) and then a bus to Fiastra (about 2 hours). Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive along the A14 motorway until Civitanova Marche and then follow the signs for Macerata and Sarnano until you reach Fiastra. The distance is about 300 kilometers (186 miles) and the driving time is about 4 hours.
From other major cities in Italy, such as Milan, Florence, Naples, or Bologna, you can also take a train or a bus to Ancona, the capital of Marche, and then another train or bus to Civitanova Marche and Fiastra.
What to do at Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra?
The main attraction at Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra is hiking. There are several trails that lead to different viewpoints of the clay formations and the lake. The most popular one is the circular trail that starts from the dam of Lake Fiastra and goes around the lake until it reaches Le Lame Rosse. The trail is about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long and takes about 3 hours to complete. It is suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness and does not require any special equipment. Along the way, you can enjoy the views of the lake and its surroundings, such as forests, meadows, waterfalls, and wildlife.
Another option is to take a shorter trail that starts from Ruffella viewpoint (Belvedere della Ruffella), which is accessible by car from Fiastra. The trail is about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) long and takes about an hour to complete. It leads directly to Le Lame Rosse without passing by the lake. This trail is steeper and more challenging than the previous one but offers a closer look at the clay pinnacles.
If you want to extend your hike, you can also follow other trails that connect Le Lame Rosse with other interesting places in the park, such as Monte Rotondo (1,855 meters or 6,086 feet), Monte Priora (2,332 meters or 7,651 feet), or Eremo di San Leonardo (a medieval hermitage carved into a rock).
Besides hiking, you can also enjoy other activities at Lake Fiastra, such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, fishing, or sunbathing. The lake has clear and clean water and is surrounded by a green area with picnic tables, benches, and playgrounds. There are also several facilities that offer boat rentals, guided tours, and water sports. The lake is open all year round but the best time to visit is from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny.
Where to stay and eat?
If you want to spend more than a day at Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra, you can find several accommodation options in the nearby villages of Fiastra, San Lorenzo al Lago, or Acquacanina. You can choose from hotels, bed and breakfasts, agriturismi (farmhouses), or camping sites. Some of the recommended places are:
- Hotel Ristorante Fiordigigli: a cozy and family-run hotel with a restaurant that serves local specialties, such as truffles, mushrooms, cheese, and meat. The hotel is located in Fiastra and has 14 rooms with private bathrooms, TV, and free Wi-Fi. The price for a double room with breakfast is about 70 euros per night.
- Agriturismo Il Casale: a rustic and charming farmhouse with a swimming pool, a garden, and a terrace. The farmhouse is located in San Lorenzo al Lago and has 6 apartments with kitchenettes, bathrooms, TV, and free Wi-Fi. The price for an apartment for two people is about 80 euros per night.
- Camping Lago di Fiastra: a spacious and well-equipped camping site with pitches for tents, caravans, and campers. The camping site is located on the shore of Lake Fiastra and has toilets, showers, laundry facilities, a bar, a restaurant, a mini-market, and a playground. The price for a pitch for two people is about 20 euros per night.
For eating out, you can find several restaurants and pizzerias in Fiastra, San Lorenzo al Lago, or Acquacanina. Some of the recommended places are:
- Ristorante Pizzeria La Sorgente: a friendly and casual restaurant that serves pizza, pasta, salads, meat dishes, and desserts. The restaurant is located in Fiastra and has indoor and outdoor seating. The price for a pizza is about 8 euros.
- Ristorante Il Cacciatore: a traditional and elegant restaurant that serves regional cuisine, such as polenta (cornmeal porridge), cinghiale (wild boar), cacciagione (game), and formaggi (cheeses). The restaurant is located in San Lorenzo al Lago and has a fireplace and a panoramic view of the lake. The price for a main course is about 15 euros.
- Ristorante La Grotta dei Frati: a unique and atmospheric restaurant that is set in a natural cave. The restaurant serves local specialties, such as tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta with truffles), gnocchi al ragù di cinghiale (potato dumplings with wild boar sauce), and crostata di marmellata (jam tart). The restaurant is located in Acquacanina and has candlelit tables and live music. The price for a main course is about 12 euros.
Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra are perfect destinations for anyone who loves nature, adventure, history, or culture. They offer a rare opportunity to see one of the most spectacular geological phenomena in Italy and to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Sibillini National Park.
They are also ideal places to escape the crowds and the heat of the summer and to experience the authentic charm of Marche. Whether you’re looking for an active or relaxing holiday, Le Lame Rosse and Lake Fiastra will not disappoint you.