Holidays with children in the mountains in Le Marche: Sarnano and the Sibillini mountains

Recently more often the Sibillini mountains, between Le Marche and Umbria, have become a holiday destination for families with children.

The fresh air, the unblemished landscape and the numerous outdoor activities make the Sibillini mountains an ideal place to go on holiday with children and Sarnano is situated in a key position to visit this area of Le Marche.

Here are some ideas to discover this marvellous area with your children.

The Sibyl’s museum in Montemonaco.

The Sibillini mountains are enchanting for their fairy like landscape and their heritage rich in myths and legends, first among all the legend of the Sibyl, the oracle that, according to folklore, lived in a cave on top of the mountain that bears her name and gives the name to the whole range.

The folklore inspired many literary works across Europe, such us ‘Il paradiso della regina Sibilla’ by Antoine De La Salle, a merging of accounts and legends into a story of a journey, or ‘Il Guerrin Meschino’ by Andrea De Barberini, a novel that has been successful since first published in the XIV century.

If you like to capture your children’s imagination about the marvellous legends of the Sibyl, there is nothing better than the Sibyl’s museum in Montemonaco.

During the visit you will find out about both legends of the Sibyl and Lago di Pilato.

You will see the photos of numerous Sibyls depicted in the churches and observe how the Sibyl’s cave has changed through time, from the first black and white pictures taken in the 50s, until the day a landslide blocked its entrance. You will also be told about the latest findings on Monte Sibilla, that in part confirm the legendary stories and you will feel the thrill of entering by slide the Sibyl’s cave recreated inside the museum.

You will also be able admire the ‘Great Stone’ found nearby Lago di Pilato, a slab whose mysterious writings have not been fully deciphered yet.
The Sibyl’s museum is inside Villa Curi in Montemonaco and it is open daily from July until October.

The anthropological and geographical museum or landscape museum in Amandola

The anthropological and geographical museum has been created by Legambiente and the National Park of the Sibillini mountains on the idea that ‘we know what we see and do not know what we cannot see’ as Goethe would say.

It consists of an interactive journey to discover the natural and cultural aspects of the land by observing its landscape and it is of particular interest for children.

The museum is divided into four areas, one for each aspect of the land: the bio-diversity in the landscape, the human landscape, the future landscape and the representation of the landscape. It is an educational journey through the various aspects of the land, thanks to images and multimedia experiences in order to learn and understand the language of mother nature. The museum is open daily from June to September.

Butterfly Garden in Cessapalombo

The Butterfly garden in Cessapalombo is an educational activity to discover the colourful world of Lepidoptera and it is loved by children.

In the garden children can see the butterflies in their natural habitat, observe closely the caterpillars and the chrysalises and learn about the incredible process of metamorphosis. In the vegetable garden they can touch and smell the officinal plants, the herbs and the wild plants, while being immersed in nature.

The Butterfly Garden has with a picnic area and a small shop to taste and buy local products. On booking, it is possible to take part in educational activities, workshops and cultural activities suitable for adults as well.

The Butterfly Garden is open from April to September, Wednesday to Sunday and everyday in July and August.

Horse riding with children in the Sibillini mountains

Horse riding is an unforgettable experience both for children and adults alike to reconnect with nature and tune with these noble animals. Horse riding improves self-control and equilibrium, awareness, concentration, reflexes and helps to develop a sense of responsibility and respect towards other creatures.

‘Le Quercie Agriturismo’ in Sarnano organises riding lessons for children and excursions in the area, an ideal way to discover the Sibillini mountains while peacefully riding amongst in nature.

Trekking with donkeys

Trekking with donkeys in the Sibillini mountains is a great experience for children and a chance to become familiar with these animals and learn to understand their movements. Be aware that donkeys can only carry children and backpacks.

It is possible to book a trekking trip with donkeys with WWF Credia at La quercia della memoria in Vallato San Ginesio.

Adventure Park at Lake Fiastra

There is nothing better than Lago di Fiastra Adventure Park to encourage the adventurous spirit in your children.

This adventure includes bridges, suspended trails between trees, such as the famous Monkey and Tibetan bridges and cableway crossings, one of which runs 130m high and across the lake. The activity is suitable for everyone (140cm tall minimum), no particular physical ability is required and the equipment is provided by the staff (helmet, safety harness with snap hooks and pulley). Comfortable clothing and closed shoes are requested.

The adventure takes one and half hour and can be booked with Gaia Associazione Sportiva.

Orienteering nei boschi intorno al lago di Fiastra

In ogni bambino c’è un piccolo esploratore: allora perché non metterli alla prova con l’orienteering? Chiamato anche lo Sport dei Boschi, l’Orienteering, come dice il nome stesso, mette alla prova le capacità di orientamento. Muniti solo di bussola e mappa, dovete effettuare un percorso sempre nei pressi del Lago di Fiastra passando per tutti punti di controllo chiamati lanterne: un’attività divertentissima non solo per i più piccoli. Tranquilli, non c’è rischio di perdersi: anche questa attività è organizzata dall’Associazione Sportiva GAIA che di avventure nei boschi se ne intende.

Orienteering in the woods at Lake Fiastra

There is an explorer in every child, so why not challenge your children with Orienteering?

Orienteering, also called ‘the sport in the woods’, challenges orientating skills. Equipped with a compass and a map you will be following a trail in the woods around lake Fiastra in order to reach all the checking points called Lanterns.
It is a fun activity for everyone and there is no danger of getting lost. You can book with Gaia Associazione Sportiva.


Concentration, precision, dexterity, are the three skills at the core of archery, skills that children do not often use in every day life.

If you like, you can try this ancient discipline during your holidays, a relaxing sport that is in harmony with the peaceful nature of the woods in the Sibillini mountains. If you like to try archery you can contact Gaia Associazione Sportiva in Fiastra or the Associazione Arcieri in Belforte.

The flowering on Piani dei Ragnolo

Between May and June 37 varieties of wild orchids along with gentians, buttercups, asphodels, poppies, violets and daffodils bloom on Piani dei Ragnolo, near Sarnano, colouring the meadows. It is a fascinating display of nature for children and adults alike that teaches us all to respect nature and value it.

The flowers are protected species and cannot be picked. For those who are not knowledgeable the help of a nature guide is available as well as the opportunity to join one of the photographic excursions organised between May and June.

‘Le Cascatelle’ waterfalls in Sarnano

During the holidays with your children you cannot miss visiting the small waterfalls in Sarnano.

Waterfalls have something magical about them, perhaps the noise of the water, perhaps the lush under-growth around, or maybe the surprising spectacle.

The Tennacola river creates a small waterfall near to an old stone mill not far from Sarnano in the direction of Bisio. The small waterfall is immersed in nature and can be visited in every season to enjoy different sceneries: in spring time when it is in full flow and surrounded by the greenest foliage, in summer time when it is possible to bathe in the refreshing waters, in autumn when the foliage resembles a colour pallet, and in winter when it becomes a crystal fairy land under the snow.

The waterfalls are within walking distance from the town centre or easily reached by car. Loved by children the waterfalls have become one of the iconic places in Sarnano and the subject of three short films to promote the area.

Sibillini mountains: children’s excursions

There are many excursion routes on the Sibillini mountains suitable for families with children.

We can suggest:

  • The Soffiano Cave, an old Franciscan hermitage, visited by San Francis himself, between Terro di Sarnano and the San Liberato convent.
  • Lame Rosse, a very characteristic red gravel cliff formation near Lago di Fiastra.
  • Monte Pizzo Meta and Piani dei Ragnolo, near the ski facilities of Santa Maria Maddalena.
  • Gole dell’infernaccio, near Montefortino (AP).

If your children are fit for a good walk, the Eremo di San Lorenzo.

Walking among Chamois

The Sibillini mountains are the habitat of chamois goats, charming animals related to the most common goats.

The Monte Bove is the ideal place to observe them, but this excursion (15km long and 800m difference in level ) might not be suitable for children.

There is however a protected faunal area near Bolognola, on the E3 excursion route, between Monte Sassotetto and the Fiastrone valley, where it is possible to see them.

This itinerary has become renowned for the opportunity to observe the Sibillini mountains’ fauna and guided excursions are organised by the ‘Cooperativa Alcina’ based in Lago di Fiastra.

…and more

These are some ideas for holidays with children, but it does not end here. Sarnano and its surroundings offer opportunities for everyone: medieval towns, spa breaks, cycling tours, winter sports, museums and historical and artistic routes.

A residence suitable for family holidays

If you are planning to spend a holiday in Sarnano with your children, our residence offers apartments to accommodate 3 to 6 people, not far from the centre of Sarnano, immersed in nature, with a private garden, parking, wi-fi and a swimming pool. Each apartment is equipped with everything you need to to spend your holiday independently and in total comfort. We will be glad to help you plan your activities during your stay.

Contact us to reserve accommodation in our residence >>