The Monti Sibillini National Park is trove of natural riches and delicacies, history and traditions. The Sibillini Mountains are located across the Marches and Umbria, in the provinces od Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata and Perugia, over a 70,000 ha area. The purpose of the Park is to restore and revive the farming and food heritage for the sake of a sustainable brand of tourism. 1999 marked the beginning of a project for protecting endangered species, such as roveja or robiglio, a type of semi-wild pea once used for a dish similar to polenta, quarantino and ottofile maize and Monichelle beans.
Agriculture and animal breeding in the Sibillini Mountains
Regardless of the agro-pastoral past of Umbria and the Marches, since the foundation of the park in 1993, most land has been turned into natural pastures and woods. Local breeds of sheep and cattle are reared for meat and milk production. The native Sopravissana sheep breed is renowned for the high quality of its meat and milk, with which pecorino cheese, ricotta and giuncata are made. This type of sheep is also used for wool production.
In addition to meat and dairy products, the heritage of the Sibillini Mountains includes specialities like ciauscolo, a salami spread with a Protected Geographical Indication, truffles, the Castelluccio di Norcia Lentil, saffron and chestnuts. Gentian flowers are the main ingredient of a number of liqueurs and remedies. Other liqueurs include mistrà, flavoured with green aniseed, wild fennel, orange and the local type of apple. The Monte Sibillini apple is small and slightly flat. It is green with tinges ranging from pink to mauvish-crimson. It flesh is sour and sugary, with a distinctive scent. Finally, the watercourses of Ussita and Visso, in the province of Macerata, are inhabited by trouts protected by the Trout Population Recovery in Central Italy project.