Starting point: Tavernelle (Piscine intercomunali)
Time required: 03:45 h
Change in level: 1000 m
Length: 51.90 km
Degree of difficulty: difficult
This long, charming itinerary passes through woodland and takes in sanctuaries, castles and mediaeval towns. It is set in the southern hills of the Lake Trasimeno area, in the municipalities of Panicale, Paciano and Città della Pieve.
The starting point is close to Tavernelle, from where you head towards Perugia. You climb up to the Sanctuary of Mongiovino and the fortified town of the same name, standing on a hilltop at a height of 490 metres. The name literally means “Mountain sacred to Jupiter”, and derives from a cult of this deity practised here in ancient times (the remains of a temple have been found).
The castle consists of imposing mediaeval walls, dominated by a tall tower with Guelph battlements. Inside the walls is a small 14th century church, decorated with frescoes. From here, you follow the very scenic route along the ridge. It takes you past an abandoned farmhouse close to the “Torraccia” or “Cimarella”: a characteristic cone-shaped hill covered in pine-trees and cypresses and visible from a considerable distance. Descend the track that takes you into the shade of the forest, in the direction of the “Passo Buca del Calcinaro”, where you come to a crossroads made up of six roads.
Take the local road towards Scornabecco, which runs along a hillside covered with woodland. This leads to the village of Muserale and on to another junction opposite the church of Colle San Paolo. Take the turning to the left up towards Villa Montesolare and Porta Materna, staying on the main road, until you reach the top of the hill near the Castle of Montali. Follow the ridge to the right with a breath-taking view of Lake Trasimeno, and then continue down towards the valley of the River Tresa until you reach the road that connects Casalini to Panicale. Continue along some pleasant stretches of paved road, passing through Le Mura and Colgiordano and finally arriving at Paciano. It is worth taking a little time to visit this beautiful, peaceful mediaeval village. You then continue downhill to the turning for Varacca-Pietreto and are immediately confronted by a short but very strenuous climb, leading to the ancient hamlet of Pietreto.
Continue towards Moiano on an unpaved road half-way up the hill, which takes you through some very attractive olive groves. When you reach Moiano, you are in the Città della Pieve area and need to head towards Piegaro. Follow the road for a while and then turn left and head up along a pleasant bridle path through copses of Turkey oak, downy oak and heather. Continue until you get to the top of the hill in the Casa Pausillo/Po’ del Vento area and reach the pastures of Pausillo.
Cycle through the pine wood and down an uneven track flanked by two rows of ancient pine trees. Continue with various ups and downs in the direction of Monte Petrarvella, clearly recognisable in the distance thanks to the stand of tall Austrian pines that crown its rounded summit. A thrilling and very scenic descent takes you rapidly down to Panicale, another beautiful mediaeval village which is well worth visiting. You then take the road for Missiano, descending quickly to your original starting point at Tavernelle.