Not only does Monti Sibillini have the distinction of being Umbria’s only national park, it’s also known for its magical properties. I explored it on the back of a donkey named Nina. Before exploring the Piano Grande Plateau in Monti Sibillini by donkey, you choose your donkey. This was easy, Nina’s confidence radiated out of us and she gladly posed for photos:
Of course it wasn’t all smooth going. Roberto from La Mulattiera informed us that donkeys have an ever changing social structure. Nina was the leader that day, but she was also hungry, stopping to eat every few meters, then quickening her pace to pull out in front again to ensure she was in the lead. Safe to say she justly proved why donkeys are considered to be cankerous. I loved her anyway, but maybe that’s because I didn’t have the difficult job of trying to lead her as Nathalie did from @perfectbotique. Either way, I felt like I was on a pilgrimage in search of the mystical powers that Monti Sibilllini is famous for. It was named after the prophetess, Sibilla who lived in a cave high. During the middle ages she was sought out by knights going into battle for her fortune telling abilities. Sibilla has long passed on but her legend remains.
Then we were off for a view of what this magical place looks like – from the back of a donkey
We didn’t encounter any prophetess on our journey, but it was magical nonetheless and I plan to return to to search for Sibilli, or at least the remains of her mystical powers. Perhaps Nina will join me.
Know Before You Go Donkey Riding in Monti Sibillini National Park:
- Book in advance
- Bring a hat and gloves, it can be windy
- Trips range from a couple of hours to multi-day expeditions
- Donkey riding is family friendly and children as young as six can do it (sometimes younger, but check with Roberto before you go)
- Piano Grande Plateau is located just 40km from Norcia (we stayed at the Agri-Hotel Ristorante Hermitage in Norcia the night before)
- Donkey riding is surprisingly comfortable – although you will be sore for about 5 minutes upon dismounting
- It’s more difficult than it looks to take photos from the back of a donkey!
Thank you to Roberto and La Mulattiera for our donkey riding experience and introduction to Nina and the piano Grande Plateau in Monti Sibillini National Park.
This photo has been submitted to Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox where you can see more travel photos.