My Italian Bucket List: Hike to Lago di Pilato in Le Marche


I am starting a series of articles about the places and things that I want to see and do in Italy. My Italian bucket list is quite long and every time I tick one thing off, I add another two, so for the next few decades it will keep me very busy.

I learned about Lago di Pilato from the blog Con in faccia un po’ di sole that I absolutely love for its slow travel philosophy. The more I read about the lake, the more I wanted to go there. One of very few glacial lakes in the Apennines, it is fed by rains and melting snow from the mountains. In summer, when the water level goes down, its two separate basins look like a pair of glasses.

lago di pilato marcheThe spectacular hike to the Lago di Pilato goes through the Monti Sibillini National Park and requires a good level of fitness. Nicola Pezzotta, one of the writers behind the Con in faccia un po’ di sole blog told me that it takes about 6 hours to get to the lake and back. He is also an excursionist guide and has been to the lake many times. “It is a paradise for nature lovers. There are many unusual plants and animals in the area”, told me Nicola. The lake is famous for a tiny species of crustacean, a fairy shrimp called Chirocephalus marchesonii that is found only in Lago di Pilato and nowhere else in the world. I cannot wait to go to the lake and watch the feather-like orange shrimps floating in the clear water in an endless mesmerising dance!lago di pilato marche

Another thing that makes Lago di Pilato special is the air of mystery surrounding it. The lake takes its name after Pontius Pilate, whose body, according to popular believes, was driven here on a buffalo cart and thrown into the water. Since then, the legends say, the lake became a favourite destination of witches and necromancers. During medieval time stone walls circled the lake and good Christians were prohibited from venturing to the area. There were even rumours that the lake hid the entrance to the inferno.

lago di pilato marche

Practical information:

The best time to hike to Lago di Pilato is from May to October. Avoid the area in August, as the trail gets busy with hikers, especially on weekends, so you will not find peace and quiet at the lake.

Check out this Facebook page with stunning photos of Lago di Pilato.

Nicola Pezzotta, a certified excursionist guide for Le Marche, can be contacted at nico.pezzotta(at) or mob. (0039)3333626495.

Photos by Nicola Pezzotta.

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