Wet, cold, and foggy winter day in the plains, I knew it would be splendid in the highlands. At the last minute and even a little late by my usual safety standards, I packed my backpack and dashed into the hills. To avoid being late or having to return in the dark, I didn’t even stop eating, munching on two bars as I walked, but it was worth it.

Rio Petroso is a rather complex and articulated circular tour, with frequent environmental changes, configuring itself among the most arid of the entire Park territory; I wouldn’t do this route at the height of summer.

Another peculiarity of this hike is the dense presence of ruined houses, precious testimonies of the glorious Apennine civilization history that lasted until the late 1960s, with the departure of the population to the valley floors or, more often than not, the plains.

The geological peculiarity is constituted by the so-called “Verghereto marls” (named after the typical locality where they, in fact, overbearingly characterize the landscape), which appear especially along the ridge of Rio Petroso: they give rise to a barren environment, with erosion phenomena reminiscent of those of gullies but with, in addition, an almost exotic suggestion in their lunar nudity.

When I got to the car, I realized I had forgotten the headlights on. It’s a good thing I hurried on the route (and recently changed the battery), or I would have been stuck there, 10 km from civilization, with no phone signal—an adventure I gladly spared myself.

GPS track, map, pics and all the frills are here.