An unspoilt natural oasis in the Apennines near Rimini, an ideal tourist destination for summer and winter holidays, renowned for its nature trails and heavy snow fall in the colder months. Part of the territory of Montecopiolo is in the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Regional Nature Park.
A little slice of paradise that has so much to offer. From the point of view of nature, the area boasts the presence of numerous species of wild animals, including wolves, and a flora that is now considered extremely rare, but that can still be found on the mountains of this municipality, like Monte Carpegna (1415 metres above sea level), one of the most important peaks in the Apennines, it too protected by the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Inter-Regional Nature Park.
At the two extremities of the village of Villagrande are the remains of the two castles: the imposing and main castle of Montecopiolo and the small castle of Monte Acuto (today, Monte San Marco).
Today, with its important ruins surrounded by the lush green conifers, Montecopiolo castle still offers glimpses of its splendid past, details that are significant in terms of archaeological research.
The local territory also hosts the ruins of the small castle of Monte Boaggine.
Monte Carpegna Hermitage is also famous because of the presence of the Sanctuary of Madonna del Faggio, a spiritual site that attracts pilgrims from near and far.
The communal territory is also home to the two Balconies of Piero della Francesca, sites that were used as the background for the great artist’s paintings of The Resurrection and The Nativity.
Pianacquadio Wood is the last important strip of the immense beechwood of Pianacquadio that once covered the peak of Monte Carpegna. It is a unique woodland for central Italy that boasts, not only centuries-old beech trees, but also fine examples of sycamore maples, Norway maples, Neapolitan maples, field maples, lime trees and mountain ash trees.
In this area, there were once at least three castles and all were rather important.
Impenetrable Montecopiolo had a castle where it all began. Today, clear traces remain and have been brought back to light and promoted in the spectacular backdrop of the Upper Montefeltro. It is from this very castle that, in the 13th century, the Counts of Montefeltro originated, who later became the Dukes of Urbino.
Another treasure in the area is the ancient castle of Monteboaggine, of which only the bell tower and a few ruins of the ancient village and church remain. Before reaching the castle, on the right is a small cemetery, which was in use until the 1940s, and a chapel. From the castle (964 metres above sea level), it is possible to enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and valleys as far as the coast.
The views afforded from the Hermitage on Monte Carpegna (1260 - 1415 above sea level) is truly unique, with the horizon offering a sense of infinity that will be hard to forget.
The St George’s mushroom is a fragrant mushroom used in a variety of local recipes. It is often referred to by experts as “the white truffle of the mushroom world”. It was given this name because of the time of year when it grows - around 23 April, the feast day of St George. However, its Italian name - prugnolo - derives from the fact it sometimes grows near blackthorns or prunus spinosa. It is in season from early March until late June and is delicious served with tagliatelle or in frittatas, tarts and soups and even on top of pizza.
The area also boasts the Scorzone summer truffle that grows in autumn too. Scorzone truffles are harvested from June to August, hence it is known as a “summer” truffle. In the kitchen, it is shaved or grated onto dishes, with the addition of mushrooms and extra virgin olive oil.
Another locally-sourced product is the humble potato, which is celebrated in several village fetes.
In summer visitors can follow the numerous nature trails that can satisfy the needs of anyone looking for beautiful panoramic views or an excursion deep into conifer and hornbeam woods and ancient beechwoods, that can be enjoyed on foot or by mountain bike. Particularly charming are those in Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park, those on Monte Montone and those indicated, by special signs, as “The Paths of the Montefeltro”.
In winter, close to the village of Villagrande, skiers will find ski lift facilities that are ideal for those just starting out on their skiing adventure. The complex also has a floodlit moving walkway that’s ideal for bobsleighs, toboggans and snowboards or as a practice area for beginners.
Cross-country skiing enthusiasts can enjoy the sport they love thanks to snowplows fitted with route setters operating here. Ski lifts operate in the area close to the Hermitage of Monte Carpegna.
Given the vast space available, the town is a favoured destination for hang gliders and paragliding enthusiasts.
The thousand-year-old Fair of Pugliano is held every Monday in September.
About 10 km from Montecopiolo you’ll reach San Leo, a marvellous capital of art that is reached by a single road carved into the rock. Head to the highest point of the rocky spur where the Fortress of Francesco di Giorgio Martini stands (15th century).
Pennabilli, which is about 15 km away, boasts a monumental and artistic heritage that, from the town centre right through to the outlying hamlets, creates an extremely prestigious cultural route that can be enjoyed at any time, from spring through to autumn, further validated by numerous museums too.