On 26 October 2016, many towns in the central Apennines were devastated by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. Castelluccio, a major tourist draw in late spring for the fioritura (flowering) on the lentil fields of the high plain of the Piano Grande, was effectively destroyed by a rupture in the fault system on Monte Vettore, which towers above the plain, thrusting the valley floor violently downwards by up to 70cm in a matter of seconds. Although, from a distance, the village may appear intact, most houses that were not completely destroyed are inagibile — condemned as unfit for habitation.
On 30 June-2 July 2017, the staff of Umbria Meteo, a meteorological and outdoor filming organisation, and their associates organised a “Conscious Trekking” experience in the Castelluccio area, allowing participants to return to the area and walk the mountains accompanied by a professional in each of the fields of photography, meteorology, geology and natural history. In addition to representing a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the remaining inhabitants of the quake zone, the event also marked the tangible return of tourism to the area — food and services were purchased from local suppliers and the event was marked by a music recital that was publicised nationally.
The mules that accompanied the trek at the first campsite in the Val di Canatra
Cornflowers dominate the flower mix growing above the lentils on the Pian Perduto (Lost Plain)
Monte Vettore with hay bales generated by the first lentil harvest
The Piano Grande (Great Plain) in flower
Trekking to the second campsite
The fault on Monte Vettore, with a band of freshly exposed white rock resulting from the downward movement of the land in the foreground, which caused the October 2016 earthquake
An outbuilding at the second campsite, Rifugio Campanna Ghezzi, positioned on the fault line
Rifugio Campanna Ghezzi
Trek to “Palazzo Borghese”, a peak in the Sibillini range at 2,145m asl
Female marbled white butterfly
Campanna Ghezzi camp viewed on the descent from Palazzo Borghese
A storm approaches Castelluccio, viewed across the Pian Perduto from the road to Visso