Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Lake Pilato (Lago di Pilato)

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato

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Lake Pilato can be found in the Sibillini mountains, 1,941m above sea level near the summit of Mount Vettore, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche, not far from the Umbrian border.

It is set in a bowl, enclosed in a narrow glacial valley with the slopes of the Apennine mountains creating walls around it. Lago di Pilato is an alpine glacier lake, one of only a few found on the Apennines, and, other than coastal lakes, it is the only natural lake in Le Marche. It was formed during the last ice age, between 125,000 and 10,000 years ago, and is fed by a natural spring but is also effected by rainfall and melting snow. Roughly 130 metres wide it has a perimeter of 900 metres and a depth of just under nine metres.

During winter months the lake cannot be seen as it is covered with a thick blanket of snow, often several metres thick. It was once oval in shape but now, as the snows begin to melt and the water is high, it resembles a pair of glasses.

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Looking like glasses - Photo:nicola_ds
During the summer, when the water levels drop, the lake splits into two and it then resembles two bears, both in different positions.

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Looking like two bears - Photo:Andreas Aldebaran
The weather conditions are relatively harsh and little grows with the landscape being dominated by alpine grasses. However, some rare flowers grow, including Apennine Edelweiss, Saxifraga, Apennine Genepi and the beautiful yellow Apennine poppy.

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Apennine Edelweiss - Photo:Interminatispazi
There are many birds including the Peregrin Falcon, Snowfinch, Rock Partridge and the Alpine Accentor.

The lake itself hosts a small shrimp known as the 'Chirocephalus marchesonii' and this is the only place in the world that it can be found. This small crustacean, measuring between and 9mm and 12mm, is a species of fairy shrimp. The Chirocephalus marchesonii is slow moving and has a distinctive, bright coral colour. Another noteable feature is that they always swim on their backs.

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
Chirocephalus Marchesonii - Photo:Luca-G
Due to the fact the Chirocephalus marchesonii lay their eggs among the dry rocks on the shore, you are asked to avoid treading on them by always walking at least 5 metres from the edge. Swimming in the lake is also strictly forbidden.

Lago di Pilato is only accessible on foot and is a popular destination for hikers. The most common starting point is from the small village of Foce Foce, near Montemonaco.

Lake Pilato, Lago di Pilato
The lake in summer - Photo:Idéfix
As well as being a very popular trekking destination, Lago di Pilato is traditionally famous for being a place full of magic and mystery. It takes its name from Pontius Pilate, whose body, after being condemned to death by Tiberius, was put into a sack and loaded onto a buffalo cart. According to legend, the buffalo was unsupervised and made a hazardous journey through the mountains, to the crest of 'Redeemer's Summit', which resulted in the body falling into Lago di Pilato. Because of this, the lake became popular with witches and necromancers who built stone walls around it to prevent Christians from entering. They even spread a rumour that the lake was secretly the entrance to hell.

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  • Regional Information

    • Area: 9,694 km²
      Population: 1.5m
      Density: 159/km²
      Capital: Ancona

      National Parks:
      Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National park
      The Sibillini National Park
Location of Le Marche
Provinces of Le Marche
  • Comunes of Le Marche
    • Ancona
      • Agugliano
        Ancona
        Arcevia
        Barbara
        Belvedere Ostrense
        Camerano
        Camerata Picena
        Castel Colonna
        Castelbellino
        Castelfidardo
        Castelleone di Suasa
        Castelplanio
        Cerreto d’Esi
        Chiaravalle
        Corinaldo
        Cupramontana
        Fabriano
        Falconara Marittima
        Filottrano
        Genga
        Jesi
        Loreto
        Maiolati Spontini
        Mergo
        Monsano
        Monte Roberto
        Monte San Vito
        Montecarotto
        Montemarciano
        Monterado
        Morro d’Alba
        Numana
        Offagna
        Osimo
        Ostra
        Ostra Vetere
        Poggio San Marcello
        Polverigi
        Ripe
        Rosora
        San Marcello
        San Paolo di Jesi
        Santa Maria Nuova
        Sassoferrato
        Senigallia
        Serra de’ Conti
        Serra San Quirico
        Sirolo
        Staffolo

    • Ascoli Piceno
      • Acquasanta Terme
        Acquaviva Picena
        Appignano del Tronto
        Arquata del Tronto
        Ascoli Piceno
        Carassai
        Castel di Lama
        Castignano
        Castorano
        Colli del Tronto
        Comunanza
        Cossignano
        Cupra Marittima
        Folignano
        Force
        Grottammare
        Maltignano
        Massignano
        Monsampolo del Tronto
        Montalto delle Marche
        Montedinove
        Montefiore dell’Aso
        Montegallo
        Montemonaco
        Monteprandone
        Offida
        Palmiano
        Ripatransone
        Roccafluvione
        Rotella
        San Benedetto del Tronto
        Spinetoli
        Venarotta

    • Fermo
      • Altidona
        Amandola
        Belmonte Piceno
        Campofilone
        Falerone
        Fermo
        Francavilla d’Ete
        Grottazzolina
        Lapedona
        Magliano di Tenna
        Massa Fermana
        Monsampietro Morico
        Montappone
        Monte Giberto
        Monte Rinaldo
        Monte San Pietrangeli
        Monte Urano
        Monte Vidon Combatte
        Monte Vidon Corrado
        Montefalcone Appennino
        Montefortino
        Montegiorgio
        Montegranaro
        Monteleone di Fermo
        Montelparo
        Monterubbiano
        Montottone
        Moresco
        Ortezzano
        Pedaso
        Petritoli
        Ponzano di Fermo
        Porto San Giorgio
        Porto Sant’Elpidio
        Rapagnano
        Santa Vittoria in Matenano
        Sant’Elpidio a Mare
        Servigliano
        Smerillo
        Torre San Patrizio

    • Macerata
      • Acquacanina
        Apiro
        Appignano
        Belforte del Chienti
        Bolognola
        Caldarola
        Camerino
        Camporotondo di Fiastrone
        Castelraimondo
        Castelsantangelo sul Nera
        Cessapalombo
        Cingoli
        Civitanova Marche
        Colmurano
        Corridonia
        Esanatoglia
        Fiastra
        Fiordimonte
        Fiuminata
        Gagliole
        Gualdo
        Loro Piceno
        Macerata
        Matelica
        Mogliano
        Monte Cavallo
        Monte San Giusto
        Monte San Martino
        Montecassiano
        Montecosaro
        Montefano
        Montelupone
        Morrovalle
        Muccia
        Penna San Giovanni
        Petriolo
        Pieve Torina
        Pievebovigliana
        Pioraco
        Poggio San Vicino
        Pollenza
        Porto Recanati
        Potenza Picena
        Recanati
        Ripe San Ginesio
        San Ginesio
        San Severino Marche
        Sant’Angelo in Pontano
        Sarnano
        Sefro
        Serrapetrona
        Serravalle di Chienti
        Tolentino
        Treia
        Urbisaglia
        Ussita
        Visso

    • Pesaro e Urbino
      • Acqualagna
        Apecchio
        Auditore
        Barchi
        Belforte all’Isauro
        Borgo Pace
        Cagli
        Cantiano
        Carpegna
        Cartoceto
        Colbordolo
        Fano
        Fermignano
        Fossombrone
        Fratte Rosa
        Frontino
        Frontone
        Gabicce Mare
        Gradara
        Isola del Piano
        Lunano
        Macerata Feltria
        Mercatello sul Metauro
        Mercatino Conca
        Mombaroccio
        Mondavio
        Mondolfo
        Monte Cerignone
        Monte Grimano Terme
        Monte Porzio
        Montecalvo in Foglia
        Monteciccardo
        Montecopiolo
        Montefelcino
        Montelabbate
        Montemaggiore al Metauro
        Orciano di Pesaro
        Peglio
        Pergola
        Pesaro
        Petriano
        Piagge
        Piandimeleto
        Pietrarubbia
        Piobbico
        Saltara
        San Costanzo
        San Giorgio di Pesaro
        San Lorenzo in Campo
        Sant’Angelo in Lizzola
        Sant’Angelo in Vado
        Sant’Ippolito
        Sassocorvaro
        Sassofeltrio
        Serra Sant’Abbondio
        Serrungarina
        Tavoleto
        Tavullia
        Urbania
        Urbino
Le Marche Airports
Hotels in Le Marche
Le MarcheWEATHER
Le Marche Climate (Ancona)
  High Low Sun Rain
Jan 15 8 4 63
Feb 15 8 4 52
Mar 17 9 5 43
Apr 19 11 6 31
May 24 15 7 17
Jun 28 18 9 9
Jul 31 22 10 6
Aug 31 22 9 9
Sep 28 19 7 29
Oct 24 16 6 53
Nov 20 12 4 63
Dec 17 10 4 59
Table Key:
High - Average monthly high temperatures
Low - Average monthly low temperatures
Sun - Average hours of sunshine per day
Rain - Average monthly rainfall in mm
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