I’m starting this post with the picture of a strawberry tree, because it’s the Greek word for this fruit (kòmaros) that Mount Conero is named after.
Mount Conero is only 572 m high, but being a cliff overlooking the sea it looks massive anyway. On the promontory there is a network of 18 trails, the longest being the so-called “Conero crossing”. Even in the heat of summer it’s relieving to walk across its wood, among the colours of mediterranean bush: it may not be high in elevation, but the temperature is made tolerable by a pleasant breeze with a mix of sea scent and a cool pine fragrance. The variety of vegetation and the unarguable beauty of the scenery make this hike a summer must-do.
Trail n°1, also marked with n°301, is the main path from which it’s possible to take diversions to a few points of archaeological and landscape interest. The path is well marked, easy but long: the duration is about 4 hours one way. Although the trail is not far from the beach resorts and is frequented by towel-clad tourists and wedding guests in leather shoes, I strongly recommend NOT wearing flip flops. Consider an entire day to complete the walk, or even better take two cars, one to be parked at the destination, in order to avoid walking back on the same route.
The walk starts in Poggio di Ancona. Once we get to Piangrande at a crossroads of several trails, we proceed left on trail n°1/a and reach Belvedere Nord, a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the beautiful beach of Mezzavalle.
Further on, we turn right and take trail n°1/b leading to prehistoric rock engravings. The site dates back to the Bronze Age and looks like a horizontal stone surface with several grooves ending in holes. This place is thought to be used for rituals.
After that you can either walk back and take trail n°1/a, or go on and reconnect to trail n°1. The first option offers a better scenery.
Further on we get to the former Camaldolese Monastery. The place is often crowded, as it is reachable by car. The monastery has now become a hotel and looks like a typical wedding location. A visit to the church is worthwhile and will reveal an interesting crypt.
At this stage we are halfway through the hike. A little after the hermitage we reach another viewpoint, the Belvedere Sud. From here we can see the famous stacks known as Due Sorelle (Two Sisters) on the left, and Passo del Lupo (Wolf pass) on the right.
From now on, the trail is mainly downhill. At the end of a path sidelined by blackberry bushes, we get to the village of Fonte d’Olio. We go past an old furnace surrounded by luxuriant pricky pears, then there’s a bar and restaurant. The trail ends here at a crossroads with the paved road (SP Conero). There is surely a way to get back to Poggio using public transportation, but at the moment we couldn’t find more detailed information about bus timetables.
The best way to plan this hike is in my opinion an early morning start in order to be back soon enough to end the day with a swim in the sea! If you lack motivation, consider that even in the summer the sun sets early behind Mount Conero, casting its huge shadow on the beach as early as 4 or 5 in the afternoon.