6. Monteleone di Fermo: nature and landscape

Hills that descend towards the sea and harden up to become mountains, interspersed with small parallel rivers that have created small plains between one valley and another. This is the typical aspect of the Marche region and Monteleone di Fermo offers a fine example thanks to its panorama that offers a wonderful view from the mountains to the sea.
It is a landscape that has changed a lot over time: the great woods and marshes of prehistoric times lulled the civilization of the Picenes people and then welcomed the Romans who changed the landscape thanks to agricultural practices. In the Early Middle Ages there was a reforestation of the hills because of the barbarian invasions that made the inhabitants escape from the valleys to group them on the tops of the hills where increasingly large villages were born to become towns surrounded by walls. Thus, almost every hill has its own fortification, not always on good terms with the nearby one.
In periods of peace, the most consistent agricultural practices resume, which make the forests retreat again: in times of population growth, land needs to be cultivated, when the population decreases due to wars and pestilence, land is abandoned. In this continuous change, also affect the weather conditions, from large droughts to periods of intense cold that halve the harvest and therefore the ability to feed people.
During the twentieth century, the mechanization of agriculture has profoundly changed the landscape, losing most of the rich woods of the past, to make room for cultivated fields and a greater yield of crops. Modern agriculture has also caused the disappearance of native plant species and has brought new ones that have integrated into the environment. What it presents today is a rich and varied natural environment that from Monteleone is easy to observe and understand thanks to its privileged position.
Monteleone is a small and charming village of medieval origin, well restored and very welcoming with views as far as the eye can see over the valleys. A mixed landscape interspersed with countryside, cultivations of great value with vineyards and olive trees, alternating with spectacular white gullies, the result of water erosion on clay land, that give a wild and monumental touch to a well-kept territory and respectful of the coexistence between man and nature.
Water is also the protagonist of the mud volcanoes of Monteleone, small gas eruptions, such as methane and carbon dioxide, of volcanic origin that generate a muddy mud that creates small bubbles. Although this particular mud is also formed by gas, it is not at all a danger to health, but on the contrary, it could be quite beneficial and therapeutic according to the results of the latest scientific studies
Thanks to these beauties and naturalistic particularities, has been born a pleasant park with different pedestrian and cycle paths open thanks to the project “Water Signs”. Well-tended walking paths through the countryside, the hills, the clearings and the small forests, crossing also the area of volcanoes. A youth hostel and an environmental education center have been activated for this sustainable form of green tourism but the project, given the success achieved, continues to grow and expand the natural and tourist offer always in full respect of the landscape.