Monte Vettore (2476 mts), at the centre of the park, is the highest mountain in the Region. The huge rocky walls and crags in its eastern side, with such eerie names as Pizzo del Diavolo (Devil's Beard) and Gola dell'Infernaccio (Hell's Gorge), are every bit as dramatic as the landscape of the Dolomites.
The most unusual feature of the area, however, is the vast area of upland plain called the Piano Grande to the west. In May and June, this huge expanse of treeless plateau, 1250 mts above sea level, eight kilometres long and five wide, is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers. Among the poppies you'll find wild tulips and exotic alpine flowers such as carex buxbaumii.
The mountains which frame it are also a botanist's paradise. Alpine Edelweiss (Leontopodion nivale), martagon lily, bear berry, Apennine cinquefoil and alpine buckthorn are just some of the species here. The park is also rich in bird life - buzzards, kestrels, sparrow hawks as well as rare sightings of golden eagle, peregrine falcon, rock partridge, eagle owl and chough.
The Torricchio Riserva Naturale, just north of the Monte Sibillini park, is a small World Wildlife Fund reserve covering around 300 hectares (800 acres). The Val di Tazza at its centre is a narrow gorge flanked by the wooded slopes of Monte Torricchio (1444 mts) and Monte Fema (1575 mts). The area is particularly rich in flowers - white asphodel, orchids, cyclamen, wild strawberries - which attract many interesting species of butterfly, including the rare alcon blue (Maculinea alcon), which some naturalists regard as a specie all of its own and which is in danger of extinction. Animals include badgers, red squirrels, wildcats and the occasional wolf.
The Gola della Rossa-Frasassi regional park, in the area of Genga, is a series of towering limestone gorges which provide the rocky habitat for several golden eagles as well as peregrine falcons and eagle owls. The Frasassi caves, in the heart of the area, are the longest and among the most interesting in Italy with a 240 m high central chamber which is large enough to comfortably hold Milan cathedral.
Below the peaks of Monte Catria and Nerone, the Bosco Tecchie woodland park near Cantiano protects many species of mountain wildlife, including deer, wild boar, porcupine, wolf, buzzard, woodpecker and honey buzzard.
The sheer limestone crags of the Furlo Gorge, to the East, are home for a family of Golden Eagles.
In the northern Marche, the beech woods of Pianacquadio, in the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Regional Park, protect several species of wildlife including deer, fox, badger, beech-marten, heron and Montagu's harrier.
The Colle San Bartolo Regional Park, near Gabicce on the Northern Marche coast, offers guided tours of areas of marshland which are the winter habitat of the herring gull, the Mediterranean gull and the cormorant.