Il Lago Castreccioni, also known as Lago di Cingoli, is a lake created in the ’80 when a dam was placed across the Musone River. The biggest artificial lagoon in the Marche region (rather, in all of Central Italy), Lago Castreccioni covers more than 2 squared kilometers and reaches depths of 55 feet. The dam itself is 67 meters long and stretches for 280 meters. Standing in the middle of it, there is a great contrast to behold: on one side, a peaceful pond, one the other, a sudden drop that stretches on for a while before the forest ground and stream at the bottom.
The area surrounding the lake is rich with all kinds of local flora and fauna, as well as migratory birds. The clean water offers a variety of fish and reflects the surrounding mountains with surprising clarity. Activities comprise of those pertaining to excursions during summer vacation: long hikes along the lake’s perimeter, fishing (Category B fishing license and an authorized regional membership ticket required… but it’s Italy, who checks?!), renting out paddle boats, picnicking, and lounging upon its few secluded shores. There are RV facilities and a couple of caffe’s directly on the lake, as well as several agriturismo establishments a little bit further off that have popped up in the past couple of years. If you’re feeling particularly brave, there is also Cingoli Avventura, central Italy’s first adventure park that recently opened and offers a variety of tree-climbing and zip-lining courses for both younger and older adventurers.
But, above all and despite the growth of tourism in recent years, Lago di Cingoli’s greatest lure is its long stretch of nature. It is true that in the summer, the caffe’s and RV ramps are filled up, but, somehow, the people diffuse into the wilderness. If you’re looking for a long walk with just birds for company, you’ll find it. And if you’re looking for something even more special, I suggest visiting the lake just before sunset (remember that the lake is surrounded by mountains, so, take that into account when figuring out sunset times) and watching the reds and purples paint a mirror reflection upon the lake’s surface. Note: if you are ambitious enough to watch it from the middle of the dam, I suggest that you bring a flashlight to make it back along the road to the main parking area. From personal experience.