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Castelluccio di Norcia

Castelluccio di Norcia is a picturesque village located on top of a hill in the Umbrian-Marche Apennines, within the Sibillini Mountains National Park. It is famous for its spectacular landscapes of flowery fields, which unfold at the foot of Monte Vettore. These flowery fields are known as “Fioritura di Castelluccio” and take place every year between the end of May and the beginning of July, when various species of flowers and lentils bloom and color the meadows creating a breathtaking scenery. The village is characterized by narrow cobbled alleys and stone buildings that give it a rustic and charming atmosphere. Despite its relatively small size, Castelluccio di Norcia is a place renowned for its traditional cuisine, which includes typical Umbrian dishes such as butchery, local cheeses, and the famous Castelluccio lentils, considered among the best in Italy.

In addition to its natural beauty and gastronomic culture, Castelluccio di Norcia offers numerous opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities, such as trekking, mountain biking and paragliding, thanks to the views offered by the Sibillini Mountains National Park. The history of Castelluccio di Norcia dates back to ancient times and has deep roots in the culture and traditions of the Umbria region. The village has a history that has its roots in the Middle Ages and has gone through periods of prosperity and crisis over the centuries. The first evidence of human presence in the area dates back to Roman times, but it was during the medieval period that Castelluccio di Norcia began to take shape as a fortified settlement. The village was built on a hill for defensive purposes, like many other villages of the time, and its strategic position made it an important center of control and defense in the region. Over the centuries, Castelluccio di Norcia passed under the dominion of various noble families and local lordships, contributing to its growth and development. During the Renaissance, the village experienced a period of relative prosperity thanks to agricultural and commercial activities, becoming an important center for the production of lentils and other agricultural products typical of the region.

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Like many other communities in central Italy, Castelluccio di Norcia was hit by periods of crisis and hardship, including epidemics, famine, and armed conflicts. Over the centuries, the village suffered damage and destruction due to earthquakes and other natural events. The earthquake of August 24, 2016, with a magnitude of 6.2, represented one of the most difficult moments in the recent history of Castelluccio di Norcia, causing extensive damage to structures and putting a strain on the local community. This earthquake caused severe damage not only to Castelluccio di Norcia, but also to other surrounding towns and villages, including the town of Norcia. However, despite the challenges, the villagers have shown extraordinary resilience and determination in rebuilding and preserving their historical and cultural heritage.

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The Piana di Castelluccio is a vast high mountain plain located at the foot of the village right in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains National Park. It is famous for its extraordinary beauty and for the unique spectacle of the Fioritura di Castelluccio, one of the most evocative natural phenomena in the world.

On a natural plateau located at an altitude of about 1,300 meters above sea level surrounded by mountains that reach altitudes even higher than 2,000 meters, the plain has a microclimate that favors the growth of a variety of unique flower species, which bloom in spring and summer. The Castelluccio Flowering (Fioritura di Castelluccio) is an extraordinary event that occurs every year between the end of May and the beginning of July, when the fields of lentils, cornflowers, daisies, brooms, poppies and other species of different colors of the plain are filled with flowers, creating a breathtaking spectacle that paints the plain with a vibrant color palette.

On the western slope of the Castelluccio plain is the “Bosco a Forma di Italia“, a formation of trees and vegetation planted during the X Mountain Festival of 1961 at the behest of Minister Mariano Rumor, at the time holder of the Ministry of Agriculture. Seen from above, the forest resembles the silhouette of Italy with a remarkable resemblance. The shape was created by the distribution of the trees and together with the surrounding meadows, they clearly outline the contours of the Italian peninsula and its islands. This curious formation has become a popular tourist destination for visitors to the area, who often stop along the way to admire the scenery and take photographs of the panoramic view that includes the “Bosco a Forma di Italia“. It has become an evocative symbol of the beauty and diversity of the Umbrian landscape and has attracted the interest of tourists and photographers from all over the world.

The Piana di Castelluccio is surrounded by stunning scenery and offers a number of hiking trails that pass through meadows, flowery fields, hills, and mountains. There are routes of varying length and difficulty, suitable for all skill levels.

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The trail to Forca di Presta offers a spectacular view of the Piana di Castelluccio and the Sibillini Mountains. Starting in Castelluccio, the trail takes you through flowery meadows and pastures to Forca di Presta, a mountain pass that offers panoramic views of the valley below.

The Trail to the Marmorelle Waterfall, on the other hand, leads to the Marmorelle Waterfall along the course of the Nera river, near Norcia. The waterfall is fed by the crystal clear waters that cascade down from the surrounding mountains, forming an impressive spectacle of water flowing between rocks and vegetation.

A more challenging trek and an option for experienced hikers who want to explore the Sibillini Mountains is the Giro dei Sibillini in all their beauty. The route crosses several mountain passes and peaks, offering spectacular views and an unforgettable experience.

For mountain bike and gallop enthusiasts, the Piana di Castelluccio offers a series of routes that are also suitable for these types of sports.

In Castelluccio di Norcia and the surrounding region, you can enjoy a variety of traditional Umbrian dishes, many of which are based on high-quality local ingredients such as Castelluccio lentils, renowned for their flavor and texture are often used to make soups, broth, salads, and side dishes. Lentils are traditionally grown on the terraces that dot the Castelluccio plain, an agricultural activity that dates back to ancient times and that represents an important part of the local economy.

The butchery is a set of products derived from pork, typical of the region and is among the most renowned in Italy. Among the best-known dishes are sausage, Norcia ham, salami and bacon, which are prepared according to traditional recipes handed down for generations. The Umbria region is also renowned for its truffle production , and Castelluccio di Norcia is no exception. Truffles are often used to flavor dishes such as pasta, risotto, eggs, and meat. The Umbria region also produces a variety of delicious cheeses, including pecorino, caciotta, and ricotta. These cheeses are often served as an appetizer or used to prepare pasta dishes and salads accompanied by excellent local wines.

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