For this blog post I went to Norcia. Norcia is in the mountains in the east of Umbria, almost in the Marche. Many people know Norcia for its meats and culinary specialties: pork, black truffle, lentils and wild boar. But, Norcia is also famous for St. Benedict. Benedict was born in 480 in Nursia, what is now Norcia in Umbria.
St. Benedict is the founder of the Benedictine Order and to this day his monasteries follow the rules he set out for them: Pax (peace) and Ora et Labora (pray and work). His rules ar not only followed in his monasteries but also acknowledged worldwide as a way of living peacefully in a community. Living a life of prayer and work is the basis of Benedictine life inside and outside the convent, for his followers and none.
Norcia is also famous for the “Norcinerie”, the pork and ham products including the wild boar and black truffles and lentils. The “norcini”, pork butchers of Norcia, prepare cured meats and cheeses in a traditional way. Norcia is a beautiful “gastronomic” village. You find many “norcinerie” and other boutiques. Many shops showcase a variety of meats, ham, cheeses (ricotta for example), lentils and spelt. Be aware, you’ll get hungry walking around here!
The Piano Grande with the small village of Castelluccio di Norcia in the centre is at only 40 minutes driving from Norcia. The best time to visit Castelluccio di Norcia is from end May until July for the “Fioritura”, when the Piano Grande is covered with colorful blossoms of the lentil plants.
I love the Sibillini Mountains and Castelluccio di Norcia. I like hiking there. Last year I made some beautiful trekking tours with “Trekking in Umbria” in the Sibillini Mountains.
Making pictures from the Piano Grande and Castelluccio is fabulous. Especially when you walk uphill from the village. The views of the valley are amazing.
I decided to have lunch at a typical restaurant. I sat outside with other “locals” and tourists enjoying a good lentil soup with a glass of local red wine. A simple dish but very tasty. And as dessert you must taste the fresh ricotta cheese with chestnuts and honey. Delightful!
The name of the restaurant is Locanda dè Senari. A charming place!
-post by Sylvia van der Male-