Umbria Blog | photo exhibition Si Billino!

As most of you know the earthquake on October 30, 2016 caused a lot of damages in Norcia and many surrounding villages in the Sibillini mountains. One of these is Castelluccio di Norcia, a small mountain village at an altitude of 1400m at the foot of the Vettore mountain. At this moment Castelluccio cannot be reached anymore, one hopes to restore the infrastructure before summer.

Many people from this area are now living in temporary shelters, tents, hotels at the Adriatic coast and accommodations along the Trasimeno Lake in Umbria. The Prime Minister has promised that all homes will be restored. But how long will that take?

There is an enormous sense of solidarity among Italians who over the centuries have learned to live with earthquakes. The Italian government has promised millions to rebuild the affected areas.

One of the many initiatives to support the people of the Sibillini area was started by Umbria Lab and is called Si Billino!. Umbria Lab is a cultural association founded by Marco Angeletti and fellow artists and entrepreneurs. They organize initiatives to promote the Umbria region, but they also join events for fund raising. At this moment they raise money for the earthquake victims in collaboration with Ri-Fiorita.


Si Billino! is a photo exhibition about Castelluccio di Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains. All pictures are taken by Italian photographers and show the wonderful nature of the Sibillini mountains, Castelluccio di Norcia, the Piano Grande and the Pilato Lake, all are impressive landscapes. The photos can be seen until February 3 in the cultural center of Terni, CAOS. Thereafter, the exhibition will be moved to Foligno.

We visited the exhibition in Terni where we also purchased lottery tickets for the project where Si Billino! and Ri-Fiorita stand for: the construction of a clubhouse in San Pellegrino di Norcia where residents can meet and organize all kinds of initiatives for the local population. San Pellegrino di Norcia is a small village 4 km from Norcia.



Ri-Fiorita is a cooperative set up by Umbria Lab together with four other associations whilst Si Billino! is a project invented by Umbria Lab. “Fiorita” means literally “blooming” referring to the impressive flower fields of Castelluccio di Norcia in the months of June-July. Ri-fiorita means “re-blooming”: the cooperative stimulates all kinds of initiatives to support the communities in the area most hit by the earthquake.


Si Billino! is a wonderful exhibition, and an honorable initiative at the same time.

Visit the website Sensazioni d’Arte for more information about this project Si Billino! (In Italian).

A day out in the Sibillini mountains

Since we had a very mild winter, the second in a row, we decided to go up in the mountains to find some snow. We had a great day out in the Sibillini mountains, bordering Umbria and the Marche: fun for the kids, great food and a stunning landscape.

We started the day in Ussita in the Palaghiaccio to skate. For me it was about 25 years ago and after an uneasy beginning I managed to skate around this enormous indoor skating ring without making a fool of myself ;).

Palaghiaccio ice skating in Ussita

Palaghiaccio ice skating in Ussita

We drove up to Frontignano where the ski slopes are and stopped in Castelluccio di Norcia for lunch.

Piano Grande with view of Castelluccio di Norcia

Piano Grande with view of Castelluccio di Norcia

Castelluccio di Norcia

Castelluccio di Norcia

From here we drove down to Norcia for the yearly truffle event “Nero Norcia“. And look what a suprise we had:

Unexpected encounter on our way from Piano Grande to Norcia

Unexpected encounter on our way from Piano Grande to Norcia

The end of the day in Norcia:

Main square in Norcia during Nero Norcia black truffle event

Main square in Norcia during Nero Norcia black truffle event

Streetfood in an APE - 100% made in Italy

Streetfood in an APE – 100% made in Italy

Salami, ham, wildboor, truffle, cheeses and much more ....

Salami, ham, wildboor, truffle, cheeses and much more ….

Pasta alla Norcina recipe

Pasta alla Norcina is a typical Umbrian pasta dish. The name derives from the small village Norcia. Norcia is in the Sibillini mountains and famous for its sausages, cheeses and cold cuts.

People here are quite proud of their local kitchen and rightly so! Umbria also produces the best DOP olive oil of Italy, they say.

Tonight I’ve prepared Pasta alla Norcina which is very tasteful and easy to make.

Ingredients for 1 person:

– cooking cream
– white wine
– fresh sausage
– half onion
– short pasta
– olive oil


It is evident that by cooking for more people you need to use more of the above mentioned ingredients. Delicious as well is to add some truffle sauce or, even better, fresh truffle but I didn’t have that at home. Some people don’t use onion in this meal, and some people do. Each family uses their own recipe and it can be adjusted to any personal taste.

In the centre of Italy people eat “Paccheri”, that is a short pasta of whole grain. It is necessary to cook this pasta at least 13 minutes. For non Italian people I think even 15 minutes, but let’s eat the pasta “al dente”.

Boil the water with salt. In the meantime heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion first over a medium heat for 5 minutes, add the sausage. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add a glass of white wine, keep stirring and let the wine evaporate. Add the cooking cream until you have a creamy sauce. Don’t cook the cream!



When the water boils you add the Paccheri.

One minute before the boiling time I add some cooking water to the sauce to heat it a little bit and to give the sauce extra body. When the pasta is ready add to the cream sauce, stir a couple of minutes. Add salt and peper, if necessay. Buon appetito!


I can recommend a good glas of red Umbrian wine with this pasta dish.


-post by Sylvia van der Male-