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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

Bar in Valnerina

This week we visited Preci, one of the beautiful villages in the Valnerina. Other villages in these mountains are Cascia, Cerreto di Spoleto, Monteleone di Spoleto, Norcia, Poggiodomo, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, Scheggino and Vallo di Nera. Norcia is maybe the most well known. From here a visit to the Piano Grande, a plateau high up in the Sibillini mountains, is just a short drive and spectacular all year round. It is certainly worth a visit when you are in Umbria.

The Valnerina area is popular for outdoor activities and for families with children the Activo Park in Scheggino may be a good choice for a fun day out.

Here is an impression of our visit to Preci:

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Detail of Preci

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On the way back we stopped in the Bar Valnerina, along the Via SS 209 Valnerina, in the village of Piedipaterno. Though not very particular from the outside, we were surprised by the quality of the food. Apart from the usual cappucino one can have a fresh sandwich and the cakes looked delicious. We tried the small self service that is open for lunch and had a very tasty “zuppa del contadino”:

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And this is the bar:

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Enjoy your stay in the Valnerina and Buon Appetito!

– Post by Saskia van der Bolt –

Piano Grande, Norcia and Castelluccio

I went to the Truffle fest in Norcia last year. I’ll write some more about that later. First some pictures of the fantastic Monti Sibillini.
Met up with some friends from Perci in Norcia. We had a great time ‘snooping’ on all stands. You might not know this but snooping comes from the Dutch word ‘snoepen’ wich means eating nice things especially sweets and candy. I guess you can ‘snoop’ truffle, cheese, sausage and what you as well.
We had a great lunch in a very nice small restaurant. I’ll fill you in on the details of that  one later.
Every time I visit the Piano Grande it is different. This time it was a great white blanket of snow wich wellcomed me. After moving around in white surroundings for a while you start to see lots of colours strangely enough. Italians call this ‘sfumature’ wich means shade, nuance or tinge.  The pictures can’t wrap you in white but you get an idea what it’s like. Magic.