We travel through Umbria by motorcycle, towards Norcia and Castelluccio di Norcia, to discover Italy and its most authentic and fascinating places, even those that risked to be canceled by earthquakes.
Norcia, deeply struck by the last earthquake, tries to rise again slowly through a thousand difficulties but still preserves the charm of her works that have partially resisted, but even more shows the tenacity and affection of citizens struggling to return to a normal life together with their beloved village.
Much of the historic center of Norcia can be visited again today. The most striking view is undoubtedly that of Piazza San Benedetto, the heart of the city. In the middle the statue of the patron saint, around the most representative monuments, or the Basilica of San Benedetto, of which the earthquake left only the facade, the Palazzo del Comune and the Castellina. Next to it one can see the now severed profile of the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea. To date, unfortunately, none of these beauties can be visited. Despite this, the square still exudes a special charm and fortunately there are many visitors who return gradually day by day.
The rest of the city is a maze of picturesque alleys, marked by time and wounds. Numerous are the profiles of the churches that embellish Norcia. Unfortunately, after October 30, 2016, they have all been seriously damaged and therefore it is currently not possible to enter them. Citing only some of the best known: San Francesco (he municipal library) with its beautiful cloister, the Madonna of the Addolorata, San Giovanni, Santa Rita, Sant’Agostino. Foto by Proloco Norcia
Also very pleasant is the walk around the walls, along the entire perimeter (not very long), to admire the characteristic seven gates that mark access into the city.
Norcia, however, is not only the historic center: we have visited by motorbike its 25 villages. A heritage that the earthquake has seriously damaged, as in the case of the church of San Salvatore a Campi, unfortunately destroyed by the earthquake. Stopping and turning off the engine you only hear the sound of nature, albeit cruel: even time seems to have stopped on that sad date.
The stage of the Flowering: Castelluccio di Norcia and the Pian Grande
The flowering (or Fiorita) of the Pian Grande of Castelluccio is undoubtedly one of the most famous and important events that have as its protagonist the beautiful Norcia. A historical, cultural and naturalistic event, known throughout the world. A marvel of nature, a triumph of colors that is renewed every year, between June and July, enchanting everyone. To be precise, however, it would be right to call them the Castelluccio blooms, in the plural, because so many different types of flowers bloom.
The Pian Grande area is located a few kilometers from the historic center of Norcia, located right on the slopes of Mount Vettore . With Mount Guaidone to the south-east, Mount Veletta to the north-west and Mount Ventosola to the south-west, the Vettore (2478 m asl) removed, these mountains do not reach very high altitudes but contribute to creating a basin whose flat bottom is represented by the Pian Grande. In addition to this, there are two other plains, called Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto.
These surfaces were formed over millions of years, with the formation of the Apennine chain. The micro climate of the plain is to be considered almost similar to that of the steppe, characterized by large daily temperature ranges. These restrictive ecological conditions, although adverse, have been overcome over time by a variety of lentils (Lens culinaris) which today is known as the Castelluccio lentil.
We thank the Proloco di Norcia for the cooperation, photos and information.