Wonders of Italy: Castelluccio di Norcia
At 1,452 m above sea level, Castelluccio di Norcia is one of the highest settlements in the Apennines, reachable via a panoramic road with hairpin turns.
Located on a hilltop inside the Monti Sibillini National Park in Umbria, this small village of little more than 100 residents, lies above the ‘Great Plain’ (Piano Grande - 1270 m), one of three karstic plateaus that surround Castelluccio, the other two being Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto; once the bottom of an ancient Apennine lake, they hold underground reserves of water.
Every year from late May to July, the plains transform into a colorful carpet of flowers, a spectacular nature show known as ‘La Fiorita,' when lentils bloom (for which Castelluccio is famous), alongside poppies, cornflowers, daisies, wild mustard, orchids, and more flowers. Wildflowers grow naturally among the lentil crops thanks to an absence of pesticides.
Lentils have been cultivated on the karstic plains of Umbria for centuries, and while the production is small by industrial standards, this particular type of lenticchia, small and full-flavored, is quite sought after for its flavor and because it’s easy to cook and preserve.
While the beauty of the landscape wasn’t altered, sadly, Castelluccio was badly damaged by the 2016 earthquake that struck central Italy. Some historic monuments, such as the bell tower and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, were lost, while other historic and artistic works had been secured between the first temblor, which took place in August, and the second and third ones, which happened in October.
The whole area around Castelluccio is dotted with medieval villages, castles and abbeys, farms and cultivated fields. It is also a paradise for hiking. Castelluccio itself stands in front of Monte Vettore, which, at 2,476 meters of altitude, is the highest peak in the Monti Sibillini park.
Posizionato a 1.452 metri sul livello del mare, Castelluccio di Norcia è uno degli insediamenti più alti dell'Appennino, raggiungibile tramite una strada panoramica con tornanti.
Situato su una collina all'interno del Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini in Umbria, questo piccolo borgo di poco più di 100 abitanti, si trova sopra il Pian Grande (1270 m), uno dei tre altipiani carsici che circondano Castelluccio, insieme al Pian Piccolo e al Pian Perduto; un tempo fondo di un antico la