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Located in the Umbria region, Norcia is a town rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. This beautiful village intrigues visitors who are drawn to its breathtaking landscapes, historical heritage, and cuisine.
The Birthplace of Saint Benedict
In Roman times the city was known as Nursia Valeria and in the year 480 AD was the birthplace of the twin saints, Benedict (patron saint of Europe) and Scholastica. Your tour of Norcia should definitely begin by seeing the Basilica of San Benedetto* and its piazza. This ancient church, dating back to the 14th century, is an example of Romanesque architecture and represents one of the most important places of worship in the city.
*Unfortunately, after the devastating earthquake in 2016, the interior of the Basilica cannot yet be visited.
The Historic Center of Norcia
As already mentioned, some of Norcia’s most important monuments and churches are still in ruins and under reconstruction. The seismic event of 30 October 2016, that hit Norcia and the surrounding area registered 6.5 on the Richter Scale yet, miraculously did not cause any deaths. Many of Norcia’s museums, such as the Castellina Civic and Diocesan Museum, have not yet reopened after the quake.
Continuing your visit, we recommend you explore the famous city walls known as the mura urbiche. These ancient medieval walls surround the historic center of Norcia and are truly magnificent. Walking along the walls, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and admire its characteristic defense towers.
Norcia and Valnerina are known throughout Italy for their typical products, especially cured meats and sausages such as Norcia prosciutto IGP. The area boasts three different truffle varieties that can be enjoyed in local cuisine according to the season: the Norcia Black Truffle, the Summer Truffle and the Winter Truffle.
Walking through the streets of the center, you will find numerous shops known as norcinerie where you can purchase tasty products as souvenirs of your trip. The most popular cheeses are pecorino, salted ricotta from Valnerina, black truffle cheese from Norcia, and saffron cheese from Cascia. If you are wondering if Norcia has a special wine to pair with all of this, it most definitely does, the full-bodied Montefalco Rosso.
A Nature Enthusiast’s Paradise
Norcia has so much more to offer than history and food! It’s also an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Surrounded by mountains and lush forests, this area offers numerous opportunities for excursions and outdoor activities. You can go trekking along trails in the Sibillini Mountains, or enjoy a relaxing picnic on the banks of the Nera river.
Furthermore, Norcia is an ideal place to practice sports such as rafting, paragliding, and climbing. During the summer months, many tourism agencies organize tours and outdoor activities to meet the needs of all visitors.
Pian Grande’s Superbloom
Between the months of June and July (which can vary slightly from year to year) Castelluccio di Norcia’s Pian Grande (“Great Plain”) puts on a spectacular show. Fields of poppies, cornflowers, daisies, violets, lentils, daffodils, and many other species bloom creating a magic carpet of colors and aromas. Mark it on your calendar because it is a truly unique experience!
In short, Norcia is a magical place that offers a perfect combination of history, culture, nature, and culinary traditions. If you are planning a visit to Umbria, you cannot miss this splendid town. Prepare to be enchanted by its beauty, resilience, and authenticity.