Norcia

The city of Norcia, situated in the most picturesque and mountainous part of Umbria, within the Mount Sibillini National Park, boasts numerous environmental beauties and resources: artistic and cultural heritage, an old and well known food and wide tradition attracts numerous visitors. This location is ideal if you love unspoiled nature, sports, tranquility and a high quality of life. Norcia has always been a friendly and welcoming city. Norcia is the hometown of Saint Benedetto, main Patron Saint of Europe: visitors coming to Norcia want to know the deep Benedictine spirituality.

They also wish to taste its food specialties, for which Norcia is known throughout Italy. It is the capital city of the famous Black Truffle, cheese, lentils, ham, salami and other products of the delicious “norcineria”. Its hospitality vocation has developed over the years, in perfect harmony with the safeguard of the natural and architectonic beauties featuring Norcia and the surrounding area.


Mount Sibillini National Park

The Mount Sibillini National Park was born in 1993. All living creatures of the Sibillini park have a “primitive spirit” which will contribute to make an experience over these mountains simply unforgettable. Here, vegetation changes as you leave the “flat” and approach the highest peaks. Until 1000 metres you will find woodlands of oaks, black hornbeams and orniello, then beech trees. However, today the limit of the woodland vegetation is around 1700-1750 metres, that is 100 metres below the previous one. This is because of the cuts carried out to encourage the development of grazing lands. Above the woodland area, there are primary grazing or natural lands where you can admire rare species of animals.

The fauna is very interesting as well. In particular, you can still see the wolf, the wildcat, the porcupine and the roe deer. Thanks to specific projects of reintroduction, today you can see the deer and the chamois from the Apennines. Among birds, you will have a chance to see the royal eagle, the goshawk, the sparrow hawk and the pilgrim falcon. There is also the royal owl and the Alectoris Graeca, the alpine and the coralline crow. Other interesting species of birds are likely to be seen in the park: you could do an interesting activity of bird-watching in the park. Among the reptiles, there is the viper of the Ursini which is widespread in the South of Italy (here at the park there is its northern limit of diffusion in Italy). As for invertebrate animals, we recall the chirocefalo del Marchesoni, from the Pilato lake.


Castelluccio di Norcia

The history of Castelluccio and its development are strongly connected to the history of sheep farming. When there was the need to change the activity of sheep farming from seasonal to permanent, the deforestation of the highest areas began to create new grazing lands. Moreover, wood was used as a material for building and heating. Houses are build next to one another and it seems they are protecting themselves from the cold. They often have little windows. Once you climb up the hill, once called “the picture”, you reach the old village. The church of S. Maria Assunta dates back to 1500 and it's the most important monument of Castelluccio. Inside there is a wooden sculpture of the Madonna (1499) by Giovanni Antonio di Giordano, Master Sculptor from Norcia.

The Upland of Castelluccio, situated 1400 metres above sea level, is one of the most famous areas for the cultivation of lentils. The kind of lentil which grows here is very small and tender, covered by a thin peel: it is possible to cook it without soaking. It is not produced in large quantity. For these reasons, the Lentils of Castelluccio have obtained the Protected Geographical Indication (IGP), by the European Union. The famous flowering in June, between the first and the second week, happens in the flat of Castelluccio. The visitor can experience an explosion of scents and colours: among the little plants of lentils, you can admire red poppies blooming, yellow vetches, wonderful daisies and violet bluebottles.


Cascia

Cascia is the hometown of Santa Rita, the "Saint of impossible causes". If you visit the town you cannot miss the modern Sanctuary in white marble where the body of the Saint is buried. Next to the Basilica there is the monastery of Santa Rita where Augustinian sisters live. What's to see: Palazzo Carli, Palazzo Santi , the church of Sant'Antonio Abate, the church of Saint Francis, la Collegiata di Santa Maria and the church of Sant'Agostino which overlooks the city from a panoramic position. In the vicinity of Cascia, the itinerary of Santa Rita leads you to Roccaporena, where Santa Rita was born in 1381.

In this little village, there is still the house where the Saint was born, the rock of the prayer (the spur of rock which dominates the village, where the Saint used to pray) the church of San Montano, her husband's house, the leper's hospital and the garden of miracles (where, in the winter of 1457 a rose blossomed and a fig ripened).


Assisi

Assisi is situated at the foot of Mount Subasio. The present shape of Assisi is the result of its development during the Middle Ages. The oldest heart of the city is protected by medieval walls and eight entrance gates; walls and gates are very well preserved and the city is dominated by two castles: the Rocca Maggiore, rebuilt by Cardinal Albornotz in1367 and the Rocca Minore. A must is of course the Basilica of Saint Francis, but also the Basilica of Saint Clare and the Church of Saint Peter. In the Piazza del Comune there is the beautiful Palace of the Priors built in 1337, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (1200), the Temple of Minerva (1st century BC) and the Roman Forum.

In the vicinity of Assisi you can visit the places related to the life of Saint Francis, like the Hermitage, immersed in the woodland of Mount Subasio with oaks and holm oaks, and the convent of San Damiano, created around the oratory where the Cross spoke to Saint Francies (according to the tradition). In the flat, the imposing Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli was built following a project of Alessi between 1569 and 1679 to protect the Chapel of the Porziuncola, the meeting place of the first Franciscan friars.


Marmore Falls

The creation of the fall dates back to 271 BC: it is an amazing engineering work accomplished by the Romans, which was useful to make the waters flow from the Velino river, waters which were responsible for frequent and devastating floods and for the transformation of large areas of land into swamplands. The area of the falls is formed by deposits of travertine, crumbly rock which, due to an intense circulation of waters, created interesting caves, grottoes, cavities. The main cavities, both beautiful and evocative, are situated in three different complexes: the first is the Grotta della Morta and Grotta delle Diaclasi; the second is the Grotta delle Colonne; then the Grotta della Condotta.

Vegetation is lush and luxuriant. A visit to the Botanic Garden situated within the Regional Park of the River Nera (2120 hectares) allows to admire different species of plants which populate the area. There is a rich water fauna. Woodlands feature many species of birds.



Montefalco

Montefalco is called "Balustrade of Umbria" for its enchanting geographical position. Montefalco is famous for the frescoes inside its churches, a must for an accurate knowledge of the Umbrian Painting. Its sanctuaries are an important landmark in the Umbrian spirituality. The cultivation of grapevine around Montefalco dates back to Roman Times. The grape Sagrantino made Montefalco famous for its wines. It is cultivated just on these hills and within the walls of the city.

The area of production of wines “Montefalco” is in the centre of Umbria, covering an hillside area of 16,000 hectares, which means an excellent position, and with geological and particular characteristics. There are two kinds of Sagrantino: Dry and Passito, then we have Red and White of Montefalco.