The medieval town of Norcia, in the Valnerina Valley of Umbria, sits at the foot of the impressive Monti Sibillini range and slopes down to the nearby Sordo River.
Start your discovery of Norcia in its historic town center. The impressive façades of many important buildings line the Piazza San Benedetto, Norcia’s central square, but the real focal point here is the Statue of St. Benedict.
Step inside the medieval Church of San Benedetto, built on the spot where St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were said to have been born. Learn more about the life of St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastic order, and patron saint of Europe.
The Loggia dei Mercanti, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea and the Palazzo Comunale are just some of the other highlights in the heart of Norcia. Make sure to explore the formerly secret tunnel in the Museo Civico e Diocesano La Castellina as well.
Taste the much-lauded Norcia cuisine for lunch and dinner. Black truffles, sausages and salami are among the favorite ingredients for antipasti and pastas to go with your wine. The special pork and wild boar salami, known as “norcineria,” are famous throughout Italy. Try the creamy “pasta alla Norcina" to discover what all the fuss is about.
While you can get to Norcia by train and bus, coming by car is the best way to explore this mountainous region. Rome is 2.5 hours away by road and Spoleto just 45 minutes. Drive to the mountains to hike through Sibillini National Park. Each spring, an amazing array of wildflowers drape a multi-colored blanket over the plateaus surrounding Castelluccio di Norcia, a lentil-producing village above Norcia. Seeing this “Fiorita" on horseback or during a hike or mountain bike ride is spectacular.
Unique festivals keep Norcia interesting year round. Visit in February during the Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Nero to taste the wide range of truffles and wild mushrooms found in the Valnerina Valley. The 3-day Prosciuti dal Mondo festival at the start of November attracts cured ham lovers and other foodies from all over Italy.