|Category:||Destinations We Visit on Our Norcia Vacations|
|Author:||Daniele Pintaudi||Updated:||Jan 30, 2019||Views:||4,146|
|Tags:||norcia norcia umbria place to see in umbria what to see in norcia what to do in norcia|
Norcia is a tiny town but is known as one of Italy's culinary epicenters, one of the most beautiful towns in the country, and it is surrounded by much of Italy's most breathtaking natural scenery. All of this makes Norcia a very popular vacation destination for Italians. Yet it is surprisingly unknown internationally... for now!
Norcia as a Culinary Hotspot
If you go around Italy and look at butcher shops, you will notice that they go by a few different names. Generally, they are called "Macelleria" or "Norcineria". The latter describes a butcher shop that specializes in pork products, such as prosciutto, salami, sausage, etc. The name says it all. "Norcineria" means "A place that specializes in products from Norcia". Of course, all such pork products don't come from Norcia, but through the centuries Norcia has been so famous in Italy for these things, that the name of the town has simply become synonymous with them.
Most visitors to Italy have no idea. They think the good prosciutto, for example, comes from Parma. While Parma does produce good prosciutto (especially by International standards), by Italian standards, it really isn't anything special. It just happens to be that Parma has a huge prosciutto industry, making it famous internationally.
But Norcia is the opposite. It is a tiny little town of only 4,700 residents, one that you would never imagine could be synonymous with such staples of Italian cuisine. The production there is on a very small scale... an artisan scale for lack of a better term. But what comes out of Norcia is simply the best of the best of the best. Norcia is the Lamborghini of cold cuts... the way Kobe is to beef.
If it were just about the salami and prosciutto, that would be quite a bit, but this little corner of Umbria is a culinary epicenter for much more. If you like truffles, this is the place to be. The Black Truffle of Norcia is legendary.
And Norcia's neighbor just a few miles to the east, Castelluccio, is known to have the world's best (and smallest) lentils. The neighboring town of Montefalco has what many Italians argue to be the best wine in the country, as well.
Norcia's streets are lined with shops selling all of these amazing products, and when you are there the tourists that you will see are 95% Italians. Think of it: If the Italians are traveling to come here for the food, it must be amazing... and it is!
Norcia's Natural Beauty
It isn't just food by any means. Norcia is right in the middle of Italy's Monti Sibillini National Park. This area of central Umbria, just east of Tuscany is considered to be one of the most breathtaking areas of Italy. Beautiful mountains, flowers, and little hamlets popping up here and there. Many visitors come home saying that this is what they expected Tuscany to look like. In fact, many movies about Tuscany are actually filmed here. After all, Tuscany is just to the east, but this area has not been ravaged by mass tourism the way Tuscany has.... so it is still real.
Norcia's Historic Significance
Norcia was first settled by the Sabines in the 5th century BC. St. Benedict (Founder of the Benedictine monastic system), as well as his sister, St. Scholastica, was born here in 480 AD. This is the home of the St. Benedict Monastery, where you can meet the monks and watch them perform the amazing Gregorian Chant.
The medieval quarter of Norcia is stunning, having been completely restored after the devastating earthquake in the early '90s, Norcia's town center is a truly lovely place that virtually all visitors fall in love with.