The Road To Castelluccio di Norcia
Lost in The Middle of Nowhere
Surreal scene: first there is the huge plain in the middle of mountains covered with a velvet cloak … Stunning beauty, the soul rises! Then the road cuts the plain in two equal sides (photo 1) and leads to the famous village Castelluccio di Norcia (around fifty inhabitants all year).
Getting out the car, I have the impression of entering in a film, a road movie of Wim Wenders. I think of the steppes to Central Asia where I’ve never been. I feel so far away, dazzled by the beauty of the landscape. Finally I feel the journey begins.
So Unique For Me!
I did not grow up surrounded by animals and initially had some misgivings … Honestly, I’ve never imagined myself riding on a donkey (lol)! I did a horse ride in a Baja California desert years ago! Basta!
Kids love! I start the ride in a light rain with easy going Geronimo, a donkey or mule (I still haven’t understood the difference between the two) on the photo 1 (above photo montage). Unlike Zorro much more nervous (on the black and white photo)! A saddle as a portent …
Thanks to Roberto Canali of La Mulattiera for guiding my donkey, so I was able to really appreciate these beautiful landscapes (with big laugh every acceleration of Geronimo!). Roberto, a Rome native, perfectly knows these mountains!
Traditionally for centuries in this poor region of central Italy, they have used mules (muli) for transportation and agriculture and donkeys (asini) for transportation.
Lunch at Il Fienile
The Weekend in a Remote Village
After our donkey-trekking stopped by heavy rain, a late lunch on the heights of the village. I am pleased to relax a bit in the agriturismo restaurant Il Fienile managed by Tiziano and Giovanni Coccia brothers.
Mountain menu. I really liked the extra lean local fresh ricotta, made with sheep milk (yummy!) and lenticchie di Castelluccio IGP, the tasty lentils grown without chemical pesticides. The IGP is a protected appellation meaning “Protected Geographical Indication”.
For norcineria lovers: the prosciutto di Norcia, coppa, cojone di Mulo and Norcino. On the first photo of the photo montage above: the roveja, this local specialty is a kind of wild peas with the taste of chickpeas.
And if you want to extend the experience … In winter, the road to Castelluccio di Norcia is often impracticable. With a little luck and lots of snow, you might get stuck a few more days. The Antica Cascina Brandimarte has comfortable rooms with lovely views over the plateau and mountains.
Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés
Many thanks for this beautiful invitation to Regione Umbria et Alitalia. As always these opinions are my own.