Each year from late May to mid-July, the annual blooming of lentils covers the plateau of Castelluccio di Norcia, creating a stunning mosaic of colors across the valley.
Located in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains at an altitude of 1452 meters, on the border between Umbria and Marche, Castelluccio di Norcia is a small village, hit by the 2016 earthquake, and famous for its “fioritura”, the flowering of the lentils.
Castelluccio sits on top of a hill and dominates a vast highland that includes the valleys of Pian Grande, Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto, upon which dominates the massive Mount Vettore. In this area, once a year, thousands of flowers bloom in succession, coloring the landscape purple, red, yellow, white and blue, the colors of lentils, poppies, daffodils, daisies, and cornflowers, arranged in beautiful geometric shapes.
The blooming of lentils in that of Castelluccio always attracts many tourists that often step on lentil flowers, unaware of the damages they could cause to local farmers and their harvest. Lentils are the main income for Castelluccio’s people. Admire and enjoy, but please be respectful and walk only on the beaten path to cross the fields.
How to arrive:
In early summer, many travel agencies organize day trips to Castelluccio for reasonable prices. If you are planning the visit on your own, you need a car or a motorcycle to reach Castelluccio.
If you are coming from Rome you have three options:
- Highway A1, take the exit Orte and continue towards Spoleto. Then follow the signs to Castelluccio di Norcia.
- Highway A24 towards L’Aquila, then go north and follow the signs to Amatrice, then Castelluccio di Norcia.
- Take the Salaria (SS4) and continue towards Arquata del Tronto until you see the signs for Castelluccio di Norcia.
When to go:
Although this is an annual event, predicting the exact timing is difficult as it largely depends on the climatic conditions of the year. Usually you can see the blooming in its fullest glory around the beginning of July. Avoid weekends to escape the crowds.
What to do:
- Enjoy a sandwich with local cheese and ciauscolo or prosciutto di Norcia IGP from one of the street vendors.
- Hike to Mount Vettore and get to Lake Pilato, if you dare.
- Fly over the valley of Castelluccio with a paraglide, and admire the blooming of lentils from the sky.
- Go horseback riding around the Plain of Castelluccio.
- Buy some lentils and support local farmers.
- Take a lot of pictures!
- Reach the hill of Castelluccio and admire the blooming of lentils from an higher point.
- Go see the Italy-shaped conifer wood on the Pian Grande, realized to commemorate the first centennial of the Unification of Italy.
- Respect nature!
Have you seen the blooming of lentils?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.