The Umbrian town of Norcia sits at the foot of the Monte Sibillini in the Valnerina River Valley. It’s about 45 minutes east of the famous music festival town Spoleto and near the Umbrian border with the Lazio and Le Marche regions. An ancient settlement, Norcia has found traces of human occupation from the Neolithic Age (approximately 10,000 BC – 2,000 BC). It’s a great base for hiking mountains and walking through the beautiful natural scenery of the Santa Scolastica plain.
Piazza San Benedetto has been the center of the town since the middle ages and includes the historic Palazzo Communale (14th century) and church of San Benedetto (Middle Ages). It serves as the base of operations for the 53rd Nero Norcia celebration of winter black truffles that began this morning and continues this weekend and next. Aside from the usual festival treats of food stands, music and children’s activities there’s a magician, photography exhibit and speakers about truffle production in the area. Tasting tours via horse drawn carriages, are organized by dairy company Gruppo Grifo both Sundays and include local chocolate and dairy products (purchase tickets at their festival stand).
The shade of trees in the forests nearby harbor these fragrant and expensive mushrooms. Used raw or cooked they are often tossed with rice or pasta. Norcia’s foodie highlights are more than just it’s truffle production; the famous Norcinos (butchers) and their salumerie shops are not to be missed for further tastebud exploration.
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View of Norcia from Field: LaValnerina.it via Foter.com / CC BY
Black Truffle: moedermens via Foter.com / CC BY
Egg with Shaved Truffle: nociveglia via Foter.com / CC BY
Tagliatelle al Tartufo Nero: UmbriaLovers via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Piazza San Benedetto: stevecadman via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Castellucio di Norcia: Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via Foter.com / CC BY