A great joy to me here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House is when the house is full and one of my guests or even myself suggests an activity and everyone is in agreement, and it becomes a group activity.
Thus it was earlier this week when a suggestion was made for a trip to Casteluccio and the Piano Grande and the pork town of Norcia, and everyone decided to come along. For those of you who have not hear of any of the above places, let me give you a bit of an explanation. All three are situated at the foot of the Apennines in the Sibiline National Park, the glorious high hills where the regions of Umbria, Le Marche an Abruzzo meet. Casteluccio is a very small town at 1300 metres above sea level. Built on a rocky outcrop it overlooks the ‘Piano Grande’ a vast flat expanse of what is also known as Pontius Pilate’s Lake. Casteluccio is famous for lentils, here they are expert in the organic cultivation of these little brown gems, which form the base of so much Umbrian cuisine. The Piano Grande stretches for kilometer after kilometer, is almost flat and is surrounded by some spectacular mountains that roar skywards. Norcia sits five hundred meters lower and is the meat capital of Umbria. A delightful town full of pork butchers.
Setting off from Bellaugello we headed along the foothills of the Apennines, and steadily climbing, our convoy passing through fields of potatoes at Colfiorito, and on upwards through winding roads along wooded hillsides and onto to the Piano Grande.A lunch stop at a restaurant in Casteluccio owned by a couple from our local town of Gubbio, was a long drawn out affair, not because of the excesses of food, but the length of time to get served, was nevertheless enjoyable.As we discovered Castellucio is a sleepy wee town…
And so the the Piano Grande itself, a bit of light reliefbefore heading across the amazing wild flowers
and on to Norcia, home of prosciutto, salame, sausages, pecorino, lentils, and all gastronomic things intensely Umbrian. A delightful walled town, this day sparsely populated, except by handsome guys..and lots and lots of prosciutto