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Sant'Anatolia di Narco - Norcia - Piana di Castelluccio - Visso

Leaving our Agriturismo, follow the road signs for Norcia and Cascia and after the tunnel visit the charming Valnerina. The first town is S. Anatolia di Narco, a small village originally populated by Etruscan people.
It lies on the river Nera, 328 m. asl. Visit the medieval castle, the chapel in the parish church, with interesting frescoes dating back to 1300, and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, dating back to early 16th century.

From S. Anatolia, the road that leads to Norcia is the SS209 to Cerreto di Spoleto, and then the SS320 for 35km in all. Along this road it seems like being carried to an ancient time, when people used horses and ox carts to move!

Norcia lies between the rivers Sordo and Torbidone, 604 m.asl. In ancient time, it was called “Nursia”. This town's origins date back to the time of Punic Wars between Romans and Phoenician. The older core of Norcia is peculiarly heart-shaped, and is surrounded by the 13th century boundary wall, with the original eight gates, and the medieval keeps. During Middle Ages it was a lively town, and the architectural style of that period can still be recognized in the churches and old mansions. During past centuries, it has been seriously damaged by several earthquakes, but it has always been masterly rebuilt, and today its works of art can still be seen, like the Cathedral and the Castellina. This is a Renaissance style Fortress made by Vignola, and now the Museo Civico Diocesano is here. Another very interesting sight is the gothic church of San Benedetto: Norcia is the native town of this great Christian monk, who lived between 5th and 6th centuries and founded the Benedictine Order.
San Giovanni, San Francesco and S. Agostino are all 14th century churches, and in the latter there is a well preserved fresco, representing the Virgin Mary with Child and Saint.

Norcia is a good place even for gourmands and connoisseurs: this is the land of black truffle, the king of local products, but also the various kinds of cheeses, sausages, sweets and liquors are very tasty.

Travel on to Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini: just 20 minutes away from here lies Castelluccio. Its origins are due to sheep-farming but today this hamlet is famous for lentil growing. The best period to visit this area is spring, when the blooming of this plant will offer an amazing sight. You can also walk on the narrow streets of the town, or visit the church of Santa Maria Assunta, with a valuable wooden statue by Giovanni Antonio di Giordano.

Coming back to the Agriturismo, visit Visso, a charming village on the mountains, on the border between Umbria and Marche, that has been awarded as one of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”. It has many historical and artistic points of interests: the collegiate church of Santa Maria, the church of S.Agostino, and renaissance houses, towers and mansions. Among the valuable buildings, the most interesting are Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo dei Governatori and Palazzo del Divino Amore (now the seat of Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini).