Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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There will be more photos of Venice later, but first back to Umbria. I’ve included a map this time so that you can understand the distances and directions of our day trips. I have already posted about Spoleto and the areas close to our apartment. Also, there was our day trip farther afield to Orvieto. In the opposite direction from Orvieto was Norcia the eastern most destination in the Umbrian region.


Our visit included some rain so the photos are not quite as bright, but it was still a lovely day to stroll.

Norcia is a walled town noted as the birthplace of St. Benedict the founder of Western monasticism and it is also one of Italy’s great culinary capitols so there are lots of food stores. The stores feature meats and the extra special small lentils of the region. We did see a lot of boar heads and pig figures because Norcia was known for its skilled butchers (who also led the way as surgeons…go figure…). Since 1859 the buildings have been restricted in height because the area is the center of earthquakes (oh, California, felt right at home…). Walls are buttressed and thick.

We entered Norcia through the 19th century Porta Romana and then the wandering began…

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I enjoyed the block of buildings that was only one room wide…


The Civic Theater and monument to war heroes…

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The center of town is the Piazza San Benedetto (feels more like a circle than a square, actually). Surrounded by the Palazzo Comunale with a portico from 1492 (where the tourist office is located) and the basilica of San Benedetto. The square is the site of where the Roman forum used to be.

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Supposedly built over the home/birthplace of Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica, (they are represented in the two niches next to the entrance) ,only the facade is original from 1389 (again, earthquakes). The arched gallery is newer, 1570. Inside the church…

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The fresco is from the 15th century.

Across the Piazza is the Castellina which houses the Museo Civico and is marked by granite lions at its entrance. To its side is the Duomo from the 16th century.

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Saint Benedict is in the center of all this.


and the food stores…

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After a lovely lunch where I learned the beauty of an antipasti that was pecorino cheese drizzled with local honey, we walked through the neighborhoods…

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We found the Tempietto (small temple) built in 1354 with its frescoes. It is thought it was built as an “anti-plague”  chapel after the epidemic.

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The sun set on another one of the lovely days in Umbria…

I made use of the Rough Guide to Tuscany and Umbria to write this.

Author: loisreynoldsmead


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