Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 19, 2023

Great food in Norcia

Norcia sits in the wide plain beside Monti Sibillini in the province of Perugia. It is well known for hunting and has given its name to sausages and ham made from wild boar and pork. These products are known as “norcineria”.

St Benedict and his twin sister St Scolastica were born in Norcia in AD480. St Benedict founded the Benedictine monastic system. In the 8th century an oratory was built so pilgrims could pray at St Benedict’s birthplace. In the 10th the Monastery of St Benedict was built over the Roman ruins of the house of the twins.

In October 2016 an earthquake hit Norcia and caused major damage to many buildings, including the Basilica. I can remember seeing the images on the news at the time. The town is slowly rebuilding. Much of the town is still covered with scaffolding.

We parked at the top of the town and followed the old walls down to the entrance. Parts of the wall were damaged in the earthquake and repairs are still going on.

The entrance to the town is still under scaffolding.

The town is quite lively, despite the obvious damage and ongoing rebuilding. Lots of shops and restaurants were open and filling with visitors.

The Basilica is still undergoing repairs. This is what it used to look like.


This is it now.

The old fort managed to survive the earthquake.

St Benedict is still keeping eye on things.

The bell tower still stands.

We came upon some archers preparing for a competition later in the day.


We had lunch at a busy restaurant and had to have the local specialities, lentil soup and sausages. Both were delicious, don’t mess with a recipe that has been around for centuries.

We stopped at a few shops and gathered up some local products to take home. I might be eating lentils for a while.

The locals we spoke to were disappointed that the repairs are taking so long to complete. The town is fighting on and happy that people are continuing to support them.  We enjoyed our visit and hope to see some improvement when we return .



  1. Did you ever read this blog Debra? Pretty harrowing, but compulsive reading….”Land of the forgotten earthquakes”.

    • Thank you for the link. I will definitely read it.

  2. This was my starting point last year for a 300km walk to Montecassino along the Way of St Benedict. I met an English couple still waiting for the available government funding to have their house made liveable again. All their belongings had been in storage for 6 years.

    • It is awful that the work is taking so long.

      • They said they had provided all the required information – plans, quotes etc and filled in innumerable forms – the usual Italian bureaucracy.

  3. Lovely photos of Norcia and the picturesque surrounding area. We bought a lot from the row of temporary wooden shops that have been assembled outside the city walls. Lets hope the repairs are finished soon. We live about an hour’s drive from Norcia, on the border of Abruzzo and Marche, and visited a couple of months ago We enjoyed eating at the same ristorante too. Thank you for sharing. It reminds me we need to go back.

    • We will definitely go back there. I think the town needs people to visit to help bring money in.

  4. Keep some lentils to have them on New Years Day. It is a custom since Roman times as lentils remind you of coins and they are supposed to bring good luck.

  5. So heartbreaking the repairs are taking so long. Feel for all in the area.

  6. I bet they cannot wait to open up again and have all of that done. And lentils and sausage are one of my favourite combinations. I love cotechino and lentils so much every new years.

  7. Thank you Debra for the wonderful photo essay and notes. I’ve been to Norcia as well as Assisi and Montecassino. All very interesting and historic, to say the least! I must say that lentil soup is making me hungry….lol Albeit Norcia is a pork and cingale specialist town.

    • It is also known for its lentils, which are grown in the area.

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