top of page
  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

The Flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia: everything you need to know

Between June and the first half of July, the plain of Castelluccio di Norcia (in Umbria) is tinged with a thousand colors thanks to the famous Flowering. In these weeks the green of the pasture fields is replaced by a mosaic of colours, with variations of tones ranging from yellow ocher to red. The flowers that color the Pian Grande and Pian Perduto in this period are many, of various colors and shapes, forming a breathtaking spectacle: we can meet gentians, daffodils, violets, poppies, buttercups, daffodils, clovers, shamrocks and many others!

Castelluccio di Norcia

When to admire the Flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia

Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

The flowering festival usually falls on the third and last Sunday of June but actually there's no precise day to admire this enchanting spectacle, it depends on the climatic trend of the season of that year. Basically, however, the best time to admire the Flowering in its full beauty goes from the last weekend of June to the first two of July. Is the Flowering early? …is it delayed? …when will it be there? We have heard that it is increasingly moving forward towards July. To keep an eye on the progress of Flowering you can follow the official website with updates in real time: Flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia LIVE.

Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

We went there on the last weekend of June and, although the Flowering had already begun, it was still a couple of weeks behind due to the heavy rains of recent months. Nonetheless, the show was already splendid and the positive side is that the plain was not yet as crowded as in full bloom when the roads are closed to traffic and you can only reach Castelluccio and the flower fields on foot. In this case you will find parking spaces arranged both on the Umbrian and Marche side from which you can take advantage of a shuttle service to reach the flower fields. If you intend to go in full bloom then I advise against Saturday and Sunday: the weekend is always super crowded and you will not be able to enjoy the show. Furthermore, it is better to avoid arriving by car and I recommend you not to tread on the cultivated fields.

Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

How to reach Castelluccio di Norcia during the Flowering

A piedi fra i campi fioriti di Castelluccio
A piedi fra i campi fioriti di Castelluccio

Castelluccio di Norcia is a fraction of Norcia, in the Monti Sibillini National Park, at Monte Vettore's base. The best way to admire the Flowering is to walk through the fields along the paths: do not head towards the town center leave your car, there are special areas for parking, especially on the weekends of June and July when between other access is limited and special bookable car parks are set up from which the shuttle service is active to get to the Piana. In 2023 on the weekend of 24-25 June and the first three weekends of July (1-2, 8-9 and 15-16) the roads of the Piana will in fact be closed to traffic. This year (2023) there are two modalities:

  • SUNDAYS: on 2, 9 and 16 July, the passage of cars and campers is forbidden. For those traveling with cars, for all three entrance doors to Piani di Castelluccio (Arquata del Tronto, Norcia and Castelsantangelo sul Nera), the ONLY WAY to access the flowering is to leave your vehicle in one of the car parks ;

  • SATURDAYS: on the Saturdays of 1, 8 and 15 July, the access method is established from time to time: if critical situations related to traffic are recorded, the same method as for Sundays will apply.

Once you have left your car in one of the established car parks, Castelluccio and the flowery plains can be reached via the shuttle service (by reservation) or on foot, by bicycle, by e-bike, etc. The car parks provided are those of:

The car park is the one near the Mezzi Litri Refuge. Here two areas have been set up for cars, at a distance of about 500 meters from each other:

To reach the plain, there is a shuttle service departing every hour, from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00. The shuttles make two stops:

  • near the crossroads between the Forca di Presta road and the SP477

  • near the Sibillini Ranch

Both car parks are free while the shuttle is subject to a fee (€3 return): both the car park and the shuttle are by reservation on this site: car park Arquata del Tronto

There are four car parks that can be booked in the Municipality of Norcia, but the only one used for campers is that of Boeri Norcia. All 4 parking lots are subject to charges, as is the shuttle and both are by reservation: it is also possible to book only the parking individually.

The shuttle leaves from the Monti del Sole car park and makes an intermediate stop at the Forca Canapine car park, before reaching the plain.

The shuttles make three stops:

  • in the middle of the Piangrande

  • halfway up the hill to get to the village

  • in the square of Castelluccio

To book parking and shuttle at Norcia access the site parchiaperti and select the one you prefer.

The parking + shuttle service is also active in the municipality of Castelsantangelo sul Nera, both for a fee and by reservation on the website: parking Castelsantangelo. The cost of parking + 1 person in the shuttle is €5, then €2 for each additional person in the shuttle. The parking area available to visitors to the Fioritura is that of Monte Prata. Here the shuttle service is active, departing every hour from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00, with the departure of the shuttles arranged every hour. The shuttle makes 2 stops on Piangrande: - at the crossroads between the Forca di Presta road and the SP477 - in the square of Castelluccio village Another alternative is the one we have chosen: we parked for free in the Camper parking area of Forca di Presta and from here we covered 22km of trekking in the Piana making a splendid ring among the flowery fields and having lunch in Castelluccio.


This is the map of the photographic points of the Fioritura and you will also find the dedicated car parks.


If you are planning a trip to Castelluccio to admire the Flowering then you can choose between:

  • a day trip - if your starting point allows it, you can easily arrive in the morning, take a nice walk that includes a delicious lunch near Castelluccio da Norcia, continue the journey and leave again in the late afternoon;

  • an Umbrian-Marche weekend combining the Flowering of Castelluccio perhaps with a beautiful day at the beach on the Marche coast.

La Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

Our Umbria-Marche weekend: the Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia and a day at the beach on the Adriatic coast

La Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

To admire the Flowering of Castelluccio da Norcia, an experience I've been dreaming of doing for a few years, we decided use an entire weekend in order to enjoy it and combining a nice trek with a following day of well-deserved relaxation by the sea, taking advantage of Castelluccio's position very close to the border between Umbria and Marche. As previously mentioned, we were a little early than the full bloom but unfortunately we could not do otherwise due to commitments already made in the following weekends. Nevertheless the colors were already breathtaking and it was still wonderful and we had the benefit of meeting few people along the paths without having to worry about road closures, traffic and queues. We left on Friday afternoon from Forlì to arrive at Forca di Presta around 7.30 pm, where we spent the night in a refuge.

La Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

Saturday morning we set off for a trek in the Piane della Fioritura, lunch in Castelluccio and in the afternoon we closed the ring going back to Forca di Presta where we pitched our tents for the night and ate a sandwich. Surely dedicating the day to Castelluccio on Saturday was an excellent choice to avoid hordes of tourists and enjoy it in peace. Obviously, the ideal would be to go there on week days but it was not possible for us. Sunday morning we left for the Marche coast for a day at the beach and relax after the trek the day before: we stopped in Fiorenzuola di Focara (more towards home for us) but Sirolo and Numana are also excellent alternatives. Now let's see in detail our weekend which I hope will be a good starting point for planning both day trips to Castelluccio or Fiorenzuola di Focara/Sirolo/Numana, and a nice weekend that mixes trekking and sea between Umbria and Marche.


FRIDAY

We left from Forlì and we arrived by car at Forca di Presta around 19:30 where we met Vittorio, a very kind gentleman who manages the Belvedere Refuge, where we stayed the first night of this weekend. We left the car for free in the Camper parking area of ​​Forca di Presta and Vittorio escorted us to the Refuge (the road is particularly unpaved and full of holes, so unless you have a tall car or a 4x4 it is better to go with he).

Belvedere Refuge 1577 metres above the sea level - Forca di Presta

Rifugio Belvedere 1577 s.l.m. - Forca di Presta
Rifugio Belvedere 1577 s.l.m. - Forca di Presta

The Belvedere Refuge is located at the end of the "Path for everyone" of Forca di Presta, about 3.5km from the camper parking area. The refuge offers the possibility of staying with tents or inside in the bedroom equipped with 8 places in bunk beds. It is in a splendid rustic style which maintains the "essential" spirit of the mountain. The refuge is managed in full respect for the environment using spring water and electricity from solar panels or an electric generator. It is equipped with a small kitchen with electric hob and microwave oven, two bathrooms with a small shower with hot water and hairdryer and finally the bedroom where each station is complete with mattress and sheet, pillow and pillowcase.

Monte Vettore visto dal Rifugio Belvedere
Monte Vettore visto dal Rifugio Belvedere

The cost is €50 per person (breakfast included) whether you are 2 or 8 and the entire refuge will be at your disposal - on request it is also possible to have dinner prepared as an extra and they also accept dogs. The refuge is splendid, with tables and benches outside and a breathtaking view of the plains and Monte Vettore. In the surrounding area only a few grazing sheep so you will enjoy a wonderful silence. It was a unique experience, definitely recommended! For reservations, you can contact Vittorio on 330 280690 or write an email to info@rifugideisibillini.it

We decided to bring dinner from home: in this case I suggest you prefer something already cooked so you don't have to waste time cooking on the electric plate.


SATURDAY

Saturday morning we woke up early and after a good breakfast we left the Belvedere Refuge and went back to the car in the Forca di Presta parking lot where we unloaded the backpack with what we needed for the night and dinner and, armed with a light hiking backback , we walked towards the Piane di Castelluccio. We chose a route of 18 km in total, quite simple and almost entirely flat, which crosses the plains and the town of Castelluccio di Norcia, where we had lunch.

Hiking from Forca di Presta a Castelluccio di Norcia and return - traccia Wikiloc

The route is quite simple, there are only two uphill points: the one to reach the town of Castelluccio and the last stretch to Forca di Presta, the rest is flat and along the paths that cross the splendid flowery fields of Castelluccio. Total lenght: 18.5km Difficulty: easy - moderate Moving time: 4 hours


If you are looking for a nice lunch near Castelluccio di Norcia you can decide to stop at the top of the town, where there are various food trucks with typical street food and some stands selling local products such as lentils and other legumes, or go down towards the plain and stop in one of the restaurants rebuilt after the earthquake. There are several, all very close, and each one sells typical products. We chose the La Montagnola da Mamma Ida restaurant and we were super satisfied: highly recommended for the excellent value for money, but make sure you book... it's always very crowded!

Gnocchi alla norcina - da Mamma Ida
Gnocchi alla norcina - da Mamma Ida

The 5 of us we ordered 4 appetizers (a platter of mixed local cold cuts and cheeses, two portions of croutons with black truffles and a Norcia lentil omelette), 5 first courses (two portions of gnocchi alla norcina with black truffle, a with sausage, a ricotta tortello with black truffle and a ricotta tortello alla norcina), two side dishes (one portion of lentils and one portion of baked potatoes), 3 desserts (two fresh stuffed goat yoghurts and one fresh stuffed ricotta), 2 bottles of water and 1l of house wine for a total of €28 each. Everything was delicious and I highly recommend it. Outside the restaurant there are some deck chairs where you can rest while admiring the plain before getting back on the road! If you want to eat in one of the restaurants and not going ​​with street food then I strongly suggest you make an advanced reservation: there aren't many alternatives so they are always packed!


Notte in tenda a Forca di Presta
Notte in tenda a Forca di Presta

Spending the night sleeping in a tent in Forca di Presta

For the second and last night of this weekend we camped with tents in front of the old disused shelter which is located in front of the Forca di Presta camper parking area. After asking Vittorio for advice, he directed us to this area to be able to sleep in a tent safely, but above all sheltered from the wind that often blows violently in these plains. We pitched the tents at sunset, dined on some sandwiches bought in Castelluccio di Norcia in the afternoon and spent a quiet and pleasant night in front of Monte Vettore.

Horse riding across the plains in Castelluccio

For those interested, on the plain in front of Castelluccio there is the Sibillini Ranch. Here you'll find amazing horse riding trip of one or more hours (for beginners or experts) and carriage tours as well as taking care of breeding, taming and training. I leave you the contacts in case you want to request some information:

Emiliano 338 9970734

Damiano 339 3826195

Email : emiliano988@alice.it


SUNDAY

Fiorenzuola di Focara
Fiorenzuola di Focara

Sunday morning we woke up at dawn (always better to take down the tents before 8:00 in areas not used for camping in order to avoid any problems), we took down the tents, had a quick breakfast and left for the coast of Marche for a day of well-deserved relaxation after the treks of the previous day. From Forca di Presta (but in general from Castelluccio and the Sibillini Mountains) in a couple of hours you will be in the Sirolo/Numana area, in three hours in Fiorenzuola di Focara (which we chose because it is on the way back home) or possibly, in about 80 minutes by car you will reach also San Benedetto del Tronto. The entire Marche coast offers wonderful beaches: from the equipped ones to the wilder ones. You will have so many options you'll surely find something for you!


What to pack for a hiking weekend in Castelluccio di Norcia

Now let's see what is essential for a weekend of this type, which therefore includes both the equipment for a light hike, for a night in a tent and for the sea on the last day: - a backpack for trekking - I have my beloved Borealis Classic - North Face which I use for both hiking and travel; - hiking shoes - I use the model X Ultra della Salomon in Goretex, probably my best buy ever! - windproof jacket: the wind blows a lot on the plain and the altitude makes itself felt a lot, especially when the sun goes out and it gets quite chilly; - hat and sunglasses; - sunscreens; - water bottle - I can recommend the Sparrow 1l thermal steel model: both Enrico and I have one and of all the various brands and types we have tried this is undoubtedly the best; - tent; - Naturehike sleeping bag and self-inflating mattress; - a beach bag with slippers and beach towel.


If you travel with your four-legged friends, during this trip I tested two new products I bought for King: - the Pecute car seat cover; - the large model Pecute backpack for dogs up to 15kg. Unfortunately King is not feeling very well and is no longer able to handle long walks, so we equipped ourselves with this comfortable backpack in which I must say he found himself very well.


La Fioritura di Castelluccio di Norcia

Now that we packed our backpacks together, you are ready to leave for Castelluccio and admire the wonderful Flowering that colors the plains of the Sibillini Mountains every year. Please, as always, for anything don't hesitate to contact me in the comments below or in private!

Have a good trip!


Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page