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Spoleto - Castelluccio di Norcia among the Europe's 10 most beautiful drives

Spoleto - Castelluccio di Norcia among the Europe's 10 most beautiful drives | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Spoleto to Norcia and the Monti Sibillini loop, Italy

This short but spectacular day's drive out of Spoleto is like a landscape opera in a prologue, three acts and an encore – the latter as you repeat the Spoleto-Norcia stretch on the return journey. The prologue is the gentle, summery, olive-clad plain surrounding the cultured Umbrian hilltown that is your starting point.

A three-mile-long tunnel gives the stagehands time to change the set for Act 1: the Valnerina, a cool, steep-sided green valley dotted with solid stone-built villages that have a vaguely Alpine feel. More bucolic, Act 2 begins with a sweeping vista across a fertile upland plain to the handsome walled town of Norcia, famous for its truffles, sausages and Benedictine monastery, with the Sibillini mountains looming behind.

It's these that provide the drama of Act 3: the road begins to climb steeply up to Passo di Gualdo, where the Piano Grande, an upland valley famous for its lentils, and the rainbow tapestry painted by its wildflowers, suddenly appears in all its glory.

Starts: Spoleto – take road numbers: SS3, SS685, SS320 from Spoleto to Norcia, then local roads to Preci, Visso, Castelluccio and back to Norcia, returning to Spoleto on the same route.

Length: 101 miles.

Time: Allow just over three hours' actual driving. Allowing for time for sightseeing and lunch, this makes for a perfect short day's outing.

Best driven in: Late May or early June when the crocuses, fritillaries and lentils are in flower, turning Piano Grande into a carpet of shifting colours.

Top tip: At 1,452m, the village of Castelluccio is higher than Ben Nevis – so come prepared for snow, even late in the season, though the roads are generally well gritted.

Mariano Pallottini's insight:
Our neighboring Umbria can boast one of the finest drives of Europe and it is only a handful of kilometers from the natural border with Le Marche, the Sibillini Mountains.
#umbria #marche #norcia #spoleto #italy #travel #europe
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What to see in Umbria, Italy | Spoleto Duomo Cosmatesque Floor

What to see in Umbria, Italy | Spoleto Duomo Cosmatesque Floor | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Look down and you will discover an elaborate patchwork of geometric mosaics worked in a style called Cosmatesque after the Cosmati family in Rome. The Cosmati worked for four generations in the 13th century perfecting the of opus sectile — or cut work — technique, in which inlays of delicate triangles and rectangles of colored stone and glass mosaics are set into stone matrices or encrusted onto stone bases. The resulting work alternates bands and blocks of intricate mosaic with contrasting bands, guilloches (a repetitive architectural pattern), and simple geometric shapes of unadorned white marble. [...]

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Wild, Non-Touristy Umbria: A Brief Tour - nymag.com

Wild, Non-Touristy Umbria: A Brief Tour - nymag.com | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

It's like Tuscany 20 years ago. Here are some other places to put on your radar, and these are just a fraction of the options. (Also, it goes without saying that all are medieval, off the beaten path, and ridiculously picturesque).

  • Spoleto
  • Norcia
  • Narni
  • Todi
  • Montefalco
  • Perugia
  • Assisi
[...]
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Come Experience the Spoleto Festival of the Two Worlds

Come Experience the Spoleto Festival of the Two Worlds | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Every year in the quaint and historic town of Spoleto, located in the Umbria region, one of the most important artistic festivals in the world takes place during the summer months: the “Festival dei Due Mondi," or Festival of the Two Worlds. This exuberant event was first started in 1958 by composer Gian Carlo Menotti.


Menotti hoped to fuse the artistic contributions of both the old world, Europe, and the new world, America, and generate mutual appreciation for both


Anyone who has an affinity for artistic forms of expression such as ballet, opera, painting, literature, music, theater, sculpture and every other form of contemporary art will enjoy this incredible festival.
As the festival expanded and grew in popularity year after year, the Festival dei Due Mondi became one of the premier cultural events in Italy, with a three-week schedule of music, theater and dance performances featuring a global assortment of artists and an extensive range of artistic exhibitions and displays.
There are two other mirrored events inspired by the festival in Spoleto, Italy: the Spoleto Festival USA in Spoleto's twin city of Charleston, SC was started in 1977, and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, held in Australia, began in 1986.
If you have the chance to visit the Italian city of Spoleto during the festival months, do not forget to stop by and enjoy one of the several free performances!

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