Restricted area with lentil soup. Castelluccio.
Well, the end of august might not necessarily be the best time to travel to the Apennines for paragliding. It’s hot, almost unbearably hot and everything seems to be burning. Nevertheless, during the summe breaks we ventured south for a week and finally arrived in Umbria after a long journey through the picturesque Tuscany, the overcrowded capital, the lazy Lazio and the burning Abruzzo. The numero uno destination though was located just on the border of Marche in the Monti Sibillini: Castelluccio di Norcia.
In Castelluccio city still nothing changed. The city reconstruction has not begun yet, it’s completely deserted. In the plateau there is still the possibility to grab some drinks and food close to Sibillini Ranch, where Emiliano is arranging tours on horseback. The street SP477 coming from Norcia is open as well as the passage from Arquata del Tronto SP89. The north route SP134 is still closed.
In the beginning we were a bit unsettled, as the region north from L’Aquila was hit hard by the earthquakes in 2015 (or even before in 2009). In particular, passing by Amatrice has shown us how disturbing the situation of the inhabitants who live in provisional houses and can only idly look at the eternal construction site that is their home. The core of Amtrice, the many small villages in the region, Norcia and also Castelluccio di Norcia are currently still military restricted areas. The rubble is guarded by soldiers so alleged raiders will be withheld. Not even the victims of destruction are allowed to enter their land without special permission. In conversations we had with locals, many questions remained unanswered: Why is nothing happening here, time seems to stand still? Why can not people rebuild their own lives from their own resources? How strong was the earthquake: 8.5 or really just 6.3? When, with this state of inertia, is there finally a light at the end of the story for the affected individuals?
Despite all the ruin, we were welcomed with joy and open arms. In Castelluccio, seven guest houses and restaurants, which were destroyed, now are joining forces to open a gastronomy called „Noi Sette“. They are happy about every guest and wish that the tourism returns to Castelluccio. This means that everyday life returns and a fresh start is palpable. The menu comprises lusciously everything from lentil soup, pasta with truffle and tiramisu for desert. To drink you’ll get a selection of aperitifs, wine from Umbria or beer or great black coffee. Access to toilets is free, wireless internet with excellent reception is also available On request, we even got hot water for our shower bag. Gigantic!
Conclusion: who wants to go to Castelluccio, should not be deterred by the events of last year. The infrastructure is somewhat limited, but nevertheless nothing is missing. You are welcomed with open arms!
As for last year’s summer the only open access to the plateau was the SP477 from Norcia. The tunnel from Arquata del Tronto and the SP98, as well as the SP134 direction to Visa were closed. Rumor has it that you can drive up the SP89, but you win a ticket when driving down again. I would not rely on that…So you can reach Castelluccio from the north coming from Perugia and Spoleto via SR320 to Norcia. The SP477 will be, according to information from locals, closed early October 2017 for constructional work. Currently, several sections were regulated by means of single-track traffic lights. In Castelluccio itself, you had the possibility to have some snacks and lunch during the day or dinner in the „Noi Sette“ until late evening. In the basin close to Sibillini’s Ranch, there was also a bar with fresh paninis, fruit and drinks. There is also access to Dixi toilets. Those who depend on a accommodation have to commute to Norcia.
Further information in English will follow soon!