Anne's Blog

Castelluccio: Earthquakes and Lentils

Date: November 13, 2017 - categories: , , , - 1 Comment

Cultivated at nearly 1500 m on the vast Piano Grande (“Great Plain”), the famous tiny lenticchie di Castelluccio (Castelluccio lentils) cook quickly due to their thin, tender hull.

Lentils in flower on the Piano Grande


Tender, small lenticchie di Castelluccio


I used our last packet of Castelluccio lentils yesterday for una zuppa di lenticchie.


Before simmering the soup a couple hours on our woodstove, I added to the lentils the only ingredients una castellucciana would put in her zuppa di lenticchie: a piece of celery, two garlic cloves, Extra virgin olive oil and salt. When the soup was ready, time to toast the bread for la bruschetta joining the lentils – and no better place to do the toasting than right on our woodstove top:


Good to know we’ll still be able to find those Castelluccio lentils: perched over the vast Piano Grande (“Great Plain”) at more than 1300 m., medieval gem Castelluccio, crumbled to rubble during the October 30, 2016 earthquake.

Castelluccio, post-earthquake, October, 2016


The town is abandoned now until restoration but the Castelluccio farmers harvested their lentils on the Great Plain this summer, too, though the 2017 scorching drought greatly reduced the yield. The lentil harvest was down 30 – 40%: a distressing setback a year after the earthquake.

But the castellucciani farmers took to the work with gusto, grateful that quake-devasted roads had been restored in time for the harvesting equipment to get to the Piano Grande below Castelluccio.

July lentil harvest below Castelluccio on the Piano Grande





Springtime planting of the lentils on the Great Plain


Lentils scythed on the Piano Grande below Castellucio (2014)


Road to Castelluccio, post-earthquake October 30, 2016


Pino and I took the road from Norcia to Castelluccio last August for a restoration benefit concert outside the lacerated town.
On our way back, day was giving up to night over the Piano Grande, I thought about our many late June trips to Castelluccio to see the Infioriture (“the flowerings” of myriads of wildflowers covering the plain before the lentil harvest). I remembered, too, strolls through Castelluccio in July and meeting women like elderly Signora Derna, sifting through the lentils post-harvest.

I wonder if Derna was at work last summer on their family’s lentils……?

Earthquake-devastated Castelluccio


The Piano Grande, August, 2017


Le infioriture on the Great Plain below Castelluccio



Signora Derna cleaning her lentils, post-harvest, a few years ago….



Click here for another lentil soup recipe
Click here to read about earthquaked Castelluccio and the Piano Grande flowering majesty
Read about the August and October 2016 earthquake devastation to Castelluccio
Read about Castelluccio di Norcia lentils as quake solidarity
Read about – and see! – Castelluccio splendor
Read more about the flowerings of Castelluccio
Read about nearby Norcia’s earthquake devastation
Read about quake devastation in Visso
Read about another devastated treasure near Norcia, San Salvatore di Campi
Read about the curious history of Preci (near Oct 30 2016 quake epicenter) – and earthquake damage
Click here for news on the glorious Benedictine abbey of Sant’Eutizio (outside Preci)
Read about the famous Castelluccio lentils – and how to cook them

1 Comment

  • Ann Krapf says:

    Lentil soup is one of my favorite dishes but I never thought to put the bruschetta on the bottom of the bowl. We usually do that only for Ribollita. Thank you for all the great recipes.

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