Anne's Blog

Castelluccio on the Piano Grande: “Fading” Colors?!

Date: July 15, 2016 - categories: - 1 Comment

Our smiling young waiter Davide told us, “yes, still beautiful but the wildflower colors are fading now….” as we looked out at the expansive flowering Piano Grande (“Great Plain”) below us.

As we do every year, I’d been checking in at Castelluccio (calling an inn there) every week or so since June to ask “la fioritura, a che punto e’?” (“What’s flowering now?”)

Maximum splendor of the flowerings of the Great Plain (nearly 5000 ft) spreading out below tiny medieval mountain village, Castelluccio, always depends on weather conditions. A rainy, chilly May and June meant later floral majesty this year.

Piano Grande glory

Piano Grande glory

This year’s “floral peak” was early July. Heading there a week later with Vivian and Martin and grandson, Brady, we might have missed the flaming yellow rapeseed but the fiery red poppies merging with the blue cornflowers astounded.

Blues and reds merge below Castelluccio

Blues and reds merge below Castelluccio

We joined other visitors armed with cameras of all sizes and shapes to take our photos of the splendors just below Castelluccio and then headed up to this gem of a walled medieval town for lunch. At Agriturismo Monte Veletta, Davide and his sister Michela dash between kitchen – where Mamma Luigia cooks – and the outdoor veranda overlooking the Great Plain where diners feast on Umbrian goodness and visual splendors.

Vivian and grandson, Brady, take in the Castelluccio splendor

Vivian and grandson, Brady, take in the Castelluccio splendor

Brady with grandparents, Vivian and Martin

Brady with grandparents, Vivian and Martin

Photographers take in the splendor

Photographers take in the splendor

Photographers take in the splendor

Photographers take in the splendor

Castelluccio

Castelluccio

Davide at the door of his family’s restaurant

Davide at the door of his family’s restaurant

Entrance to the dining room of Agriturismo Monte Veletta

Entrance to the dining room of Agriturismo Monte Veletta

Mamma Luigia at the burners

Mamma Luigia at the burners

David serves up lentils with sausage and grilled eggplants

David serves up lentils with sausage and grilled eggplants

waiter

Michela heading to the veranda with sheep’s milk cheeses (pecorino)

This mountainous area is home to many a shepherd and the pecorino of a local shepherd was not to miss, nor the homemade tagliatelle with mutton (local, too) sauce: my choice. Martin opted for the arrosticini, or tidbits of grilled local lamb on a spit. Brady chose a Castelluccio specialty, lentil soup with local sausage, made by Davide’s mamma with the tiny IGP lenticchie di Castelluccio raised by papa’ Ottavia, farmer. Ottavio cultivates the roveja beans, too, and his farro stars in the Agriturismo’s zuppa di farro and insalata di farro.

Pecorino, tasty sheep’s milk cheese

Pecorino, tasty sheep’s milk cheese

Pecorino cheese flanks wild chicory

Pecorino cheese flanks wild chicory

Kathy brings my tagliatelle with mutton sauce

Kathy brings my tagliatelle with mutton sauce

arrosticini

Arrosticini

Brady chooses the lentil soup with sausage

Brady chooses the lentil soup with sausage

Lentil soup with local sausage

Lentil soup with local sausage

Michela serves Vivian and Martin

Michela serves Vivian and Martin

Tempting local grilled meats

Tempting local grilled meats

The tempting menu

The tempting menu

family-3

Davide with his papa’ Ottavio, farmer of roveja beans, lentils and farro

Davide with papa' Ottavio’s roveja beans and lentils

Davide with papa’ Ottavio’s roveja beans and lentils

The veranda was full and the indoor dining room, too. Although young Claire from Albania and Kathy (inspite of her name, from nearby) flanked Michela and Davide in serving up the goodness, service was still very slow.

A full dining room

A full dining room

Guests on the veranda enjoy tasty foods and captivating views

Guests on the veranda enjoy tasty foods and captivating views

Claire serves grilled eggplant

Claire serves grilled eggplant

Claire flanks Davide in the dining room

Claire flanks Davide in the dining room

Nessun problema: the kaleidoscopic floral sweep of the Great Plain below made us want to stay all afternoon.

Piano Grande majesty…

Piano Grande majesty…

piana-6

piana-5

piana-4

cartello

Read – and see!- more on Castelluccio and the flowerings
Click here for a lentil soup recipe
Read about nearby Norcia – famous for sausages, and not only
See la fioritura (“the flowerings”) on Youtube
Read about my times with Vivian and Martin in the U.S
Read about cooking with Vivian
Read about the famous Castelluccio lentils – and how to cook them

1 Comment

  • janey says:

    this is crazy!!!! all of these sites…I saw! Sat at that same restaurant with Franca and Andrea on our day visit to Castelluccio. I even have that same bag of lentils in my pantry. Oh what a beautiful day we had…..wasn’t there at right time for the blooms but the landscapes were still beautiful. Is the landscape greenery in the shape of Italy still on the side of the mountain?? I got great pics of that!!
    …sigh…..I miss the beauty there.

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