"Piano Grande ? Italy in Italy" Italy Things to Do Tip by Trekki
Italy Things to Do: 1,466 reviews and 2,247 photos
Ever since I’ve read Simone’s page about Piano Grande I wanted to go there even if I didn’t have a clue of where it is exactly located or what a fantastic sight it must be in late spring. But when I prepared my trip I realised that it is just north of Norcia (which I wanted to visit). Furthermore I read about and saw photos of fioritura which gave me another desperate reason to go there. And finally, when I was browsing more websites (in fact I spent a whole weekend looking up websites about Piano Grande, mostly photo sites) I found the ultimate matter to make sure that I must go there, no matter if sky falls on my head before or not (to quote Majestix/Vitalstatistics/Abrarac(o)urcix…). And this was “Italy in Italy”. Now this might sound weird, but look at my main photo and enlarge it. What do you see? Italy, right? Yes, it is indeed a forest or a wooded slope where trees have been cut so that the remaining ones form the shape of Italy. Everything is there, including Sicilia and Sardegna! Amazing!
But to make a long story short and also to prevent you dear readers from making the same mistake as I did: fioritura or the most magnificent plain in bloom is NOT appearing in April (I have called myself an idiot for having believed this already on another page) but in late June or early July. This year it was more early July and Silvio (TrekEarth photo sharing website) has arranged a TrekEarth member meeting which resulted in the most magnificent photos of Piano Grande in bloom, July 6, 2008 (the other links are broken by now but I try to look for more). Ahh, next time I will come during this time of year.
Some flowers, by the way, are the visual expression of Piano Grande’s “gold”: tiny delicious lentils for which Castelluccio is famous throughout Italy and also worldwide. To learn about the different flowers in Piano Grande’s four different vegetation zones, please read Castelluccio's website below.
Now April wasn’t still a “bad” time to visit Piano Grande, as the weather with its fog and low clouds made it an almost surreal sight, like being on another planet! I was the only tourist and partly the only person in this 7 km long and 3 km wide high plain and the village of Castelluccio in the far distance on top of the hill looked like a castle out of a fairy tale or mystery story. Only horses were grazing here and somehow it reminded me a bit of what I saw of Kyrgyzistan two years ago.
For more photos of this amazing high plain please see:
Piano Grande by Franz Bauer
Transport: there is no regular transport to Piano Grande and Castelluccio except Thursday morning from Norcia. The only possibility to get there apart from that would be hiking (long and strenous without appropriate gear) or hitchhiking.
Location of Piano Grande on Google Maps.
nearest airport: Ancona (Falconara, code AHO) or Pescara (code PSR, region Abruzzo)
© Ingrid D., May 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.), update March 2011: broken links removed or replaced.
Address: Piano Grande near Norcia (Umbria)
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