Discovering the Valnerina

Excursion in the Valnerina – Norcia – Abbey of Sant'Eutizio

From Norcia to the Abbey of Sant'Eutizio, a hike to explore nature in the Valnerina.

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Difficulty:  E (easy excursion)
Ascent/descent:  +550/-520
Distance:  14,2 Km
Surface:  Dirt roads

Your hike begins in Norcia, the birthplace of the Patron Saint of Europe, St. Benedict, set in the lovely Sibillini Mountains. The appeal of Norcia lies in its many narrow streets and alleys, in the little squares with fountains, the orchards and fenced-in gardens, the aristocratic palazzos adjacent to convent walls or public buildings. Stroll around, look at the towers, at the gates that interrupt the imposing medieval city walls, still perfectly conserved in the shape of a heart. Put on your most comfortable walking shoes and set off on your hike from the main square of Norcia, Piazza San Benedetto. The piazza was built in 1869 to give the town a new urban layout. Look around you at the Palazzo Comunale (City Hall). The staircase guarded by two marble lions and the upper level of the building date back to the XIII century.

Leave town by the Porta Romana and follow the signs that point to Perugia and Rome. Just outside the walls, turn right at the crossroads. Leave the main road and turn onto the street on the left. Soon after, get on the dirt road and follow the white/red trail markers. At the juncture with the paved road, cross to the other side and continue upwards. Continue along the dirt road on the right staying left and go straight at the fork, then left onto the trail. At the next encounter with the paved road, continue on the trail in front of you until you reach

Forca d'Ancarano. Take a break here to visit the sanctuary, a pre-Christian place of worship marked by the remains of a temple. It's a beautiful place to eat your packed lunch, perhaps a sandwich made with the delicious cured meats (norcineria) this area is so famous for.

After having visited the sanctuary, get on the dirt road on the right and then stay left following the trail markers, going uphill on a cement road. Go towards Campi Vecchio and, before reaching the town, take the street that descends to the left. After the Church of Sant'Antonio, turn right and then left, and left again after some 100 metres. Here you will find the Church of San Salvatore. Now continue to your left and follow the signs for the Abbey of Sant'Eutizio, today's final destination. The beauty of the abbey will surprise you. It seems to rise out of the rocky mountain side, while the other buildings of the abbey are nestled in the verdant green more typical of Umbrian hills.