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Norcia ham
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The old Norcineria art

A journey to the heart of the Valnerina culinary tradition.

An ancient tradition which reaches its highest glory in Umbria, between Norcia, Preci and Spoleto, thanks to the pure air and the richness of the aromatic herbs of the area: ideal ingredients for making a healthy and valuable product, known all over the world.

The art of Norcineria, that is the pork processing, has uncertain origins: some people claim it was developed thanks to Jews arrived in Valnerina, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Avoiding pork for religious reasons, they preserved it for trade purposes. 
The certain thing is that pig farming in the area of Norcia existed for a very long time thanks to the oak woods and their fruits, the acorns, their ideal food. Furthermore, the dry climate has always been the most favorable condition for the preservation of meat.

The butchers of Valnerina, especially those from Norcia, refined their techniques since the thirteenth century by exporting the art of cutting, salting and bagging pigs outside the regional borders. A special talent, which according to the tradition was strengthened thanks to the presence of the Preciana Surgical School founded by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Eutizio in Preci, recognized by the Church in 1215.

Step 1

The temple of Umbrian Norcineria is Norcia, which "gives" its name to the ancient tradition in Valnerina. The village, where St. Benedict Patron of Europe was born, developed around the statue dedicated to the Patron Saint and the Basilica where, according to the tradition, the twin Saints Benedict and Scolastica were born. After the 2016 earthquake the village is under reconstruction.

Among the most esteemed products that can be purchased in shops or tasted in local restaurants, there are Fiaschette del Prete (finely ground salami) and Norcia ham, which in 1998 gained the IGP certification.
Besides, the truffled wild boar salami, the mule balls (which take their name from their shape that look like the testicles of the mule, with a spiced lard in the middle to melt on hot bruschetta) and the “ciauscolo”, a spreadable salami made by grinding shoulder, loin, ham, bacon and spices, deserve to be tasted.

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Step 2

About 20 km far from Norcia you reach the small village of Preci with the complex of the Abbey of Saint Eutizio, of ancient origins, currently undergoing restoration as well as other structures in the area. The religious monument, dominated by spectacular caves carved into the rock in which Saints Eutizio and Fiorenzo lived in retreat, for several centuries was the inspiration for all the activities in Valnerina. In this place surrounded by nature and history, it is a pleasure to taste local products such as capocollo, pancetta and coppa.

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Step 3

Than you reach Spoleto, about 43 km far from Preci, a famous and elegant dukedom, one of those established in Italy by the Longobards, where the Duomo, the Towers Bridge and the Albornoz Fortress stand out.

After a walk along the characteristic streets of the centre, take a gastronomic stop to taste the porchetta, the most famous in Umbria, together with the one made in Costano (a hamlet of Bastia Umbra). Another delicious salami is corallina: with a long shape reminding coral branches, it is produced with selected parts of pork shoulder cleaned of excess fat and tendons, with the addition of small hand-cut lardons. In the local tradition, it is enjoyed for breakfast on Easter day with cheese pizza.

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Useful information:
The distance between Norcia, Preci and Spoleto is about 62 km, with a total travel time of one hour.

Trekking routes:
From Norcia to Borgo Cerreto, about 19 km, 350 m in altitude, travel time about 4 hours (one way); from Norcia to Preci, about 20 km, 700 m in altitude, travel time about 6 hours (one way).
From Spoleto to Monteluco (8 km for the carriage road, 2 for the path in the middle of the woods, “la corta di Monteluco”), 1 hour's walk; in Patrico, on the path of the Patricians, 12 km, travel time about 3 hours.

Walking Routes:
From Norcia to Cascia, first stage of the Way of San Benedetto, about 18 km, 490 m in altitude, travel time 4 and a half hours.

Bike routes:
Two bike routes for experts: from Norcia, Piano Grande Castelluccio, circular route, about 47 km, about 1000 meters in altitude, travel time about 3 and a half hours; Bella Forestale Gravel - Crossroads ring route from Preci, about 42 km, about 1,000 in altitude, travel time about 3 hours.
Three mostly flat routes, suitable for families and children, which do not exceed 40 km: from Spoleto to Castello di Beroide; in Silvignano; at the Borgo di San Giacomo.