According to local tradition Preci was founded by the Syrian monk Eutizio at the end of the 5th century AD. A text written by St. Gregory in 594 AD mentions the presence of many pre-Benedictine hermitages in the area, and it is probable that the first urban settlement was built around one of the hermitages. In the 13th century Preci was included in the territory of Norcia, and when it attempted to rebel it was defeated and destroyed by the more powerful Norcia. It was rebuilt (1533) by order of Pope Paul III, but only after a formal act of submission to Norcia. It was separated from Norcia by the will of Pope Pius VII, who assigned the title of Commune to Preci. With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy (1860) Preci kept its status as an autonomous municipality. ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
Worthy of a visit in the historic center, where the Town Hall stands on the main square, is the Castle, dating from the 14th century, destroyed and rebuilt several times, and the Church of Santa Caterina, with an excellent Gothic portal, while the rest of the façade is decorated in the Romanesque style. Also interesting is the Church of Santa Maria, with a 15th-century Pietà and a 16th-century baptismal font. Just outside the historic center are three of Preci's outlying divisions: the hamlets of Roccanolfi, Poggio di Croce and Montebufo, where one finds two parochial churches of particular interest, with many 16th- and 17th-century canvases portraying scenes from the New Testament. The real jewel of Preci is undoubtedly the Benedictine Abbey of Sant'Eutizio, built in three successive stages in the 10th-14th centuries. Founded over the tombs of Syrian monks who first came to these out-of-the-way areas in the 5th century to live as ascetics and hermits, the "abbey" became an important monastery with an oratory, lodgings for pilgrims, pharmacy, school of paleography and miniature, scriptorium, and even a library of illuminated manuscripts. Starting in the 1200s and continuing for the entire Middle Ages, it became a flourishing center for the Preci school of surgery, famous throughout Europe: the tradition of the Benedictine monks' operating techniques was passed on to the people of Preci and spread to Norcia, Spoleto, Foligno and Rome. In the midst of wild, uncontaminated nature, Preci lies within the Sibillini Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful natural protected areas in Central Italy. Here rocky peaks alternate with karstic tablelands and hills, and where there are hornbeam, Turkey oak, pubescent oak, and beech woods, as well as pastures with plant species endemic to the central Apennines.