Norcia, Province of Perugia, Umbria
Norcia, (in Latin Nursia) is an ancient town in southeastern Umbria in a wide plain under the Monti Sibillini, near the Sordo River, a small stream that flows into the Nera. The area is known for its clean air and beautiful scenery, and is a very good base for mountaineering and hiking. It is also widely known for hunting, especially of the wild boar, and for sausages and ham made from wild boar and pork, to the point that Norcia has given its name to such products (in Italian, norcineria).
- Altitude: 604 m a.s.l
- Population: about 4900 inhabitants in 2017
- Zip/postal code: 06046
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0743
- Patron Saint: St. Benedetto, celebrated on 21 March
- Demonym: nursini
- Frazioni & Localities: 30.
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Agriano, Aliena, Ancarano, Biselli, Campi, Capo del Colle, Casali di Serravalle, Castelluccio, Cortigno, Forca Canapine, Fontevena, Forsivo, Frascaro, Legogne, Nottoria, Ocricchio, Ospedaletto, Paganelli, Pescia, Pié del Colle, Pié la Rocca, Piediripa, Popoli, San Marco, San Pellegrino, Sant'Andrea, Sant'Angelo, Savelli, Serravalle, Valcaldara.
The town was a Sabine settlement in the 5th century BC, and became an ally of Rome in 205 BC, during the Second Punic War. St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastic system, and his twin sister Santa Scholastica, were born here in 480. After the earthquake of August 22, 1859, the Papal States, to which Norcia then belonged, imposed a stringent construction code forbidding structures of more than 3 stories and requiring the use of certain materials and building techniques.
What to see
- The basilica dedicated to St Benedict, built in the 13th century on the remains of one or more small Roman buildings, possibly a Roman basilica, or the actual house in which the twin saints were born.
- The Gothic church of Sant'Agostino with its many votive frescoes of St Rocco and St Sebastian.
- The Renaissance church of Santa Maria Argentea (the Duomo)
- In the city walls, Roman inscriptions reused as building material (spolia). Many other Roman vestiges are observable throughout the city, especially in the walls of
- San Lorenzo, the oldest extant church.
- A papal fortress, the Castellina, built in the 16th century, now hosting a small museum with Roman and medieval artifacts, and documents of the Middle Ages and later periods.
- The Historical Centre, entirely flat and completely enclosed by a full circuit of walls that has survived intact from the 14th century, despite many devastating earthquakes (1763, 1859, 1979).