main street, Norcia
One of our days was spent driving to the Valnerina area, to the lovely town of Norcia
. I remember this place for two things : it was the birthplace of St Benedict, founder of the well-known Benedictine order of monks, and also apparently the birthplace of the art of pork butchering and salami! Shops/Delis selling salami, cured meats, etc are called 'norceneria'. There is a high plateau visible in the distance, often visited during its annual display of the most beautiful wildflowers. We started off with a quick coffee power-up in one of the local bars and then proceeded with our tasting tour - salami, cheese, wine - before splitting up to wander the quiet backstreets. Walked around on my own, for some space, and took photos in the stillness, until I eventually decided to sit in a quiet corner, watching the odd person come by. Then off again, past the ancient walls, through the quiet courtyards and down the narrow cobblestoned roads. Our eventual lunchtime rendezvous was all about tasting the most delicious porchetta from a van on one of the side streets : the aroma of the tender, succulent pork, infused with herbs and garlic, stuffed generously with little bits of crunchy crackling into the freshest panini.....Heaven in a paper napkin!