Castelluccio di Norcia

Paradise, lost... - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

This medieval town stole my heart.  Yes, it took a hair-raising journey to get there. Yet, in a matter of two days, I was in love.

I was in love with being waken up by the melodious soun
d of the sheep jingling by our window in the morning, the galloping horses grazing in a scenery that can only come from a set in a movie, the mountains that move in lines that dance, and the mystical play of light and the ever-rolling-and-ever-dispersing clouds...  

Shepherd-and-His-Sheep-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Shepherd-and-His-Sheep-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

On the morning of our departure, when I put away my camera one final time and turned around, tears rolled down my cheeks.  I thought I was sad from the good-bye.  My heart longed to come back to be close to this paradise again, soon.

Two weeks ago, when the earthquake struck central Italy, I was in a country with restricted access to news in the world.  When I finally got back to free land, my heart trembled at what had happened - The town was reduced to rubble (in face, the ground is now as much as two feet lower), the already difficult road was shaken to be almost impossible to drive on, and the Apennine Mountain surrounding the Grand Plane (Piano Grande) showing crack line running across it.  

Castelluccio di Norcia, may you rise above the shambles and be rebuilt with more charm in your heart.  May your people stay strong and, hello, horses and sheep of this beautiful land, may you stay safe and resilient in the sub-zero temperatures.  I wish to see you all again soon, in the town that appears to be perched above the cloud!    

Village-of-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Perched-above-the-Cloud-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Village-of-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Perched-above-the-Cloud-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Magical Light in Castelluccio di Norcia, Umbria, Italy - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Castelluccio di Norcia truly is a place "out of this world".  As mentioned in this post, the people here have cultivated lentils for generations.  During the time of our visit, the seeds had been sowed and the rest was left in the hands of nature.  The temperature's not quite there yet and all the lavish colors of yellow, red, purple, etc. that this town is well-known for during summer were not ready to show.  However, lentils were starting to bloom and, day by day,  we were seeing more flowers and colors appearing in the graphic display down in the Piano Grande (the "Great Plain").

This image was made when we went out to explore and the storm was rolling in.  The magic light of this place looks as if a naughty fairy lit up the patches of yellow flowers with a mirror behind the roaring clouds.

Check our
Italy gallery often for more images from this amazing land.
 

Piano-Grande-being-Lit-by-Mirror-Like-Light-in-Stormy-Weather-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Piano-Grande-being-Lit-by-Mirror-Like-Light-in-Stormy-Weather-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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We Happened Upon Paradise on Earth - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

It's been known that we love traveling and do travel a lot.  The question that we get the most is where our favorite city/country is.  Our honest answer has been that there is no one favorite.  All those countries and cities that we (personally selected to) travel to bring so much in terms of culture, personal interactions and unique architecture/landscape/sceneries.  We love them all and have considered retiring in more than one country. :-)

As our taste has grown increasingly "wild", our trips have taken us further and further away from the so-called "beaten paths".  Towards the end of our last trip in Italy, the winding road with hairpin turns one after another lead us onto the little village of
Castelluccio di Norcia.  Perched at 1,452 meters' altitude, it is the highest settlement in the Apennine Mountains.

The village has roughly 150 residents and given the special geographic condition, the people here have
cultivated lentils for generations.  Despite that it was still early for lentil flowers (or most any flowers) to carpet the "Great Plain" (Piano Grande) underneath it, I knew I was in for a treat when my eyes met these painterly mountains and the grazing animals that don't even care whether we were there. :-)

Horses-Grazing-at-the-Foot-of-Painterly-Mountains-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Horses-Grazing-at-the-Foot-of-Painterly-Mountains-Castelluccio-di-Norcia-Umbria-Italy-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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