Posts Tagged ‘Castelluccio’

What future for Castelluccio?

November 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Road to where?

Road to where?

This is the arrow-straight road across the former lake bed near Castelluccio, which appears as a huddled mass on the left.

Following the earthquake and the dropping of the ground level by 2 feet, the place has fallen apart.

The inhabitants have been helicoptered out, all bar 13 intrepid souls who have stayed to feed the animals and protect them from wolves.

The people are saying the apocalypse has happened, but they also say they’re stronger than the apocalypse.

Tilted land

November 3, 2016 2 comments
Too steep to walk on easily

Too steep to walk on easily

Our olive grove is on a steep slope.

So steep that it’s difficult to walk on and I tend to go down it on my bum (hmmm).

But now it seems land could tilt any which way, because of the earthquakes.

I’ve seen helicopter photos of the mountains near Castelluccio with great cracks running through them.

Last night, at about 1.40 am when we were on the point of going to bed, there was a great jolt like when a vehicle slams its brakes on. That one was 4.8 on the Richter scale and nearer than any of the others.

Summer flowers on the Great Plain

September 9, 2016 4 comments
Wild flowers on a road bank of the Great Plain

Wild flowers on a road bank of the Great Plain

This is my fourth and final post on Castelluccio.

The photo shows a bright tangle of wild flowers on the bank of the road which crosses the Great Plain.

The blooms are breathtaking – so many varieties and so many colours.

With skylarks singing, a vast chorus of crickets, and almost hot water to wade through where shallow remnants of lake cover the grass, the experience is magical.

Houses of Castelluccio

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment
Picturesque but ramshackle

Picturesque but ramshackle

The photo was taken in 2003 and some improvements have been made since.

However it’s not hard to see that houses like these would be highly vulnerable in an earthquake.

Wild flowers of Castelluccio

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment
White narcissi and stripy yellow tulips

White narcissi and red-and-yellow striped tulips

Springtime and the old lake bed by Castelluccio, known as the ‘Piano Grande’ (Great Plain), is a carpet of narcissi and tulips.

The mountains at this time are still streaked with snow.


September 6, 2016 Leave a comment
Dwarfed by mountains, Castelluccio clings to its hummock

Castelluccio, dwarfed by mountains

This is possibly the most romantic place I know.

It’s a village perched on an outcrop high in the mountains on the edge of a vast ancient lake bed.

I feel it ought to be inhabited by poets and artists, but in reality it’s more a place for hard-bitten shepherds and farmers used to isolation and long winters.

In due season, the lentil fields are full of poppies and cornflowers, but more magical for me are the expanses of wild flowers which change as the year progresses and reach a climax in early summer just before the hay is cut.

The people of Castelluccio have been leaving in droves in the wake of the recent earthquake and an appeal has been made to try to urge them to return by celebrating the place in words and photographs.

Grand Piano

June 13, 2013 3 comments
The 'piano grande'. Note the town on the hill at the back.

The ‘piano grande’. Note the town on the hill at the back – Castelluccio. The dark splashes are cloud shadows.

The ‘piano grande’ or great plain, jocularly referred to by expats as the Grand Piano, is one the wonders of Umbria.

It’s the dried bed of a lake ringed by mountains, famed for the variety and profusion of its wild flowers.

We went there yesterday with good weather at long last, and breathed the pure air like a desert-wanderer might drink cold water.

There were larks trilling, and crickets singing all among the short grass and flowers – a mix of sounds as mesmeric as disco music.

It’s the most romantic place I know – and that’s before I even start on the flowers!

Flowers on a slope down to the former lake

Flowers on the slopes of the former lake