Pasquarella - From the 1st of January to Epiphany
An ancient tradition in which men and women, vested in costumes of the time sing in groups (so-called "Pasquarellari"), going from house to house announcing the coming of the "Magi" Kings and therefore the Epiphany of Easter.
January 17th - Feast of St Anthony, Abbot
This feast derives from ancient agricultural rites of purification for men, animals, and fields. The farmers bring animals to be blessed by priests during a joyous festival in the town square. This event is referred as the "l'asta delle agnelle," or in English, the "public offering of the lambs," sold only on this occasion. Along with other animals offered by the owners of the flocks. These animals are sold and the money is used for the maintenance and upkeep or the churches and for organizing festivities in honor of Saint Anthony, the Abbot.
Last Weekend of February/First Weekend of March
Market of the Renowned Black Truffle of Norcia and other Local Products
It is a great agricultural and food exposition that has occurred over many years showing the principle delicacies of the Valnerina region in which, recently, have added famous chefs representating all regions of Italy and international areas: above all, the renowned black truffle of Norcia, the products of the Ancient Norcineria (traditional butcher shops of Norcia), appreciated meats, cheeses, lentils of Castelluccio, and the einkorn, or special Medieval wheat with a nut like flavor.
. In this market expo one finds enough space for craftsmanship, tools, and farm machinery. There are also folklore shows, with the possibility of meeting famous people as international cinema and theater actors, television personalities, sport celebrities, political figures, lovers of the truffle (tartufo) and fine dining. There are also interesting national and international conferences, shows, sporting competitions, all serve as the backdrop for this festival dedication to the black truffle. You have absolutely nothing to lose!
February 2nd - The "Lu Sabbatu Scocciareju" Carnival
This is a Carnival in Forti Square in Norcia. This feast is celebrated on the last Saturday of Carnival (the last week before the beginning of Lent) and is very similar to the "Pentolaccia." There is a oval vase that hangs and children or adults wear a blindfold and try to break it open with a bat to receive carnival prizes although many times they receive only funny surprises.
March 21st - Feast of St Benedict
A Medieval re-enactment, an emotional show that re-enacts faithfully how people celebrated during ancient times. The famous armed soldiers with lances of Norcia show themselves in a spectacular combat between men on horses between the "Guaite" (the Medieval term that marks the bordered areas of the city of Norcia corresponding to the protective architectural gate structures of access to the historical center) of the city. The competition concludes with the offering of the "Palio" (a Banner of special material awarded to the victorious) to St Benedict and with the march of distinguished people of the court through the city streets along with villagers in Medieval costume of the "Sette Guaite," or "Seven Guardposts."
Good Friday before Easter - Sacred Rites and Way of the Cross
In the Medieval centers of the city of Norcia and of Cascia, with the procession of a statue of Jesus lying in a tomb, and with the portrayal of four living scenes from the Passion, one will have the experience of reliving and contemplating the final moments of the life of Jesus Christ. This is done by creating a backdrop that is very fascinating, similar to what you would find on a film set, with horses, Roman soldiers, and actors in costumes of many sorts, which creates a moment of strong spiritual and connection.
May 1st - "Pianta Maggio" "May Planting"
It is one of the more folkloristic events among those happening on the calendar. This is symbolic of the arrival of spring which is celebrated by planting a poplar tree which, by way of its form, comes from the remaining propitiatory rites in the evocation of fertility. Generally on the top of the tree, planted in the main square of the village town, is placed the national flag (at one time Italy was separated by separate states with their own flags). All of this happens in a festive climate and great feeling of a unified city. There is rejoicing added by the "cantamaggio," or group of singers who sing harmony, who come to sing just for this particular occasion.
May 25th - The Flower Exposition for the "Corpus Domini"(Latin for "Body of the Lord")
During the night before the procession of "Corpus Domini," (Latin for "Body of the Lord") some citizens spread the principal streets of the historical center of Norcia, with floral motifs and sacred images made of flower petals of many colors. The main flower motif is made on Corso Sertorio and at St Benedict Square, where the procession the following morning concludes.
2nd Sunday of June - The Blooming of Flowers
An truly marvelous event, a one-of-a kind spectacle in the world. It depicts the feast for the flowers blooming from the lands of Castellucio and Norcia. It is a most ancient feast that remembers the traditional return of the flocks to the mountain. At one time, the villagers, to celebrate the event, all gathered in the field with ornate sticks of flowers, creating a feast in the midst of the blooming springtime flowers. Keeping in mind that the time when the seasons change is indeterminate, an exact date for the flowering of the pasture lands, the approximate date is generally identified as the second Sunday of June in order to celebrate this fascinating reawakening of nature.
July 10(Evening) - The Torchlight Procession "For Peace and a One United Europe"
The torchlight procession "For Peace and United Europe" has happened each year since 1968, on the occasion of the Feast of St Benedict, the patron of Europe, celebrated two times a year on Mar 21st (date of his death), and July 11th (date of his birth). On the preceding night, the feast begins traditionally in St Benedict Square.
August 16th Fire "de Sienti 'n può" or, "Experience a bit"
It is a market exposition of antiques and homemade products from the Valnerina region. The name comes from the famous saying: "Sienti un puo'..."'(Experience a bit' !?...)
September 8th - The Madonna of Graces
At the Monastery of the Madonno of Graces, in the nearby areas of Norcia there is an organized a feast to remember the birth of the Madonna. The event, which happens on the lawns of the monastery, begins in the afternoon with a "scampagnata", or a picnic, which is followed with songs and traditional ballroom dancing into the late evening.
September 15th - Madonna of Sorrows
This takes place in the square opposite the Church of the Madonna of Sorrows (Sergio Forti Square): the religious program begins with a solemn Mass with a procession through the streets of the historical center of Norcia, with times of public entertainment, various amusements, music in the square, and a supervised fireworks show finale.
December 9th - "Fires" and "The Bells"
Very fascinating: The tradition derives from the night of December 9th, a host of Angles transported the house of the Madonna from Nazareth to Loreto. It tells of shepherds had lit large fires, the so called "faoni" for burning and for...showing the way for the angels. The people of that place remember this, yet today light enormous fires near their houses and in the main squares of Norcia, for recreating that moment. This feast is accompanied with sausages and various foods until midnight where people await the ringing of the bells from which derives a second name of the event:"The Bells."
Local Products of Norcia and the Surrounding Territory
- The Renowned Black Truffle of Norcia
- Excellent cow, pig, and lamb meats
- The IGP Ham
- Excellent cow, lamb, and goat cheeses
- Excellent honey
- The lentils of Castelluccio
- The saffron of Cascia
- The einkorn of Monteleone (spelt, or grain used in Medieval times with a nutlike flavor)
- Homemade chocolate