The Enchanting Village of Castelluccio
There are some places that hit you like lightning, out of the blue, unexpectedly. The village of Castelluccio nestled in the Apennine mountains of Umbria region, Italy was one of them.
We reached Castelluccio late night when the sky was showing the last shades of blue. We could see a small cluster of lights perched on a hill across a vast empty lifeless valley. This was the village. It started to get chilly even though it was mid summer and we decided to move on after a few customary photos at 6400 ISO.
The village lies at 1452 m, making it the highest settlement in the Apennines. The higher the better for us mountain animals.
Photo: Castelluccio from a distance overlooking Piano Grande at 10 PM
Castelluccio is perhaps the one of the oldest villages in Italy, it was built in 13th century or slightly earlier, and also settled by the Romans.
One of the most striking features in Italy is here, the Piano Grande. It is a vast, upland plain, situated above 4,000ft, ringed by mountains overlooked by this village. In late May and early June it is renowned for its extraordinary floral displays: swathes of wild crocuses one week, narcissi the next, grape hyacinth, wild tulips, poppies, thousands of orchids and rarities such as snakes’ head fritillaries, among many others (Source: Telegraph.co.uk). But we couldn’t see any of these in the night which hid the thousands of flowers in the valley. I will show you the pictures of this area in tomorrow’s blog.
We checked into Taverna Castellucchio, a small hotel and bar. The owner gave us a couple of very grand new rooms inside the main village where we could park our bikes right in front.
This is when I discovered the real jewel the village was. My co-rider, Anurag decided to rest in the room and I decided to take a walk in the village. It was past 12 Am midnight, pitch black outside in the valley but the village was lit up perfectly with streetlights creating an eerie play of shadows with the intriguing elements – the rusted iron railings, the chained wooden dilapidated doors , the spiralling stone footsteps, the cobblestone streets.
All this with not a soul in sight and pin drop silence. No insect cacophony, nothing at all. As I was walking, trying not to break the perfect silence with my steel toes boots, I was wondering if this was a studio setup crafted specifically for me! The stupendously clean alleyways further created doubts if anyone walks here at all!
The atmosphere was very dramatic, reminding me of video games like ‘Painkiller’ and ‘Diablo’ and me playing them with a 1st POV shooting things at sight with my Canon 5D Mark 2 set at insane ISO levels.
I am not good with words, a little better with photos and I can’t really express what tremendous impression that nightwalk through the sinuous and rollercoaster snug empty alleyways had on me but I do sincerely hope that you will include this hidden jewel in Italy in your itinerary…
Now let the photos speak.