“Have you ever heard about the village of Rasiglia?” Matteo and I were asked this question by Rodolfo and Sara, a couple we met in Castelluccio di Norcia. The restaurant was so full that we shared the only table left. This is something I usually dislike, cause I’m very shy and I don’t speak much, unless (for some reason that is still a mystery) I click with someone. Every time Matteo and I found ourselves in this situation it was a pain. But not this time. Sara and Rodolfo were really nice and chatty. We started talking about our love for small villages, and that’s when they mentioned it. “Ah, you should see it, so lovely!”. And so we did.
Where is Rasiglia
Rasiglia is a mountain village of medieval appearance, 40 minutes by car from Assisi and 1 hour from Norcia, where we stayed. Its nicknames are “village of brooks” and also “tiny Venice of Umbria”, cause several streams cross the center. Thanks to the waters, it was once an important center for the production of wool and for the dyeing plants. After the second world war, the factories were moved to the biggest towns in the surrounding. Nowadays the village counts just about 40 inhabitants.
As a homage to the past, you’ll spot here and there some reproductions of ancient photos or painting, depicting, for example, a woman weaving or the washerwomen at the wash house (that it is still visible). You can visit the shop inside the ancient mill and see the old millstone.
The place is tiny and you can visit it all in an hour, photos included. But it’s a nice place, very quiet (at least when we visited it) and with a pleasant atmosphere of the “good old days”. Stone houses, narrow alleys, creeks, small waterfalls, some fountains, a water basin, a church and two cafés, all surrounded by woods. The color of the water is unbelievable: all the shades of green and blue, fed by the sources of Menotre river (which originates here). We saw a couple of locals filling many glass bottles with water, and so we did the same with our water bottle.
The Castle and the Sanctuary
On top of the hill, you’ll see some ruins. They were once part of a military fortress, dating back to 1300. You can reach the castle ruins by foot thanks to a path (that can be tricky for those out of training). 1 km south of the village you can visit the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie. According to the legend, the people of Rasiglia once found a statue of the virgin in a brook. And that’s why they decided to build this church right here (around 1450). Inside the sanctuary, you can admire several frescoes, all votive.
In the last years, this village has been living a period of fame due to the photos circulating online and on social media.
The main events in the village are 2:
- Penelope a Rasiglia, taking place in June and dealing with ancient jobs: sheep shearing, wool dyeing, and weaving workshops.
- Rasiglia Paese Presepe, around Christmas the village hosts a living nativity scene, involving the inhabitants and their houses.