Mozzafiato Lenticchie di Castelluccio

July 16, 2015 / Food & Wine
Castelluccio, Umbria

(…cont’d from here.)

Castelluccio alleyways

…and no visit to Castelluccio is complete without a bowl of hearty zuppa di lenticchie, accompanied by a robust local red wine. Eating with a view of the chromatic splendor of il Piano Grande is best: you’ll have both at the Locanda de’ Senari where beaming Mariella reigns over the burners and grill, husband Ulisse pitching in as needed.

Castelluccio lentil goodness
Lentil soup with sausages -an Umbrian specialty
Mariella at the grill
Gabriella and Ulisse

Rivaling her lentil soup (recipe here), the buonissima zuppa di farro spezzato (“cracked” farro – the grain ground to light flakes) entices, too. Pappardelle al cinghiale (a wide fettuccine with wild boar sauce) is another Locanda favorite. Don’t miss grilled lamb in this village, once home to mostly shepherds: Mariella’s kitchen was once a sheep stall.

Farro goodness in Castelluccio
Pappardelle al cinghiale
Enjoying the good food of Castelluccio

And an elderly shepherd, Oreste, often sits on a bench near the Locanda wooden doors, ready to recount tales of his childhood herding sheep barefoot. A few doors down, elderly Derna has memories to share, too, as she deftly sifts through kilos of her family’s harvested lentils.

Old wooden door of an abandoned stall in Castelluccio
Oreste - at rest now!
Shepherd, Oreste, tells his stories
Signora Derna enjoying visitors while at work

And just in case a bowl of lentils with a mozzafiato view is not enough – and you’re trapped by the mozzafiato majesty of il Piano Grande and Castelluccio (and Oreste’s and Derna’s reminiscences) – Mariella and Ulisse rent rooms above the Locanda.

(The following five images are courtesy of Assisi photographer, Marco Francalancia… grazie infinite!)



Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See for more on her Umbria tours. Do see for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

20 Responses to “Mozzafiato Lenticchie di Castelluccio”

  1. Gian Banchero

    Grazie Anne per la ricetta!!! Since I have all the ingredients for the lentil soup there’s no guessing what I’ll have for dinner tonight. Along with adding potatoes I might also added a very small amount of noodles or spaghetti. Mmm. Again, thank you Anne.

  2. Kathy Lamb

    We have been to Italy countless times and I think Castelluccio is one of Italy’s best kept secrets!! We eat a meal every time we go and always purchase lentils to bring back to Oklahoma!!! We have even purchased them from the sweet lady in your photo!

  3. Mary Jo Barbato

    Beautiful pictures, Anne. The plate of pasta also looks amazing. The food in Umbria is always amazing.

  4. Francesca Giacalone

    Brava Anne!!!
    My mouth is watering just from reading this article!!
    I see all is well with you!
    Warm regards!!!

  5. Rosemary Johnson

    Your photography is amazing! I love lentils and pasta and give Mariella and her husband two thumbs up!

  6. Stephanie W

    I can’t think of a lovelier place to enjoy the lentil soup, in the middle of that piano grande! You have the best gift for finding these little gems. I’m drawn to sit & listen to the older generation, sharing their amazing stories. Another great article, Annie!

  7. I sat at that exact same picnic table with Franca and Andrea eating a bowl of that dreamy lentil soup!! I brought some lentil pkgs home but didn’t know how she made the soup….so thanks for the recipe! And we picked mushrooms in that gorgeous poppy field. How I wished I could have seen the flowers in bloom. Loved loved castellucio. I even helped the sweet lady pick thru the lentils! Thank u so much for this post…it let me go right back to that day!! Ahhhhhh….

  8. Deborah Salae

    Anne, I swear that the Italian Government should create a post for you as “Italy’s Internet Travel Ambassador” because your posts are so evocative and so inviting that at the end of reading each one, I am so hankering to get on a plane to Italy. It’s one thing that your writing is so descriptive, but quite another that your photographs are so beautifully focused, composed and colorful. To top it all off, you must have such a warm and easy way of engaging with the Italian people you feature in your posts, because in their photographs they always look so comfortable and at ease with you. Brava!

  9. Jenny Hannan

    Lentil soup perfect for our freezing winter weather, currently 12 degrees – freezing for a Sydney winter. Great article as ever Annie. Jenxx

  10. Dear Anne, Jane loved your mouth-watering piece with the wonderful lady and her lentil soup – one of her favorites – so I’ve promised Jane we’ll track that lady’s place down.

  11. Norman Tellis

    Wonderful and engaging narrative AND beautiful pictures, Annie !! (with a recipe to boot!) – makes me hungry even here in the heat (almost 100F in Dallas today).

  12. Rachel

    One more place that I absolutely MUST visit. The Farro Soup looks wonderful, too! Thank for sharing this gem.

  13. Wish we could join you on your trip next May – I know you will provide an amazing, unforgettable event for all involved! We have been on your guided tours – and they are always wonderful. Your connection to the coutryside & the people is unique.

  14. Rebecca

    Thank you for bringing back wonderful memories of trips to Castelluccio. It is a true Italian treasure, with stunning landscapes. Delightful article and pictures, Anne.

  15. Looks wonderful! Wish we were back in Italy. Perugia was our favorite, loved the food and people.


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