Visiting the Lentil Fields at Casteluccio

The July following our arrival in Italy some friends took me up to what seemed like the top of the world to see the lentil fields flowering in Casteluccio in Umbria.  We were a little early so although I enjoyed the day there wasn’t all that much to see.

I have been promising myself and my husband that we would go up one weekend when we were sure the fields would be colourful.

So nine years later we got there! I had never seen what a lentil flower looked like, but I’d been told and the website implied that the lentils flowers were many different colours making the huge fields in the Alpine meadow-like bowl high up in the Apennines a sight worth the three hour drive.  We actually decided to go for the weekend with some good friends and stayed overnight in the delightful, ancient town of Norcia, famous for all cured meats from the pig and Wild Boar plus truffles.

The road verges on the way up were full of wild flowers including at lower levels huge amounts Cotinus seemingly growing as ground cover.  Higher, the number of wild flowers on the verges was (I really don’t know what adjective to use) AMAZING, ASTOUNDING, FANTASTIC, INCREDIBLE, ASTONOSHING, MIRACULOUS!  All of these and more cannot describe how wonderful the sight was; and remember we hadn’t reached the lentil fields yet and it was those that are famous.

Onobrychis viciifolia on road verge

Onobrychis viciifolia on road verge

From a distance away we could see ordered rectangular fields in blue, yellow, red and pink – so that was the lentil flowers! But NO, here’s the twist – the local farmers or possibly the town (village) council actually add different wild flowers to the lentil seed, meaning that the fields are different combinations of colours every year.  The main flowers used are red poppies (Papaver rhoeas), blue cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and yellow mustard;

Onobrychis viciifolia on verge

Patchwork quilt of colour

20130713_9999_109 blog 20130713_9999_143 blog 20130713_9999_154 blog 20130713_9999_93 blog

In the background you can just see the town of Casteluccio

and the colour of the lentil flowers themselves just an insipid off white, not large, not beautiful just delicious!

Lentil flower

Lentil flower

Sedum acre and thyme

Sedum acre and thyme on the road verge

20130713_9999_175 blogThis is a working farming environment so I’m not sure what this shepherd thought of all the people who came to photograph the flowers.

20130713_9999_146 blog

There were so many wonderful images I’ll post some more later.  If you are in central Italy with a car during late June to the end of July I recommend you visit this beautiful place, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

By the road I saw these grasses, aren’t they just stunning.

grasses blowing in the wind

grasses blowing in the wind

21 thoughts on “Visiting the Lentil Fields at Casteluccio

  1. How amazing! I just made lentil soup the other night…and I called them beans to my kids…then I was like, duh…are they beans? Peas? Oh no! felt like a dork!

  2. What amazing pictures Christina, I have never known what a lentil flower looks like, thank you! Do you know why they sow other flowers in with their crop, do they do it as a tourist attraction, I would have thought it would make picking the lentils more difficult or are they harvested by machine?

    • I’m sure it is to attract tourists, there is very little else in the area. I imagine they are harvested by machine. I think it may have begun when they decided to be organic, obviously lots of wild flowers would have appeared and then when they saw how it looked decided to actually add the wild flowers to the seed mix.

  3. I agree that the lentils are definitely Worth a Visit – even when the flowers are not quite in bloom. Perhaps they could install a web cam so we can check on flowering and go at the right moment? Or would that just spoil the thrill of suspense? The locals deny that they sow the wild flower seeds but I think they are pulling our legs …. wouldn’t be possible without some intervention?

  4. I use a lot of lentils but never really though about what the flowers looked like and I would never have guessed they were grown in such a beautiful place. Wild flower heaven.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.