From the geographical and nature standpoint, Norcia is located in Southeast Umbria, a junction between two very different but adjacent landscapes, i.e. Valnerina, the district of the narrow river valley carved out by the River Nera and its tributaries, and the Sibylline Mountains, the center of the Sibylline Mountains National Park, a mountainous area with peaks reaching and exceeding heights of 2,000 m (about 6,562 ft.)
The area opens out into large plateaux, headed by the fascinating Great Plateau (Pian Grande – about 15 sq. km/nearly 6 sq. miles). This is joined by smaller plateaux (Pian Piccolo, Pian Perduto, Quarto San Lorenzo and Pian dei Pantani). In the late spring (second half of June), the plateau becomes the theatre for a singular natural event called “the Flowering”. This event consists of simultaneous blooming of dozens of different floral species that create a multicolour “rug” covering the whole of the valley.
The Great Plateau of Castelluccio is also known for the eponymous lentils and some rare species of orchids. Golden eagles, although rare, are also present. On the Castelluccio plateau Mount Vettore stands out, with its peaks accommodating Lake Pilate (Lago di Pilato), a small lake varying in level, fed by the melting snow from the mountain’s peaks. The lake is the home of an indigenous species of crustacean, Chirocephalus marchesonii.