Norcia is a town and comune in the province of Perugia (Italy) in southeastern Umbria, located in a wide plain abutting the Monti Sibillini, a subrange of the Apennines with some of its highest peaks, near the Sordo River, a small stream that eventually flows into the Nera. The town is thus popularly associated with the Valnerina (the valley of that river). The area is known for its air and scenery, and is a base for mountaineering and hiking. It is also widely known for hunting, especially of the wild boar, and for sausages and ham made from wild boar and pork, to the point that Norcia has given its name to such products: in Italian, norcineria. St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastic system, and his twin sister St. Scholastica, were born here in 480. In the following century the city was conquered by the Lombards, becoming part of the Duchy of Spoleto. In the 9th century it suffered from Saracen attacks, which started a period of deep decadence. In the 11th century, it was part of the domain of St. Henry, Holy Roman Emperor.In the 12th century Norcia became an independent commune within the Papal territories, with an increasing political and economical prestige. The collaboration with the Benedictine abbey in Preci led to the creation of the Schola Chirurgica: the latter’s studies allowed Norcia’s to improve their swine breeding capacities. However, the vicinity of the powerful Spoleto and the 1324 earthquake thwarted the city’s ambitions, and in 1354 it returned definitively under the Papal authority.