What do you like about Italy?
Italy is made of a few large metropolises, many little cities and an enormous number of boroughs. Even if I’m fascinated by each one, what I look for in summer is above all the Italy of villages, which I discover steps by steps and bites by bites. I took a trip to the Marche region visiting small villages and little towns with a great soul.
I’ve organized my holiday notes that I’ve been writing about while I’m traveling, on a notebook that I always carry with me, here’s my itinerary.
My itinerary to discover Marche.
I travel along provincial and secondary roads, one kilometer after the other, all that beauty to admire, without haste, the windows open and the road map fluttering and bending while in the back seat there is the dog with its ears in the wind and its nose high to sniff the itinerary.
Marche is a region of central Italy that brings the sign of that typical Italian melting pot where marriages of cultures and flavours are celebrated on the borders. At times it resembles Romagna, but also Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio.
Le Marche, which in the final plural of its name says all about its wealth, lacks an identity of its own. Sober, gentle and hard working, the people of the Marche region honour a land rich in history with which I have fallen in love.
Travel notes and many photos.
I decided to write a Travel Itinerary dedicated to the Marche region leaving space for photos that make more than words. The strength of the silent villages I visited. The melancholy of fascinating historic houses for sale. The beauty of villages abandoned or inhabited by a few old people, loving sentinels, built on top of hills that you reach by walking in an absolute silence.
Of Senigallia and the Summer Jamboree Festival which, because of Covid19, for the first time in 20 years will not take place. But I want to remember it anyway, happy memory of festivals and fairs that are a colorful and rich cultural heritage of our country, as well as the glue of local communities that spend months working together on the organization.
The appointment with the Jamboree is postponed until 2021.
Traveling around the Marche
Halfway between Senigallia and Jesi, it’s been included among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, is where you can taste the excellent local red wine Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and in a perfect position to visit the surroundings.
It’s located a few kilometres from the beaches of Senigallia and is part of the “castles of Jesi”, a group of municipalities in the Vallesina region.
In Morro, walk along the 16th century La Scarpa walkway. It was a patrol walkway, covered and flanked by arches and houses. Today it’s a walk that is worth a trip in a time machine.
Market day on Tuesdays.
Buy everything you can get your hands on at the Alba Cooperative, Bakery, Pastry and Fresh Pasta and visit at least one old cellar in the area.
I recommend Vigna Sant’Amico Winery, where I also stayed (not to be confused with another winery where weddings are organized).
Place of the heart.
I travel with a dog and a husband. We love peace and coolness. That’s why we choose accommodations that are often found in farmhouses or country houses.
Among the happiest choices ever, I recommend Country House Vigna Sant’Amico surrounded by vineyards. Super nice apartments, barbecue, swimming pool (not big but nice), large garden, laundry, a bottle of wine to welcome you (Morotti Campi label) and the possibility to participate to the tour of the manor house with tasting in the cellar.
The winery’s wine shop is also worth a visit.
I didn’t have high expectations but I was curious to see the famous Rotonda sul Mare of the homonymous Italian song and then what happened happened.
First I felt the rhythm slow down and then my heart full of love.
Of this seaside town I admired the so-called velvet beaches, deep and white. It’s a pity for the skyline behind the sea, a succession of – often very ugly and always too high – hotels and condominiums that make me think of my Romagna. Between the fifties and sixties, local administrators who were not very far-sighted, endorsed urban planning choices that did not respect the beauty of the area, convinced that national-popular meant building a myriad of lodgings.
The Rotonda sul Mare is worth seeing. But, again, it’s surprising that in August is closed all day and it opens only in the evening, without thinking about those who are passing through and can’t return.
I’m happy to have seen the Summer Jamboree, International Festival of Music and Culture of America in the 40s and 50s. It will be back in 2021 and I hope to come back too because it’s a real party. People from all over the world are attending, you can dance everywhere and everywhere you can taste the Marche specialties. Practically a wine and gastronomic tour in a walk.
What I loved most about this city is the city itself.
Its historic center, streets, palaces and squares, the Rocca Roveresca, the Herculaneum arcades, the Foro Annonario, the Thursday market (not to be missed, even the part dedicated to food in the space of the Foro Annonario).
- Anikò by Moreno Cedroni Chef, old town.
- Fish/Ham, Burgher & Fry (when you see it you might think “Monica’s gone off to send me to a place I easily can find everywhere?” That’s the point, what they do here, all handcrafted and re-read in a local key with super local products, you won’t find it anywhere else). It’s located in Piazza Simoncelli (formerly the street of the Ghetto).
- L’Angolino sul Mare, right on the beach.
- Rosticceria Il Pescatore, you can eat there or take away, is located in the Foro Annonario.
- Also in the Foro Annonario, Norma, polleria and rosticceria.
The place where Frederick II of Swabia was born welcomed me with a surprise, a sandwich stuffed with the filling of tortellini Bolognesi at Caffè Imperiale (if you’d like to taste it and make your own sandwich at home, on the blog find my family recipe for ingredients and directions to make stuffing for traditional tortellini bolognesi).
Walk and lose yourself among its streets. I admired the city walls, Palazzo Ripanti, the Diocesan Museum and I went crazy for the beauty of the Planettiana Library and its Sala Maggiore with its 16th century wooden ceiling and the 18th century wooden shelving of the ancient Pianetti library.
Ostra Vetere and Corinaldo
(They’re so close that, if you have time, I suggest you to visit them on the same day).
In Ostra walk through the alleys and admire the Duomo.
In Corinaldo don’t miss the famous Via Piaggia staircase, one of the most beautiful and photographed in the Marche region, and then Scuretto’s house. Ingenious and -a little bit rogue- Italian.
Scuretto was a shoemaker who liked to drink.
His son, who emigrated to America, regularly sent money for his father to build a house dreaming – one day – of coming back.
But the shoemaker spent the money on drinking and when his son, suspicious, asked for a picture of the house, he had only the facade built, with a house number and had it immortalized in the window.
Visiting Marche’s castles.
Arcevia is a small fortified village and in its surroundings you can visit many small castles. I have visited Nidastore, Loretello, Piticchio.
Altogether, the castles of Arcevia are 9, here you can find only those that I have seen and that you can visit in one day.
It’s a small village situated on a high hill, has the taste of mountain villages and is worth a trip especially for the surroundings or to stop to eat.
The thing that I liked the most is to look at it from below, once arrived I discovered a beautiful but not unforgettable village.
Loretello is a miniature castle built on a hill surrounded by greenery. It is one of the smallest walled villages in the region and among the castles of Arcevia is the oldest.
Nidastore is the place where the astori, birds of prey that in the Middle Ages were used during hunting, lay their nests and, like Loretello, just as tiny.
There is an Osteria up there that deserves a stop, the Osteria del Nido del Astore (0731-982174), better to book before arriving hungry.
Piticchio is, for me, the most beautiful among the castles of Arcevia. It’s like entering a painting. I was speechless. And it doesn’t happen to me often.
Have a good trip, and remember to build a tailor-made travel itinerary for you.