Italy`s Le Marche - all of Italy in one region, by Bob Garner
Marche is every bit as beautiful as its central Italian neighbours, Tuscany and Umbria, but without the tourist crowds and price tag. What you won’t find is tourist menus in English, Starbucks or your neighbours from home! What you will find is local food in locals’ restaurants, a real espresso for a euro and warm welcoming people who genuinely want to share this special region with you.
If you haven’t pre-weighed your supermarket produce, the person behind you at the till won’t tut. More likely they will take you to the scales and patiently show you what to do. If you stop in a village for a coffee but stumble across a pottery shop and ask if there’s a bar in town the potter answers, “it’s closed today but I’ll make you a coffee.” If you are looking for an out-of-the-way restaurant, ask a stranger; it is likely they will lead or even drive you there.
Maybe this friendly disposition is born of seeing the beautiful rolling hills every day, having a great range of beaches from classic Lidos like Porto San Giorgio to the hidden rocky coves along the magnificent Conero Peninsular, or from having the majestic Sibillini Mountains within sight.
Lesser-known cities like Ascoli Piceno, sculpted from glistening travertine marble, Fermo with its wonderful piazza and fascinating Roman cisterns, or world heritage site Urbino, birthplace of Raffaello and home to the magnificent Ducal Palace of Federico da Montefeltro, are fascinating to visit with few of the tourist crowds.
The locals call Marche “all of Italy in one region” and that variety is reflected in the range of food, from fresh seafood right on the beach to simple farm restaurants with amazing views, stylish palazzos in Renaissance villages, to hearty but delicately flavoured mountain produce. All enjoyed with world class wines like Verdicchio or Rosso Conero and all surprisingly inexpensive.
Bob and Ian own and run Casal dei Fichi, a traditional farmhouse in a tranquil Marche valley, which has been converted into six luxurious private apartments. Bob and Ian abandoned the London rat race over a decade ago to follow their dream. After two years of restoration, they started welcoming guests to Casal dei Fichi. Whether you are a couple seeking an intimate get away or a family in search of a great holiday they will welcome you warmly and help you discover your own Marche.