Marche VoyagerMarche Voyager | The Newsletter - Autumn 2004


Welcome to the first issue of the quarterly Marche Voyager newsletter with news of the region's gastronomic treasure, next year's opera & theatre highlights, orange flags, and more...

Food of the Gods
The grapes have all been picked and the wine is bubbling away in thousands of small cantine across the region, stooped men dot the woods, basket overflowing with a myriad different wild funghi, and chestnuts roast over the log fires that take the chill of the cool evenings- yes, it's autumn. And even if the weather might not always be the best, it's a great time to be here if only to sample the delights of one the Marche's most prized possessions.

For this is the time to be here to try the region's most celebrated food - the white truffle. The season runs from October to the end of December and local fairs across the area pay homage to this food of the Gods. The best-known of these is the Fiera nazionale del tartufo (National Truffle Fair) during the last weekend in October and first two weekends in November in Acqualagna, the town that calls itself the "truffle capital". Other truffle fairs of note include Sant'Angelo in Vado and Sant'Agata Feltria.

Singing Under the Stars
If you're planning to visit Le Marche next summer, Macerata's spectacular 2005 open-air opera festival runs from 15 July to 14 August and includes Puccini's Tosca and Verdi's Don Carlo. Pesaro's prestigious Rossini Opera Festival runs from 8 to 22 August and has as its highlight a new production of Rossini's masterpiece The Barber of Seville.

If you're here over the coming winter, the programme at Jesi's renowned Teatro Pergolesi includes Verdi's La Traviata, while Ancona's Teatro delle Muse boasts Bellini's Norma, and Puccini's La Bohème .

Dance fans should head for Civitanova Marche for some of the world's best dance companies while both Ascoli Piceno and Fermo have top-rank theatre festivals.

What's up, Docg?
Good news for one of the Marche's best wines, Rosso Conero. This full-bodied red has now been granted the prestigious DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata garantita) rank - a new addition to the 30-odd other wines across the whole of Italy entitled to this superior classification. The wine produced around the Conero Peninsula will be able to put it on the label from 2006 onwards.

Summer 2004 - it could have been worse
The figures for the number of tourists coming to the Marche up to the end of August has dropped from last year but the region has performed better than Italy as a whole. In a year that has seen a major crisis in world tourism, the number of Italians and foreigners, including a large percentage of travellers from the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Japan, taking their holidays in Le Marche has dropped by 1.2 per cent. Up to 31 August over 1,756,000 tourists visited the area, of whom 256, 635 were from abroad.

Keeping the Orange Flag Flying
The Touring Club Italiano has now awarded 14 of its prestigious "Orange Flag" awards to Marche towns out of a total of 68 Bandiere Arancioni Touring given to small inland comuni across Italy in recognition of the quality of what they offer the tourist while not sacrificing the environment.

The scheme was launched by the TCI, Italy's leading independent tourism association, in 1999 to give an incentive to smaller corners, away from the country's more well-known coastal resorts, who take their visitors seriously. The marchigiani comuni given the award are Genga, Monterubbiano, Sarnano, Corinaldo, Ripatransone, Mercatello sul Metauro, San Ginesio, Mondavio, Ostra, Gradara, Acquaviva Picena, Montelupone, San Leo, and Urbisaglia.

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