After one of the mildest winters on record, spring has come early to the Marche - the violets and primroses are already over and the first wild orchids are showing their heads. Welcome to the spring edition of the newsletter.
The annual Fritto Misto festival at Ascoli Piceno features a feast of fried food - including the town's signature stuffed olives - for ten days from Friday 25 April to Sunday 4 May. This year's event offers over 40 kinds of deep-fried wickedness from Italy and abroad.
Meanwhile at Cagli in the northern Marche Distinti Salumi - a festival of Italian charcuterie - returns on 31 May, 1 & 2 June. In the courtyards of the town's elegant, renaissance palazzi you can taste some of Italy's finest salumeria.
Fritto Misto website (in Italian)
Distinti Salumi website (in Italian)
Live and cooking
Like to learn about Marche food from afar? You might like to try the live online cooking classes organised by Jason and Ashley Bartner. These two young Americans have been living for almost ten years deep in the countryside near Sant'Angelo in Vado in the northern Marche, and behind their cheery enthusiasm lies a profound knowledge of local food and cooking.
The classes take place twice a month during spring and autumn with the next class scheduled for 13 April.
Jason and Ashley's cooking school website
Paintings from a golden age
Outstanding works by artists working in the Marche during the 15th and 16th centuries feature in an exhibition at Senigallia from 14 June until 2 November 2014. The exhibition, entitled From Perugino to Guercino: The Golden Age of the Italian Renaissance, takes place in the Palazzo del Duca and the Diocesan art gallery.
Fair squares #14
This month's image of one of the region's piazze, or town squares, features the handsome Piazza del Comune in Fabriano, Ancona province. The town is famous for making paper which is still used the world over for bank notes and quality art paper.
Fast track to Milano
A new train service, run by Trenitalia's main competitor Italo, now links Ancona with Milano. Five trains a day in each direction do the journey in around 3 hours, stopping also at Pesaro in the northern Marche. Bargain ticket prices are on offer with early booking.
Italo website in English
Wider still and wider
Major works to add a third lane to the Marche's A14 autostrada, or toll highway, are running ahead of schedule. The 78km stretch from Rimini Nord to Senigallia is now complete, as is the 40km stretch from Ancona Sud to Porto Sant'Elpidio. The part from Senigallia to Ancona Sud is due to be finished later this summer.
Autostrade per Italia website (in Italian)
It could have been worse
While figures for tourism in Italy as a whole plummeted in 2013 - 4.2% fewer visitors compared to 2012 - numbers for the Marche show a small increase of around 1% over 2012, with visitors from Russia and China increasing by 68% and 37% respectively. Dobro pozhalovat' v Marke!
Just a reminder that spring sees a succession of public holidays in Italy - on 25 April, 1 May and 2 June most shops and businesses are closed, although most museums, restaurants and bars will be open.
Lucrezia Borgia's first marriage - arranged by her father when she was 13 - was to Giovanni Sforza, ruler of Pesaro in the northern Marche.
This newsletter is only sent to people who have personally subscribed to it through the Marche Voyager web site. If you do not wish to receive further issues please unsubscribe here. Alternatively, please e-mail us
giving the e-mail address to which this newsletter was sent and
"unsubscribe" in the message subject. You are subscribed at [EMAIL]
If you have problems reading this HTML newsletter you can see it on the web here.
We appreciate feedback - any comments, suggestions, criticism or praise gladly received; E-mail us here.