Fireflies light the balmy evenings while crickets provide the soundtrack, crates of watermelons block the aisle at the fruttivendolo, and nothing tastes better than a cool crisp glass of Verdicchio to accompany spaghetti dressed with vongole - it's summer again in the Marche.
A ruby rarity
One of the region's rarer wines is the red sparkling Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, from the small town of Serrapetrona in Macerata province. Most commonly a sweet dessert wine, it's also available in a drier secco version that goes particularly well with the Marche's soft ciauscolo salame.
The wine carries the prestigious DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata garantita) status and is celebrated with its own annual Sagra della Vernaccia at Serrapetrona, which runs this year from 7 to 10 August
The feast of Corpus Domini, or Corpus Christi, is frequently marked by an infiorata when the main streets of many towns in Italy are decorated with lavish quantities of flower petals in suitably religious designs.
This year it falls on Sunday 22 June, and towns in the Marche worth visiting to see good examples of these floral tapestries include Castelraimondo (MC), Fabriano (AN), Montefiore dell'Aso (AP), Ortezzano (FM), San Paolo di Jesi (AN) and Servigliano (FM).
Giotto to Gentile
A major exhibition of high medieval art in Italy opens this summer in Fabriano, in Ancona province. Entitled From Giotto to Gentile - Painting and Sculpture at Fabriano from the 13th and 14th Century, the exhibition runs from 25 July until 30 November 2014.
The show, curated by the colourful Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, features over 100 works on display in the pinacoteca civica and a handful of the town's outstanding churches.
Exhibition website (in Italian)
Fair squares #15
This month's image of one of the region's piazze, or town squares, features the monumental Piazza Leopardi in Recanati, Macerata province, whose name celebrates the town's most famous son, the Romantic poet Giacomo Leopardi.
photo: alessandro vecchi/wikipedia
In fair Urbino...
This July sees the first ever Shakespeare Summer School in Urbino - a chance to work on Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing with leading directors and actors who have worked extensively with Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company. There are still a few places left on the course, which runs from 12 to 26 July and includes 4-star hotel accommodation.
For details see the Shakespeare in Italy website
Pesaro's renaissance gem
This summer sees the return of weekly tours to Villa Imperiale, a splendid Renaissance villa and gardens in the hills above Pesaro. There is a guided tour every Wednesday afternoon until 24 September, including bus transfer from central Pesaro.
The villa was originally built in 1469 for Alessandro Sforza but the most impressive parts of the complex date from 1528 when Eleanora Gonzaga ordered major rebuilding works for her husband Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, Duke of Urbino.
Details and bookings on this page
A paler shade of blue?
The region can once again boast one of the highest number of Blue Flag beaches of any region in Italy, only just beaten by Liguria. This year, however, only seventeen towns are entitled to fly Blue Flags - one less, we note, than last year.
Blue Flags are awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education across Europe to environmentally well-kept beaches. The prestigious "eco-label" is given to sites that meet strict criteria including water quality, environmental management, safety and other services.
List of Marche Blue Flag beaches (in Italian)
Furlo Gorge landslide
Last winter a large section of the road collapsed within the spectacular Furlo Gorge in the northern Marche. Although it will be many years before the Gorge re-opens to cars, there is now a pedestrian path that allows the whole magnificent gorge to be visited by walkers. A great opportunity to see the place without the roar of cars and motorbikes.
A knight to remember?
Ascoli Piceno's medieval tournament, the Giostra della Quintana, on Sunday 3 August may not be as famous as Siena's Palio, but it's almost as thrilling and a lot easier to get tickets for.
The Quintana website (in Italian)
The celebrated black statue of the Madonna and Child in the Sanctuary of the Holy House at Loreto is a 20th-century copy of the original which was destroyed by fire in 1921.
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