The dew is heavy after cool nights, ripe figs split and fall, the scent of autumn is in the air and the evenings arrive ever earlier. Welcome to the fall issue of the Marche Voyager Newsletter.
The Marche is one of Italy's leaders in organic farming with over 12% of the region's farmland now given over to agricoltura biologica. And a major showcase of the Marche organic world takes place every year at Urbino.
Biosalus happens this year on the weekend of 1 & 2 October and features not only organic producers but also the worlds of crafts and holistic medicine, along with a Tibetan theme thanks to the participation of the Italia-Tibet Association.
Biosalus website (in Italian).
Truffles with everything
As regular readers of the newsletter know, 1 October marks the start of the white truffle season and the highlight of the calendar is the Fiera nazionale del tartufo bianco (National White Truffle Fair) set to take place this year on 30 & 31 October, and 1, 5, 6, 12, & 13 November at Acqualagna in Pesaro & Urbino province.
Other entertaining truffle fairs take place during October at Sant'Angelo in Vado and Pergola.
Acqualagna truffle fair website.
Fair squares #22
This autumn's image of a Marche piazza features the triangular square at Offida in Ascoli Piceno province, dominated by the arches of the splendid 14thC town hall, one of the region's finest gothic civic buildings.
Lonely Planet does the Marche
The renowned guide book publisher Lonely Planet has just published an excellent 300-page guide to the Marche region; the only drawback is that it's available solo in italiano (at least for the moment?).
La La land
Both Macerata and Pesaro's opera festivals have published record box office takings this year (around Euro 1,200,000 each) and have already announced next year's provisional programmes.
Macerata's 2017 season in the magnificent Sferisterio open-air arena has an oriental theme with performances of Puccini's Turandot and Madama Butterfly, and Verdi's Aida.
At Pesaro, Rossini operas in the programme include La Pietra del Paragone, and Le Siège de Corinthe directed by the iconoclastic Spanish theatre group "La Fura dels Baus".
Venus comes home
One of the most celebrated Renaissance female nudes, Titian's Venus of Urbino (1538), has returned home to Urbino nearly 400 years after it was last seen there.
The picture (see image below) will be on display in Urbino's Palazzo Ducale until 18 December 2016, before returning to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence where it usually hangs.
On Wednesday August 24, 2016 a severe earthquake (6.0 on the Richter scale) hit a mountainous area of Northern Lazio close to the Marche and Umbrian borders, with its epicenter at the village of Accumoli.
While the tremors were felt across most of Central Italy, significant damage was limited to a 20-kilometre radius, with the villages of Accumoli and Amatrice in Lazio, and Arquata del Tronto in the Marche being very heavily damaged with tragic loss of life.
Outside this zone, although some buildings have been damaged nearer the epicentre, life is back to normal. There is no reason whatsoever for you to change your plans if you're planning to visit the region.
Ring of bright walls
The small chocolate-box town of Corinaldo in Pesaro & Urbino province is one of the few places in the region that boasts a complete circle of medieval defensive walls.
The imposing walls date from the 1400s, and run for almost 1,000 metres. Visitors can follow a walkway along the battlements and admire sweeping views across the countryside.
Visitors from 42 countries were counted among the audiences at this year's Rossini Opera Festival at Pesaro, including music lovers from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and Turkey.
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