Welcome to the autumn issue of the quarterly Marche Voyager newsletter as we gather in the grapes, meet one of the world's greatest geniuses and take the waters.
The air is heavy with the odour of fermenting must in all the small towns dedicated to winemaking, buzzing api, the three-wheeled, 2-stroke vehicles that beetle along the rural backroads of Italy, are piled impossibly high with bright orange plastic crates brimming with grapes, and maritozzi - inviting buns made with sweet grape juice - appear in the baker's. For autumn marks la vendemmia, or the grape harvest, in Le Marche.
As many lovers of this region will have noticed, Le Marche has been having its own little winemaking renaissance in recent years, and many local producers are now making wines that feature among Italy's top vini da meditazione, wines so good they should be drunk with devotion.
Alongside the world-renowned Verdicchio white wines, there is now a host of excellent D.O.C. wines - D.O.C. is the Italian equivalent of the French Appellation Contrôllée - including the outstanding Rosso Conero red wines from the vineyards around Monte Conero.
One of the latest additions to the list is a range of wines from around the town of Offida in the southern Marche - Offida Rosso, Offida Pecorino and Offida Passerina . The first is a Montepulciano-based, ruby-red wine that goes well with the local vincisgrassi baked pasta. The Pecorino is a young, spritzy white made mostly from the Pecorino grape while the more substantial Passerina white is also made in a honeyed, passito version.
To find an exhaustive selection of Marche wines make for one of the two regional enoteca at Jesi or Offida - here you can both taste and buy wines from Le Marche.
The complete list of the region's DOC wines is: Bianchello del Metauro, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Pesaresi, Esino, Falerio or Falerio dei Colli Ascolani, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Offida, Rosso Conero, Rosso Piceno, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Verdicchio di Matelica, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, i Terreni di Sanseverino. There are also two DOCG wines (Denominazione d'origine controllata e garantita): Vernaccia di Serrapetrona e Rosso Conero
Marche Voyager wine page
Regional wine site (in Italian)
For listings of autumn festivals dedicated to truffles, funghi, wine and other seasonal delights visit the Marche Voyager events page.
A remarkable exhibition including four works by Leonardo da Vinci and his pupils that have never been shown before opens in October in Ancona.
Leonardo - Genio e Visione in Terra Marchigiana runs from 16 October 2005 until 8 January 2006 at the imposing Mole Vanvitelliana on the city's sea-front.
The works being unveiled include an enchanting Mary Magdalene by Leonardo and his pupil Giampietrino (?) and a highly unusual "gnostic" work by Leonardo's pupil Bernardino De' Conti portraying Jesus with his "double".
A good reason for a Christmas or New Year visit to Le Marche - as if one were needed.
Visit the Region's culture site (in Italian)
Italians still flock to health-giving mineral springs as they have done since Roman times and a number of spa towns in Le Marche have seen a revival in recent years. The ten terme in the region are, from north to south: Monte Grimano, Carignano, Macerata Feltria, Petriano, Aspio, San Vittore delle Chiuse, Tolentino, Torre di Palme, Sarnano and Acquasanta.
Each of them tends to specialize in the treatment of specific complaints depending on the nature of their waters although many now promote themselves as a good excuse to just relax and be pampered.
Spa towns from Regione Marche tourism site (in Italian)
Calling All Marchigiani
If you have roots in Le Marche you might like to visit lemarchenelmondo.info, the regional website dedicated to marchigiani abroad. Its content ranges from news and details of study and work opportunities to a users' forum and historical material on Marche emigration.
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