Cicadas orchestrate the evening, emerald-green lizards bask in the noonday sun, and the best thing to eat is a simple insalata di pomodori with a few torn leaves of freshly-picked basil - welcome to the latest edition of the Marche Voyager newsletter and the start of what looks likely to be a long, hot summer.
Now is the time to pick visciole, the wild sour cherries that grow in the northern Marche and are used to make a lip-smackingly delicious liqueur called visner or vino di visciole. This sweet digestivo is made by macerating the crushed dark cherries in red wine with sugar, lemon peel and either cinnamon or cloves. Some also fortify the mix with rum.
For the very best you really need to try the home-made brews made using secret family recipes, but a number of local producers now make excellent commercial versions for sale in enoteche, or wine shops, across the region.
Fair squares #25
This summer's picture of a Marche piazza is the opera-set Piazza Mazzini in Fossombrone near Urbino, a classic, small-town square wrapped around an elegant fountain.
This summer once again sees the weekly visits to Villa Imperiale, an outstanding Renaissance villa and garden in the hills above Pesaro. Until 30 September guided tours have been organized, including a bus ride from the seafront at Pesaro, every Wednesday afternoon.
Details and bookings on this page.
Orange is everywhere
The Touring Club Italiano has now awarded 21 of its prestigious "Orange Flag" awards to Marche towns. The Bandiere Arancioni Touring are given to small inland comuni across Italy in recognition of the quality of what they offer the tourist while caring for the environment.
The Marche villages currently holding Orange Flags are Acquaviva Picena (AP), Camerino (MC), Corinaldo (AN), Frontino (PU), Genga (AN), Gradara (PU), Mercatello sul Metauro (PU), Mondavio (PU), Montecassiano (MC), Montelupone (MC), Monterubbiano (FM), Offagna (AN), Ostra (AN), Pievebovigliana (MC), Ripatransone (AP), San Ginesio (MC), Sarnano (MC), Serra San Quirico (AN), Staffolo (AN), Urbisaglia (MC), and Visso (MC).
Touring Club Orange Flag Marche awards website (in Italian).
This summer sees three major art exhibitions in the region.
Capolavori Sibillini in the magnificent setting of Palazzo Campana at Osimo features works of art salvaged from the towns ravaged by the earthquakes in the southern Marche last year. The show runs until 1 October.
Meanwhile, Rinascimento Segreto in three towns in the northern Marche - Urbino, Pesaro and Fano - offers around 70 works from private collections spanning the years 1400 to 1550, and runs until 3 September.
La Devota Bellezza at Sassoferrato celebrates the town's native son, the 17th century painter Giovan Battista Salvi, better known as Il Sassoferrato, and includes a number of drawings from Britain's Royal Collection. The exhibition is open until 5 November.
Website for Capolavori Sibillini (in Italian).
Website for Rinascimento Segreto (in Italian).
Website for La Devota Bellezza (in Italian).
A festival of squeezes
Castelfidardo's international accordion festival attracts world-class accordion players and enthusiastic amateurs alike, and features concerts by both soloists and accordion ensembles. This year's Festival Internazionale della Fisarmonica takes places from 10 to 17 September.
Castefidardo international accordion festival English site.
Wassailing in the uplands
Montelago Celtic Festival, described as Italy's leading Celtic festival, features 14 bands from seven countries, and an international crowd of around 20,000 people on 3, 4 & 5 August on the Colfiorito plateau on the border between the Marche and Umbria.
Montelago Celtic Festival English site.
The Marche has 173 kilometres of coastline washed by the Adriatic Sea.
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