Visitors are often struck by the robust biodiversity of the Marche, from roadside verges glowing with flowers to the rich birdlife, and in the heart of summer this profusion can be seen at its best. Welcome to a Marche Voyager newsletter brimming with life.
A fat chance?
A Marche speciality worth searching out is ciauscolo, a salame of finely-minced pork enriched with a (very) generous amount of pancetta, or belly pork, which makes it remarkably soft and creamy even after being well aged. You'll see it on sale across the region, but the most authentic versions come from the area around Macerata and Ascoli Piceno. Try it spread on bread with a glass of vin cotto, the complex dessert wine from the south of the region.
Put out the flags
The Touring Club Italiano has just awarded another small Marche town one of its prestigious "Orange Flag" awards, bringing the total in the region to 22. The new entry is Cantiano, a medieval jewel up in the mountains of the northern Marche. The Bandiere Arancioni Touring are given to small inland comuni across Italy in recognition of the quality of what they offer tourists while still caring about sustainability.
The Marche towns currently holding Orange Flags are Acquaviva Picena (AP), Camerino (MC), Cantiano (PU) 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 awards website (in Italian)
Fair squares #29
A fine flight of steps leads up to Piazza Risorgimento, the main square in Amandola to the south of the region.
Marche Voyager page on Amandola
You are promised one of the Marche's most striking works of art when you visit the handsome Basilica of San Nicola at Tolentino: marvel at the grandiose Giottoesque frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling of the gothic Cappellone di San Nicola - vivid masterpieces from the 14th century.
detail from the frescoes
Onions promise rain
We've mentioned before the use of onions at Urbania to foretell the coming year's weather. It's a tradition said to date back to medieval times, and the knack is currently guarded by Emanuela Forlini, a local teacher who inherited the skill from her father and grandfather.
This year signora Forlini's onions suggest it'll be an unusually wet spring, followed by an equally wet and cool summer (a relief for many after last year's heat), and autumn and winter don't look much better either. She gives her forecast for 2018 in this video (in Italian but relatively easy to follow).
photo: School Photo Project
This summer once again sees the weekly visits to Villa Imperiale, an outstanding Renaissance villa and garden in the hills above Pesaro. Until 26 September guided tours have been organized, including a bus ride from the seafront at Pesaro, every Wednesday afternoon.
Details and bookings on this page.
Jazz by the sea
The Ancona Jazz Summer Festival takes place in the splendid outdoor setting of the Mole Vanvitelliana in the port area of the Marche capital, and in other atmospheric outdoor settings. The annual event has been running since 1974 and features performances by international artists from 4 to 22 July.
Ancona Jazz Festival programme
We've just done a splendid, short video with a 360° bird's-eye view of the spot where we run the Marche Voyager website and newsletter. You can watch it here on Vimeo and visit our site for San Cristoforo here.
Pro-capita disposable income in 2017 for the inhabitants of the Marche region was 19,162 euro.
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