The nightingales are back, the acacia trees are heavy with blossom and it's time to go collecting wild asparagus in the woods - which all means it's welcome to the spring issue of the quarterly Marche Voyager newsletter.
One of the delights of spring is the salami. They are now ready to eat after having being matured for a few months since the dressing of the pig back in January. The festive spread to mark Easter in Le Marche nearly always includes cured pork produce from the region, reckoned amongst some of Italy's finest.
A particular Marche speciality worth looking out for is ciauscolo, a salame of finely-minced pork meat enriched with a generous amount of pancetta, or belly pork, which makes it soft and creamy even after being well aged - not dissimilar in consistency to French rillettes. You'll find it on sale across the region but the most authentic version comes from the area around Macerata. Try it spread on bread with a glass or two of the secco version of the fizzy red Vernaccia di Serrapetrona.
Ticket to ride
Good news for visitors from the North East of England with direct flights between Ancona and Liverpool's John Lennon Airport set to start in the Autumn. Ryanair has announced it will be flying the route three times weekly starting on 3 October and is already taking bookings.
Ancona airport's website
If you're looking for a new holiday experience why not consider taking one of the number of Italian cookery courses now being run across the region. Often based in rural agriturismo farm holiday centres, they usually offer courses in la cucina marchigiana with visits to local markets, food producers and vineyards. Look for them on Google - with "Marche", obviously, among your search terms!
Gentile and much more
A major exhibition of the works of the great 15th century painter Gentile da Fabriano, the leading exponent of the International Gothic School, has just been officially opened by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and runs until 23 July 2006 in his native town of Fabriano.
Gentile da Fabriano e l'altro Rinascimento. La pittura del Quattrocento a Fabriano (Gentile da Fabriano and the Other Renaissance. 15th Century Painting at Fabriano) features a number of his principal works alongside works by other artists from Fabriano and looks set to be the region's cultural highlight this year.
A number of other important exhibitions are set to take place across the region this summer.
L'Aquila e Il Leone takes a look at the Venetian artists active in the region and features the work of Paolo Veneziano, Carlo and Vittorio Crivelli and Lorenzo Lotto. It runs until 17 September at Fermo and nearby Sant'Elpidio a Mare.
At San Severino Marche the exhibition Bernardino di Mariotto. Il Rinascimento tra Umbria e Marche, runs until 31 August and concentrates on this lesser known 16thC master who worked for some 20 years in San Severino.
At Camerino Rinascimento scolpito. Maestri del legno tra Marche ed Umbria runs until 5 November and features some 50 masterpieces of Renaissance wood sculpture from both Le Marche and Umbria.
At Cagli there's a chance to see a series of 14thC frescoes by Mello da Gubbio only recently re-discovered during restoration work in the church of San Francesco along with other important works until 12 November.
Gentile da Fabriano website (in Italian)
More on Fermo exhibition at www.fermo.net (in Italian)
Bernardino di Mariotto at www.bernardinodimariotto.it (in Italian)
New DOC wine for Pergola
One of the latest wines to be added to the region's list of DOC wines (wines whose origins are officially certified) is Pergola's well-known vernaccia, a distintively perfumed red wine that goes particulalry well with porcini mushrooms.
Marche Voyager wine page for more on the region's wines
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