A weekend in the Marche: villages and gastronomy "lessons"

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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I think I go home after a weekend in Marchand and not weigh yourself for at least a week, is a consolidated practice for all those who usually pass by these parts.

You may wonder why ... well, anyone who has been there at least once can only agree. The why is soon said, why you eat (and drink) extraordinarily well! Impossible to disagree, especially after doing stock of "ciauscolo" for the following months.

But a weekend in the Marche is not only good food, it is also a great area to visit. Historic villages, hills which disperse visibly; green, green and green again!

Panorama on the green hills of the Monti Azzurri

A prosperous nature that, at times it is raw and brutal, at other times it is instead capable of "cradling you" and making you go back in time, when mobile phones were not so smart and you could look beyond the half meter that separates us from our hand . This is the case of the numerous farmhouses that can be found in areas such as that of Monti Sibillini. Realities closely linked to the territory and its products, so much so that many use products at 0 km, sourcing from local producers in that systemic perspective I told you about in this article: Strength and courage: the resilience of the Marche

Weekend in the Marche, relaxation among villages and good food

Guest ofMountain Union of the Blue Mountains, I had the opportunity to personally test a small part of the Marche region at the foot of the Sibillini Mountains. Indicatively that portion of territory around the lake of Caccamo. THE countries visited were: Serrapetrona, Colmurano, Cessapalombo, Caldarola, Gualdo, Monte San Martino, Belforte del Chienti.

Three days of full immersion that I want to summarize in experiences you can do in a weekend in this interesting part of Marche.

1 - Try a farmhouse in the Blue Mountains

Hills, vineyards and more hills. The Monti Azzurri are a paradise for those who want to stay in close contact with nature. And by close contact I don't just mean trekking in the various woods, I really mean linking the concept of nature to the concept of vacation and relaxation. And what better place than this. In the middle of nowhere or on the top of some hills there are many farmhouses where you can sleep completely immersed in the greenery and its silence.

Sometimes they are simple agritourisms, other times they are real solutions studied on concepts such as that of sustainability. Among all, I am reminded of theCoroncina farmhouse, a vegan-vegetarian farmhouse consistent with these values. When you arrive at the farmhouse, you feel at peace with yourself. From the kitchen to the furniture, everything has a sense, the same sense, and the result is the same: relaxation and silence.

A detail of the Coroncina farmhouse

But it is not necessary that a farmhouse is necessarily vegan-vegetarian to convey that feeling of relaxation that can be obtained in a weekend in the marche. All other structures (Villa le Vigne farmhouse - Le Borette farmhouse - Agra Mater) that I had the pleasure of visiting have focused on organic and km0 products. It is also the type of overnight stay that helps the feeling of "home and relaxation", just think that at the Le Borette farmhouse there are two apartments for 5 people which, if necessary, can become intercommunicating in the case of extended families in search of well-being.

View from the bedroom of the apartment of the Agriturismo Le Borette

2 - Ciauscolo, Vernaccia, good food and wine cellars

As I announced at the beginning of this post, this relationship can exist in the Marche: Marche = good food = good wine = well-being and relaxation

It is said that with a full stomach one reasons better, and then I believe that here one reasons a lot. Ciauscolo, Vernaccia, are just some of the many products that the Marche region offers.

Withering grapes

I didn't expect the Marche to be so heterogeneous from a gastronomic point of view. I had to change my mind, I am able to give "food and wine lessons" without any problem. In three days in the Marche there has not been a time that I have been able to say “no, this is not good”. It is all good and genuine.

I was very impressed by all the local productions, but the place that fascinated me most was theMaggi and Vecchioni farm where, thanks to the young Yuri, the strong bond with the land and with tradition transpired. It is very difficult to make a ranking, but one of their best products was the "ciauscolo", a sort of salami spread on slices of bread (forgive me the purists of the ciauscolo but this is to give you an idea). The ciauscolo is a bit of an icon among the Marche products and among other things we must be careful because it creates a strong addiction.

Up to now we have said that a relaxing weekend in the Marche is made up of nature and good food, all the while talking about good wine.

There are many wineries that offer quality wines.

Among the wines of the Marche

I advise you to include in your weekend in the Marche also a stop in a wine cellar like theSaputi Winery trying to taste different wines and to understand their history. This is the case, for example, of Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, a wine that has recently become DOC and there are still few producers, also because the disciplinary provides for severe limitations on the grapes that can be used for this product. The grapes must be 85% black Vernaccia grown only in this area and only above 400 meters above sea level but not over 700. The Vernaccia di Serrapetrona it is a dry or sweet red sparkling wine that goes very well with biscuits made with the wine itself. You can find them atQuacquarini Winery and Confectionery Company in Serrapetrona.

An advice: before getting to the desserts, biscuits and Vernaccia, take a normal aperitif round with the other wines they offer.

And with the dessert, what other great product can you taste (and take home) if not the Cooked wine?!

The cooked wine of the Tiberi company

A typical product of the area around Loro Piceno, a liqueur red wine that at times recalls Marsala. A persistent taste that cannot be missing at the end of the meal and goes great with all the small pastries that are usually used to put on the table at the end of the meal. L'Tiberi Company it is one of the best producers of cooked wine, it produces wines of different vintages; Basically cooked wine is at least 10 years old, so today (2018) you can find the “youngest” cooked wine of 2008. The more the years increase the more structured the wine is. They even have a small barrel dating back to 1964. It is true that the older the wine, the better it tastes.


3 - Between villages and historic buildings in a weekend in the Marche

In Marche nature and history they coexist and the history is still evident, from the beautiful villages up to the small churches that hide unimaginable treasures.

In a weekend in the Marche it is essential visit different villages in "stroll" mode. Yes, because the beauty of these villages is to get lost inside them (beware that some have post-earthquake limitations), wander aimlessly, simply relaxing by walking through the typical small streets.

Among all the villages visited they certainly deserve a mention ihe towns of Sarnano and Belforte del Chienti.

The first is simply gorgeous in how it is structured. From the upper and oldest part of the city called, precisely, "Piazza Alta", the village has been forming in concentric circles until it reaches its current shape. Over time people came and it was necessary to expand the village by building new circles and therefore new fortifications. One of the main features of the old town of Sarnano is that all its houses were built in the same way with many small red bricks. This makes it homogeneous and it is a pleasure to walk inside. Among other things, this architectural feature is said to have contributed to making Sarnano safer in the event of earthquakes, as it does not show evident damage like other villages.

Village of Sarnano

The second village is Belforte in Chienti. Perhaps less characteristic from the point of view of the historic center but rather interesting as regards the cultural aspects. Just take a "little jump" in the church of Sant'Eustachio adjacent to the main square to admire the 1468 polyptych by Giovanni Boccati.

Belforte derives from a beautiful fortress and the position of Belforte del Chienti is extremely interesting with a splendid view of the surrounding area.

View from Belforte

Lastly, there is also a noble palace that has become a historic home where you can stay. A beautiful building in which I had the pleasure of sleeping and I advise you to consider if you were to pass through these areas. Spend a night at Palazzo Bonfranceschi it's like taking a dip in the past.

Between villages and cultural aspects there would be talk for hours and hours, or rather, for articles and articles. In fact, the villages of Pievefavera, Vestignano, Loro Piceno and Monte San Martino should not be forgotten. In this country you can visit the church of San Martino with even 4 polyptychs and finally the interesting one Civic Art Gallery Mons. A. Ricci.


4 - The healthy madness of the Marche

A little bit of healthy madness it never hurts and I must say that in the Marche I have found people with that right dose of madness that does nothing but raise smiles. I have always maintained that the main component in a journey, in addition to nature, is the charisma of the people who live there. That charisma that turns into a trader's joke, into a popular saying or into a very strange interpretation like that of Peppe Cotto from Loro Piceno. A living caricature, a mixture of actor and poet that amuses and upsets.

Peppe Cotto from Loro Piceno

The "people" component is therefore very important. Each of them transmits passion and love for their territory to you.

For example, Patrizio from the Environmental Education Center comes to mind "The butterfly garden"Of Cessapalombo; with deep conviction and dedication he designed a small environmental oasis, a small biodynamic park where to discover the secrets of nature (and butterflies), discover them as an adult but even more as a child because it is precisely as a child that you have to learn respect for the environment around us.

Patrizio from "The Butterfly Garden" I intend to point out a detail

Patrizio has that dose of healthy madness I was talking about a little while ago; despite the earthquake, he never stopped believing in his project and that pride in oneself shines through, which is a bit the emblem of all the people of the Marche met during a weekend in the Marche.

What can I say, except that I hope and wish you to visit this beautiful piece of Italy that is the Marche as soon as possible. I was amazed and I hope to have the opportunity to return as soon as possible.

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