Spring in Le Marche brings fields of red poppies, grapevines growing, and baby olives sprouting. After a winter spent largely indoors, the Marchigiani enjoy the primavera outside. This year is an obvious exception. The Marchigiani have been in lockdown for 8 weeks as of this writing.
I asked our friends in the Marche what they like best about our area in the spring, and what they look forward to doing as soon as the lockdown is lifted. Here are their responses, some edited for clarity and some translated by me. While we are unable to enjoy Le Marche’s springtime delights this year, we can look forward to 2021.
“In the spring, in the Marche, there are beautiful things to do. First of all, there are beautiful country and hill paths to travel. They are not tiring, therefore suitable for everyone, dazzling vegetation, flowers of a thousand colors, wild animals (foxes, porcupines, hedgehogs, owls, pheasants, hares, roe deer, wolves). Various paths lead to caves (here, near us, there are the caves of Sant’Eustachio that can be visited), others develop along the rivers. Almost always you get to some small village and many are truly wonderful. Then there are the Apennines to visit, with easy routes and others more demanding (some also very demanding): mountains to climb (from the Bove to the Vettore). And then go out to find and taste the local products: ciabuscolo, pecorino cheeses, lasagna, excellent native wines. Finally, never forget to visit the cities of art that are not lacking in the Marche.”
-Adelaide and Sandro at Il Podere sul Lago, who make amazing wines and offer welcoming tours and tastings by appointment.
“Take walks in our oasis the abbey of Fiastra! To head towards the sea during the weekend, the mountain is also another half that we love!”
-Our friend Donatella
“ONE OF MY FAVORITE MARCHE SPRINGTIME FAVORITES — The BICYCLE RIDE up to FIASTRA LAKE
Given that in Italy’s version of lockdown, we are NOT permitted to ride our bicycles, this is one I’m missing mightily and anxiously anticipating. One of my Marche springtime favorites is the ride from San Ginesio, down into the valley, a quick coffee at Gianni’s Bar Monti Azzurri in Morichella, and then the magnificent climb from there up to Fiastra Lake. The first time you do it in the spring, the morning air starts out chilly. As you make the climb into the mountains the sun warms you, the fresh air fuels you and the spectacular scenery inspires you. How is this not a center of world cycling tourism?!”
-Kevin Gibney, Registered Le Marche Real Estate Agent, Property For Sale Marche (and the reason we have Casa Pace e Gioia!)
“The Marche’s infinite beauty, there are many things to do and visit starting from the greenery that abounds in spring and we will begin with a nice walk to Lake Fiastra nestled in the mountains and maybe even a walk to collect wild asparagus for a nice tagliatelle. To see the sea from the balcony of Torre di Palme, and why not sip a wine in a beautiful wine shop, in this small-but-full-of-surprises land.”
-Our friend Amelia
“Spring is wonderful weather-wise. Warm, clear blue skies, temperatures reaching regular 20’s [68-75° F] and total silence, apart from the birds and the occasional tractor. If it is peace and tranquility you need in your life, Colmurano is certainly offers this and much more.”
-Our friend and neighbor Graham who offers Wine Vacations in the Marche and owns Laughter in the Leaves with his wife Saranne.
Sagra del Carciofo
“Montelupone’s artichokes are special. So special that the town has celebrated them in an annual festival in May for 58 years. [It has been cancelled for 2020.] The festival is naturally focused on food, and dishes prepared with artichokes at the heart of them (sorry). There’s also a parade and folklore group performances, a variety of other entertainment, and guided tours of the beautiful old town and its treasures – Montelupone is one of I Borghi più belli d’Italia (one of the most beautiful villages in Italy), and has also been awarded the Italian Touring Club’s Bandiera Arancione (the orange flag awarded to small towns for eco-environmental tourism, excellent service, and welcoming atmosphere).”
Corso alla Spada e Palio
“The province’s first medieval festival of the season kicks off with Camerino’s Corsa alla Spada e Palio over several weeks in May and June. [Cancelled for 2020.] The festival recalls the days when the powerful Da Varano family ruled their papal dukedom for over 200 years. Dating back to the early 13th century as a community competition and pageant to complement remembrance of the town’s patron saint, Venanzio, it was resurrected in 1982, keeping the centuries-old traditions largely intact.
The festival is centered around several main events:
• Offerta dei Ceri: Offering of the candles – medieval procession and lighting of the bonfire
• Fiera di San Venanzio: Fair of the town’s patron saint in the streets of the town
• Corteo Storico: Sumptuous parade in period costume
• Corso alla Spada: Race for the Sword – the town’s three terzieri (districts) compete in a foot race through the town’s streets for the prize of the sword.
There are many, many other events including markets, archery, the ladies’ and children’s palio, flag-waving, and music or some other form of entertainment virtually every night. Each of the town’s divisions opens their respective tavernas every night at 20:00, serving period food.”
-Duncan Campbell, our friend and neighbor.