From the beach to the mountains in an afternoon – Only in Le Marche!
Here is a brain teaser: is it possible to stroll on the beach in the afternoon and, an hour or so later, be up in the mountains walking in the snow, tasting delicious regional salami and cheese?
The answer is yes and, more precisely, the answer is Le Marche.
In Italy, we have a saying that you are likely to experience during the year what you experience on the first day. So on New Year’s Day 2012, we decided we wanted a good mix of emotions. (Although we were also determined to walk off the guilt created by the considerable consumption of calories over Christmas…and we ended up eating cheese and salami!)
So straight after a good lie in (necessary after the NYE revelries) we looked out and saw a fantastic day outside (overlooking the chill factor temperature, which reminded us that it was January). A clear sky and the sun shining on the city, what a great way to start the year!
After saying good bye to Ancona we headed South, making time for a quick stop in Portonovo. It was strange, but fascinating, to visit the lively summer hangout, on a cool, clear day in January.
If you are local and you are a regular visitor in the Summer, you would have spotted something strange, as the sun only hit the tower (Torre De Bosis) and the cliff, but missed the beach, which is usually full of sun worshippers in the Summer months.
It was time to head for the mountains, towards the National Park of “Monti Sibillini”. While driving and sharing our new year’s resolutions (such as not eating too much salami!), the countryside with its wonderful Winter colours came into view; hills, fields and a few wispy white clouds were following one another, as we moved away from Ancona and the coast, gaining height.
It only took around one hour driving to Frontignano; by the time we got there the sun was setting, shedding a mix of pink and orange reflections on the rocks surrounding Ussita.
We decided to try to make it to the top, to enjoy the sunset and the view of the valley. While we were climbing up, just for a moment, the reflection of the snow and the openness of the landscape gave us the impression that it was sunrise.
We got to the peak in time to view an astonishing sunset and greet a snowman we met on our way down. With hungry bellies, it was time to grab some cheese and local products at the Christmas market in Ussita!
Now our good intentions for 2012 started creaking seriously, as we saw and smelt the local home-made cheeses. Soft or hard, young or mature flavoured with walnut, pepper, or saffron. “Let’s just buy some, but promise that we will not eat them until after a few days!”…
Time for a stroll around the centre of Visso, another village nearby, a pretty old town perched in between the mountains, with narrow streets and perfectly refurbished houses and palaces.
Suddenly it was dinner time and walking around and chatting had made our new year propositions weaker and weaker, someone said ‘let’s just have a snack!’
It was a great conclusion to a brilliant day and a perfect start to the New Year. Tasting authentic Marche products washed down with a nice glass of Rosso Conero, one of the most popular red wines from Marche, of which we will soon tell you more about!
Happy New Year From Made In Marche! Here’s to 2012!!