Guest Hook Travel Guides Marche, Italy | Page 3

THE REAL MARCHE, ITALY... Marche is every bit as beautiful as its central Italian neighbours, Tuscany and Umbria, but without the tourist crowds and price tag. In this hidden gem of a holiday destination, you won’t find foreigners' menus in English, Starbucks, or your neighbours from home. What you will find is local food in locals’ restaurants, a real espresso for just a euro, and warm, welcoming people who genuinely want to share this special region with you. You'll see the genuine kindness of people instantly: If you haven’t pre-weighed your supermarket produce, the person behind you at the till won’t tut. More likely they will take you to the scales and patiently show you what to do. If you stop in a village for a coffee but stumble across a pottery and ask if there’s a bar in town the potter answers, “It’s closed today, but I’ll make you a coffee.” If you are looking for an outof-the-way restaurant, ask a stranger; it is likely they will lead or even drive you there. Maybe this friendly disposition is born of seeing the beautiful rolling hills every day, having a great range of beaches from classic Lidos like Porto San Giorgio to the hidden rocky coves along the magnificent Conero Peninsular, or from having the majestic Sibillini Mountains within sight. “Rolling hills... a great range of beaches... hidden rocky coves... the majestic Sibillini Mountains... all of Italy, in one region” Lesser-known cities like Ascoli Piceno, sculpted from glistening travertine marble; Fermo with its wonderful piazza and fascinating Roman cisterns; or world heritage site Urbino, birthplace of Raffaello and home to the magnificent Ducal Palace of Federico da Montefeltro, are fascinating to visit with few of the tourist crowds. The locals call Marche “all of Italy in one region,” and that variety is reflected in the range of food, from fresh seafood right on the beach to simple farm restaurants with amazing views, stylish palazzos in Renaissance villages, to hearty but delicately flavored mountain produce. All enjoyed with world class wines like Verdicchio or Rosso Conero­—and all surprisingly inexpensive. From the breath-taking and diverse surrounding landscapes, to lively streets teeming with welcoming locals, to fine Italian dining, Marche offers an authentic taste of Italian culture without the nuisance of tourist traps. And there's never a dull moment. Throughout the year and particularly in the summer there is a constant stream of festivals, many celebrating crops and harvests, local food and wines— most feature music, entertainment, and heraldic traditions. We suspect that living in Marche has made us nicer people. Come and discover wh ]