Le Marche Spring breaks for mind, body and soul
It goes without saying that Italian cuisine is one of the most delicious and the italians’ infatuation with food is well known. As with other Italian regions, Le Marche celebrates many of the wonderful ingredients in its regional dishes and the calendar is littered with sagras and slow-food festas to satiate your appetite. Whether, you are a foodie or into your health and fitness, enjoy walking, running or cycling, or, maybe you like to indulge a bit and exercise, or indulge a lot and exorcize; there is always something to fit the bill.
Fantastic Marche Spring Food festas
Situated on the Adriatic coast, the region takes full advantage of freshly caught fish and seafood. Marche’s version of ‘fish and chips’ comes in the guise of fritto misto; squid, mullet, anchovies and baccala (salt cod) cooked in a light batter is a regular ‘fast food’ and the irresistible aromas fill the air at most weekly markets. The wonderful city of Ascoli Piceno (AP), in southern Le Marche, celebrates this foodie tradition at a festa in the last week of April/May, adding their tempting speciality of olive ascolana into the mix; green olives stuffed with pork meat and herbs and deep fried in a crispy coating.
If you whiz up to the north of the region you can wash these delights down with a glass of fragrant lacrima red wine. The Sagra del vino Lacrima in Morro d’Alba (AN), (first weekend of May) offers tastings of the delicious perfumed vino made from local grapes rarely found outside of Morro d’Alba.
Visiting local markets abroad is always a feast for the senses but during May italian stalls are piled high with spiky green artichokes or carciofi. Montelupone (MC), a quaint hill top town, celebrates this intriguing vegetable at the Sagra del Carciofo (9th and 10th May) with opportunities for tasting and dining.
For cheese lovers, the annual festa – Formaggio d’autore – in Gualdo (MC) 29th and 30th May annual, shows the best of local cheeses and those further afield, together with artisan salamis, sausages and a plethora of pastries. There are plenty of tasters on offer and buying opportunities to sneak treats back in the suitcase. If they’re not devoured sooner.
Cantine Aperte Wine tasting weekend
There is also Cantine Aperte or “open cellars” weekend over the 30th and 31st May; where vineyards open up to the public to discuss their wine production techniques, show people round the cantina and maybe the vineyard and to sample the wines of course. Most vineyards lay on a small spread, some provide music and others have a full meal that you can book. There are numerous DOC and DOCG areas in Marche and the wines are a closely guarded secret. Try them and you are sure to place an order for some to take home at unbeatable prices.
The foodie treats aren’t limited to festas however, there is an abundance of great ristorante that specialise in locally caught game, foraged wild mushrooms and truffles, home-made pastas, locally reared meat and homegrown fruits and veg. Take for example Picciolo di Rame a fantastic eatery in an ancient olive press, Silvano the owner guides you through a stupendous tasting menu of 12 local recipes, all using either home or locally grown/reared produce, this mouth watering feast includes wine and coffee and costs an incredible €30. In London this would cost you £100!!
Balance your holiday lifestyle
If, like many our guests who love their food, you care about your health, count your calories and like to stay fit, there are plenty of options for keeping you body balanced. Don’t feel guilty about visiting Le Marche for a culinary fest, as there are many wonderful walking routes that weave through the Sibillini National Park (we can arrange a guide) and dramatic back roads for cycling to help you burn off those extra calories (we can even hire you a top spec’ road bike).
Alternatively, you can swim in our pool or join the well equipped local gym for €5 a day, go running on paved traffic free roads with views to die for, or, you can strut your stuff as many of the festas are based around live music.
Still not convinced? Well, Villa San Raffaello is offering discounts on stays during April and May. Well situated for discovering some of what this glorious region has to offer, our spacious apartments have won the Trip advisor excellence awards for 3 years running and are currently reduced to €20 per person a night for families or groups of 6, €25 a night for 4 or 5 people, €30 for 3 people and €40 for couples. Cheap flights are available to Ancona (1hr 20), Perugia (2hrs), Pescara (1hr 45), Bologna Forli (2,.5hrs), Rome Ciampino (3hr), Bologna(3hr)