It’s far too easy to overlook not only the stunning region of Le Marche but also the months outside of the “high season”.Unless of course you’re restricted to school holidays then the perfect months for exploring but also enjoying nice warm days are May, June, September and October. Since we’re approaching the autumn let’s take a look at what you can expect from an autumn break at Caserma Carina.
September is the month of the “vendemmia” or grape harvest. You’ll see an abundance of activity in the local vineyards, one of which is Cantina Murola, just minutes away from us and where we’ll take you for a guided tour followed by a fun wine tasting experience. The most famous Le Marche wine is the white Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. Straw-yellow, with subtle overtones of nuts, honey and flowers, the best Italian wine to accompany fish. The Monte Conero area around Ancona is not only a national park with quaint little towns such as Sirollo and many pathways for walkers, it’s also the home of Rosso Conero, a wine with an ancient tradition, made from the Montepulciano grape. The Metauro valley is the place to find Bianchello, a delicious white wine, while the south of the region is dominated by Rosso Piceno, ruby-red in colour, its lingering flavour overlaid with hints of wild berry fruits. The principal city in this area, Ascoli Piceno with its back drop of the Monte Sibillini is an elegant medieval city, architecturally beautiful. Lunch in the famous Caffè Meletti in the Piazza del Popolo should definitely be on your to do list, or treat yourself to a cone of Ascolane Olives. Trust me, even olive haters will fall in love with these little gems; large olives, de-stoned then stuffed with a mix of meats and vegetables, bread crumbed then deep fried!
During October the countryside is alive with olive picking so why not spend a day picking with the locals and visit one of the local presses to see how that delicious liquid is made.
If you’re a foodie then you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Produced locally, mostly organic or from sustainable techniques the variety of cuisine reflects the diversity of the region: from tender shrimp and Conero muscles along the coast to the white truffles of Acqualagna and wild boar stew in the Monte Sibillini. There’s an abundance of fresh pasta dishes with a variety of sauces, my personal favourites being ravioli stuffed with crab meat in a courgette sauce on our coastal days out and Pappardelle alla Lepre (hare pasta) in front of the open fire at Le Casette Agriturismo near Lake Fiastra. Meat is generally cooked “alla brace” and is deliciously and simply drizzled with olive oil, a slice of lemon juice and accompanied by rosemary roast potatoes. Every Saturday evening and on Tuesday morning market day our local town of Mogliano hosts the most wonderful take away food van offering a variety of spit roasted meats, mixed fish, cheeses, deep fried vegetables and many more naughty treats. Their show piece though has to be Porchetta; a little rich and tends to repeat for a few hours but well worth the recurrences, Porchetta is a whole roasted pig, deboned and spiced with a mixture of salt, pepper, fennel, garlic and rosemary. Great slapped between some nice crusty bread!
Italy is the country of festivals and during September and October you can experience the many local Autumn “Sagre”, great for foodies where you can taste and buy chestnuts, white truffles, Polenta, mushrooms and much more.
Apart from eating and drinking, what else can you look forward to? It goes without saying that Marche is filled with art and history. Our local city of Macerata has a few museums worth a visit, especially the carriage museum in the Palazzo Buonaccorsi with an ever changing art exhibition on the upper floor.
The Teatro Rossi in the main Piazza Della Libertà also offers a full winter programme of events. An early start one day during your holiday is well worth the sacrifice to see the stunning city of Urbino, home to Raphael and the Ducal Palace, one of the most important buildings in Italy and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and home to The National Gallery of Marche, one of the most important collections of Renaissance art in the world.
If you’re a shopaholic and love your designer brands then Marche is right up your street. Within an hour’s drive we have an abundance of Designer Outlet stores such as Armani, Prada, Tods and Hugo Boss. Many family run factories are scattered around the region with its rich history of handmade leather goods, especially shoes and bags. In fact we’re happy to pop you down to a local factory here in Mogliano where you can treat yourself and your family for that matter to a beautifully made leather bag. If you’re here for long enough they’ll even make one to order for you – the prices are amazing. Just 20 minutes away is the rather understated town of Monteppone, hat manufacturing central in Italy. You’ll find plenty of Outlet shops selling every type of hat imaginable and with prior arrangement there’s a very interesting hat museum to visit.
September and October are the perfect months for walking. Being centrally located between the Sibillini mountains and the Monte Conero on the coast you’re literally spoilt for choice. Guided walks in the Sibillinis can be organised to suit all levels and mountain bikes can be hired for those who want to see the scenery at a slightly faster pace!
And finally, you have our beautifully landscaped gardens and pool, a temptation to simply relax with a good book in the peace and quiet of Caserma Carina and when you get a little warm, pop open a cold beer or Prosecco and continue relaxing!