Speciali delle Marche
We are delighted to bring you specialties from the central Italian region of Le Marche on the Adriatic coast. Its main agricultural products are cereals, vegetables, animal products, grapes, and olives. As with much of Italy, the sea provides a plentiful supply of fish, although some statistics indicate that the “Marchigiani” eat more meat, especially game, than any other Italians.
Le Marche, The Marches in English, lies across the rugged Apennine Mountains just east of Tuscany and Umbria (a march or mark referred to a militarized border region). Stretching for around 100 miles along the Adriatic coast, with hill towns to rival those of its better-known western neighbors, Le Marche is a gorgeous and less-touristed region to explore. Its mountainous inland terrain gives way to hills crisscrossed with rivers, which dip down to white sandy beaches and fishing ports. The undulating hills are rich farming terrain but sparsely populated. Le Marche offers many historic towns and cities. The region’s two cultural blockbusters are the cities of Urbino and Ascoli Piceno. Urbino is a steep stone hill town to rival anything in Tuscany. Its grandiose architecture went up during a golden age under Federico da Montefeltro in the late 1400s, when it was the capital of a powerful dukedom. Ascoli Piceno, known as the “city of travertine”–as many of its buildings are built from this honey-colored stone extracted from the surrounding mountains–is the highlight of the southern Marche. The city’s central Renaissance square, Piazza del Popolo (“Square of the People”) is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. According to traditional accounts, Ascoli Piceno was home to more than two hundred towers in the Middle Ages: today some fifty can still be seen. While its cuisine is rooted in peasant tradition, Le Marche is also a center of truffle hunting in Italy. Gioachino Rossini, composer of the operas William Tell and The Barber of Seville, was born here. A big fan of white truffles, he used to call them the “Mozart of mushrooms” and said, “I cried only three times in my life—when my first opera failed, when I first heard Paganini playing, and when a turkey stuffed with white truffles fell out of the boat during a picnic on the water.”