Take a Dip in the Crystal Clear Waters of Lago di Fiastra
Take a picnic with you and spend the day on the lakeside, enjoying the beautiful setting. You can also fish in the lake, and windsurf on it too. It takes around 40 minutes to drive by car to the lake which is surrounded by mountainous scenery. Whilst around the lake take the time to look around the nearby town of Fiastra. The view from the old church is one of the best in Le Marche! If you get peckish and haven't brought anything to eat there is a cafe/restaurant near the lake.
If you Enjoy a Trip to the Opera
If you are staying at the house during July/August, you will be able to attend the Opera Festival that takes place through the late summer months in Macereta. Set in the beautful open air Sferisterio - an elegant Neo-Classical arena, a fitting setting for the music of Verdi and Puccini. You can view the 2015 schedule at http://www.sferisterio.it/?f=1 and purchase tickets there too. The town is a 45-50 minute drive from the house, and whilst you are there why not take a stroll around the beautiful nature park and gardens in the town.
Visit the Town of Ascoli Piceno
This ancient city with wonderful piazzas, architecture and riverside walks was founded even before Rome and was home to more than two hundred towers in the Middle Ages, more than fifty of which can still be seen today! The Piazza del Popolo (Square of the People) is a striking traditional Italian square, with restaurants and cafes lining its edges. Have a coffee or a glass of wine in the Piazza and enjoy the charming atmosphere whilst trying to imagine what the exact spot you're sitting in would have been like hundreds of years ago...Visit on the first Sunday in August to experience La Quintana, Ascoli's jousting tournament. The day also includes a striking procession with around 1,400 town's people dressed in 15th century costume and plenty of side-shows and open-air eating places.
The Sibillini Mountains
It takes about an hour from Gualdo to drive to the the Sibillini Mountains, so maybe this is an ideal for a day trip, take a picnic and your camera, pitch up the car, picnic chairs and rug and enjoy the incredible views of these snow-capped mountains.
Macerata is in the heartland of Le Marche and, although a smallish town, boasts one of Italy's universities as well as one of its finest libraries. You may like to visit the museum or the Ricci Palace art gallery, or simply stroll along the Corso Matteotti which is lined with the best of the city's palaces.
Tolentino shows signs of habitation from the 4th century BC. The Romans made use of the thermal baths of Santa Lucia, and visitors can do likewise today. Although the outskirts are modern, the centre is mainly medieval. The dome of the Basilica contains a fine example of Giottoesque painting, and there is a strange medieval clock in the Piazza della Liberta which tells the lunar phases, italic hours, astronomical hours and days of the week and month.
The little town of San Ginesio is a member of the Italian Association of Beautiful Villages and is well worth a morning's visit. In the 13th century several 'hospitals' were built to provide refuge for pilgrims on their way to Rome. The town's museum, housed in an old church, displays some lovely paintings by 15th and 16th century Le Marche painters and the main square has an opera house and an unusual Romanesque church. There are beautiful views over the Sibillini Mountains, particularly from the public gardens on the Colle Ascarano, the highest part of the town.
Sarnano is one of the few towns locally whose medieval centre remains entirely intact - its narrow streets are great for strolling but not recommended for driving! This is a city renowned for its waters too, said to cure all types of ills. Most of the medieval buildings are built around the square at the top of the town.
Sibillini Mountains National Park
The Sibillini Mountains National Park has many well signposted trails for walkers and mountain bikers which criss-cross the spectacular countryside. Other activities such as horse riding, paragliding and rock climbing are also possible. In the north of the park, Lake Fiastra is a beautiful turquoise-blue and you can picnic or swim, although the waters are fairly cold!
Le Marche's coastline stretches for 180km along the Adriatic, with the highest number of Blue Flag beaches of any region in Italy. This prestigious award is given for excellent water quality, environmental management, safety, cleanliness and services. The resorts here generally fall into two categories - large lively centres with good amenities and lots of summer visitors, or quieter hidden spots more popular with local families.
Discover the local wine
Le Marche produces a large variety of wines including 13 varieties of wine carrying the D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) label. Many are little known outside of Italy but visitors to the region have a pleasant surprise when they try the Sangiovese local wine produced by many small aziendas and cantinas.
Local speciality - Olive Ascolane
Local speciality - Olive Ascolane A specialty of the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno, these stuffed olives, painstakingly and lovingly hand-made by local women, make an appearance at big events and special occasions. Green olives are pitted and stuffed with a filling of meat and cheese, dipped in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and deep-fried to a golden brown in sunflower oil. Served as starters or snacks, these addictive olives can be bought in cartoccio (a paper cone) for eating on the go or in frozen batches, to take back and fry at the villa, from the various wine bars and trattorie in Ascoli Piceno.
Try the Brodetto all'Anconetana: a decadent fish soup
Stop at any restaurant along Le Marche's coast and you're bound to find a version of this fish soup. Traditionally made with 13 different types of fish and shellfish (one for each person at the Last Supper), the tomato-based soup, rich with the flavour of fresh seafood, evolved from the local fishermans' dilemma around how to use up their by-catch.
A 'must do' on anyone's list is to experience the 'passeggiata'.
In any town or large village, especially on a weekend or holiday, the inhabitants of the town will congregate in the main square in the early evening, to have a stroll around, talk to their friends, have an aperitif or ice cream, before dispersing for dinner. It is the perfect time to people watch!
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