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Archive for the ‘Marchè’ Category

Food

We had a wonderful dinner last night. The restaurant had great atmosphere, a fire on which they cooked and which added warmth on a cool evening, and was completely local – we were the only foreigners there. That is rare, particularly as the web and travel guides direct everyone to the same places. So we truly enjoyed the evening and are returning tonight, which we never do to enjoy it one more time!

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Then there is coffee. When we visited Abruzo a few years back we felt their coffee just was not as good as it was in Umbria – more milky. We experienced the same in Marche. Illy, our favorite, was better but still more milky.

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I liked this cup in Ascoli, which has ‘Kiki’ on it, The name our nieces on one side call Kristi.

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But this Illy coffee in Gubbio won my jeart, was just the way I like it!

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Lace in Offida

Offida is known for its lace, as is Orvieto. They have an interpretive street about lace which is nice and the museum has one floor dedicated to it. It is really very good.

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This piece made in Offida was worn by Naomi Campbell.

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Photo of ladies doing ‘pillow’ lace and below Kristi taking a picture of a bronze statue of lace making.

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Also at the museum was a floor dedicated to the local culture and life. In it was a sink/dish drying arrangement that is reminiscent of the one in the apartment in which we stayed. It is really very clever. We first saw this about 8 years ago in northern Italy.

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Our apartment’s set up above and the beautiful travertine in the kitchen below.

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Offida

It was market day when we arrived in Offida. Theirs is a huge market spread all over town, with hundreds of people attending. Lots of clutches of people in conversation.

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Packing up the truck. It is incredible how much comes out of these and how they get it all back in. Off to the next market for these guys.

Offida is a picturesque town sitting high on a hill with beautiful views out over the countryside.

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More to come on this sweet town.

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Exploding Brain

One of the things I like about traveling without agenda is that it opens up the possibility for the unexpected that you simply can’t get when you have a schedule. Today we went to Offida, a sweet town about 15 miles from Ascoli. This on the recommendation of our friend Graziella in Orvieto. Fabulous place that I’ll post about more.

The unexpected occurred at lunch. We went into a place that really just serves wine from a small vineyard nearby producing 45,000 bottles a year. Roberto, the owner, explained that he does wine, but could do a little food to go along with it. When he described the food possibilities we said yes!

What a fabulous experience. Roberto Ballati was a divorce lawyer in Rome when, 8 years ago, his ‘brain exploded’ with the crappy work he was in. So he quit, bought a palazzo and place in Marche and began making wine. Now he makes just 2 labels, both red. He ages them for 6 years before releasing them. So here was our lunch today.

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The wine is a cabernet sauvignon/montepulciano/sangiovese blend. Simply delicious. He brought us antipasti first: falafel, a deep fried bread with tomato sauce and parmegiano, a deep fried bread with ham, a small dish of pasta. Yum!

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Then a new pasta dish. It is from Rome, where Roberto comes from, is similar to cacio e pepe, but has guanciale (bacon) and less of a sauce. Fabulous!

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We finished the meal off with a semifredo dessert.

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We got Roberto to sit down with us for a while where we learned his story. But a German couple and their kids came in and the magic was broken. And so another wonderful adventure in Bella Italia.

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From Orvieto to Ascoli

We’ve long wanted to visit the Marche region. With a break between our trips we decided to use the time to visit. We rented a car and made the drive over the mountains through Todi, Spoleto, and Norcia to Ascoli Piceno.

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Our view at lunch between Spoleto and Norcia.

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The area around Norcia. Norcia is known for its truffles and is a charming town as seen below.

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Leaving Norcia we ran into a guy trailing sheep and goats along the road. This is such a throwback to the days when Kristi helped her dad do the same through the streets of Aspen!

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Crossing the next ridge of mountains we saw 10 hang gliders.

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Ascoli is made of white travertine marble, which is found in abundance here. We only got to see a little bit yesterday. Below are views out of our apartment, which has skylights with views of some of the 30+ towers still remaining, and of the surrounding mountains, including Mt. Ascensione.

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Below you begin to get a sense of the beauty of the travertine. Our landlady says she especially loves it here when it rains because the marble glistens.

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And one of cathedral bells doing some major ringing at 7:00.

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Buona notte.

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