There might have to be a few parts to this…..just so much there to talk about! Food, wine, people, beautiful countryside, beautiful villages and towns….the list just could go on and on!
We tried to find where the local farmers markets were each day and then plan our outings based on that. Le Marche, the area that we stayed in, is not the tourist mecca like so many other parts of Italy. As a result it’s kind of a catch-22 situation……you don’t get the touristy type services (ie lots of restaurants) and at the same time because there aren’t that many tourists, there really isn’t the need to have all those restaurants, shops etc. Not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing. Their economy does struggle, which worries some people, but then we talked to others who were more than content with their way of life….sometimes a lot of work but so worth it to them to retain. Very interesting! Siesta is also a big part of Italian life in Le Marche…..just about everything closes around noon and reopens late afternoon, 4:30-5ish often, depending on where you are restaurants and cafes! We learned to do our “shopping” earlier then search out one of the restaurants that was open and have a long leisurely lunch!
The market in Gubbio (Tuesdays) was the best ever…..we remembered that from our last visit here so made the trek (a good hour or so drive). It’s a huge market with lots of everything……beautiful fresh produce, the porchetta guy and clothes and shoes galore!
What surprised me more than anything was the number of young people in these towns. Young as in their 20’s. A lot of these places have only a few hundred people so it seems incredible to me that so many of the younger people remain. They work in the shops but more often than not they work on the family farms and vineyards. On the outskirts of many of the towns there are some large industrial complexes as well (tires, farming/vineyard equipment, cement works)…maybe that too keeps them close to home. We’d see them in the cafes and bars in the evening (having a glass of wine, not beer!) chatting and visiting with their friends as well as all the oldies that would come out for the evening passagiata.
Little Apes (pronounces aa-pay, which means bee in Italian) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_Ape , are in abundance and the best way to get around on the many narrow little roads. We seen a lot of “souped” up ones driven by the young guys racing around in the evenings…..no Ferraris for them!
They really do have their priorties right……family is probably the most important, or maybe it’s the food…..it would be a pretty close second for sure. Everywhere we went all food, even just a pizza, is served with care. Most places the servers are very attentive….not for tips, which are not the big thing there like they are here….round up the bill and that’s it. You never get just a glass of wine or a coffee, it will always come with a little cookie of bowl of nuts or olives…..sometimes a few little pieces of cheese.
The place we stayed was fantastic! Here is the link to the rental through airbnb https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/1480738?guests=6&adults=6&location=Italy&s=1BFHm4CJ Huge….especially loved the big kitchen with lots of room…AND the best part, good, sharp knives!! The white stove at the end of the table has now been replaced by a lovely 6 burner stainless steel gas stove. The ground floor was still somewhat in it’s original state….the barn. We had fun looking around down there finding all the old troughs, stables, storage areas etc.
Italy is all about food to me….buying it, preparing it and then the best part….eating it! I was going to try to get lots of foodie pics but unfortunately often I’d remember the picture halfway through the meal!
Food and cooking…..and wine of course….seemed to be on our mind all the time!!
All of us prepping away for dinner was one of the best times of day…..and then of course eating whatever we’d prepared and sitting around talking about our day.
I could go on and on……and will in the next post.