“Un viaggio nelle Marche, non frettoloso, porta a vedere meraviglie.”
The wonders of a region gathering in itself the essence of the Italian spirit – let me pass the words – for history, culture, nature, traditions and gastronomy and giving to lovers and travellers endless surprises.
Write a unique detailed list about things to do in the Marches would be difficult considering the abundance of important sites, small towns, artistic and landscape sightings.
I prefer to tell it my way once again, starting from the force and determination of its people, their stories and the discovery of the less known places, the most authentic and genuine ones, which are able to turn a simple weekend of relax into a lot of emotions, savours and beautiful memories.
This time – back from the recent experience on the Monti Sibillini in occasion of the project #ripartidaisibilliniexperience, together with Nadia Stacchiotti, a local expert and appreciated local blogger of “Racconti di Marche” – I want to take you with me discovering another very beautiful portion of land of the Marches, developing around Roccafluvione in ups and downs of hills and valleys, forests, waterfalls, villages and small hamlets which from the Sibillini slope down progressively towards the coast.
An itinerary made of experiences –more than places to visit – made “of and by” people, passion, love and sharing.
Norma and Ezio are much more than “Il Rifugio dei Marsi B&B” owners.
They are two beautiful people, viscerally bounded to their own land, who have decided to stay – despite the difficulties generated in the latest years because of the several earthquakes occurred – to contribute with commitment, love and passion spreading the beauty and the inspiration of an area which has a lot to give as regards typicalness and traditions, giving their guests not only a beautiful place where to stay overnight, but even a direct contact with places and people through unusual experiences – unique sometimes.
Like the idea to make build two big casks – mindful of Ezio’s memories tied to his childhood, grapes farming and the slow and fascinating transformation process into wine – where to stay overnight with an amazing view of the River Fluvione valley, have a special breakfast with products strictly local and just enjoy an experience out of the ordinary – unforgettable, many people say.
Il Rifugio dei Marsi B&B – it is located in Via Caserine 8, near Marsia – also offers cared rooms with all comforts in the main building and a series of info and linked services to enjoy the neighbouring area at 360°.
Certainly the ideal starting point – and the reference point – for a weekend dedicated to the exploration of Roccafluvione.
Autumn in the Marches gives an endless range of colours and some among the most delicious fruit, like marrons.
One of the most beautiful experiences to do in this particular period of the year is taking part into the marrons picking in one of the chestnut woods in the area.
You walk through the woods following paths traced by a local expert and you share the moment of the research and picking using a rake to find the husks still full among the leaves and take out the marrons.
Then over the walk the expert will explain to you the several techniques of farming and the main differences among chestnuts and marrons.
If you are interested in booking a such activity, you can turn directly to Ezio, Il Rifugio dei Marsi B&B – please, find here the email address firstname.lastname@example.org – who plans also this type of excursions.
Give yourselves a few hours to discover the small old town of Marsia and admire the “treasures” in the neighbourhoods.
From the symbol par excellence of this land, Ponte Nativo: a natural flyover made of two big rocks laid upon which allowed to cross the Fluvione River over centuries and link the communities of Venarotta and Marsia. As far as the small Church of Sant’Antonio built at the centre of the bridge, a treasure of the eighteenth century literally suspended over the river and tied to the legends about the local brigandage.
The stories handed down tell about caves where the brigands hid their treasures, about tunnels and passages right near the bridge. And still today it’s possible to read an ancient grave which reminds to the passers that the church doesn’t guarantee the immunity to the brigands even if it is a holy place.
And even from Marsia as far as Arena through the villages of Foscarine, Marese, Macchigiano as far as reaching the Pignoloni Watermill and the very beautiful Arena Waterfall – rightly listed among the 10 most suggestive ones in the region – where a series of wonderful excursions paths leave from.
You can choose to cover the itineraries dedicated to the landscape sightings of the area or take part into some of the traditional events like Le Notti del Carbonaio or La Sagra della Crispella, according to the period of your visit – please, find here the calendar.
You mustn’t leave Roccafluvione without having chatted and bought up local products – caciotta, sausages, bread, salami and cold pork meats, and even much more – at Mafalda’s (actually “Sali e tabacchi”), a downright institution in the area.
It is located on Strada Provincial 237, on the left arriving from Marsia, just before the crossroads towards Salare.
The tale of a land passes unavoidably also through the re-discovery of its culinary tradition, the way of working the typical products, to preserve into the collective memory ancient techniques of preparation and presentation and to re-propose new matchings – where it is possible.
Like the Scipionis and their restaurant. A story which has been lasting over 40 years, made of tenancy, passion and unconditional love for their own land once again.
Everything started in the very early ‘70s when Rosa – considered one of the best female cookers in Piceno since she was a teenager – and her husband Orlando Scipioni turned the old country house in Marsia into a restaurant – Il Grottino.
In a short time the activity became one of the most famous one in the area, a reference point which still today keeps attracting and satisfying locals and visitors from everywhere.
Liviana and Tonino, Rosa and Orlando’s children get ahead the family’s tradition dealing personally with the restaurant then named Donna Rosa after their mother – and cuisine running, giving their guests downright gastronomic experiences.
The truffle cannot miss – precious black or hooked, according to the period – the handmade pastas, the ceps, the chestnuts, the local meats. And the unforgettable (above all for the palate) fritto misto of the Marches, among them the Ascolana Olives – it’s really amazing looking at Liviana preparing them according to the tradition, as well as eating them just cooked – the lamb and the fried chocolate creams stand out.
The chocolate and coffee ones (so white and black) included, realized for a dinner wanted by the President of the Ascoli calico FC in 1974 to celebrate the promotion of the team up to Serie A.
Donna Rosa Restaurant is located in Via Antonio Gramsci 1, Marsia, Roccafluvione. You can contact directly Liviana and Tonino to book tour special culinary experience of the Marches calling the number 0736 365114 or writing an email to email@example.com
Roccafluvione, land of black gold.
I mean the Precious Black Truffle and one of the major production in the country, a downright excellence of the land. A production got by natural and cultivated truffle grounds whose fame has crossed the Italian borders by now, arriving all over the world.
Even 5 generations of quarrymen lovers, but only the last one converted to the production for sale. Three qualities of Truffle got – White, Precious Black and Summer Black – and the choice to get ahead a project of pure production, featured by the exclusive use of truffles, water and salt, without adding synthetic aromas, usually used to produce oils, sauces, creams, et cetera.
Entering their world for few hours, taking part into a demonstration of truffles picking it was special.
Rita is another wonderful person who makes literally the difference of a land.
She has been working at the family Truffle grounds for 35 years and you immediately get it that she loves deeply what she does by her look and words.
She takes us to one of the plantations above Venarotta and she starts telling how the land has to be prepared, about the choice and the care of plants –only three years for the preparation and then the first picking from the fourth year ahead – how the truffles have to be washed and about the selection. Then she turns to her car, opens the boot and makes Pelù – one of her truffle dogs – get off. He jumps to her neck joyfully.
She wants to show us the work they do together and that they are wonderfully on the same wave-length. Pelù sniffs, leaves like lightning, digs and finds. He looks for Rita, he shows her his trophy proudly – he gives it willingly in exchange of a small food prize – he gives himself a few minutes of cuddles with his owner and then he starts again to sniff.
It’s an emotional ritual which conveys fully the sense of a job that is first of all life, passion and love for the land (words that always more often are present – did you noticed that?).
After have passed to greet the other dogs remained in their dog’s beds, we reach the lab where the final phase of the production takes place and where I find out – with a great pleasure – that their products are shipped not only to several countries of the world, but also to a direct shop in my beloved New York.
My impartial tip is to give yourselves a such experience, to take part into a truffle picking (maybe before purchasing it, in order to give to that special savour more value) and to enjoy deeply this magic moment of connection with the land.
You can take part into the truffle picking organized by the Angelozzi filling in the form you find here or calling the number 360 733257.
“I Marchigiani.. gente di atteggiamenti e costumi non convulsionari ma pacati,
di maraviglia lenta ma fervida, di non ingenui trasecolari, non perditesta ma di vigilante coraggio.
Di pugno rado, ma sodo, di riso non pazzo ma schietto.”
(Dino Garrone – Terra di Marche)