Welcome to the summer edition of the Marche Voyager newsletter and more cheerful news: recent weeks have seen virtually zero new infections of Covid-19 across the region, and life is slowly getting back to (a new) normal.
It's now possible to holiday in the Marche, although foreign visitors are thin on the ground. Beaches, restaurants, museums, shops and hotels are open again, but with strict social distancing and all the other measures we're slowly getting used to. In somma things could be worse!
Pass the pasta
The small town of Campofilone in Fermo province is celebrated for some of Italy's finest egg noodles. The delicate strands of maccheroncini di Campofilone are made entirely from egg and durum wheat flour without any added water, and ten eggs are used for every kilo of flour. The high egg content produces a very absorbent pasta best served with a suitably liquid ragu', or meat sauce.
The shows must go on...
The Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro is to go ahead in a much-reduced form this year, using the town’s main piazza for some of the events. The opening concert on Thursday August 6, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle is dedicated to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. Full details on the ROF website
Meanwhile the Macerata Open-Air Opera festival is staging four performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in late July and early August; there will also be two concert performances of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Full details on the Macerata Opera festival website
For jazz fans, the Fano Jazz by the Sea festival runs from 24-31 July and features an exciting and varied programme of outdoor concerts. Details on their website.
Paolo Fresu & Daniele Di Bonaventura
Keeping the blue flags flying
The Marche is now Italy's fourth region for the number of "Blue Flags" denoting good-quality beaches; Liguria has the most Blue Flag beaches this year with a total of 32, followed by Tuscany with 20, Campania with 19 and Marche with 15.
Blue Flags are awarded across Europe by the Foundation for Environmental Education to environmentally well-kept beaches. The prestigious "eco-label" is given to sites that meet strict criteria including water quality, environmental management, safety and other services. The towns with bandieri blu this year from north to south are Gabicce Mare, Pesaro, Fano, Mondolfo, Ancona, Senigallia, Sirolo, Numana, Potenza Picena, Civitanova Marche, Fermo, Pedaso, Cupra Marittima, Grottammare and San Benedetto del Tronto.
If you can't make it to the region's seaside resorts this year, you might like to visit via this webcam showing the far-from-crowded beach at Senigallia.
The ideal courtier
An exhibition dedicated to Baldassare Castiglione, the author of Il cortegiano, (The Book of the Courtier) the celebrated volume on the ideal Renaissance courtier that became one of the most popular books of the 16th century, has now opened at Urbino’s Ducal Palace.
The show, curated by Italian art historian Vittorio Sgarbi, runs until 1 November and is part of the events marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the great renaissance painter Raphael. Entry is limited to 16 people every 30 minutes and you’ll need to book online. Visit the exhibition website for more information.
A whistlestop tour
Take a four-minute canter through the artistic highlights of the Marche with this Youtube video:
There are more than 50 kilometres of spiaggia libera, or "free beaches" in the Marche, seaside strands without those classic rows of umbrellas and cabins for hire.
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