After our coffee in Caffe Belli in a lovely little town of Amandola in Le Marche, we decided to walk up to the top of the town for a wonderful view of the Sibillini mountains. We came across this small but perfectly formed theatre, still very much in use (there had been a children's performance of The Wizard of Oz the previous day). Le Marche has many beautiful theatres, but none as small as this.
This is a beautiful agriturismo serving what locals consider to be some of the best and most authentic Marche cuisine. The setting is stunning, with views of mountains, hills and valleys. You can sit outside under a shady pergola or in the vaulted brick interior. There are often exhibitions of modern art on the walls and patrone Silvio is a perfect host. We have eaten but not stayed there but all indications are that it would be a great place for a few nights and a fine basis for walking in the Sibillini.
+39 0736 856361, cittadelladeisibillini.it
In spite of Ryan Air and talk of Marche being the ‘New Tuscany’ the area has remained remarkably tourist free. It is a region of spectacularly varied scenery, sloping Eastwards from the high Apennines through green hills to the sea, it is a countryside of small farms, vineyards, olive groves and forests. A legacy of the Medieval past is an abundance of hill-top cities, encircled by defensive walls, with commanding views and monumental historic centres : in Byron’s words, “here all the cities are capitals and have not that provincial tone of secondary cities of other kingdoms.”
The Sibillini National Park has an interest for everyone, mountain sports enthusiasts, botanists, photographers, hikers, birdwatchers, mountain bikers, it has lakes, castles monasteries, caves, and medieval villages to explore.
We stayed at Villa Gelso in the National Park, I would recommend it for secluded romance or family holidays.
Our friends and family have just enjoyed a weekend of autumn sunshine in this wonderful part of Italy. Halloween was spent dressing up and joining the locals at a disco in the medieval town of Sarnano, Saturday was spent blowing away the cobwebs by hiking along old mule tracks within the awesome Sibillini National Park and on Sunday we all went for lunch at the rifugio or mountain refuge at Monte Amandola.
This is one of a chain of places to eat and stay at high altitude within the park. The food was delicious and included strozzaprete pasta (literally translated as priest strangler pasta) with a truffle and sausage sauce, meats and home made deserts, coffee and wines and all for €13 a head.
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