Sarnano in Le Marche is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It has natural springs - you can take the waters at the Terme or visit for a spot of pampering, we indulged in their fantastic lunchtime menu- full of local produce.
In the wonderfully restored town there is an art and antique market during the last week of May and the first of june, where many of the medieval properties are opened up as shops. The town is also home to some great restaurants, delis and food shops- the local wine we found fantastic- especially in five litre flagons from a local cantine Il Pollenza www.ilpollenza.it/. There's so much to see in this particular part of Le Marche, particularly in Spring while the poppies and other wild flowers are out and the snows in the Sibillini National Park have melted.
Villa consisting of four apartments, family run, with fantastic grounds and own swimming pool.
Very friendly English family who embraced Italy, the culture and language and renovated an old farm house in this small village.
The apartment we stayed in was very spacious and extremely well equipped, everything we needed and more was there. The surrounding grounds were perfect for our children to explore safely. There were hammocks for relaxing quietly while admiring the amazing views across the mountains, and a badminton net (for when you're feeling more energetic) and bikes.
The girls (aged eight, 11 and 12) spent most of holiday in the pool. Our son (aged five) helped Damien the owner pick, plant and water their many vegetables and fruit (hours of entertainment) and they didn't mind the guests helping themselves.
The apartments were full, but not overcrowded and there was a great mix of people. You could take a 10-minute stroll into town from the villa. Walk up into the centro historico for beautiful buildings and views. Stop for a coffee half way up and enjoy the mountain views while soaking up the sun. Take the children to the park, play crazy golf or tennis.
The nearest beach is only 45 minutes away. We had an amazing time and would definitely suggest you check it out.
I recommend Sarnano for its beautiful mountain views. In the village there are lovely friendly shops. There's the Centro Storico and the market on Thursday. Not far from there is water rafting that you can do if you dare, there's hang gliding to face a vertigo fear and maybe stay at Villa San Raffaello to look at the fields to see some racing deer. This town is safe enough to let your kids go around, I would know because I do and I'm 11. I think it's perfect for children of any age and there's a water park and beaches near to Sarnano.
We walked through the Sibillini foothills from Sarnano to San Liberato Monastery near to the hang gliding school and Gabella Nuova, the views up to the mountains and down across the rolling hills to the sea were stunning. San Liberato was a follower and friend of Saint Francis of Assisi and this was one of a number of monasteries built throughout Le Marche by their followers the Frati Fioretti di Jesi.
The monks are renovating all of the monasteries (don't know where they found the capital!) and trying to make them self-sufficient, opening ristorante, bars, hotels, and hosting wedding and functions. The monastery is open daily for visitors and adjacent to this there's a bar, which is stocked with a great selection of wines and a menu of quality Belgian beers no less, the ristorante menu is really seasonal and quite different from anything else available locally. At the moment in November and December there's a robust menu based around game, chesnuts, truffles and wild mushrooms - you can go a-la-carte or take a tour de force plate of everything (€35 inc wine, coffee and grappa). It's open most lunchtimes and Saturday and Sunday evenings phone in advance on 0733 694103 or 071 977128. There's also a website with more information on the monasteries and potential itinararies. www.terradeifioretti.it
There are many comfortable hotels locally or you can rent stylish apartments just outside Sarnano at www.villasanraffaello.com
Flights to the area - Ancona and Pescara 1.5 hrs, Perugia & Rimini 2hrs, Rome & Bologna 2h45mins
San Liberato Monastery, Gabella Nuova, San Ginesio, Macerata, Le Marche
The Ski resorts of Sassotetto, Maddalena and Bolognola are small scale but a great place to learn or get a long weekend fix and give visitors the opportunity to combine skiing or boarding with a bit of culture and touring the beautiful area of Le Marche.
Prices are also very reasonable; passes and ski/boot hire are both about £12 a day. The resorts have just invested in four new lifts, artificial snow canons and a new trattoria.
The town of Sarnano is a top base for a white week in the Sibillini mountains, it has over 20 restaurants, a late music bar and even has a funky nightclub.
There's plenty to see and do locally, the area is full of wonderful medieval villages and fantastic for walking below the snowline.
There are many hotels locally or maybe you would prefer a cosy apartment with woodburning stove and free wood, in the old Sarnano Farm Villa San Raffaello.
The resort is easily reached on cheap flights into Ancona, Pescara, Perugia and even Rome and Bologna.
Ski resort piste map: www.scuolasci-montisibillini.it/pagine/cartina.htm
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