October 9, 2014
Un litro vino rosso della casa…per favore!
By Crystal Hayes
Fall – a cozy season full of fab knitwear, boots and everything pumpkin. Although I am absolutely smitten with this season, I am left with a bit of the vacation blues as I reminisce about my whirlwind romp through Italy this past August. As I trade sun kissed skin and wide brimmed hats for tights and beanies, I have been not-so-secretly dreaming about my glorious ten days in the Marche region of Italy, just along the Adriatic Sea. Picture this- beyond fresh coastal cuisine, vino fresh from the winery just down the road, just-pressed olive oils, virtually zero tourists (besides yourself of course), rolling hills…I could go on and on about this excursion, but instead, I thought I would share my vacation guide to the region with you, just in case I have piqued your interest.
Getting There: the trip is fairly easy and absolutely worth it. Philadelphia International Airport offers a directly flight from PHL to Rome via US Airways. From Rome, Le Marche is just about a three hour drive northeast of the city. Car rentals are available at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. Tip – Book in advance, tickets can get a bit pricey as expected with any European flights.
Staying In Style: I was fortunate enough to travel with a group of explorers who like to stay in local villas in lieu of hotels. With that being said, ladies and gentlemen I introduce Casa Olivi. This stunning home was found by my travel expert friend and I can’t begin to describe the elation we experienced upon arrival. From the infinity pool, to the chef’s kitchen and the tranquil design this villa is THE place to stay if you are traveling to this region. Bonus – through the manager of the property, guests can arrange private home dinners with a Michelin star chef, a local “Nona”, wine tastings, truffle hunts and basically anything else you can dream of. Take advantage of this.
Exploring: Le Marche is ideally located between Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo and the Adriatic Sea. In less than an hour, the coastal town of Ancona awaits with beaches, restaurants and boats available for charter. Wanting to explore the coast, we boarded a small charter vessel and traveled north along the picturesque coastline. Along the way we found private beaches (some clothing optional, I’ll leave it to you to decide if that is a good or bad thing) and lush cliffs. After your nautical excursion, travel into the nearby medieval towns of Gradara, Urbino, Corinaldo and Macerata. Here, visitors will find ancient fortified towns, piazzas, shops, restaurants and a ton of history. Tip – leave extra room in your suitcase because you aren’t going home empty handed. This region is home to most of Italy’s leather (shoe & handbag) production and you can find beautiful hand-made pieces for a steal!
Learn how to say: “Un litro vino rosso della casa” it’s how you order a liter of the house red wine, and the key to survival in my opinion.
Happy trip planning friends and in the meantime…enjoy the fall in Philadelphia!