Daily Archives: January 25, 2019

Portonovo Getaway

torre di portonovo | le marche holliday rent villa for small group and team buildingAh, “la bella Italia”—full of historic architecture, delicious food, and beautiful beaches. Le Marche is a fascinating region, because it has each of these three things plus an incredible mountain landscape featuring the stunning Monte Conero, sitting majestically at 572 meters above sea level.

Nestled in these slopes is Portonovo, a picturesque bay offering a tranquil, yet entertaining spot for anyone looking to experience all that the Conero Riviera has to offer. In addition to relaxing on Portonovo’s stunning, rocky beaches, there is much to be explored in this coastal hideaway, especially when it comes to the sights.

 Nature lovers: rejoice! You’ll be right in the heartland of the Parco Del Conero (Conero National Park) full of stone caves and beautiful, saltwater lakes: Lago Grande and Lago Profondo. You’ll also be able to explore the trails of Anello di Portonovo (the ring of Portonovo), offering unparalleled panoramic views that you won’t soon forget.

 Of course, the area is also rich in history and architecture. A local gem is the ancient church, Santa Maria di Portonovo, once the only building in Portonovo bay for nearly 700 years, which dates back to 1034. Another interesting landmark is the Torre Clementina, originally built in 1716 to ward off pirates.torre di portonovo | le marche holliday rent villa for small group and team building

Seafood lovers will be thankful for the many restaurants offering local “moscioli” (wild mussels) that seem to just melt in your mouth. Portonovo is known for this classic dish, as the moscioli are collected from its very bay! While seafood is usually paired with white wine, be sure to try the Rosso Conero at some point during your visit. Consider it the more mature, older sister of the white Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, one of Le Marche’s famous wines.

So there you have it—a beautiful landscape, activities galore, and specialty dishes to top it off. When you’re looking for a break from sightseeing in the city and want to explore one of the more enchanting sides of Le Marche, check out Portonovo. Keep in mind that this charming spot is just a 20 minute drive from Ancona, the region’s capital city, making it a perfect day trip or weekend getaway.

Best of Both Worlds: Le Marche Cuisine

le marche holiday small group vacation italyItaly is known for its stunning architecture, rich landscape, and of course—its delicious food. While each region has its specialty, Le Marche stands out for its diverse cuisine, stemming from its strategic location next to the sea and in the mountains. For this reason, it’s able to offer its locals and guests the best of both worlds…and let’s not forget about the wine, which deserves a separate blog post in itself!

Historically, each area and town in Le Marche has its own stand-out dish. When visiting Ascoli Piceno, for example, be sure to taste the olive ascolanelocal, green olives that are pitted and then stuffed with a delicious mix of meat and cheese. Then, the bite-sized morsels are deep-fried to perfection. It’s not hard to believe that this classic antipasto dish has made its way abroad, becoming known as a staple Italian dish in North America and the United Kingdom.

What’s really interesting about Le Marche, though, is the fact that you can find both delicious and locally sourced meat and fish, all from the same region. In addition to the classic grigliata, featuring either a fresh array of grilled meats or fish, the region is home to unique dishes that you can’t really get anywhere else.

Regional Food_2First up is the classic brodetto di pesce”, found along the coast. Don’t let the basic translation of “fish soup” fool you—this tangy, hearty dish includes a wide variety of fish including mussels, clams, shrimp, and more. Historically, this was known as a “poor man’s dish”, as the entire fish (including the head) was used, and depended on what was caught that day.

If you’re more of a meat aficionado, Le Marche has something unique for you, too. Go beyond the classic grilled meats, with a tasty appetizer featuring lonza, a salt-cured pork, or ciauscolo, another pork-based delicacy that is usually spreadable. Staying close to its roots, ciauscolo must be made in the areas of Macerata, Ancona, and Ascoli Piceno in order to be considered authentic.

In addition to an exciting travel schedule full of sightseeing and experiences, make sure that you set aside enough time for yourself to experience all that Le Marche cuisine has to offer, tasting both the land and the sea!

Vacationing in (Villa) Style

loreto | le marche holiday small group vacationTraveling to Italy has been the topic of various famous films, ranging from the classic Under the Tuscan Sun to the famous book-turned-movie, Eat, Pray, Love.  Although these films were released in different decades, they both contain independent characters who choose to take a much-needed break in classic Italian style. And you know what else? Both of the characters skip the hotel accommodations and dare to be a little more authentic, by renting an apartment or staying in an enchanting villa.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many travelers have been making the shift from hotel lodgings to more independent types of accommodations in order to feel more like a local. Gone are the days of chunky travel dictionaries and guided tours of over 50 people. These days, it’s all about making a personal connection and striving to see authentic pieces of Italy just like a local would.

Alright, so where should you begin? The best place to start is by establishing a comfortable home-base that will give you the comforts of home, while also placing you in a strategic location for sightseeing. Our villas in Le Marche offer our guests both of these advantages, nestled in the charming hills just moments away from hiking experiences, local shops, and even hot air ballooning!

Villa-di-zio-9Not only does a villa give you ample space to relax after a full day of experiencing the area like a true local, but it gives you some time to yourself. What better way to experience your independence than in a different country, where new experiences are at your fingertips? What’s more, is our villas have been hand-picked by a team of experts, and you won’t have to rely on Google to discover hidden gems regarding restaurants and things to do.

Well, there you have it. It turns out that some of our favorite characters from films based in Italy had it right from the start. Ditch the old-fashioned route of checking-in and out of a hotel, and go directly for your local experience as an independent traveler!