From the mountains to the sea

Allora.. a great start to the morning… another beautiful day so we were off walking the laneway at 6.45am. We thought we’d get some lovely views on our walk but unfortunately the road was bounded by forest so there wasn’t much to be seen until we came across a fellow standing on the side of the road with a shotgun over his shoulder.. the usual Buon giornos were exchanged and we continued on.. then came across another & we could here a bell tinkling not far away – somewhat similar to the bells on the cows in Switzerland.  We then came out of the woods and into farmland and saw another couple of men quite a distance away in the middle & on the verge of the paddock. We decided at this point that they must be hunting wild boar. We just kept walking – walked for a half hour or so – all uphill then decided we’d had enough exercise and there wasn’t much to see so meandered back downhill. We were happily coming up to the spot where we had seen the shooters and we both looked across the paddock to see a man pointing a shotgun in our direction. I’m surprised we didn’t both start sprinting! I guess we thought he must have thought he heard something and pointed the gun in that direction.. we are just glad he didn’t pull the trigger. Later in the day I was googling hunting in Italy when I saw this:

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IMG_1592 Morning sunrise over the township

Off for a different day today – exploring another part of Le Marche. We travelled south from our gorgeous home in Sarnano to Ascoli Piceno – the largest town in the south of Le Marche. We were having a great deal of trouble finding a park so eventually used a parking garage. The attendant had no word of English & we were a little bit concerned about whether we’d be able to get our car out etc etc but when the time came, all was good.

Off on foot we set. The architecture in this town is very different to what we have been seeing in that everything is built from limestone. The Palaces and churches are very grand & we were particularly impressed with the Cathedral. We visited the creepy crypt also – always worth a visit.

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I had bemoaned to Rod earlier that I hadn’t had an Italian coffee so we stopped at a café & enjoyed a cappuccino whilst people watching at the markets that were on in the main piazza. We wandered around for another hour or so admiring the lovely architecture.

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We then decided to hotfoot it to the coast via a little town that had taken our interest.

We were taking the back roads & for any of you who know Italy, this means add on a considerable amount of time to your journey as the roads twist away around mountains and inevitably the signage disappears at an intersection & you have a 50% chance of getting it right & most times you don’t so end up having to go the long way around! Anyway, this part of Le Marche was totally different. Very barren with eroded mountains etc. Then we hit the wine country with prolific vineyards. We reached our destination finally of Ripatransone.

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The main reason we had come, other than the fact that is yet another example of a beautifully restored hill town is that it has the narrowest laneway in Italy being 43 cm. After a few laughs & an enjoyable meander around the other laneways and streets, we found a great little ristorante for lunch. We both enjoyed the bruschetta with pomodoro entrée immensely then I enjoyed the tagliatelle with tomato & boar sauce & Rod had tortellini with a creamy mushroom sauce. Both pasta dishes arrived at the table in the frying pan. The restaurant was filled with noisy locals who were all having a great time – a super atmosphere. So after demolishing the enormous dishes and ½ carafe of wine and bottle of beer, we paid our dues of €27.50 and headed off for the coast.

We reached Grottammare and checked out the beach! It was deserted. The sand was lovely & the water looked lovely but … it’s just not Australia.. no beauty about it what so ever! So we decided to head up the coast as I had been told that the towns around Ancona were gorgeous. We started out on the “scenic route” but decided if we wanted to get home before dark we need to get onto the Autostrade. We did this fairly easily but my stress levels definitely rise we get on these roads – they drive SOOOOOO fast here. Rod was doing 130 in our teeny eensy weensy car & we were being taken over alllll the time! In fact, at one point a police car passed us & he must have been doing at least 200. We soon found out why! There was a shocking accident on the other side of the Autostrade with a car that was on its roof.

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We arrived at Sirolo safely and were happy to find a charming seaside town of character. A lot of the beaches and coves here can only be accessed by boat… & it is a lovely coastline with soaring headlands etc. The town itself is lovely — high up on the cliff top overlooking the water. The weather had started to change & we’d had a few drops of rain so we took cover at a bar & enjoyed an apertivo (bellini for me & beer for Rod).

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We then headed for home – by this stage it was 6pm & we had an hours drive ahead of us. We got home safely & neither of us felt like going out so omelettes for dinner & early to bed (well at least it was before midnight).

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