Lonely Planet chooses the Marche as the best destination of 2020, second only to the "Silk Road" in Central Asia. Among art, nature and good food here are some tips on what to visit and what to eat
The famous guide Lonely Planet has included an Italian region among the best destinations of 2020, in the ranking Best in travel 2020 – Top ten regions. The only one that declines its name in the plural, but perhaps also one of the least known: le Marche. According to the team of the Australian publishing house it is the second best destination after the "Silk Road" in Central Asia. But if the name of this region does not remind you of anything so striking in terms of tourism, it will suffice to mention a few key points: it is the first Italian region for longevity and life expectancy at birth, with one of the highest incidences of organic farming compared to the total of agricultural production. A treasure chest of culture that is expressed in over one hundred secular theaters, including the beautiful Sferisterio of Macerata; city-castle surrounded by intact medieval walls (Jesi), Renaissance artistic capitals such as Urbino, elegant squares decorated with marble (Ascoli Piceno) and natural wonders like the Frasassi Caves. And then the Cònero, the only mountainous promontory on the shore of the central Adriatic sea, which contains Caribbean sceneries such as the beach of Two sisters, reachable only by sea. The Marches are also famous for fashion: the shoes of the Fermo and Macerata district and the hats made in Montappone. Or, again, religious tourism, with Loreto the Marian capital, where its sanctuary is a pilgrimage destination from all over Europe. Visiting this region requires a good deal of curiosity and an aptitude for research. The most suggestive places are precisely sought after and to be fully enjoyed the best thing would be to rent a car. In this way it is possible to cross roads that lead from the sea to the high mountains, passing between campaigns that are designed as mosaics. Without losing the secondary streets, which are often the most beautiful.
The kitchen is "at home"
The cuisine of the Marche is a cuisine linked to the share-making and popular tradition. Doses "by eye", as taught by the experience of the "vergare", the true matriarchs of peasants, and great attention to homemade pasta. From these assumptions, fishing in the inland products, the menus of the great Italian chefs were born, such as Mauro Uliassi is Moreno Cedroni, both fellow citizens of that Senigallia with its velvet beach, the real capital of today's great author cuisine.
Things to eat (and drink) absolutely in the Marche
Olives stuffed with meat wrapped in a crunchy breading whose recipe dates back to 1800. The preparation takes several hours and in Ascoli Piceno each family has its own version. The differences come from the choice of meat, from the use of spices or lemon, from breading and, of course, from the type of olive. Traditionally they are made with the "tenera Ascolana", one of the three Italian PDOs, but the production is particularly limited. To be enjoyed as street food or in the Italian mixed appetizer, ubiquitous in the menus of the restaurants of the region.
The Marche salami par excellence; spreadable, made with a mixture of pork, and worked with garlic and white wine. The Marches, against any territorial rivalry, are proud of it.
The ancient lasagna of the Marche countryside. Seven layers of pasta rolled by hand, dipped in homemade béchamel and an old-style ragù, where the flavor of the regattas dominates. It is the dish of Sunday, that of the grandmother. Born between Ancona and Macerata at the end of the eighteenth century.
The wild "moscioli" of Portonovo
The moscioli are “wild” mussels and are the gastronomic symbol of one of the most beautiful bays in the Adriatic, in the municipality of Ancona in the Parco del monte Cònero. On beaches with white pebbles as big as eggs, bordered by Mediterranean vegetation, gourmet kiosks are hidden amidst the scent of juniper and arbutus.
Fish soup: the sailors' soup
The brodetto was born as a poor dish, from the need to also use the fish less demanded by the market, less valuable and in small quantities, first of all by the sailors, who cooked it on board, with the few ingredients they had available.
The prized white truffle of Acqualagna
In autumn you should miss a white truffle truffle from Acqualagna. In the north of the Marche, but also on the entire Apennine ridge, it is possible to eat this delicious tuber. To taste with homemade tagliatelle, or in a simpler omelette, at the restaurant like at home.
The Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and the unmissable reds
The most awarded wine in Italy. A white that behaves like a red and whose versatility is combined with both fish and meat. A leading wine for seafood cuisine, it has improved over the years and is exported all over the world. A particularly prized wine, as a limited edition is the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, the red that smells of rose, and the Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, red sparkling wine particularly suitable for cold cuts or desserts.