X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Notes on...

The Marche

It's always meant to be the next Tuscany. It's still blessedly quiet

15 February 2014

9:00 AM

15 February 2014

9:00 AM

When I first visited the Marche a dozen years ago, folk who knew about such things tapped their noses and confidently predicted that it was to be Italy’s ‘next big thing’. The British would tire of Tuscany and Umbria, they said, and would head in Boden-clad hordes further east. They said exactly the same thing when I returned five years later and yet again more recently.

The invasion has yet to happen. Few of the top travel companies push or promote the Marche and the Brits have stayed wedded to Chiantishire. I really can’t understand why.

After all, the Marche has everything that Tuscany and Umbria have. There are handsome medieval walled towns and enchanting hilltop villages complete with — so the Marchigiani like to boast — 500 squares, 106 castles, 37 fortresses and 15 strongholds; there are the remarkable Frasassi caves; there are the rugged Apennines on one side, with the cobalt-blue Adriatic on the other; there are secluded sandy beaches and the myriad islands of Croatia are only a few hours’ sail away; there is great food and great wine. I mean, what’s not to like?

[Alt-Text]


The Dutch, Germans and Belgians have cottoned onto the region’s joys and although they don’t venture much inland they crowd the beaches in high summer. Perhaps that’s why the British have stayed largely away.

The small town of Offida, set high on a ridge between the rivers of Tesino and Tronto, is my particular favourite. It was here that a group of mischievous local winemakers got me completely pie-eyed on my first visit and had me staggering round the Piazza del Popolo trying to count its sides (I was expecting four, and couldn’t understand why there were only three, so kept re-counting). The town also boasts the striking 700-year-old brick church of Santa Maria della Rocca which is well worth a stare.

The most beautiful of all squares (complete with the regulation four sides) is the colonnaded one of Ascoli Piceno, with its brightly polished marble floor. It’s a stunning sight and surely one of the finest in all Italy.

The Marchigiani love their grub and local dishes include brodetto, a rich, tomatoey fish soup; porchetta (roast pork stuffed with onions, herbs, garlic and wild fennel) and vincisgrassi, similar to lasagne but with dried and fresh mushrooms and strips of Parma ham instead of beef ragú. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the ridiculously moreish olives all’ascolana – bread-crumbed olives stuffed with beef, chicken and pork and deep fried — than which there’s no finer appetiser.

As for the vino, there are crisp, refreshing Verdicchio and Falerio whites and rich, robust Montepulciano-based Rosso Conero and Sangiovese-based Rosso Piceno reds. Producers to look out for include Colle Stefano, Aurora, Cìu Cìu, De Angelis, Velenosi, Villa Pigna and, my favourite, Le Terrazze.

You’ll find some of these in the UK, although I strongly advise taking the next Ryanair flight to Ancona and drinking them there.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close