In case this newsletter looks a little different, well, your eyes do not deceive you—we’re trying a new newsletter provider. I hope you enjoy this edition, which will concentrate on written content without so many pictures. If you like more pictures, let us know.
We’ve recently returned from a fantastic trip to Le Marche, where we stayed in a magnificently restored Palazzo in the Renaissance castle-town of Mondavio.
Imagine 2 couples trying to find each other inside a 3229 square foot apartment with 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a big kitchen with 6 burner professional gas stove, a formal dining room, a sitting room, a living room with a fresco on the ceiling. Imagine the price, which averages…are you ready? $108 a night!
There is a great advantage to getting out to the incredible Italian countryside; the food is local and extraordinary, the prices modest, and the people friendly.
Mondavio has all the services you need, and several restaurants, two with magnificent views.The castle sits majestically in front of you when you have your morning coffee at the village bar. There are lots of places within a short drive that demand your attention, including our favorite, Sassoferrato, where chef Guido Mingarelli of Agriturismo Antico Muro once again fed us the seasonal stuff he likes to cook at our favorite table sitting atop a plexiglass sheet allowing you to see remnants of the Roman site Sentinum, where the Romans won a battle against all comers in 296 BC. You shouldn’t miss this experience if you find yourself in Le Marche.
See also: Finding the Hidden Italy in Sassoferrato.
The reason for our visit was to take in the new Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions, dedicated mostly to farming in Le Marche, a highly developed activity in the region. Yet another attraction for Sassoferrato, population 8000.
On our way back to Mondavio, we stopped at an amazing winery, Sbaffi, where they concentrate at making great sparkling wine as was made in this area 50 years before Dom Pérignon saw his stars. They’ve brought back a local grape thought to have gone extinct, and will be releasing a sparkler from this grape in a week or so. It’s tasting good right now, I can tell you.
Italian Word of the Day: stuzzichini.
Stuzzichini means appetizers, finger foods, the kinds of things you get with your drink order in some places in Italy, like the Lunigiana.
By the way, the drink in the foreground is an Americano. If you happen to be an Americano, you’ll likely get coffee with lots of water. Asking for a “cocktail Americano” seems to work. It’s Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda.