Nominate il vostro borgo preferito dell’entroterra Marchigiana

Con ringraziamenti a The Sunday Times travel section 15.09.2013

Secondo The Sunday Times, i francesi hanno trovato il loro village preferito. Qual’è il vostro borgo preferito nelle Marche?

Ecco una lista delle attrezzature e impianti necessari perche un borgo possa concorrere, liberamente addattata dal Sunday Times.

Tutte le foto sono di Edward Fennell eccetto quella del libro, che è mia.

  1. La  “Paolina” di Petrucci, da vedere a  Mondavio

  2. Archivio storico.

  3. Rievocazione storica ogni anno. Fuochi di artificio sono un sine qua non.

    La festa del Pozzo della Polenta di Corinaldo.

  4. Festival musicale (incluso jazz).
  5. Intrattenimento gratis quasi ogni sera di agosto.

    Summer Jamboree – the Hottest Rockin’ Holiday on Earth!

  6. Una Rocca e/o cinta muraria antica.

    Le mura di Ostra Vetere

  7. Negozi dentro le mura.
  8. Bei dintorni.


  9. Luogo natale di persona famosa e/o santo.
  10. Ristorante dentro le mura.
  11. Caffè-bar dentro le mura.
  12. Teatro.

    Cagli Theatre

    Teatro di Cagli

La lista del Sunday Times ha anche incluso posti dove non vogliono andare i forestieri, e persone con cui i forestieri non vogliono parlare, ma che rendono il village tipico e buffo. Secondo me, è stato un po’ condiscendente, ma non ho potuto non includere certe voci mie:

  1. Bar Sport, non frequentato dalle donne, ma le straniere saranno accolte cortesemente. A sideways look at Italian – or maybe Marchigiani – bars and caffes
  2. Bocciodromo.
  3. Gara di briscola.
  4. Anziane signore, piccole, elegantemente vestite, sedute su sedie di plastica sul marciapiede.
  5. Gatti (con cui si può senz’altro parlare!)
  6. Gita annuale della parrochia a Medjugorje/ estrazione a premi, il giorno della festa del santo padrone.
  7. Pinacoteca con opere dell’artista locale (v 9 sopra).

    E se pensate che io abbia distorto la lista perchè Corinaldo vinca, avete ragione!

Posted in Archives, Borghi dell'entroterra, Entertainment, Festa, Hill towns, History of Art, Holiday, Italia, Italy, Le Marche, Libraries, Rock 'n' roll, Theatre, Tourism, Travel, Vacanze, Vacation, Viaggi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Morris men at Monte San Vito

Tataworld writes Last Friday I was at the BAVARIAN BEER FAIR in Monte San Vito. Already last year I had attended, but this year I was pleasantly surprised: an Oktoberfest embryo in a pretty village in the Marche, where you can taste typical Bavarian (and this year also English and Czech).

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Summer Jamboree day#3 (Photo by Matteo Crescentini)

Originally posted on Visiting Senigallia:

The third day of Summer jamboree was held as usual in Corinaldo, a small village inland from Senigallia, who has been hosting an evening of vintage festival (if you click on either link you will see all the pics!).

La terza giornata di Summer si è svolta come di consuetudine a Corinaldo, un piccolo borgo nell’entroterra senigalliese, che da anni ospita una serata del festival vintage (se clikkate sul link potrete vedere tutte le foto della serata!).

I take this opportunity to post more pictures (and maybe make you mouth-watering!) of these haunting evenings , thanks to another friend of Corinaldo photographer, Matteo Crescentini. In the meantime, I leave some historical of this wonderful event!

Io ne approfitto per postarvi altre immagini (e magari farvi venire l’acquolina in bocca!!) di queste serate ammalianti, grazie ad un altro amico fotografo corinaldese, Matteo Crescentini. Nel mentre, lascio qualche cenno…

View original 818 more words

Posted in Borghi dell'entroterra, Corinaldo, Entertainment, Festa, Hill towns, Holiday, Italia, Italy, Le Marche, Rock 'n' roll, Tourism, Travel, Vacanze, Vacation, Viaggi | Leave a comment

What every hill town in Le Marche needs

With acknowledgements to The Sunday Times travel section 15.09.2013

The Sunday Times reports that the French have found their favourite village. What’s your favourite hill town in Le Marche? Here is a check-list freely adapted from The Sunday Times.

All photos by Edward Fennell except the one of the book, which is by me.

  1. Petrucci’s “Paolina”on display in Mondavio

  2. Historic archive

  3. Annual rievocazione – i.e pageant in mediaeval, Roman, C16 costume or what you will. Fireworks essential.

    Corinaldo‘s rievocazione – Pozzo della Polenta. Note the sbandieratore or flag-waver.

  4. Annual music festival (inc. jazz)
  5. Free entertainment most nights in August

    Summer Jamboree – the Hottest Rockin’ Holiday on Earth!

  6. A Rocca or fortress and/or ancient city walls

    Walls of Ostra Vetere

  7. Shops within the walls
  8. Lovely surroundings

    View of Corinaldo

  9. Famous person and/or saint born there
  10. Restaurant within the walls
  11. Caffè-bar within the walls
  12. Theatre

    Cagli Theatre

    Cagli Theatre

The Sunday Times checklist also included places that foreigners are not going to visit, and people whom foreigners are not going to talk to, but which make the village quaint and amusing. I thought it was a bit patronising, but I couldn’t resist a few items of my own:

  1. Bar Sport, where women don’t go, unless they work nearby, but foreign women will be treated politely by the attractive barmaid. A sideways look at Italian – or maybe Marchegiani – bars and caffes
  2. Bocciodromo , the equivalent of the Sunday Times pétanque pitch
  3. Annual briscola (card game) tournament
  4. Smartly dressed, small, very old ladies sitting on plastic chairs on the pavement
  5. Cats (of course you can talk to them)
  6. Annual church trip to Medjugorje/prize draw on saint’s day
  7. Gallery containing works by local artist(s) (see 9 above)

    And if you think I’ve skewed this so that Corinaldo will win, you are quite right!

Posted in Archives, Borghi dell'entroterra, Entertainment, Festa, Hill towns, History of Art, Holiday, Italia, Italy, Le Marche, Libraries, Religious art, Tourism, Travel, Vacanze, Vacation, Viaggi, Where to eat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ancient Documents and Secret Passages in Corinaldo

Last time we were in Corinaldo, in August, our friend Adolfo Giampaolo, ex-member of the Comune, kindly took the time and trouble (despite a bad shoulder) to introduce me to Dott. Paolo Pirani, Corinaldo Comune’s cultural officer. Although very busy preparing for tomorrow’s evening of entertainment, “Corinaldo Citta Palcoscenico” (Stage City), Dott. Paolo loaded me down with interesting books, took me on a tour of the communal art gallery and proved to be a mine of information about Corinaldo’s heritage and history.

I explained that I was a librarian with a particular interest in Le Marche‘s fine collections of rare and antiquarian books, and that Corinaldo’s librarian had shown me some of their early printed books. Dott. Pirani reminded me that the antiquarian books are kept in the communal archive, which adjoins the library,

Corinaldo library, in the back of the former Augustinian convent opposite the Comune.

and told me that the earliest document in the archive goes back to the eleventh century. It is part of a series, dated from 1081-1186 and existing as a fifteenth century copy, of documents relating to the rights and assets of the Abbey of Fonte Avellana , the then rich and powerful and owner of the lands around Sta Maria in Portuna, or Madonna del Piano, in the Cesano Valley (L’Archivio del Comune di Corinaldo, Regione Marche, 1998, p 45, Inventario sez.1,Diplomatico cartaceo, 66A 1081-1186). Dott. Pirani also told me that the archive includes a letter from Machiavelli, written in 1501.

Not content with taking time and trouble to acquaint me with Corinaldo’s treasures, he was generous enough to give me a copy of the catalogue of the archive. This is a splendid 715-page volume, which catalogues no less than 2,222 “archivistic and documentary units”, and which is illustrated with attractive photograph of the documents. Actually it’s clear from the catalogue that there are many more than 2,222 documents in the collection. This must be one of the last bound and printed archive catalogues, and it represents a tour de force by the cataloguer, Carlo Giacomini.

The archive also includes a letter from Duke Federigo of Urbino (p.40; sez. 1, 41, 1478 Apr 3) to his charissimi amici of Corinaldo, about sending horses to the Luogotenente della Marca.

Dott. Pirani also told me that Corinaldo is honeycombed with subterranean “underground passages”, including the one below the communal art gallery, into which Adolfo, he and I ventured with some difficulty (at least on my part), as the steeply sloping, stepped entrance is not easy to navigate.

It was designed for carts and trolleys, but they had to pushed by people, and as usual I was left full of admiration for the nimbleness of the inhabitants of the hill-towns of the Marche, today and yesterday, and of the elegant, fit, elderly folk who negotiate hundreds of steep steps every day.

These tunnels are not ways of escape, though they may have been used as such during World War II. No, they are neviere, or snow-chambers, similar to our C18 icehouses, used for storing the winter snowfall and preserving food. One of our favourite restaurants, I Tigli, has a magnificient neviera which Signora Chiara, who owns and runs the restaurant with her sons, was kind enough to show us. It was used by the Benedictine nuns of the former convent where I Tigli is located. The temperature immediately drops when you enter the neviera, which consists of a passageway with arched chambers off it where the food was stored. There are similar storage areas in the Badia di Fiastra, a 12th-century Cistercian abbey in the province of Macerata.

After this rewarding tour, Edward and I returned to the present and had a drink in Scuretto’s, the bar at the top of the steps, whence there is a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside.


View from Corinaldo cafe

Posted in Archives, Borghi dell'entroterra, Corinaldo, Hill towns, Italy, Tourism, Travel, Vacation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

What is the connection between Santa Maria della Salute and Italian Unity?

While in Corinaldo we popped in for a drink with Luigino, the farmer who sold us the house, and his family. They told us that next Sunday was the feast of Sta Maria della Salute, one of the patrons of our contrada, Le Ville, along with Sant’ Apollonia, to whom our little parish church is dedicated. As part of the festa there would be a procession followed by refreshments. Unfortunately we couldn’t make the refreshments, as we were meeting our friends at Casa Adagio , but we took part in the procession.

Procession sets off from Sta Apollonia

Procession sets off from Sant’ Apollonia. Note the Saint’s statue in the background.Edward Fennell took the photos.

From the church we walked, repeating the Rosary and a hymn, while the police warned any traffic of our approach, along the strada provinciale that runs along the spine of the hills overlooking the valley of the Cesano. The priest walked in the middle of the procession – a much better position than at the head, as I can say from experience. It meant everyone could hear him and there were no stragglers. The saint’s statue brought up the rear.

Some more of us set off.

Some more of us set off.

Procession in honour of S Maria della Salute, one of the patrons of our contrada of Le Ville

On our way.

At our turning point, the priest stopped and led our prayers. What made the deepest impression on me was his prayer for “nostra cara Italia” in her time of trouble. The recession (la crisi) has hit Italians very hard, and undeservedly in Le Marche at any rate, where people work hard and save hard. The priest’s prayer made me cry, and I thought of the moment at the Teatro dell’Opera  in Rome in 2011, during the performance of Verdi’s Nabucco, when everyone stood up and sang the Hebrew slaves’ chorus, “Va Pensiero“, together. That made me cry too. In case you’re wondering, Va Pensiero is Italy’s unofficial national anthem. It expresses the love and longing of Italian exiles for their homeland, and by extension, Italians’ love of their native land, “Italia bella e perduta” and longing for her to fulfil her potential. 

How far Italy has come since the nineteenth century Risorgimento, when the Papacy and the freedom fighters were, almost literally, at daggers drawn. Now the parish priest can pray for his nation, united Italy. Many English Italophiles like to dismiss the idea of a united Italy. They say that Italians are loyal only to their native town- campanilismo rules ok. This is all part of the rather showing-off discourse that passes for conversation among Italophiles. “I understand Italians better than you”.

Here in Le Marche, however, the idea of a united Italy is very real and commands loyalty.  In Orciano in 2011 I had an interesting conversation with Ivan, whose grandfather was a partisan in World War II. He explained that many Marchigiani, or their parents or grandparents, were partisans. They were fighting for the whole of Italy, not just their region, province or town. Consequently, when they celebrated the anniversary of Italian unification in 2011, it was with real sincerity. Of course, the other side of the idea of united Italy, is that it is rather (but not exclusively) left wing. On one hand, if you read the newspaper La Repubblica, you are probably in favour of a united Italy. But on the other hand, if I may generalise, all Italians are united in their love of Verdi, the bard and prophet of Italian unity. 

All this has taken us rather far away from Le Ville in Corinaldo in 2013. So let’s return and say, “Santa Maria, pray for our beloved Italy.”

Posted in Borghi dell'entroterra, Corinaldo, Hill towns, Holiday, Italia, Italy, Opera, Papacy, Partisans, Tourism, Travel, Unification of Italy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Il turismo nelle Marche

Il WC pubblico in Saltara.Edward Fennell ha fatto questa e tutte le fotografie.

“Siamo convinti che il turismo è per le Marche e per tutto il Paese una ricchezza da valorizzare utilizzando ambiente, cultura, territorio, enogastronomia e il genio della nostra imprenditoria.” Così ha detto Gian Mario Spacca, il presidente della Regione Marche e assessore al Turismo. E la fotografia sopra – rappresenta il genio imprenditoriale?

Si, va bene, so che è un po’ ingiusta, visto che i bravi turisti a Saltara non hanno dovuto usare questo WC, quando sono venuti a vedere i ciclisti traversare la linea del traguardo dell’  VIII tappa del Giro d’Italia.

Coming up to the finish at Saltara

Verso il traguardo a Saltara.


Aspettando i ciclisti


La pioggia non ha scoraggiato questo!


Ogni tanto hai bisogno di un drago tifoso.

Saltara in festa for the Giro.

Saltara in festa per il Giro.


I tetti di Saltara da sopra.

C’era un gabinetto chimico assolutamente accettabile, anche se non bastava per circa 30.000 persone. Ma c’è ancora?


Hanno installato questo  solo per il Giro?

L’argomento è; se vuoi turisti, bisogna lavorare per attirarli. Loro possono fare come vogliono. Non sono obbligati ad adattarsi o imparare una lingua straniera; possono semplicemente andare altrove. Nella mia prima posta, ho incoraggiato i visitatori britannici ad accettare i costumi italiani, specialmente la lunga pausa di pranzo. Ma le cose hanno cambiato. Tutti gli europei sono a corto di danaro; tutti puntano sul turismo. Perche vorrebbero i turisti visitare un bel borgo caratteristico, quando devono aspettare fino alle 16 o le 17 perche i negozi siano aperti? Se fossero in Arundel (borgo turistico in Inghilterra), per esempio, i negozi e il castello e i gabinetti (fonzionanti) avrebbero fatto l’orario continuo, e i turisti con i loro figli non avrebbero dovuto passare ore nel caldo (oppurre sotto  la pioggia torrenziale), senza niente da fare.

Questo discorso fa parte di un dibattito più generale; L’Italia può e deve cambiarsi per attirare turisti e investimenti dall’estero? Si può vivere la vita italiana e concorrere globalmente? Ma dall’altra parte, vorranno gli stranieri venire in Italia, solo per ritrovare la concorrenza frenetica, i ristoranti fast-food e le intraprese globali, proprio come a casa loro?

Ho lanciato una sfida, resa più difficile dalla crisi. I negozi rimangono chiusi più a lungo per risparmiare soldi; i ristoranti non attirano clienti italiani perchè i clienti non possono permetterselo; tutti sono tristi e si preoccupano per i soldi. Puntano sul turismo.   Secondo la mia esperienza, un borgo come Corinaldo  può attirare i turisti, ma deve fare di più, in particolare per ravvivare il centro storico. Dov’è “l’accoglienza di qualità” offerta dai borghi insigniti dalla Bandiera Arancione del Touring Club Italiano? Per esempio, il comune gestisce un negozio nel centro dove si vendono le tipicità, ma il negozio spesso rimane chiuso, benchè teoreticamente la personale dell’ Ufficio Turistico te lo apra. Ma praticamente, non possono aprirtelo, perchè c’è solo una persona nell’ufficio. Qual’è la soluzione? Se qualcuno conosce una città nelle Marche che ha riuscito ad accogliere i turisti senza perdere il suo carattere, prego, ditemi .

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