Le Marche is an unspoilt region of Italy. With 180 km of coastline on it’s Eastern border but also home to the Apennine mountain range, it’s a dramatic and varied landscape offering wonderful opportunities for both sightseeing and relaxation. It’s a region that holidaymakers tend to know less about though, so we thought we’d make exploring Le Marche that little bit easier with a run down of some of the regions best events throughout the year…. It’s definitely worth timing your visit to coincide with some of these superb festivals.
January and February
Throughout Italy, the first two months of the year are carnival time and Le Marche is no exception. The Fano Carnival (held at the end of January / beginning of February) can claim to be the oldest in Italy after the one in Venice and it’s a time to enjoy the spectacular procession of floats. It’s a great time to visit with children too who will enjoy the parades and the multitude of sweets and chocolates showered over the spectators.
The other carnival of note in this region is the Carnival of Piceno, with events taking place not just in Ascoli Piceno but also in nearby Castignano, Offida and Pozza.
In March, there is the perfect event to attend if you want to get a feel for Le Marche’s rich tapestry of flavours, landscape and artistic heritage. Held over 3 days (5-7 March 2016), with more than 300 exhibitors, the Tipicita allows visitors to sample everything from regional beers to local food specialities, direct from the producer. It’s also a great opportunity to really learn about the rich creative history of the Marche region. The history is certainly a unique one, full of stories of local artisans in little workshops carving their path to international fame in fashion, design and art.
April and May
Across the Spring, the attention stays very much on the best of Italian food and wine!
The Fritto Misto all’ Italiana is an annual gastronomic festival held in Ascoli Piceno, spotlighting the best Italian (and foreign) fried foods produced by an exceptional team of chefs in the large kitchen of ‘Palafritto’.
June, July and August
In June, the attention moves to the film and music world. Between 2 and 9 July, Pesaro plays host to the International Festival of New Cinema, one of the most important film festivals in Italy, whilst Macerata is host to the Festival of Popular Song and Authors and in nearby Ancona, there is the Inteatro Festival. Set up in the 1970s, the festival is still going strong today.
And, throughout the Summer (June, July and August), keep an eye out for a whole host of theatre productions held all across Marche in sites of significant archaeological interest. Performances are held in venues such as the Roman theatre of Ascoli Piceno, the Roman baths in San Severino Marche and the Roman amphitheatre of Urbisaglia.
There are plenty of music events to enjoy in the sunshine of the Summer months too. Whatever your preferred choice of music, there will be a festival to suit you. From 22 July to 14 August 2016, there is the Macerata Opera Festival. Now in its 53rd year, it will feature 3 epic performances: Verdi’s Otello, Bellini’s Norma and Negrin’s Il Trovatore.
However, our favourite of the music festivals on offer has to be the ‘Summer Jamboree‘ where holidaymakers visiting Ancona can immerse themselves in the history and culture of American music from swing to rock’n’roll and from rhythm and blues to jive. Those visiting really do get into the swing of things, dressing up in vintage costumes and with plenty of stalls where you can buy a souvenir to remind you of those wonderful decades in music history.
The music festivals carry on into September with the Pergolesi Spontini Opera Festival, an international festival dedicated to two great composers of the Marche region – Pergolesi and Spontini, followed by the rather more unusual PIF Castelfidardo, dedicated to the humble accordion!
However, September and the beginning of Autumn also mark the start of the festivals with food at their heart. In Fano there is the Festival of ‘brodetto‘ and fish soups whilst in Senigallia, September is the month to celebrate Pane Nostrum, a festival dedicated to the tradition of bread making in Italy. It’s a chance to admire the skills of master bakers as well as an opportunity to have a more hands-on experience and learn some of the many bread-making skills on show.
The emphasis on food continues as the weather cools. The first Sunday in the month witnesses one of Italy’s most well known grape festivals in Cupramontana, which culminates in the Palio of Verdicchio.
The White Truffle Fair follows swiftly after. 2016 marks the 51st National Fair of the White Truffle in Acqualagna, whose square becomes host to over one hundred stalls where you can buy not only delicious fresh truffles but also other local specialities such as cured meats, wine, honey and cheese. Mostra Tartufo comes next, a prestigious event that has been held in Sant’ Angelo in Vado every year since 1964 and which again centres around the white truffle. And finally, there is the third and final of the truffle fairs in Pergola. Here, visitors will be treated to over two miles of exhibitors selling delicious local produce, with the white truffle at the very heart of the event.
The end of the month sees a change in the tone of the festivals with the ‘Feast of the Witches‘, welcoming thousands of tourists to the historic centre of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy – Corinaldo. This is very much a festival that younger ones will enjoy with four days for them to have fun at an open air Halloween amusement park, full of rides designed to both excite and scare them such as the tunnel of fear. Definitely time to dust down those pointy hats and witches brooms!
And then, after all the many food festivals, there is another move back to music. Ancona Jesi Opera is a festival rich with music, guided tours, exhibitions and educational programs. Rest assured, the break in the national obsession with food and drink doesn’t last long though! November 2016 also sees the 11th Appassimenti Aperti, a unique chance to visit the wineries of Serrapetrona and see the drying of the grapes. This year, on the 8th and 15th of the month, a free shuttle service will take you from the centre of the town to the wineries to view the grapes and learn about the wine making process. It’s well worth a visit.
With Christmas fast approaching, the mood changes in December. The Candele in Candelara is the first Italian market dedicated to candles and will certainly provide plenty of opportunities to buy some beautiful gifts for family and friends.
And finally, what better way to end the year of festivals with the live nativity scene in Genga. Covering an area of approximately 30,000 square metres inside the Frassassi Gorge, the event has been running since 1981. The inhabitants of the town generously give their time, skills and expertise to re-create the event that changed world history, creating scenes of fishermen, shepherds and farmers along the path leading to the Nativity.
If you have been tempted to visit this wonderful and varied region of Italy, then it’s worth looking at the selection of Marche villas and Marche apartments available from Bookings For You, Italian villa specialists.