Feb 28 2012
Undiscovered Villages in Le Marche, Italy
I started Livinginlemarche.com nearly 3 years ago, to add more depth to my two existing websites, marchtownhouses.com and montelparo.com. But in the 10 years that I have been involved in one way or another in the property market in Le Marche, Italy, I have only recently discovered many hilltop villages which have been largely ignored both by foreign and Italian buyers. The two areas that I know in Le Marche are the Ascoli Piceno province in southern Le Marche and also to a lesser degree the Ancona province in central Le Marche. But in the last 6 months in the southern part of Le Marche, I have found many beautiful hilltop villages which are largely unknown even in other parts of the same province. These overlooked villages tend to be either the ones just slightly further inland from the coast or further away from the main valley roads of the Aso, Tenna, Tronto and Tesino.
I have been lucky to have visited many of these overlooked southern Le Marche villages this year and have been surprised to see just how beautiful and unspoilt they are. Many villages seem to have had a lot of restoration work carried out both on the small village houses and also on their churches and municipal buildings. Often when asked the locals do not seem to know which organisation, be it local business, the local Comune or Central Government have actually paid for these expensive improvements. In any case the restoration works are normally carried out to a very high standard and always tend to enhance the beauty of many of the beautiful historic buildings and village properties alike. Stone and brickwork are often sandblasted clean and then carefully re pointed with stucco this being carried out by skilled artisans. Roofs are stripped and renovated, normally reusing the existing tiles or where necessary broken or missing tiles are replaced with used tiles of similar appearance and age.
But before I list the villages I think are worth further exploration in southern Le Marche, I will just mention three or four of the more popular villages that I know and have come to love over the years. My two favourites are Monterubbiano and Moresco. Both are within a 10 minute drive to the Adriatic coast, and in different ways have all the qualities and facilities of what I consider a perfect village. Moresco in fact is a fraction of Monterubbiano and only a 10 minute walk from it’s larger sister. It is a very old and historic small hamlet and is quite small when compared to the other nearby hilltop villages. But is has a timeless feel and has been voted one of the 45 most beautiful and historic villages in the whole of Italy by the Italian public in several surveys. Moresco is a true gem and well worth a visit, although properties to purchase in the historic centre rarely come on the market. Monterubbiano is a much larger village and has many small shops, museum, restaurants, hotel and bars. It has a very open feel about it with a small central Piazza and also it is unusual when compared to most hilltop villages in Le Marche, in as much as lot of the small houses built into or perched on the outer walls have small gardens or plots of land. The whole village has a very friendly feel and there are always concerts, exhibitions and festas being held throughout the year. The other village I always like to visit is Campofilone, which is situated virtually on the coast, just south of the beach resort of Pedaso. It is a small fortified village with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and of the Adriatic sea which is only a few kilometres distant. The famous thin stranded pasta called Maccheroncini is produced in the area around the village and is very popular throughout Le Marche.
Now for a short list of my favourite undiscovered villages, they include Cossignano, a really lovely historic hilltop village near Ripatransone in the very south of Le Marche. It has a beautiful small Piazza containing the Comune building and village church on two sides and in another corner of the Piazza is one of the nicest village bars I have come across in this part of Italy, in fact the feel of the bar is very French, with outside tables and open frontage. Cossignano is well worth a prolonged visit and is ideal as a base to explore this beautiful part of Le Marche. Lapedona is a really lovely village also near the coast, if fact about 8km from the beaches at Marina Palmense. Lapedona is close by to Altidona which is also a perfect small Le Marche village which normally goes unnoticed by both foreign tourists and property buyers looking for small village houses. Massignano is another village well worth a visit. It is also situated just south of the resort of Pedaso and only a few kilometres from the sea. The village has numerous narrow lanes, with many small houses often with wonderful multicoloured window boxes. There is a absolutely stunning village church and a small Piazza with bar near the main entrance gate. A small local museum showing the local pottery and produce over the ages also fronts the Piazza.
Ponzano di Fermo is a lovely village situated between the City of Fermo and the villages of Petritoli, Monterubbiano and Grottazzolina. It is one of those places where all the usual roads to bypass it even though it is a thriving community and the village is quiet large with some shops, restaurants and bars. There are also two very small fractions or hamlets which should be visited, but are quiet and do not have any shops or bars, but are both within a ten minute walk of their bigger sister villages. One is Torchiaro which is a fraction of the much larger village of Ponzano di Fermo and the other is Moregnano which is a fraction of the large and popular village of Petritoli. I never tire of visiting these unspoilt gems, many villages have their roots in the 13th or 14th Centuries and Livinginlemarche.com is always happy to give advice and assistance to anyone wishing to learn more about Le Marche.