I Love Italian Travel – The Marches Wine Tours

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So you are planning to visit Marches, a little region of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. The Marches (it’s often spelled with The) is relatively unknown to tourists. This is a great place to see the real Italy. Sights to see include the college town of Urbino with a lovely Palazzo Ducale that houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche and the Casa Natale de Raffaello, the house in which Raphael was born. While the National Gallery doesn’t contain much work by Raphael, you may enjoy Titian’s Resurrection and Last Supper.

The coastal city of Pesaro has the usual (for Italy) components of Ducal Palace, Cathedral, castle, churches, and museums. One museum is devoted to a local boy, the opera composer Rossini. Head further down the coast to the port of Ancona and visit the Duomo di San Ciriaco (Cathedral). Stroll the streets of the old city. Loreto is home to the Santuario della Santa Casa (House of the Virgin Mary). Festival time is Easter week and December 10, the Feast of the Holy House. Finish your tour at Ascoli Piceno. Visit the Piazza del Populo (Square of the People) and the Thirteenth Century Palazzo dei Capitani del Populo (Palace of the People’s Captains). Festival time is the first Sunday in August, a day devoted to the city’s patron saint, Saint Emidio.

Marches, tucked between the Appennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, produces two top of the line wines, Rosso Cònero Riserva DOCG made from mostly Montepulciano and up to 15% Sangiovese grapes in the hills surrounding Mount Cònero near Ancona. The Vernaccia di Serrapetrona DOCG is a red sparkling wine made mostly from the Vernaccia Nera grape near Macerata towards the region’s center. The regions’ most popular wines are the white Verdicchios: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC and Verdicchio di Matelica DOC. They are usually dry but may be sweet. Be careful, their quality is quite variable. Try to find Bianchello del Metauro DOC wine from the rare Biancame white grape.

In addition to the grape varieties mentioned previously common white varieties include the Italian Trebbiano, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. The local red Lacrima is relatively rare. Common red varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Companies that sell wine tours of The Marches include Prime Italy, Vineria la Birba, Hotel Universal Senigala, and Wine Tour Italia. Marches wineries that accept visits include Il Conte in Momteprandone and Casa Vinicola Gioacchino Garofoli in Loreto. Belisario in Matelica offers an extensive wine bar. A few words of warning are in order. Be sure to check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but would rather drink fine French, German, or other wine, paired with the right foods. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website www.travelitalytravel.com and his wine, diet, health, and nutrition website www.wineinyourdiet.com.

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