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Report 1933: Le Marche & Umbria: Three Women, Truffle Dogs and an Uncooperative GPS

By Pokey from MA, Spring 2011

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Page 8 of 14: For the Love of Olives, Ascoli Piceno

photo by Mindy Smith

Piazza Ascoli Piceno

We enjoy one last breakfast with Marcello, Rob, and Carmine. It is a very sad time because we have grown so fond of both Rob and Carmine, and of course we love Marcello! I know in my heart that one day I will share laughter, food and vino with them all again! They take off in the little VWNS (van with no shocks) and head back to Bologna.

Our driver, Lucio Paolini, arrives promptly, loads our luggage into his very luxurious Mercedes and we are off to Ascoli Piceno (AP). The drive is very pleasant and picturesque; Lucio is a delight and I would recommend him for any driving needs in the Le Marche area. His contact numbers: (339) 815-6774 or (346) 243-7622.

The drive to AP takes about 1 1/2 hours from Senigallia. No traffic at all which delights Lucio. We each pay him €70.00. As I mentioned, well worth the money! He drops us off as closely as possible to the Albergo Piceno. Our rooms are ready (I have Room 107 which is lovely; very spacious, comfy queen size bed, a safe in the closet and small refrigerator. Huge bathtub with hand held shower doo-hicky. No shower curtain). Both Colleen and Michele’s rooms have separate shower stalls. I pay €70.00 per night. I would definitely stay here again!

After settling into our rooms and a glass of vino, we go out to eat! Right across the piazza is Trattoria dell'Arengo. Colleen researched places to eat and this is on the list so we think, andiamo! We’d heard so many wonderful things about the local dish Olives all’Ascolana, we have to order a plateful (yum!). Added to this we order the antipasti of lentils, and not exactly sure what else, rutabega? turnips? Not a drop left on the plate so whatever we were served, we love! I order the ravioli with sausage topped with a cream sauce. We each have a glass of wine. Colleen and Michele also order a pasta dish. The total for our entire meal is €43.50. Afterward, we walk around and know that we will love our time here.

For €6.00 we bought a combined ticket which allows us to visit Pinacoteca Civia, Galleria D’Arte Contemporanea, and the Museo Dell’Arte Ceramica.

Around 3:30 in the afternoon we stop for a cafe in the stunning Piazza Popolo.

We head back to our hotel to get in a “riposa” and plan to meet in Michele’s room (Casa Michele) for a glass of vino before heading out to eat ... again.

We trust Colleen’s suggestion and have dinner at Cantina dell Arte, Via della Lupa 5. Of course we have to compare their Olive All’Ascolana with the ones we enjoyed at lunch. I ask our waiter what goes inside the olives and said a mixture of beef, pork, and either chicken or turkey. These are also delicious. We also try another typical dish from the region, Cremini (Ripieni di Crema Fritta tipici ascolani). These are more like a dessert, almost like eating fried cream cheese frosting! Mama Mia!!

We sacrifice our full bellies and also enjoy Pennette all arrabbiata along with grilled steak over arugula and pomodorini. The owner is very kind and his face lights up when we mention our Slow Travel friend Valerie who used to live in Ascoli Piceno!

Another walk through the beautiful Piazza on our way back to the hotel and dreaming of what tomorrow will bring!

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