Visit Mondavio and discover one of the loveliest places in Italy. From Ancona enjoy a drive that winds up hill after hill as you move inland. Mondavio is very impressive as you get nearer. The castle and the three bell towers, all within the perfectly preserved town walls, dominate the surrounding countryside.
It's worth spending, at the very least, a full day in the town. A morning spent wondering the lovely little streets and soaking up the atmosphere can be followed by an afternoon visiting the perfectly preserved castle and its museum.
The medieval castle was the
work of the Tuscan architect Francesco Giorgio di Martini and is
apparently revolutionary in its design; with a five storey main tower, in the shape of an octagon, dominating the castle.
If you have the time, and even a week will do, then this is one of the best places to learn Italian. The local Italian school is in fact one of the selected few under my Italian language section.
A great time to visit is during August then the Hunting of the Wild Boar festa takes place but if you can't make August then any month of the year is wonderful here - even the winter months.
There are a couple of good hotels nearby. The best is The Hotel i Tigli (click for more), which is a short drive from Mondavio, in the wonderful little village of Corinaldo. This hotel is a real bargain, very well run and a friendly home from home.
A thousand years of history comes alive within the ancient medieval walls of this delightful gem of a village. The town is surrounded by rolling hills and the sense of timeless peace is unbeatable.
If you really want to get away from it all and see how the other half live (simply but well) Corinaldo is a very good place to do it. This is the sort of town that truly enchants.
There is a fair amount to see and a good place to start is with a walk around the 15th century town walls, which are amongst the best preserved in all of Italy.
Corinaldo is full of lovely churches and impressive buildings dating back from the 13th century to the 18th century. The town hall, the Santuario di Santa Maria and the Church of San Francesco are just a few of them but the very helpful Tourist Office in Largo XVII Settembre 186 will gladly provide you with maps and details of the others.
Then there are the one hundred steps that lead up through the old stone houses, offering stunning views across the surrounding countryside ( the photo above was taken from near the top). If you do nothing else, at least take a walk up the steps.
Try to make time too for a lunch or dinner at the ai9 Tarocchi in Viale Dietro le Monache 8. Two famous dishes from this area are Vincigrassi (a local version of lasagna) and Cinghiale alla Cacciatora (Hunter's Wild Boar) and sometimes they are on the menu. If they are then you'll be in for a treat.
A good way to explore the area is to rent a villa in the surrounding countryside and hire a car. This is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this area. Need ideas on places to rent in Le Marche? These are my picks.
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