Good for body and soul, Italy’s Le Marche region is one of few places to boast seaside resorts, mountain villages, and rolling vineyards bursting with grapes. To the east, the green-blue Adriatic Sea laps ashore, separating Italy from Croatia. The Adriatic tosses fishing boats and sun-loving bathers in the tide. At its western border, the Apennine Mountains gently ease into verdant foothills dotted with renaissance towns, Roman ruins, and villages where family values outweigh 9-to-5 jobs. Wine is local, and produce fresh. Safe country roads were made for long Sunday drives. When considering where to live in Italy, Le Marche offers nature and food-lovers a special retreat. With its rustic ambiance and culinary traditions, Le Marche is a relaxing and healthy spot for vacations, long-term stays, and permanent residence.
Eat and Live in Italy Like a Local
Roads thread through renaissance towns like Urbino and Apecchio. Streets narrow and buildings loom, tapering the light in a way that makes you feel like you are the only person in the world. Yet at cafes lining the main street, locals mill about. Nothing is too pressing to deter an hour-long chat with friends. In Le Marche, there is only one issue of importance: Have you had your pasta today?
Healthy eating is a core Marchigiano value. Owner of La Tavola Marche and American expat, Ashley Bartner has lived in Le Marche for over four years. “We love Italy’s passion for life, love, and good food. And we have adopted the slow food philosophy with slow living!” The region’s cuisine was shaped by ideals of cucina povera. Literally meaning the poor kitchen, this culinary tradition is a diet based on eating what is readily available and locally made. Meals are from the hearth, picked in the garden, and sometimes harvested from a tree on the roadside. Dinners are late, featuring green lentils, fresh veal, farro, and cold-pressed olive oil. Peppered prosciutto and aged cheeses come from a neighborhood merchant, who delivers to businesses in the afternoon and visits those same customers as friends in the evening. For a few Euro per pound, Marchigiano homes are stocked with some of the best delicacies available.
Wines such as Verdicchio and Lacrima are made regionally, selling for 5 Euro a bottle in grocery stores. In town, a cappuccino is 1.20 Euro and comes with high-speed internet. For 25 Euro per person, ocean-side dining in Ostra features platters of seafood with pasta and wine. As the sun sinks below the mountain peaks, candles flicker through the restaurant and dance across the Adriatic waters.
Dutch expat, Pieter Van Overschot spent his childhood in Italy. Several years ago, he moved to Le Marche with his wife and teenage daughter for “a perfect life in harmony with nature.” Now renting a small apartment in Piobbico, Pieter has no plans to return to the Netherlands. A web designer, he loves his simple life of small town squares, sprawling wildlife, and welcoming Italian neighbors. In Marchigiano-style, he enjoys what the region offers at no cost: universal healthcare, dinner invitations from friends, and helping local cattleherders wrangle cows to summer pastures.
In Le Marche, keeping healthy is a natural part of life. Days begin with organic, locally produced foods, continue with nautical breezes, and end with red wine on a mountain terrace. For many, there is no better place to live in Italy. Doors are open and neighbors look out for each other. As expat Ashley states, “We leave the keys in the car. Enough said!” When making plans in Le Marche, consider a stay at La Tavola Marche. If you can’t stay, then try visiting for a cooking lesson or pizza night.