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Planning a trip to Italy? I highly recommend going off the beaten path and visiting Marche. We likely would have never discovered it if we didn’t have family there. Luckily, we get to stay in their beautiful home and get a local’s view on things to see and do and what to eat.

On our first full day in Italy, we slept in a bit, went for a walk around the village, all while we waited for our nephews to come home from school. They go to school Monday – Saturday until 1:00, and since we arrived from Rome late the night before, we hadn’t seen them yet. Not seeing two growing, adorable boys in over two years meant we were very eager.

Once they were off the bus, we all had lunch (including family wine for the adults) and then my sister-in-law took us for a drive around where they live, to my delight straight to the sea.

 San Benedetto del Tronto

Our first stop was San Benedetto del Tronto, a seaside resort area not far from where our family lives. There are all sorts of hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs here, and it’s a nice, laid-back place to visit. The last time we were in Italy was in June, and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to use our family’s beach club membership to cool off in the Adriatic and to lounge in the sun. It gets extremely hot there!

 San Benedetto del Tronto

This time around, we had two little boys with us and lots of energy to burn so we walked the long walk out into the sea, taking in the boats, the gorgeous views, and the boulders that line the path which have all been made fancy by artists.

 San Benedetto del Tronto rock sculpture

San Benedetto rock art

And since I am a cat lady, I loved all of the cats that inhabit the area.

cat in San Benedetto del Tronto



San Benedetto

Our next stop was Grottomare, basically up the mountain and over San Benedetto for a stellar view of the sea and villages below.



I can’t get enough Italian architecture. I love the clay and the bright colors!


We wandered around Grottomare to the very top, which was quite the hike, then headed back to the car to head home for dinner. We were all tired from the fresh air, and I may have fallen asleep in the back seat along with the boys. Dinner, more wine, and play time ensued and made for a perfect evening.

If you do ever get the chance, I would definitely recommend staying a night in San Benedetto, especially in the summer time. It’s the ideal place to relax, and the food and wine of Marche can not be matched.

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Tags: Europe, family, Grottomare, Italy, Marche, San Benedetto, Travel

My blog is back. . . I think! It has been quite the frustrating week, with the blog and my business website being hacked while I was in Rome. There was little we could do from there; I wasn’t about to spend the three days we had in Rome on fishing out bad blog code. Instead we immensely enjoyed Italy and Ireland, and my superhero husband took care of the blog when we returned.

I have at least 10 blog posts whirling in my head, but I thought I would start with a favorite, the place we stayed for the majority of our time in Italy.

As you already likely know, my husband is from Galway, Ireland. Years ago, while in university, one of his older brothers met a beautiful Italian student who was studying in Galway. Through the years they married, moved to Boston, had a precious little boy, and then moved back to Italy and the village where my now sister-in-law grew up. They have since added another adorable boy, and while it’s difficult for us to live so far away from them, when we do get to visit the paradise they live in, there’s nothing better.


Their village is located in Marche on the Adriatic coast of Italy a little over two hours from Rome. We arrived at night, drove through mountainous roads and went to sleep almost instantly, waking up to these views, right out their back door.


My sister-in-law’s mother, uncle, and aunt also live on the property, which is located at the top of a hill and features terraced gardens that, during growing season, are full of vegetables and fruit.


Even at the end of November, there were almonds, olives, pears, lemons, and limes.



Just up the hill from the house is a small piazza, with a towering church (where my BIL and SIL got married) as its focal point.



Almost everything in the square prompted me to take photos. I felt like every door, railing, and tile was a piece of art; that’s Italy for you.


Colli del Tronto

While we enjoyed lots of great food while in Rome, the very best food we had in Italy was at home. My sister-in-law and her mother cooked for us several times a day, and everything was delicious perfection. Chicken cutlets, simple fried potatoes, bread with newly pressed, fruity olive oil, and pasta were devoured, each bite full of flavor, quality, and love. We sipped on homemade limoncello cream after dinner, ate freshly baked berry crostata with our afternoon coffee, and played with our nephews in between to burn a little of it off.

  Just about everything we ate was homemade or grown, and we loved it all, especially local specialties like the frito misto all’ Ascolana. Fried local olives stuffed with meat and seasoned with lemon juice are some of the best bites I have eaten, and little clouds of custard added a sweet contrast to the rest of the meal.

olives alla ascolana

We were treated to homemade vin cotto, boiled wine, that is stored right at home in a barrel that contains wine from 1912. Each year they top it up with new wine; while enjoying a sip of this strong, slightly sweet wine and a bite of wine-soaked biscotti, we were drinking 100 years of family history.

vin cotto

Our warm and loving hosts provided the perfect backdrop for exploring Marche and Abruzzo; they certainly made us feel like we have a home in Italy, and we’re already planning our next visit.

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Tags: family, Food, Italy, Marche, Travel, wine

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