2012 Le Marche


Thursday 04 October 2012
Fly from USA
Early arrivals:
•Mickie McElroy, 7:40, DL 240 ATL
•Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins, 10:00, AA 236 JFK
•Dale & Patsy Meyers, 13:25, TP 832 LIS, Laurence Barker

Transfer instructions: After you pick up your luggage and leave the secure area, look for a driver with a sign with your name(s) or Barker’s European Tours on it. He will then drive you into Rome and to the Hotel Mediterraneo. in case you don’t see the driver or for any other problems (like missing a connecting flight), call the concierge at 064884051. Pay the driver directly (€44 for up to three people, €66 for four people. I will reimburse you. There is a Bancomat (ATM) in the arrival hall of the airport. Suggested tip: 1 or 2 euro per person.)
Friday 05 October
•Pat Busch & Mary Landers, 7:40, DL 240 ATL
•John Blue & Gary Behnke, 8:30, UA 966 IAD; Bill Curtis & Paul Alessi 8:50, US 718 PHL
•Dominic & Marian Salvatori, 9:45 US 720 CLT; Judy Vallery 9:30, UA 8590 YYZ
•Julia Deardorff, 12:05, DL 6592 JFK
•Greg & Judy Parks, 14:00, LH 234 FRA
•Madolyn Fallis & Joan Ahrens, 17:45, BA 6455 LHR
Arrive Rome and transfer to the Hotel Mediterraneo (+39 06 4884051) for check-in. Use the rest of the day for recovery from the long flight. Meet in lobby at 7:30 for early dinner at nearby Ristorante-Pizzeria Smeraldo. I will order antipasti, wine and water for everyone, you may then choose to call it a night and head back to the hotel, or order a pizza, pasta, main course, and/or salad, whatever you want or need, depending on your jet-lagged state. Overnight in Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome. (D)
Saturday 06 October
Breakfast at the hotel (every morning.) 9:30 coach transfer to Ascoli Piceno. We will not take a direct route–I will have the bus make a short detour to Norcia, the birthplace of San Benedetto. We will enjoy a special lunch (buffet of local antipasti, followed by pasta, veggies, dessert) at the Ristorante Vespasia, Flavio Faedi, chef. We should have a bit of free time either before or after lunch to explore the town. Continuing on, we should arrive in Ascoli between 4:00 and 5:00. We will be dropped off about three blocks from the hotel and the hotel will take our luggage while we walk the short distance. After checking into the Hotel 100 Torri, (+39.0736.255123) and settling into our rooms, I suggest picking up a map from the front desk and taking a short orientation walk around our neighborhood. At 7:30 p.m. gather in the lobby to meet Moreno Morreti, the young man who helped with the Ascoli arrangements. We will then walk to dinner at Cafe Lorenz. There are two menus–one is antipasti and three pastas; the other is three pastas and a mixed grill. I will order half and half. That way everybody will get some of the antipasti and some of the mixed grill, along with the pastas. Overnight in Hotel 100 Torri, Ascoli Piceno. (BLD)
Sunday 07 October
After breakfast, our local guide, Kari Moum, will meet us at the hotel at 9:00 for a city tour of Ascoli Piceno. She will walk us towards the Tronto River, passing by Palazzo Longobardo with Torre Ercolano, one of the many towers of Ascoli. (A reminder: The name of our hotel is 100 Towers.) When we reach the river, we will view the Porta Solestà and the Roman Bridge, with a visit inside the ancient bridge. We will then proceed to the Piazza Ventidio, then on to Chiostro Maggiore of the San Francesco Church, with a quick visit to the church. Continuing on, we will admire the Loggia dei Mercanti along the southern church wall, the Piazza del Popolo, ending up at the Piazza Arringo and the Cathedral. After visiting the cathedral, we will then pause for a 12:30 lunch at Migliori (2 antipasti, crespelle, e contorno). After lunch you can visit the Stronghold Malatesta, the Pinacoteca, the Archaeological Museum, the Diocesan Museum (all in Piazza Arringo), the Contemporary Art Museum (parallel road to the hotel) or the Museum of Ceramics (in the square behind the hotel), or, go for the Roman remains scattered in town, stroll, go to mass, or just sit and sip Anisetta Meletti, coffee or wine and people watch, and maybe even indulge in a gelato. Dinner on your own, overnight in Hotel 100 Torri, Ascoli Piceno. (BL)
Monday 08 October
After breakfast and a little free time to see some of the sites you may have missed yesterday, 10:00 a.m. departure to visit the wine cellar “Caniette” which has made organic wines for three generations.  We will then have a master cooking course at the winery followed by lunch in the winery. After lunch we will visit the local wine village of Repatransone. Return to Ascoli Piceno for some free time. Meet in lobby at 8:00 to walk to dinner at Leopoldus Ristorante-Pizzeria. I have arranged for a antipasto buffet with lots of veggie choices followed by a pasta they call vincisgrazi. If this is not enough, you can order something more, but I’ve been told that the pasta is quite rich. Overnight in Hotel 100 Torri, Ascoli Piceno. (BLD)
Tuesday 09 October
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart at 10:00 for the Medieval Village of Montefortino below the Sibillini Mountains where we will meet our truffle hunter Alberto with his dog. We will then learn about the cultivation of truffles and then search for wild truffles in the area. Hopefully we will find some since this will constitute a major part of our lunch! We will then proceed to lunch at Osteria Fortinese da Peppa using the truffles that we found in the morning. After lunch, there will be time to wander around the colorful Medieval town of Montefortino. Then we will take the short drive to Sarnano and the Hotel Terme. (+39 328 7555776) Upon arrival and check-in, a little free time for personal projects. You are invited to World Headquarters of BET (my apartment) for a wine tasting of some of the local varietals. (Time TBA) I will try to have four of the wines available that are mentioned in the article. I will also have various snacks to go with the wines, but if anyone is still hungry I will call Gianfranco, the local pizza guy, and have him deliver a selection of pizze (0733657409, 328/1160909). Overnight in Hotel Terme, Sarnano. (BLD) Laundry Note: I have arranged for a local lavanderia (0733657276) to do your laundry for €7.00 a kilo rather than the usual more expensive price per piece. You may either take your laundry this afternoon after we check in (preferred) or the next morning at 8:30 when they open. It will be ready in the late afternoon on Wednesday. There is a laundromat next to the post office. It costs €4.00 for a machine, one euro for 8 minutes in the dryer. There is a change machine, but you should probably bring your own detergent.
Wednesday 10 October
At 9:00 I will lead us to the local museum (0733 659923) where there is one Medieval painting that is definitely worth a look/see. But definitely continue on to the first floor for the hammer(!?) collection.  Monica Bruni, a knowledgeable, English speaking realtor here in Le Marche, will meet us at the museum and first show us two properties in centro storico Sarnano. We will then drive out towards Sassotetto to see a former barn which has been converted into a house. We will then stop for lunch at La Marchigianna and then look at two typical farmhouses, one restored and the other in need of restoration. We should be back in Sarnano before 4:00. Light dinner at Il Viccolo, (optional but included, time TBA), overnight in Hotel Terme, Sarnano. (BLD)
Thursday 11 October
Thursday is Market Day in Sarnano and our hotel is in the thick of things. Sit out on the terrace with a cappuccino and watch the vendors set up. Later, mingle with the locals and see what they buy. We will depart from Sarnano at 9:30. On our way to Portonovo, we will stop first at the ancient site of Urbs Salvia, modern Urbisaglia. Alaric and his men sacked the city in 408 on their way to sack Rome in 410. We will meet our guide, Floriana (0733202942). who will take us to the aquaduct and reservoir, the theater, temples and amphitheater. Continuing on and with time permitting, we will stop at Oleificio Piccinini (3883444126) if they have started processing the new harvest of olives. Hopefully you will be able to take home a liter of fresh olive oil. We will continue on to Loreto, a famous pilgrimage site. We will take several hours to explore the town and have lunch (independent) before continuing to the incredible Hotel Fortino Napoleonico. (+39.071.8014.50) Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (BD)
Friday 12 October
Free day to take advantage of this beautiful area. Walk on the beach, hike up a hill, sleep in, catch up on your email, get a massage–enjoy! Optional but included: 9:30 departure for morning excursion into nearby Ancona to visit the archaeological museum. After the museum visit, return to the hotel for free afternoon. If hungry, walk into Portonovo to find a light lunch–there is a little market, bar/pizzeria 400 mt from the hotel, and 3 restaurants only 300 mt away. (100 mt = one football field) Dinner and overnight in Fortino Napoleonico. (BD)
Saturday 13 October
Morning departure for Urbino, a university town that is inland, but high enough that you can see the Adriatic. After checking into the Hotel San Domenico, (+390722-2626) take some time to get settled in and find some lunch (optional) nearby. At 1:00 p.m. we will meet our guide, Lucia Bedini, who will walk us across the piazza for a visit of Duke Federico’s famed palace. Afterwards she will lead us around town to show us various attractions that you may wish to explore on your own. Dinner and overnight in Hotel San Domenico, Urbino. (BD)
Sunday 14 October
Today we return to Rome. Instead of taking the Autostrada, I will suggest that our driver take a more direct route across the Apennines. It should be beautiful and we will make several stops along the way, including a lunch stop (optional) in Assisi. (I will ask our driver to make sure that we arrive in Assisi in time for the 11:30 mass in the famed basilica for those of you who are interested.) Departure at the prearranged time with a late afternoon arrival and check in to the Hotel Mediterraneo. Dinner (TBA) and overnight in Rome. (BD)
Monday 15 October
Check-out and transfer to FCO for return flight
•Mickie McElroy & Judy Vallery, Depart from hotel at 4:30 AM. (6:45, UA 937; 8:55, AZ 108)
(Note to all: I have arranged and will pay for the airport transfers. Do NOT arrange your own! I have put down times for departure from the hotel. These may be changed by you with the assistance of the concierge at the hotel. Just make sure all parties in the transfer are in agreement.)
For those of you staying on in Rome, we will continue staying at the Hotel Mediterraneo with breakfasts and dinners provided, along with a 3-day transportation pass. Today, Dr. Paul Alessi, retired Classicist at UTSA, will offer a tour of the Forum. Afternoon free. Dinner TBA, overnight in the Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome. (BD)
Tuesday 16 October
Rome Option continues: I will offer a “church crawl” this morning featuring interesting and significant churches near the hotel. Afternoon free. Dinner TBA, overnight in the Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome.(BD)
Wednesday 17 October
Rome Option continues: Choose to do a museum or two today. If you want to visit either the Vatican or the Borghese Gallery, I highly recommend that you make reservations online before the tour. Dinner TBA, overnight in the Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome.(BD)
Thursday 18 October
Check-out and transfer to airport for flight home.
•Dale & Patsy Meyers, Greg & Judy Parks, Depart from hotel at 4:15 AM. (6:30, LH 243)
•Madolyn Fallis & Joan Ahrens Depart from hotel at 5:50 AM. (8:10, BA 551 8:10, AA 6512)
•Julia Deardorff & Laurence Barker Depart from hotel at 7:30 AM. (10:00, AZ 628)
•John Blue & Gary Behnke, Bill Curtis & Paul Alessi Depart from hotel at 8:30 AM. (11:10, UA 967)
•Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins, Pat Busch & Mary Landers Depart from hotel at 10:00 AM. (12:25, AA 235 13:00, DL 245)
Monday 22 October

•Dominic & Marian Salvatori Depart from hotel at 9:20 AM. (11:50 US 719)

Rooming List
Laurence Barker
Julia Deardorff
Dominic & Marian Salvatori
Dale & Patsy Meyers
John Blue & Gary Benkhe
Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins
Mickie McElroy & Judy Vallery
Paul Alessi & Bill Curtis
Madolyn Fallis & Joan Ahrens
Greg & Judy Parks
Pat Busch & Mary Landers