Thursday, November 09, 2006

Marche – Rolling Hills, Mild climate, Beautiful Beaches – Part I

In the distance, the first reflections of light in the dawn sky are fighting to invade the black horizon in front of me. Thriller blaring on the CD player, the digital blue lights of the dashboard flashing 200, 205, 210. In the distance small bugs of red begin to grow as the Kappa floats down the A4 to Bologna. From Fiorenzuolo to Modena the road is straight and flat. I always try to hit this part of the expressway before 5:00 in the morning. I can make that 2 hour trip in just over an hour. There is something about a blasting radio, complete darkness all around and an open road at 220 km/hour that is exhilarating. Another ten minutes and I can stop for coffee leaving just in time to pass through Bologna without hitting the morning rush hour traffic.

Thoughts of the upcoming encounter with Antonio rush through my head. He seems to understand business really well, I guess his time heading up the API oil operations in the far east had served him well. This is the best way to think through difficult questions as the countryside flies by it isolates and helps eliminate all of the extraneous influences. If we can find an acceptable compromise this will give me 90% coverage for the network and greater influence for the upcoming telecommunications legislation.

I should be there by 8:00. That is enough time to leave my bags at the hotel, perhaps catch breakfast on the beach before meeting Antonio at 10:00. The Adriatic coast is really beautiful in the late fall. The tourists are all gone, the temperature is still quite mild and the sound of the waves splashing on the shore intermittently broken by the shrill of the Gulls fishing for lunch are the only sounds.

I have often vacationed in Senigallia with the kids, but it is an entirely different place in the peak summer season. People everywhere, Disco Clubs closing their doors in the early morning light, street vendors, and a sea of human flesh trying to catch the sun before the midday rays become too hot.

I am brought back to reality by a quiet voice, “Another coffee?”

As I paid the bar owner, it became clear that I really did not know the Marche and that this was going to be a completely new experience. I drove into the hills and came upon Antonio’s estate about 6 km inland on the top of one of the surrounding hills. It was evident that he was restructuring an old Cascina, or farmhouse. It must have been part of an important estate. Sixteen keys are immediately evident, securing the external walls. Most buildings in the Marche do not have foundations. They are held together by iron rods that cut through the building, secured on either side by iron plates located outside the external walls. The higher the number of keys the better the construction. A building this size would usually have 8 keys and there they were, under the cement stucco, 16 keys.

The estate had a truly breathtaking view. That view opened up a new perspective of the Marche, one that I did not know. To the east the sea, to the south the faint silhouette of the Gargano and Puglia, to the north the turquoise sea extends finally changing to a deep blue-gray evidencing the warm, shallow waters up the entire seaboard and to the west, the vineyards dotting the rolling hills that could easily be a postcard of the lands of Umbria.

The Marche continues


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Blogger Doll Face said...

Pinch me! Your story is a dream...

9:30 PM

Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

i had similar experiences
but Lenny Kravitz on the cd

and a 5 am departure from Torino on good friday to get to San Benedetto del Tronto in time for the afternoon lunch...

and the beat goes on...

5:25 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Natalie Careful, while I have never pinched a unknown woman it is one of my passion with good friends, I may just take you up on that one...

IWG You were definitely moving on that one. Lenny must be a powerful motivator.

Disclaimer: we are in no way encouraging people to drive fast. Italy is now VERY diligent about speeding.

8:11 AM


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