Friday, November 10, 2006

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

Continued from Marche Part I

Antonio is a down to earth kind of guy. He employs a simple and straightforward approach both with people and problems. Our meetings progressed and we broke for lunch. Although I usually do not eat lunch, I was looking forward to discover some local, out of the way Trattoria. To my surprise we stepped into his kitchen. Fresh Tagliatelle were neatly laid on a platter, and a rustic, whicker basket full of mushrooms was sitting on the kitchen table. We began working, brushing, carefully cleaning those mushrooms. Antonio told me of his passion for mushrooms. He had gathered these yesterday. Not to be outdone, I told him of my trips into the hills of Bergamo and the fantastic mushrooms found in a local hunting reserve. They look like a closed pool umbrella.

“Spugnole,” he sighed.

He cut the mushrooms into thin slices, sautéed for a couple of minutes and poured in a glass of Verdicchio, salt, pepper and reduced everything for about 10 minutes. The pasta made its way into boiling water for 3 minutes, drained and into the skillet with the mushroom sauce. A few minutes later we were at the table, chatting about the Marche and its rich history. Ancona, Rimini, Macerata, Jesi, and Camerino were his ideas for a first phase expansion. He talked of his family, of the traditions and their love of the land. I was intrigued. I truly knew very little about this Garden of Eden called the Marche.

Our afternoon progressed quickly, going over financial statements and contracts, technical requirements and personnel. Just before sunset, a very loud ruckus erupted in the primary hall. It sounded like someone was chasing chickens in a henhouse. Squawking, feathers flying, the shrill of glass breaking, met us as we entered the hall. Two beautiful Pheasant were flapping around the room with the caretaker chasing after them.

After the initial surprise, I looked at Antonio. Intuitively he explained that while the local butcher shop was very good, he preferred raising his own game. The grounds were full of free ranging Peacocks, Pheasant, and even a couple of families of wild boar. This was the first time they had entered the house but that is ok. His response caught me completely off-guard. I was young, one of the youngest entrepreneurs to come from nothing and begin to realize national success, breaking into the exclusive club of Italian Imprenditori. Antonio was one of the wealthiest of Italian Imprenditori, part of a powerful family, and he was raising his own game on this historic and exclusive estate.

While Antonio closed the office, I waited on the bench in front of the house and reflected on the day’s events. I did not know the Marche or its people. In Milan we were all fighting continuously, even for the smallest of advantage, with our competitors, our neighbors and even our friends. I thought I was living life in harmony and balance, choosing and bottling my own wine, making grappa in the hills of Bergamo, restructuring 1400s castle for my offices and here was this gentleman, he had what I was trying to achieve, yet his attention was on his family, his land and his food. That evening we would eat dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants in Italy, Madonnina del Pescatore, a neat little place in Senigallia. I would have time to think. The Marche are incredible, simple and complex at the same time, balance in life seems to be part of the antique culture.

Many days remain on my first real visit to the Marche. I am curious to understand this unique corner of Italy so well known for its beaches and so little known the hidden treasures to be found around every corner.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post and i like how you describe the preparation of the food. It is so appetising to read.

Anyway, have a nice weekend!

4:11 PM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

ah se potessi viaggiare!

9:44 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Randy It is always a pleasure to see you here. For some reason I associate the preparation of the food with the experience. It is kind of a memory key for me.

Tracie b. For you it is only a hop and skip by train! Go for it! Tartufo awaits!

10:24 AM


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