I’ve recently returned from, as it’s become, my annual holiday in Italy. There is still so much in that wonderful country that I could see this become a permanent date in my diary – I hope so anyway. This year I was staying in the small village of Gabicce Monte on the border between Emilia Romagna and Le Marche on the East coast of Italy and that means the Adriatic Sea. I usually go to Italy in June because it’s not quite so hot as even a few weeks later and, sorry to appear unsociable, but it’s comparatively uncrowded for a gloriously sunny, beautiful and for an historically and artistically fascinating country. I always anguish about where I should stay and if I should trust the internet to guide me there. So far, phew, I’ve always been lucky. Gabicce Monte, sits between Rimini and Pesaro but up there on its own hill it is a place apart. I rented a small house right up there at the top.
It was really two houses converted into one and it lived amicably with its immediate neighbours in its own little courtyard. I was very happy just to sit there in the morning with coffee or in the evening with wine and to watch the the world that is Gabicce Monte society go by. I could even rustle up just enough Italian to enter into village gossip.
..or, if you can keep your eyes off the view, my new friend the little green lizard.
The view though was exceptional and, yet again, I wondered if I really needed to go anywhere else.
OK, at times, looking at that castle on the neighbouring hill, I was tempted to go and see where Francesca Da Rimini (the star of Dante’s Inferno) met her grisly and romantic fate and where Lucrezia Borgia lived for a time, happily, they say, with one of her husbands. It is also said that the Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca walked to that castle from Rimini and, taking in the view, put memories of it into some of his paintings.
Looking the other way, I could also take in a view over the Adriatic to Rimini in the far distance.
If I wanted to go out, I thought, why not just head down through the little alleyway into the village.
After-all, how often do I get these kinds of views at home. Well, Lewes, UK, actually competes quite well.
There are plenty of places for a good strong cup of Italian coffee but I chose to have it with a view of the Adriatic.
Did I mention the icecream? I’d better not because I don’t think I should make you jealous.
I could even have a simple but wonderful Pizza Rossini, this is Rossini country, and a carafe of red wine while the sun set over the Adriatic Riviera.
This Italian version of crême brulée was, I suspect, even more delicious than you could possible imagine.
I could take to village life if it was always like this.
I’m told that people travel a long way to see the Gabicce Monte sunsets but I rather stumbled across this one.
So, maybe I should give the rest of Italy a miss, I thought, sitting over yet another superb meal alfresco.
..or the strawberry pana cotta…
…even if dinner under the stars does invite unwelcome guests into your wine. Luckily, I got this inebriated moth out of my glass before it came to a blissful but premature end.
Yet, again, meals in Gabicce Monte are accompanied by the beauty of ever changing light over sea and sky.
The village is home to an impressive ceramics artist, Daniele Foschi, who takes time out, often quite late on hot evenings, to teach his art to new generations. This little girl was mesmerised and, awkward though it was to carry, I brought home some examples of his work.
So, before too long, I was happy to abandon any thoughts of going any further. I did of course and will tell you about some of the things I saw in this region in another blog but, for now, I’ll keep you here in Gabicce Monte and go back up onto the roof garden where I found the space for another of my holiday essentials.
Somewhere to practice my morning martial arts.
The Damo moving meditation system….
….my style’s own particular form of Taichi, known as Suang-Yuang…
and then my White Crane Kungfu patterns.