Author: Mrs A
Location: Loro Piceno, Le Marche, Italy
Saturday: It was a dusty start to the morning after a fun Friday night out with Mel and Barney in Loro Piceno, with delicious food followed by dancing to a live band on the cobbled streets.
Mel had booked a haircut for me in a local village, and with none of the staff speaking English I was pleased Google Translate worked well enough for me to get the cut I wanted and not end up with a shaved head!
Our friends from the UK arrived early afternoon, successfully finding the house and enjoying a light lunch as we all caught up on news.
In the evening Mel and Barney had booked us a table at a local restaurant, Casa Azzurra. It is set around a pretty courtyard, with delicious food and wine.
Sunday: The eight of us piled in to two cars and headed up to Mount Sibillini National Park, a hour’s drive away. It was a warm day, around 35 degrees in the valley, but as we climbed we were relieved as the temperature dropped to the late 20s.
Our first stop was at Lago di Fiastra (Lake Fiastra), the main reservoir for the region. The turquoise waters look quite striking, surrounded by mountains and beaches. There were quite a few people swimming in the water and picnicking on the shore.
Many of the buildings in this area are still damaged from the two major earthquakes in 2016. On the winding road up the mountains there was extensive evidence of work done to shore up the cliffs and prevent rockfalls and landslides, and many buildings remained abandoned, shored up by steel cables and wooden braces.
We continued a short way up the mountains to Rifugio di Tribbio, a lovely rustic restaurant Mel and Barney had found. What a gem! There’s no way you would stumble across this as a casual visitor without the local knowledge. There we feasted on three generous courses and two litres of wine for the grand cost of about €160 between the eight of us (AU$33/£18 a head). We sat outside on a bench table with great views across the mountains.
After lunch we wound our way up the mountains even further, found a shady parking spot and headed off for a walk. It’s a glorious time of year in the mountains, with wildflowers in every corner.
We did a lovely circuit walk – steep on the way up and blissfully downhill on the return loop, helping us burn a few lunchtime calories and enjoy the clean mountain air.
We drove back down the mountains and into Loro Piceno for an evening cocktail at La Cantina, a bar with a terrace boasting amazing views over the valley and out towards Mel and Barney’s house. We then headed home for an early night in preparation for celebrating Catriona’s big birthday tomorrow, the reason for this gathering of friends.