Sandy beaches, gorgeous countryside, historic towns, delicious food and wine, concerts, ice cream, bicycles, friendly people AND a proper Italian welcome…….
SENIGALLIA – If you’d like to discover the real Italy this summer I recommend Italy’s Le Marche region and the delightful seaside town of Senigallia. About two hours drive south from Bologna, Senigallia is famous for its beautiful sandy beach and an incredible gastronomic tradition. Every summer the town hosts the Summer Jamboree, a wonderful musical event, featuring American rock and roll music from the 1950s and 60s. For the first week of August the piazzas of the town are filled with dancing and music reminding me of Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Everly Brothers. The town is quite literally hopping to the rhythms of the music.
1/ SUMMER SUN – the holiday season starts in Senigallia in May and runs through to September. The miles of velvet beach are groomed and cleaned daily and comfortable sun loungers and shady umbrellas are available for rental by the day or by the week. The beach is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants offering everything from sandwiches and snacks to Michelin starred dining. I stayed in the fabulous Hotel Raffaello – one minute walk to the beach and with its own panoramic terrace and roof top pool. Breakfast at the Raffaello was delicious, fresh fruit and pastries, cold meats and cheeses, delicious coffee and eggs cooked to order too. The staff were friendly and helpful to – I felt very welcome.
2/ HISTORIC CENTRE – Senigallia has a beautiful fortress in the centre of the town ‘La Rocca’ which is used for concerts and events. There are narrow cobbled streets leading visitors to the towns piazzas and weekly market place – great for clothes, sandals and beachwear. Nearby is the Foro Annonario where there’s a daily market of fresh local products including vegetables, fruits and herbs. In the town centre many of the shops are small, independent businesses offering unique and interesting leather goods, clothing, shoes and souvenirs. There’s a theatre, several museums and lots of nice cafes and bars. Senigallia is a delightful small town.
3/ GASTRONOMY – Senigallia is home to the highly respected Istituto Panzini – a cooking school and training centre for chefs and hospitality professionals. Many famous chefs have trained at ‘Panzini’ and some of them are running restaurants as far afield as Hong Kong, Miami, Washington DC and Rio – whilst quite a few remain closer to home. These days Senigallia is called the ‘five star town’ because two local chefs between them have five Michelin stars. There’s Moreno Cedroni at ‘Madonnina del Pescatore’ with 2 Michelin stars and then Mauro Uliassi with his ‘Uliassi’ restaurant just opposite Senigallia’s port. Mauro has three Michelin stars. Cedroni and Uliassi are both in the top ten chefs working in Italy today. Their cooking, quality of ingredients and inventiveness in the kitchen are legendary. Lunch or dinner at either of these restaurants is a truly golden moment. I’ve written several articles about Mauro Uliassi and his amazing food. I’ll be writing one about Cedroni very soon.
4/ ICE CREAM – I can’t write an article about Senigallia without mentioning ice cream. If you feel the need for a delicious ice cream then you need to head over to Paolo Brunelli’s amazing ‘gelateria’. He has an ice cream parlour in the centre of town and then a ‘laboratorio’ and cafe a mile or so to the south. Paolo is a ‘Maestro Gelatiere’. He makes fabulous, creamy ice cream using traditional methods and (of course) only the highest quality ingredients. His signature ice creams are delicious. People queue patiently outside his ‘gelateria’ shop to select their favourite flavours. He also makes cakes and delicious brioche filled with cream. In fact when my friend Lara and I were invited to the gelateria for breakfast, my brioche filled with perfect, light, delicious cream was probably the best I’ve ever tasted.
5/ BICYCLES – there are bicycles to rent all over town. You can choose from an old fashioned push bike or a brand new, state of the art, electric bike. For the town centre and seaside the regular bike is perfect. Senigallia has about 8 kms of beach, so a fun piece of exercise in the morning is a bike ride from the port along the coast. However if you want to explore the gorgeous but hilly Marche countryside then an e-bike is for you. I took an e-bike ride with Azimove Bike Experiences. It was my first time on an electric bike and it was absolutely wonderful. The bike had normal gears and brakes but on the left hand handlebar there was a ‘boost’ setting which gave you assisted power. So whenever I was going up a hill (or even a gentle incline) I flicked the power button on and the bike assisted me up the hills. I still had to pedal but the electric power propels you up the hills with very little effort. I loved it. We cycled into hilltop towns that I couldn’t possibly have reached with a regular bike. At the end of the morning I discovered we’d cycled for 40 kilometres. This would have been completely impossible for me (up and down numerous hills) without that bike.
6/ MUSIC AND DANCING – During the summer season the town of Senigallia organises a variety of musical events, concerts and dance parties. Then in the first two weeks of August the Summer Jamboree fills the squares and streets of the town with music and dancing. Couples can be seen jiving and jitterbugging on the beach and in La Rotonda. Loads of people come dressed in fifties style outfits and ‘Rock around the Clock’ fills the air. There’s even a Hawaiian Beach Party each year featuring a well known retro-band. Dust off your loudest shirt, pineapples are everywhere (apart from on pizza which is a criminal offence in Italy). Several of the squares in town become car parks for ‘old timers’ 1950s cars – so car lovers can enjoy a stroll through an incredible selection of Chevrolets, Buicks and Oldsmobiles.
7/ CASTLES + MEDIEVAL TOWNS – just inland from Senigallia is the stunning Le Marche countryside. Rolling hills, charming, medieval villages, vineyards and fields full of corn. The scenery is a delight, a rich tapestry of gold and green. Just about twenty minutes from Senigallia is the fabulous medieval castle of Monterado. Now a stylish hotel with exquisite rose gardens, terraces and a brand new swimming pool. To really understand life in a castle hundreds of years ago and yet with the luxury of comfortable beds and delicious food and wine, this is an exceptional experience. Many of the villages have their own unique character. For example Corinaldo has superb medieval walls and a huge drawbridge that can be raised at night. It is also home to a house that consists only of a front wall – nothing else. The moral of this story is….Never send money home!! To understand more click on the link.
8/ COUNTRY HOUSES – From Recanati to Conero, Le Marche is dotted with beautiful country houses, some are hotels, some are bed & breakfasts and some are available for holiday rental. One of my favourites is the Villa Pedossa, a family owned and beautifully renovated country house, set in its own private garden with a fabulous swimming pool. The house can be rented as a whole or as a series of self-contained apartments. The villa offers wine-tastings and a private chef for preparation of special dinners and celebrations. We rented Villa Pedossa a couple of years ago for an extended family holiday and had a wonderful time. The villa is just ten minutes from the town of Senigallia, so perfect for tranquillity and sun-bathing by the pool during the day and then dinner in town or on the beach in the evening.
9/ QUALITY and CRAFTSMANSHIP – everywhere in Le Marche you encounter quality, skill and craftsmanship. There are still many small companies making shoes, clothes and handbags for world famous brands. When a famous fashion house in Paris needs a sample garment making for a new spring or autumn collection, they call expert tailors here in Le Marche to get the job done. Tods shoes have their factory just down the road, whilst Prada have a production facility here too. This sartorial heritage lives on today with the Fratelli Marconi, brother and sister Lorenzo and Anna, who are award winning costume designers. Each year they head up to Venice for ‘Carnevale’ where they have been winners on many occasions. They create unique and exceptional ‘tableau’ style creations where the costumes tell a story. In 2016 they won the ‘best costume award’ in Venice with their ‘Bathers of Senigallia’ creation (below).
10/ FANTASTIC PEOPLE – and last but by no means least, it is the people of Senigallia and Le Marche region who make this place so special. They are incredibly friendly and welcoming. From the hotel staff to the guys working on the beach, there’s almost always a friendly smile and a little conversation. Many, many local people don’t speak much English so they are delighted to listen patiently to your attempts at Italian – however many mistakes you make. I am particularly grateful to Vittorio and Alessandra, Lara and Arianna, Anna and Lorenzo Marconi, Moreno Cedroni and Paolo Brunelli and many others for their kindness and generosity in sharing their world of Le Marche with me.
To really discover Italy, the true Italy, visit Le Marche – as the Italians are fond of saying ‘rapporto prezzo qualita eccellente’ in other words ‘the relationship between price and quality is excellent’.
- Discover Italy with www.educated-traveller.com and our sister company www.grand-tourist.com
- Tailor-made journeys in Italy with a unique and special twist.
- To read more about Mauro Uliassi: Senigallia, Italy – Gastronomy and Wine
- To discover more on Villa Pedossa: Fabulous Country House to rent – Senigallia, Le Marche, Italy
- Bicycle tours in Senigallia and Le Marche: www.azimovebike.it
- Instagram: @azimove_bikes_experience
- For more on the Fratelli Marconi – Venice – Carnival 2020
- For more on Le Marche and the magic of the region – including Recanati, home of the poet Giacomo Leopardi:
- The Italian Countryside – Recanati – home of poet Giacomo Leopardi
- Moreno Cedroni at Madonnina del Pescatore: www.morenocedroni.it
- Uliassi Ristorante: www.uliassi.it
- Maestro Gelatiere: Paolo Brunelli – www.paolobrunelli.me
Where to stay:
- Raffaello Hotel, Senigallia – 4 star with roof top pool – www.raffaellohotelsenigallia.com
- Castello di Monterado – www.castellodimonterado.it
Enjoy Senigallia – the ultimate in ‘discovering Italy’……………………..