April 23 – 30, 2010
A picture of Italy has been on my vision board for the past 10 years. We are currently enjoying our fifth trip to Italy and next month we come back for our sixth trip. A trip to Italy is a sensory delight.
What I know for sure is this: if you want something — really desire something – you can have it if you put out to the universe that it’s your intention. My motto is to say it, taste it, hear it, see it and do it! When you think of this thing you want, what is the feeling you will have when you get it? Picture it in your mind and feel it with all your senses. Put a visual up so you can see it and manifest it daily.
Three years ago at a fundraiser for Wild Oregon, I bid on and won a week at a large villa in the small village of Monte San Martino in the Marche region of Italy.
Marche is sandwiched between Umbria and Tuscany (Toscana) on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other. Mountains make up 30 percent of the area and the rest is made up of lush green hills. This region is full of hills towns that stand on hill after hill in the distance.
As in all of Italy, eating is a slow food ritual in Marche. Dinner usually begins around 9 pm and can last until 11 pm or later. The Marche region is best known for it’s excellent seafood, truffles, mushrooms, meats, olives, grapes and especially formaggio (cheese).
We tasted each of the wines this region is most known for and they were all very good. Two excellent DOC reds are Rosso Picenco that is made up of 60 percent Sangiovese and 40 percent Montepulciano grapes. The Rosso Conero is made with Montepulciano grapes with a bit of Sangiovese. The best-known white wine is Verdicchio Classico dei Castelli di Jesi dei Fratelli Bucci.
At the Del Priori restaurant, a four-generation restaurant in Monte San Martino, we watched John’s pork cooked over the open fire, which is typical of the Marche region. Another night he had their specialty pasta dish made with fresh nettles, which was delicious.
Each day we drove to nearby hill towns to get the flavor of the area: Penna San Giovanni, Santa Vittoria, Smerillo, Amandola, and Montemonico just to mention a few.
Italy’s most famous pilgrimage is the town of Loreto in the Marche region, where the Shrine of the Virgin Mary’s Holy House is located. In 1291, according to ancient tradition, angels transported the Virgin Mary’s stone house first to Croatia then to Loreto in 1294. In the 15th century, a basilica of marble was built over it to protect it. The Popes from the time of Julius II (1507) have considered the Holy House to be the place where the Blessed Virgin was conceived, brought up and where she received the Annunciation. Archaeological excavations in1962 to 1965 at Nazareth and the ground below the Holy House, confirm the stones of the Holy House were transported to Loreto most likely by ship.
We visited this shrine and even though it was not the high season, it was packed with people weeping and touching the bricks in the walls of the Holy House. One of my personal rituals is to send out my intentions for my life and good thoughts for others when I visit these spiritual and holy sites. I think about all the positive energy that has been and is ignited in these ancient churches and spiritual sites and I feel the vibe!
Although we were not able to fit in a visit to Urbino, all guidebooks say it’s well worth the trip. During the Renaissance, Urbino had one of the most refined courts in Italy, full of artists and scholars. Urbino is the home of my favorite artist – Raphael, one of the most famous Renaissance artists. In my college days, I was an art major and spent many hours in figure drawing classes practicing the Stippling technique and drawing from old masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo.
Stay tuned for our next great adventure: three days in Firenze.