Macerata is famous for Matteo Ricci, first non Chinese to translate the Bible in mandarin chinese in the 1500’s, or also, it’s maybe barely known as birthplace for several other characters in the 20th century, from politics to art, all the way to Opera, which is held yearly in awesome Macerata’s Sferisterio. But now, who knows Macerata for its precious “Museo della Tessitura” (Museum of Sewing)? Not as few as you might think, in fact. “La tela” is indeed a must for many handcraft experts in the region and beyond, especially people with a passion for fashion.
These 2 women running the little museum have been working here for more than 20 years and their activity has grown to provide fabrics for reknowned haute couture companies to be used in fashion shows in Milan and Paris. Their museum, which is also a sewing laboratory, is really a place to visit if you make it to Macerata. Here you can find more info: http://www.latela.net/
Sometimes people think of Italy as some exotic place, stuck in time, where everything is old and the sun always shines.. well, not this winter! At least not in the Adriatic coast, where it snowed with no interruption for 2 weeks. Something no one has ever seen around here. The only comparison available is with 1956, when it also snowed a lot, but not for so long.. Funny enough, it snowed more in Marche (so far) than on the Alps.. in fact, it has created great damages and quite a few victims, as we’re not so used to such weather around here. So I guess, if you want to visit Marche and you expect to see the sun and enjoy the weather, you’d better come in spring-summer-autumn, just so to make sure.
In the picture, you can see one of the main streets of Macerata, a town that’s quite used to the snow, but the man walking on the boulevard there could not expect that there would be 2 weeks more of snow ahead.
I think Sant’Angelo in Pontano is probably one of the least visited places in Marche, which is one of the least visited places in Italy.. it figures!
Yet, many here heard the name of this town, either because of its longstanding presepe tradition, or because of San Nicola from Tolentino who lived also here. We are indeed in the land of San Nicola, to whom are dedicated many churches in the area. See more here.
A dear friend of mine, photographer Roberto Bonfigli (a big Nikon fan), has a little house there in Sant’Angelo, so we went several times. Lucky chance, because the rural area is beautiful and the colors of towns and hills around there are truly amazing. Also, clean air and silence make it a real worthy place to visit, especially if you know where to eat and where to have a siesta afterward and maybe a talk with a nice artist/farmer like Roberto.
If you want to read more about Roberto’s farm in Sant’Angelo in Pontano, read Zero The One.
What I love the most about Marche is that you can always be on the road to a next town. There is always a next town somewhere, very near. Not only, the paths you can take are virtually endless. For example, I have been living in Macerata for about 1 year, and I managed to find 6-7 alternate ways to go to Ancona from here. The picture above was taken along one such path (in fact, the path I don’t take anymore because it takes a little bit longer). Basically, I have become an expert on shortcuts between Macerata and Ancona =)
In the slideshow you can see Catherine, who came to visit us from Baltimore, Usa last Christmas. It’s certainly not the best weather, but it’s perfect if you like to check out Catholic related events such as Presepe Vivente, the living scene of the Nativity, taking place in many little towns scattered around Marche. It usually takes place on december 26th and january 6th.
One thing very few people know is that in the 1300’s Macerata used to be the capital of all Marche (even though there wasn’t a clear idea of what Marche really was). Today, Macerata is a rather small town, home to a University founded in 1290 (!) and a rich province that goes from the shoes and fashion district (now increasingly Chinese speaking) of Civitanova Marche to the ancient lands of Camerino, up on the Sibillini Mountains.
For those who don’t know Italy, it’s difficult to understand how many little towns are scattered around in the Appennines. Marche doesn’t make an exception. In fact, there are as many towns in Marche as there are churches in Rome, that is, manyyy!
Lakes, castles, hills, roman ruins and fortified walls complete the portrait of one of the most pictoresque places of Italy (and Europe), the rather unknown province of Macerata, which we will discover starting from Lago di Fiastra and Macereto, a traditional stop point for shepherds on the way to Medici’s Florence, in the Renaissance.