There’s a lot to see in the Marche region of Italy. First, there are the historical sites, like a fort in Senigallia first constructed during Roman times. Then, there are the beaches with their brightly colored umbrellas standing at attention in perfect rows. However, an unanticipated landscape, such as a field of sunflowers overlooking the Adriatic or a windy road flowing through the landscape, can sometimes be just as engaging. You might even find some of the absurd details, like the old man fishing in the middle of a river wearing nothing but a black Speedo, that I happened to catch while on the train.
Luca, my friend from swimming at UMBC, was a pleasant host. Pesaro, the small city where he picked me up after his swim meet, has the small shops, the beachside park, and the bad drivers all reminiscent of coastal Florida. The historic center of Monte San Vito, a hillside town next to his own, has panoramic views in addition to his old preschool. As for Senigallia, it was remarkable to walk through Rocca Reveresca and see the modifications made over the years from the original Roman design as the town defended itself against new enemies.
It would be an injustice to forget all of the good company though. Luca’s girlfriend, talented in everything from economics to languages, picked us up in Pesaro and took us to a delicious beachfront restaurant that served all sorts of seafood pastas. Luca’s mother made us a delicious lunch with speck (“The best kind!” gushed Luca), bread, Parmesan cheese, watermelon, and perfectly cooked pasta. Luca’s well-read father shared some sparkling white wine with me for lunch and we had a good time chatting about everything from food (“You just can’t find the same quality Parmesan and speck in America,” he noted as someone who had searched far and wide for it around Baltimore while visiting for graduation), to the long, illustrious, but occasionally disappointing, history of Italy.
For my dinner with Luca’s family (I only stayed one night), we went out to eat at ‘Mezzometro,’ or ‘half meter’, which is Luca’s absolute favorite pizza place. There, the perfectly crispy pizzas are really a half meter long and absolutely delectable. It was a nice conclusion to my visit to enjoy a triple cup of banana, watermelon, and lemon gelato as we strolled among the crowds in Senigallia’s center savoring the perfect weather.