The Sibyl: an ancient story that still holds us in awe
Legend has it that a prophetess, the enchanting Sibyl, once dwelt in these mountains, luring hopeful travelers here with a promise of eternal happiness. The trick? You had to find her. This medieval legend is repeated often around these parts. It is the inspiration behind the national park that carriers her name, Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, where her grotto supposedly lies. And in the valley below? That’s where you’ll find us in the hilltop hamlet of Sant’Ippolito perched above the ancient Roman spa town of Sarnano and a few minutes from the medieval-era hilltown, Amandola.
This little piece of paradise, what we like to call “Sibillini Slow,” is in the heart of Le Marche, Central Italy’s best kept secret. The region is the perfect destination for lovers of Italian history, art, gastronomy, hiking and the outdoors — what Italians call, “slow.” Our holiday rental offerings embody the “slow” philosophy to the fullest. We follow the Slow Tourism Club mission to promote an alternative form of sustainable tourism that honours the land that surrounds us, its art, the history, culture, and the wondrous cuisine it gives us. Whether you are looking for relaxation or inspiration, Sibillini Slow is the perfect get-away.
Marche’s “infinite” charms
But don’t take our word for it. Dustin Hoffman says it best – watch him here wax poetic, using the words of the famous marchigiano poet Leopardi, to pay tribute to the wonders of Le Marche. A word of warning: first impressions of Le Marche are powerful. They usually are followed by the question: Why haven’t I visited here before?!?
The Times discovers Le Marche
As the New York Times recently reported, and Travel & Leisure confirmed shortly afterwards, Le Marche is truly a feast for the senses. The marchigiani have been living off the land and sea for centuries, giving birth to a unique cuisine (princely fish meals from the waters of the Adriatic to a hearty fare of game further inland — just ask lo chef famosissimo Jamie Oliver, who was in Le Marche in 2008 to take on the townsfolk in a wild boar pasta sauce contest) — and a wide variety of wines (from the world famous Verdicchio to Marchigiani up-and-comers, the Pecorino and Lacrima di Morro). And, yes, this is the land of the white truffle, or Tuber Magnatum Pico.We forage for these precious tubers each autumn, the subject of a piece I recently wrote for The Guardian.
The Times got Italy buzzing when it asked if Le Marche could possibly be the next Tuscany? Sorry to disappoint. Le Marche is a completely different experience. Imagine a Tuscany before the onslaught of tourists in their unsightly tour buses and minus the grumpy locals. The Marchigiani are inquisitive people who dote on newcomers with extra helpings of food and extra wide smiles. There is a motive: they want you to come back.