I’ve already written about the quest my son and I fulfilled, journeying to a deserted, rainy, lockdown-mode Ascoli Piceno in search of the local specialty: olive ascolane (stuffed olives).

Luckily, a second race took us once again to the Marche, and this time we were able to stop by on a sunny day free from harsh lockdown restictions.

This time we could go back to the excellent Migliori, which last time was the only game in town, to once again enjoy our olive ascolane – this time sitting down at actual tables and eating inside (!!) and, taking advantage of the sunny weather, we also enjoyed a pleasant walk around this picturesque town.

Although it was still charming in the rain, it was far more enjoyable to admire the town on a sunny February day.

We had a great time walking around this medieval gem, with its stately municipal buildings and elaborate churches.

Unlike our last visit, the sun was shining and the sky was blue – and we were no longer the only people wandering around a sad, closed-up town.

A great improvement.

Ascoli Piceno is an easy trip from the Adriatic highway – between Pescara and Ancona, and is definitely worth the detour.

Our time was limited since we needed to get back to Rome, and I wanted to get over the Gran Sasso mountain pass before predicted snowfall later that evening, but we truly enjoyed our walk in the medieval heart of town under beautiful winter sunshine.

And our late lunch of olive ascolane (and the package we took away for dinner later in the week) was worth the trip, too.

Looking forward to our next visit to the Marche – and to stunning Ascoli Piceno.