Steep hills and dead poets in the Marche’s Recanati
My son and I were traveling through Marche and actually stopped off in picturesque Recanati by mistake.
Italy is one of those fabulous places when a wrong turn can introduce you to a fabulous hilltown filled with stunning views, art and culture.
Every year, we are in Ancona for races, and often tag some time on to explore the pretty Marche region. Both of us took off a day from work and school and enjoyed a fabulous January Monday with spectacular sun.
For quite a few years, we had been “meaning to” get to the town of Macerata. As we were driving to that hilltown and chatting, I got distracted and missed a turn off. So we made our way to Recanati thinking we had arrived at Macerata. As luck would have it, and on the lookout for parking, we also missed the town sign, so we got out of our car convinced we were in Macerata.
Walking around, we quickly discovered our error – but embraced our inner tourist (a trait we both share) and explored Recanati.
And we were not disappointed.
Recanati is a town of about 20,000 people set up almost 300 meters from sea level – with stunning views to both the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine peaks in the distance. And the day we were there was crisp and clear, so perfect for admiring those views.
Althouth Recanati dates back to at least Ancient Roman times, it was during thne medieval era that it enjoyed its heyday, and that’s reflected in the spectacular architecture.
My son was also amused to learn – something he memorized back in middle school – that the famed Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) was a native son of Recanati.
Born in 1798, Leopardi is considered one of Italy’s greatest nineteenth century poets and is taught extensively in Italian schools. Alas, my son is no lover of poetry, and his only connection with Leopardi is to recall how much the poet made him suffer, memorizing stanzas of “death, death and more death”.
Although he did enjoy seeing Leopardi’s birthplace, I don’t think it convinced him to do a deeper analysis of his poetry any time soon.
We did, however, get a photo of him in front of a tower that is described in Leopardi’s poem Il passero solitario. That poem explores Leopardi’s regrets over his rapidly passing youth, one he never appreciated while living it, and his utter lack of joy in life. I think my son’s expression as I click the photo somehow embodies his own joy contemplating his past study of Leopardi.
But my son – and I – both loved our wander in Recanati on that sunny January day.
And we also had a great cappuccino at the café on the main town square.
No contemplation of death and the meaningless of our life on earth that day, but we did have a fabulous time exploring the steep hills up and down in Leopardi’s birthplace. Very pleased we took that wrong turn off of the road to Macerata. Eschewing Leopardi’s pessimism, sometimes it’s those missteps in life that bring the most joy. And days of perfect blue skies and sun never hurt either…
Don’t miss out on this Marche hiltown next time you’r passing through.
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