Is Le Marche the next Tuscany? This is the question posed by the New York Times' Sunday Travel section. If that was the original assignment, the reporter came up a wee bit short. But Bravo for trying. You can't fault him. He seemed a bit overwhelmed by the Marchigiani hospitality, the Verdicchio, the L'acrima di Moro, the local bounty to clear up Italian existential dilemmas in a 3,000 word article. The place can be deceptively charming and disarming to the best of reporters, my neighbor Michael is always saying. And Michael, the always reliable authority on all things Marchigiani, knows his reporters. What's the appeal of Le Marche?, the NYT asks Michael. The Marchigiani are slow, slow in a good way. (psst, psst, Marchigiani...I know where Michael lives.)
I can only imagine how Gina the shopkeeper in Sarnano would respond to such a question from a NYT reporter. She'd insist he try this piece of pecorino and this bottle of wine and this bottle of olive oil and this hunk of salami, then pay him outrageous complements and then stand back and watch him buy too much wine and cheese and oil. Then complement him some more.
And, for those wondering, is Le Marche the next Tuscany? Nope. It is a different world. A true slice of old-time Italy that never fails to disappoint. Even the Italians who visit Amandola for the first time are a bit overwhelmed. I've been gone a week and I miss it already.