Le Marche

Up past the not-so-pretty port town of Ancona lies a treasure of a town called Senigallia.


Situated on the Adriatic coast, the beach town of Senigallia is one of the most populous in its province. But that’s not to say it feels metropolitan— quite to the contrary. 


Though largely unknown to the American public, Senigallia is among the most renowned Adriatic seaside towns thanks to its thirteen-mile Velvet Beach. Situated at the mouth of the river Misa, the town was established in the 4th Century BCE. The town became a Roman colony in 280 BCE.


Located near the beaches of Senigallia is a fortress dating to the 3rd Century BCE (but has undergone many renovations and reconstructions since). Due to its location, the fortress was used to defend the city during the Middle Ages. 


The guidebooks rave about a restaurant called Madonnina del Pescatore and the two-star Michelin Ullassi, but I have a soft spot for Al Cuoco di Bordo where the verbal menu changes daily and always includes an interesting crudo, spectacular pastas like black spaghetti alla chitarra with squash blossoms and tiny shrimp, or a surprising orecchiette with clams and sea beans, or a great salt crusted bass. 


A couple of kilometers to the north is a special country house, hotel and restaurant called Locanda Strada della Marina in a town called Scapezzano. The rooms are a good deal and the food is worth an overnight stay. My most recent meal started with a classic octopus salad with waxy potatoes, then went into a poetic gnocchi with a bug-like shellfish called cannocchie cooked in a light tomato sauce that sang the song of sirens. The secondo sealed the deal; a monkfish in a red wine broth with snails and tiny trumpet mushrooms that was matched brilliantly with a young rosso piceno. There is a separate cheese tasting room for fanatics and a killer cellar to run up the check if you so desire.