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Four Night Stay in Urbino or Elsewhere in the Immediate Area

Four Night Stay in Urbino or Elsewhere in the Immediate Area

Jan 31st, 2014, 05:29 AM
  #1  
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Four Night Stay in Urbino or Elsewhere in the Immediate Area

I am looking for advice about where to stay for the first four nights of our upcoming Le Marche trip. The second portion will be in the southern area and the first part in the northern area.

For the second part/area, already decided, we will stay out of town in an agriturismo. So I wanted a different experience here for the first part, i.e. I thought of a city such as Urbino.

However, I am finding it difficult to find top notch (and by that I do NOT mean expensive or fancy, only those with very good to excellent reviews) hotels / B&B's / etc. in Urbino and started thinking of maybe another small city in the area but don't know which.

My requirements are :
spotlessly clean
easily driven into and out of the city in order to take day trips in the area
excellent reviews

If anyone has any advice/information, etc. I appreciate your help in advance!!

CIao ciao and thanks!!
Flame123 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 07:09 AM
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What about Urbania? It is smaller but has a university and some nice restaurants. It's very easy to get in and out if as well...
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:14 AM
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OK. Have you spent time there? Know of any accommodations to recommend?
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:42 AM
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We always stay at La Tavola Marche which is about 10 minute drive...but have eaten there and spent time there! It's a pleasant town with a nice vibe. Definitely not as big or with as many sites as Urbino, but I think it was the count of montefalco's summer residence or something like that...

We had a nice meal there.

Piobbico is I think about 15 mins drive and there is a nice restaurant there at the entrance to the old town.

Can't help with places to stay though if you want in town accommodations.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Sant Angelo in vado is nearby and they haves big Sunday market.

Appechio is also nearby and they have a great brewery just outside of town where you can do tastings, they do grappa as well!

Hope this helps!

I assume you have read our three trip reports from the area?
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:46 AM
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Also don't miss driving through Furlough Gorge...beautiful and driving through a roman built tunnel is quite a thrill!

Oh and I will find the name if the winery nearby...in summer they do wine dinners in the vines! They do very generous tastings and the wine is great and affordable...they also speak English....brb
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:46 AM
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That should be Furlo above
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:49 AM
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Here is the winery

Terracruda

http://www.terracruda.it

They definitely speak English
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:51 AM
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And this is the brewery - they also speak English

http://www.collesi.com/le-birre-arti...llesi/?lang=en

Hope this helps!
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Helps very much indeed jamikins. Many many thanks!!!!!
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Jan 31st, 2014, 12:15 PM
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All of the places suggested are in very small towns, more rural than urban. La Tavola Marche is actually on a fairly large farm.

I live about half an hour from Urbino, so one would think I could help you find a hotel, but precisely because I live here, I really never have any need of hotels. I can say that Le Marche doesn't have very many deluxe hotels. Mass tourism has not hit this area yet, and, especially in the cities, people who stay in hotels tend to be traveling out of necessity, not for pleasure. Two stars and slightly old-fashioned furnishings are the most common style in local hotels.

If you stay inside the walls of Urbino, it wouldn't be exactly easy in and easy out, either. Urbino is on a steep hill. When we go there, we park below the walls and take an elevator up. There are lots of villas and "country houses" (a fairly new category in Italy) and agriturismi in the countryside around Urbino, and some seem very nice, but this wouldn't be an urban atmosphere. On booking.com you can see a lot of these country houses, if you're willing to be a little less urban.

You might want to consider staying in one of the seaside towns, which have a wider choice of hotels, and where some at least are of a high standard. You don't say what time of year you'll be visiting, but you surely know that in the summer, these seaside towns are a bit overrun with sun-seekers. My favorite town along the coast is Senigallia, which is a very pleasant town that's full of life even in the winter. It has an attractive centro storico and there are excellent restaurants, including two of Italy's top ten (Uliassi and Madonnina del Pescatore). Fano is also a very nice town, and closer to Urbino.

In the small town of Monterado, there is a castle hotel that sounds very nice, although I've never seen the rooms. (I have seen the castle itself many times.) This is an easy drive from the coast, very near the beautiful medieval towns of Corinaldo and Mondavio, and about an hour from Urbino.

http://www.castellodimonterado.it/
bvlenci is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 01:21 PM
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Locanda Valle Nuova is about a 15 minute drive, south of Urbino and is a fabulous place to stay.
http://www.vallenuova.it/OLD/en/locanda/casa.htm
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:18 PM
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Jan 31st, 2014, 10:27 PM
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We stayed at the Albergo Italia in Urbino last summer. It is right in the center of town, across the street from the ducal palace. Remodeled and very clean, not fancy but perfectly comfortable for us. Very helpful and friendly staff. Lovely breakfast terrace, acceptable breakfast included. We parked right outside the city walls and walked in. It's not very far; parking there was free and we never had a problem finding a space. You can park at the lot at the bottom of the hill and take the elevator up, if you don't want to (or can't) walk very far, but I believe that is a pay lot.

We loved Urbino. It is a magical place in a beautiful part of Italy. Even though we were there during their big Ducal festival in August, it never felt overwhelming packed. Fellow tourists seemed primarily Italian. We did visit--and enjoyed--Urbania, but for me Urbino was much the more beautiful city. We toured the surrounding area over several days and didn't get to see all we wanted. There are simply too many lovely sights and interesting places. You will want a car. The driving is fun and low-stress. Enjoy your trip. I can't wait to go back and explore more of the area.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 12:39 AM
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bvlenci - what wonderful information!! Thank you so much. I have already written to the casterllo di monterado and am waiting for a reply. Looks very lovely indeed. Since you write that you have seen it several times, can you tell me whether it is inside a small town proper, or actually out in the countryside like an agriturismo? Would it be easy to drive somewhere from that accomodation to dinner in the evenings? We will have a car with us the whole time.

Thanks for the heads up on Urbino being on a steep hill and not in easy access for day trips in and out. That is what I was "worried" about. So maybe we will re-think staying inside Urbino completely.

As for the other areas and towns you mention near the seaside, I tend to stay away from them since I believe they are much more geared to summer and beach weather (we will be there at end April) and since I remember being for instance in San Benedetto del Tronto several years ago in the off-season and it being completely run-down looking and very disapppointing, I wonder whether all the seaside towns are like that if you don't visit during the high summer season. Any insights on that particular aspect?

As for the two restaurants you mention, did you mean they are consicered two of the best in all Italy? That would surely deserve some thought !! Thanks.

jangita - thank you, I know Locanda Valle Nuova very well and have several times written to the proprietess thinking of a stay there - they are closed for business till May 31 !! We will be there earlier.

harriet_hughes - thanks for your insights re Hotel Italia and Urbino. I have written to them even before your reco, and received a reply, they seem a bit expensive. What kind of room did you stay? They have rooms for 80, 100 and 120 Euros.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 12:50 AM
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Bvlenci - great info!

Btw I wasn't suggesting la tavola marche or any of the small villages as places to stay! I suggested Urbania because it's easy to get in and out of and is a bit bigger than the villages. I was mentioning the other places as places of interest...
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Feb 1st, 2014, 03:42 AM
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Monterado is a very small town, and the castle is right on the edge of the town. One side is incorporated into the town wall, with a gate leading into the center of town. The other side looks out over the open countryside. Cars can enter the town, but it is, like most towns in the area, on a hill. I'm sure the castle has its own parking. It's a popular place for weddings, locally. If you don't want your visit to coincide with a wedding I would ask about your dates; weddings would almost always be on a Saturday or Sunday, though.

Monterado is less than half an hour from Senigallia, if you'd like to avoid the seaside but want to go there for the restaurants.

San Benedetto del Tronto is primarily a beach resort town. That's why I mentioned Senigallia and Fano, both of which are towns that have a vibrant life apart from the beach. Both were Roman cities, Sena Gallica, and Fanum Fortunae. Before the Roman times, Senigallia was a Celtic community, as the "Gallica" testifies. The Gauls of Senigallia were the same group as the Gauls in Sens (France) and the two are now sister cities. There is a famous story about the Gauls invading Rome, and the geese cackling to wake the inhabitants; geese were sacred to the Romans because of that. I read the story as a child and imagined the Gauls had invaded from France. However, those Gauls were from Senigallia, a much shorter trip.

I have a small internet web album of Senigallia, which is my favorite of the two cities:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1039588...eat=directlink

I seem to go to Fano only for doctor's appointments, and I don't take my camera. Fano has a nice antiques market on the second Sunday of each month.

As I said, there are many other places to visit in the vicinity. I've already mentioned Corinaldo and Mondavio, with impressive medieval walls and charming town centers. Corinaldo has the best preserved town walls, with all three of the medieval gates, of any town in Le Marche. There are also two tiny castle towns nearby, Piticchio and Loretello, that are very charming, especially Loretello. Nearby Arcevia has at least six outlying castles. Most of them were guard towers to protect the important monastery of Fonte Avellana, which is worth a visit, in a very beautiful spot on the slopes of Mount Catria.

You would certainly also be able to take a day trip to Urbino from either Senigallia or Monterado. I think it would be about an hour by car.

I second the jamikins' recommendation of the Gola di Furlo. It could be incorportated into a day trip to Urbino, because it's only a short detour, or you could go there on a different day. Also, between Mondavio and Urbino, there are several traditional potteries in or near the town of Fratterosa. The traditional pottery of this area is quite distinct from other pottery of central Italy. It's characterized by a deep eggplant-colored glaze, which seems to have many layers of color. Here is an example, although it really doesn't do the color justice:

http://www.senigalliafriends.com/fri...logo/11-14.jpg

Traditionally, the glaze was applied just to the inside of the vessel, with only a splash of glaze on the outside. The piece in the photo pays homage to that tradition by leaving the bottom of the vessel unglazed.

Bonifazi is only one of several artisanal potters in Fratterosa.

Here is anothr web photo album of various photos of Le Marche:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1039588...eat=directlink

There are a few of Urbino, and of Furlo, Loretello, and other places I've mentioned.

Here is an album of Corinaldo, which I set out to photograph when I had a new camera:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1039588...eat=directlink
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 08:02 AM
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You've already gotten a ton of excellent advice. Obviously, where you stay is a personal preference, in terms of what you're looking for.

Here's my take, however, on staying in Urbino, which is where we stayed on our trip several years ago to Le Marche. We like staying in big towns/small cities - a big enough place to have a good variety and choice of restaurants for dinner, and good piazzas and cafes for people-watching. Urbino, as a university town, certainly has all of that.

We stayed at Albergo Italia, where we had a gorgeous room overlooking the edge of town and the countryside. It was just down the street from the main piazza, where we spent a lot of time people-watching and/or getting gelato.

Urbino is on a hill, and there are hills in the town when walking about, but I wouldn't call it a steep hill. I have a fear of heights, so I would definitely remember a town that was on a steep hill! Parking is in an underground lot beneath the town. You park in the little outdoor parking area or underneath. It is a little complicated - you initially park with an hourly ticket (we walked with our bags from the parking garage elevator to our hotel, but you could probably drive to the hotel to drop off luggage), then go get checked in and get a ticket/voucher for the length of time that you're staying at the hotel. After that, you just drive in and out for day trips using the ticket / voucher for your length of stay - you don't pay each time.

We found traveling in whatever direction we wanted to each day to be easy, in terms of signage and traffic.

So if you end up considering staying in a somewhat larger town, I would strongly encourage Urbino. (We stopped in Urbania, and maybe we ended up in a weird part of town, but I did not think the town was the type that I'd want to hang out in, or sit in a cafe and people-watch.)
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 08:50 AM
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Here are some restaurants I like in the area:

In Senigallia, Raggioazzuro, specializing in fish and seafood, has offerings that are innovative without being outré. For "inland" choices, including local specialties, I like the Trattoria Rimante. Both are reliable and much more reasonably priced than Uliassi and Madonnina del Pescatore.

The Grotta di Tufo restaurant, in Stacciolo, an outlying village of the town of San Costanzo, has local meat and game specialties, including dishes based on wild boar, which is plentiful in this area.

In Corinaldo, Ai 9 Tarocchi, is an informal restaurant with excellent pasta and meat dishes, and also good pizza. In the same town, there's an bar called Scuretto, which serves light meals, accompanied by local wines and liquors in the evening. Their pastries and cakes are excellent, and they also sell many local products. I Tigli is a well-known restaurant in Corinaldo, in a beautiful setting in the canteens of a medieval monastery. They serve local specialties and pizza.

In San Lorenzo in Campo, Il Giardino makes most of the "top restaurants in Italy" lists. I've only eaten there once, at a wedding, when they probably aren't able to do their best presentation.

Some local specialties are:

Passatelli, a sort of pasta made with bread crumbs, cheese, and egg. I like it best in a good meat broth, but it's often served dressed with porcini mushrooms (which in April will almost certainly be frozen).

Vincisgrassi is the marchigiano version of lasagne, but more delicate. Our housekeeper told me that you have to roll the pasta thin enough to be able to read a newspaper through it.

Brodetto is a fish soup, of which there are variations all along the Adriatic coast. It contains many different kinds of fish and shellfish, with a tomato base, and is usually served over a piece of toasted bread. Brodetto di Ancona is the kind that's found in northern Le Marche. A really good brodetto often has to be ordered in advance, or is available on only certain days of the week.

Coniglio in potacchio is rabbit cooked in wine, with a little olive oil, pancetta, garlic, and rosemary. Chicken is also sometimes prepared "in potacchio".

There are many sorts of poultry offered in restaurants in Le Marche, where country people still raise their own fowl. Duck (anatra or papera) is very popular, as are guinea fowl (faraona), goose (oca), and quail (quaglia).

Wild boar (cinghiale) is the base of pasta sauces or stews, usually cooked with red wine.

Crescia is a sort of flat bread, similar to the piadina of Emilia Romagna, except that it's raised with yeast and is smaller. On many menus you'll find in the pizza section something called "campagnola", which is a basket of just-made crescie, served with side dishes of cooked greens, salami, and local cheeses, and various other condiments.

Pizza di Pasqua, or Pizza col formaggio, is a delicious cheese bread, if you find a good artisanal example. It doesn't resemble pizza at all; it makes me wonder if "pizza" was at one time just a word for bread, and I think it's interesting that the word resembles the North African "pita".

The best local cheeses tend to be various types of pecorino, from fairly fresh to well-aged. Some specialties are pecorino di fossa, aged in a grotto, and pecorino in foglie di noce, also found in Tuscany, aged wrapped in walnut leaves.

There are excellent local salamis, and other cured meats, such as lonza, or lonzino. Ciauscolo is a soft, spreadable salami. There are also good local prosciuttos.

Le Marche has many types of truffles, although the prized white truffles will be out of season when you're there. Aqualagna, not far from Urbino, is a center for truffle sales, wholesale and retail.

The most famous marchigiano wine is Verdicchio, a white wine with a greenish cast, excellent with fish and other seafood, of which there are two types: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, whose zone is inland of Senigallia and spreading south to Jesi; and Verdicchio di Matelica. A lesser-known, but excellent, red wine is Lacrima di Morro d'Alba.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 08:53 AM
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Fabulous info bvlenci!!! Making note for our return in August!
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