#31 / A town with a medieval touch
Come on, let’s start the year on the right foot – because I know a lot about feet. ;)
Any ideas? Another visit on our imaginary trip that is racking up as many miles as possible: I would never stop.
About a month ago I had promised you that we would go to Fermo, the town near our olive grove. Do you remember? The weather was still mild, and, in the end, time flew by while I contemplated those silvery fronds and told you how the olives are harvested, what’s done in the olive mill, basically, all oil and no Fermo...
Today, however, is the ideal time to stroll through the narrow streets of this medieval town with many of its features still intact, a classic example of how beautiful the Italian outlying provinces are. Fermo... I don't know how well known it is, even by my fellow Italians. And yet, it’s definitely worth a visit. The streets in the historical center are still mostly made of stone, as are the many building façades finished with their little balconies, window ledges and architraves. Oh, how magical!
In this moment, the Christmas lights also give off a festive atmosphere despite all the restrictions: while taking one step after another and looking up, we all become children again. I think it’s a great way to start the year...
Our little walk must start from Piazza del Popolo, the “People’s Square”, surrounded by long arcades with a style that’s stately and lively at the same time: like a living room where you can linger between a purchase and a chat, perhaps sitting in some café during aperitif time. I mean the one on Sunday morning: now, practically ;)
Come on, a toast to 2021 is a must, this year more than ever! After a glass of Verdicchio accompanied by a few Ascoli olives* (a classic combination!), we’ll begin to wander without any hurry. While we’re still in the square, let’s enjoy the Palazzo dei Priori and the Palazzo degli Studi. This first building has a gorgeous façade punctuated by the 16th-century double staircase and overlooked by the statue of Sixtus V - who was the bishop of Fermo before becoming pope (in 1585).
Let’s finish our stroll at the Roman Cisterns (first century BC), about thirty underground chambers that spread out for almost 2,000 square meters: an unbelievable example of hydraulic engineering – the Romans basically knew quite a lot about water ;) In the Middle Ages they became warehouses, in the Second World War, bomb shelters...
But where were we?... Going from one cistern to the next, it’s suddenly time for lunch and the olives are a distant memory: a good excuse to settle down in front of a nice, steaming plate of vincisgrassi – the local version of the legendary lasagna dish.
Let’s end this first stage of 2021 with another toast. What should we wish for? A kinder year to everyone! #staysafe
*do you remember? We had tasted them once before at Ascoli: pitted olives that have been stuffed with a mixture of different meats, or in other words, exquisite little balls to be eaten freshly fried.