Wake up at the palazzo

The Palazzo is a 16th Century palace which has been splendidly restored by the original family owners. A large staircase leads us to our apartment, whilst other doorways and floors indicate the large receding scale of the building. We rented the large bedroom which included also self-catering kitchen with everything we could possibly need, maintaining a pleasant rustic farmhouse look.

On our arrival we were pleased to find in the fridge some cold meats and local cheese to welcome us. The ceilings are really high throughout all of the rooms. With crisp bed linens prepared for us and an extra stock of shots of expresso provided in the room, I had no doubt that comfort was assured!

The light and space makes the room feel very relaxing and everything was impeccably clean! Our large bedroom was exquisite with its original frescos on the ceiling. The feature of the ceiling is a beautifully depicted cherub, hovering above the bed, tethered lightly to two birds in flight. This central motif is finished with tasteful decoration and gold framing. It really is the most perfect first sight in the morning.

In the adjoining room to our private kitchen, bathroom and bedroom is the old ballroom that is the most luxurious place to enjoy breakfast. The ceiling is intricately constructed with the family crest placed in the centre (see photo). This room is perfect for lunging around and perusing the regional guides.

On Easter Sunday the countess brought fresh peonies and other flowers which smelled just amazing! We had so much space that it was a relief not to always feel pressure to go out but instead to buy ingredients for a tasty salad to have with a chilled glass of the amazing local wine, ‘Pecorino’.

The breakfast was not only varied and fresh every day, such as freshly squeezed orange juice, great coffee but also daily baked a different local breakfast cake, besides the savoury breakfast options.

Ancient Fermo

Fermo is a place where you can just as easily rest peacefully, as you can satisfy the urge to do some sightseeing. The place is rich in Roman history and was also a Papal city. This is made very clear by the statue if Sixtus the Fifth that keeps watch over the central piazza.

The oldest library in Italy is based here and so are the oldest European Roman cisterns that are similar in scale to the famous cisterns of Istanbul. If you like opera it is best to come in summer, we were sorry to miss the season but we did visit the opera house to view the old architecture and enjoy the fact that Giacomo Puccini announced his opera there in 1886 called “Le Villi”.


If you like walking, hiking, skiing, swimming or any kind of wind sport, this is the place for it all. It is only 20 minutes away from the sea at Porto St Giorgio and an hour and a half away from the local mountains or The National Park called “dei Monti Sibilini”. Here are a myriad of ancient hiking paths all linked to Dantesque myths and legends. You can also ski here in winter but for more challenging skiing, the tip is to head higher to near Abruzzo.


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Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.


East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.


After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!


What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.


The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.