Situated on the Adriatic side, Civitanova Marche is the largest city on the Macerata coast, and the most populous in the province (42,523 inhabitants). It presents two “souls”: a historic medieval village enclosed within the hilly walls, at 155 meters above sea level, and a more modern system developed around the port and the ancient fishing district, today the primary urban center.
The ancient village of the Upper Town represents the cultural heart where the major assets of historical interest are located, as well as the Civic Art Gallery and the Museum of Graphics and Posters. The port area, on the other hand, hosts the contemporary Urban Art Museum which has over 100 murals, all works by young and renowned street-artists.
It represents a prominent center in the Marche region under the port, seaside and tourist-cultural profile, as well as with regard to artisan production in the footwear and accessories sector. It is a dynamic, served, strategic, economically active center, full of appointments, initiatives and events, which has understood its potential and therefore started a path of all-round strengthening of hospitality and enhancement policies with interventions and awards about environment, sustainable mobility and accessibility
The main products of Civitanova Marche, being a seaside city with hilly openings, mainly include fish (primarily poor fish, selected on the basis of characterizing elements such as local origin, seasonality, etc.) and wine and oil production although Civitanova, as the fulcrum and place of reference also for the hinterland district, also takes care of the enhancement of the products deriving from crops and livestock in the surrounding territories.
The typical dish par excellence of the Civitanova tradition is the “polenta with octopus and chard”, which was born from the meeting of the traditional peasant recipes of the hinterland with the fishing products (the other deep soul of the city), when the citizens of Civitanova, who came down from the surrounding hills, re-owned the coast and the sea, until then the undisputed reign of the Moors and pirates. The simplicity of this popular recipe has made the combination of ingredients almost indissoluble over time, so much that it is the perfect representation of Civitanova in the combination of fruits of the earth and the sea
The local wine production is distinguished by several refined white, red, passito, sparkling wines, etc. from vines of Rosso Piceno, Montepulciano, Merlot, Cabernet, Lacrima Sangiovese, but also Maceratino called Ribona, and more from local wineries. The most renowned are the Cantine Fontezoppa and the Boccadigabbia farm
Jesi (40,000 inhabitants) situated partly on a plain and partly on a hillock to the left of the Esino river, half way from the Adriatic Sea and the Marche Apennines. Jesi is the most important city in the river Esino valley, embracing about 20 hamlets. UNESCO has defined it as an ‘exemplar city’ thanks to the exceptional preservation of its oldest memories. Jesi was the birthplace of illustrious figures such as the Swabian Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen, the humanist Angelo Colocci and the composer Giovan Battista Pergolesi, but over the centuries it has also been home to important names who have left a valuable cultural heritage such as the Siena-born architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini and the Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto.
Jesi’s extraordinary sports vocation is recognised at international level, making it the world’s most medalled city (23 medals) in the history of the Olympics. There have been great champions from Jesi, both in fencing, such as Valentina Vezzali, Giovanna Trillini, Stefano Cerioni and Elisa Di Francisca, and in football, first and foremost Roberto Mancini, coach of the Italian national football team.
Sitting at table and trying the local food … no better way to appreciate the local culture. The flagship pasta dish is a regional version of baked lasagne, the vincisgrassi. Once called “princisgras”, it is made from a 1784 recipe by renowned, Macerata-born chef, Antonio Nebbia. Another local specialty are passatelli, a soft pasta made with parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, eggs and nutmeg, that can be eaten in broth or as pasta, with sauce. As a second course, the porchetta, roast suckling pig, is popular in all of Central Italy. In the Marche, though, rabbit is also prepared this way, ‘in porchetta’, stuffed with wild fennel and bits of pork rind. Other regional favourites are the coniglio in potacchio, roast rabbit seasoned with garlic, sage and rosemary, and the oca arrostita, roast goose, traditionally eaten at harvest time. Specialty bakery products are both sweet and savoury. Early in the year, there are Carnival treats. This area of the Marche is known for the castagnole, small balls of sweet dough, fried, then dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and the cicerchiata, named for the shape of the small chickling pea and made from tiny balls of hand rolled dough, drizzled with honey. The bakery treats for the Feast of St. Joseph are maritozzi. They are like a sweet bread, baked in small oval shapes and decorated with a sugar icing. The pizza al formaggio was always served for breakfast after the Easter mass. This cheese bread is traditionally eaten with home-made salami and an omelette made with a mix of spring herbs. Harvest season is the time for cakes and biscuits ‘al mosto’. In November the fave dei morti are made, a round, slightly flattened biscuit with almonds. The cavallucci or “little horses” biscuits are traditionally made in wintertime. Thick and rich, these treats are stuffed with ‘sapa’, Rum or Marsala, coffee, walnuts, almonds, chocolate, candied fruit, raisins and dried figs. A special delight: the lonza di fico, a dried fig log, with walnuts, almonds and sapa, a sweet, boiled grape-must syrup.
But in this land of ours, art also manifests itself in that succulent nectar, straw yellow in color, known as the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.
The name ‘Verdicchio’ first appeared in 1569 in a notarial deed. It refers to both the grapevine and the grape which turns into a lovely straw yellow when ripe, but retains an evident greenish tinge. The production area covers 24 townships, most of them in the central hills of Ancona Province and a small part in some territories in Macerata Province. ‘Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi’ wine is obtained from Verdicchio grapes, an autochthonous variety. Some other authorized, white grape varieties may be added up to a maximum of 15%.
Bouquet: delicate, fresh and fragrant; persistent fruit and floral scents, a hint of green almond.
Palate: dry, elegant, harmonic, with a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.
Designations and typologies DOCG-DOP (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation
of Origin/Protected Designation of Origin): Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva and Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva Classico.
Designations and typologies DOC-DOP (Controlled Designation of Origin/Protected Designation of Origin): Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Passito, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Spumante.
The Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is the flagship product which put the name of Jesi on the world map, but the territory of the river Esino Valley also produces some other DOC wines: two reds – Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and Rosso Piceno – as well as the Esino in both a white and a red version. It is an age-old tradition in the Vallesina area to make a dessert wine called vino di visciola from an ancient variety of wild cherry made to ferment in the local red wine, a sweet and aromatic alcoholic (14° ca.) beverage. Those who appreciate distillates will want to taste Grappa made from either Verdicchio or Lacrima.