“Beauty shall save the world”

Prince Miškin in Dostoevskij’s novel “The Idiot”.

“Marche, a journey inside beauty”

It is indeed upon the idea of a journey inside beauty that Region Marche based its new advertising campaign, recently launched at the Milan BIT – International Travel Exhibition. Beauty, in all of its facets, proposed by the voice of actor Giancarlo Giannini as the fil rouge of a touristic offer oriented to the discovery of the charms of Marche. A quest for a beauty which can be perceived in the hills waning towards the sea and the extraordinary stage of Mount Conero, whose cliffs dive for 572 meters down into the Adriatic sea; and also on the magic tops of the Sibillini mountains, the heaven of Queen Sibilla, wherefrom visitors can admire the underlying valleys, hamlets and castles; and art and culture which in Marche are scattered everywhere, north to south; and much more.   

Rossini, Leopardi, Raffaello

The amazing inheritance of beauty and culture which three great personalities left to this land, to Italy and to the whole world, is celebrated in Marche since 2018, and also will be during 2020. Gioachino Rossini from Pesaro, as 2018 was the 150th anniversary of his death; Giacomo Leopardi from Recanati, who in 1819 wrote the famous idyll L’Infinito (The Infinity) and therefore 2019 was the poem’s 200th anniversary; and Raphael, Raffaello Sanzio Urbinas, whose death’s 500th anniversary falls in 2020.

In 2018, which thus begun under the sign of Rossini, took place the great events of the “Mostrare le Marche” (Showing Marche) cycle too, a series of exhibitions dedicated to the cultural patrimony recovered in museums and churches damaged by the earthquake in Ascoli Piceno, Fermo and Matelica and also dedicated to the masterpieces of Lorenzo Lotto, who in Autumn was the protagonist of a great exhibition, centred on the works he painted in Marche, whose headquarters was in Macerata. And in Macerata raises the Sferisterio, a spectacular architectural structure, built in 1820 with all acoustic expedients needed to host musical and opera events.

Stupor Mundi

Beauty can also be found in a most up-to-date digital museum created to tell the story of emperor Frederick II: an original path, a journey through time and space meant to celebrate the great emperor who was born in Jesi, “an exemplar City”. A city important also because of its ability to defend a centuries old and extremely suggestive architectural, artistic and cultural inheritance.

Itineraries of beauty in the province of Pesaro-Urbino

An editorial project led us to experience the hidden characteristics of five cities in the province of Pesaro-Urbino which have been described in a publication called Itineraries of beauty in the province of Pesaro-Urbino. From Urbino, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hometown (along with Florence) of Renaissance which in art has been an image of beauty, to the archaeological discovery of the gilded Bronzes in Cartoceto di Pergola, to the Domus of Myth in Sant’Angelo in Vado, to Forum Sempronii, today’s Fossombrone, rich with art, history, culture and… gastronomy, to – last but not least – the Rocca Roveresca (Della Rovere Fortress) in Mondavio, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy. This editorial project, commissioned by the Pesaro and Urbino branch of Confcommercio (Association of Merchants), was meant to tell and promote an immense patrimony of beauty thus enhancing the economic and touristic chances of the territory, which thus, to quote Dante Alighieri, “may better spread its wings to a daring flight”.

Genga, Ponte Romano di San Vittore

A natural inclination to slow tourism.

The geographical beauty, the abundance of art treasures, the inheritance of ancient civilizations, delicious traditional and prized food and wine, artisanal products and high quality products, resilience in the hamlets, places of silence, roads and trails, the nice weather and much more are elements which lead visitors of our territory to live it quietly following the new slow travel trend. Since a few years, in fact, tourism is undergoing a trend reversal. Quick “hit and run” mass tourism is being replaced by an approach whereby tourists are capable of appreciating the “genius loci” (the spirit of the place), establish friendly relationships with residents and become actors of local everyday life, thus showing also that they care for the environment and its protection. Gardner (2009) resumes this way the main principles of this kind of touring and experiences:

  • Slow tourism is a state of mind;
  • Tourists should travel slow and abstain from air flights;
  • Journeys are an integral part of a touristic experience;
  • Places matter;
  • Slowing down to admire a city or a landscape is a key element;
  • Culture and involvement with local residents make a holiday better;
  • Tourists should profit from unexpected events;
  • Offering to local communities is an integral part of the journey.

Four are the pillars: slowness and value of time, destination and in loco activities, means of transport and experiences, ethics of environmental protection.

A healthier and more concrete tourism capable of looking for quality and experiences (such as the extraction of “formaggio di fossa” from its aging hole, an unforgettable experience to many foreigners, or “farmer-like holidays”, where tourists get busy collecting fruits, milk cows and learn how cheese and biological wine are produced), as well as knowledge and discovery of biological and zero-kilometres food.

What matters is stimulating, thrilling and involving. Marche are naturally ready to do it all because of the way guests are welcomed in B&B, of the idea of scattered hotels, which turns whole villages into lodgings, of holiday farms, didactic farms and historic residences which are open to welcome guests.

Wherefrom originates, as well, the uncommon predisposition to such peculiar segments of tourism as bird watching, cycle tourism, cultural tours and promenades.