Travel notes

The privilege, at the end of a journey like this through central Italy, from one sea to another, is to have gained access to a human and natural heritage without comparison.
Entering as much as possible in harmony with the landscapes and the communities that preside over them was part of the story plan, but along the way there was not a single place that didn’t make us feel a part of their world.
To reciprocate the hospitality received, we’d like to share some voices, flavors, faces and names which have become the most intimate pages of our journal.

Voices of the Apennines

Along the way we have collected proverbs, expressions and poems with the aim of listening to the voices of this long stretch of land, telling our journey through the continuous changing of accents, dialects and inflections.

  • San Benedetto del Tronto
  • Ascoli Piceno
  • Ascoli Piceno
  • Crognaleto
  • Pietracamela
  • Castel del Monte
  • Norcia
  • S. Anatolia di Narco
  • Ferentillo
  • Rieti
  • Rivodutri
  • Castel di Tora
  • Wacky recipes

    Knowing the territory and its protagonists in Italy often means sitting down at the table to share local homemade dishes. So we’ve decided to re-propose the most characteristic recipes we encountered on our journey.

    lu vedrétte

    San Benedetto del Tronto

    They say that “brodetto,” broth in English, rhymes with San Benedetto. In the competition among the many Adriatic versions of this dish, “lu vredétte” makes the top of the list. Purists demand the employment of the so-called twelve apostles, which are twelve types of fish, but fundamentally, you need rays, spider fish, gurnard, scorpion fish, dogfish, octopus, cuttlefish. The onion is lightly fried in some oil in a large saucepan, the octopus and the cuttlefish are browned and then some pieces of green peppers and slightly unripe tomoatoes are added, along with a pinch of salt.

    When the ingredients have sweated a bit, water and some vinegar is added, which is the distinctive feature of the broth of San Benedetto. Once it comes to a boil, the fish is placed in the saucepan, whole or in large chunks (the substantial pieces at the bottom, the tender pieces on top), and it is salted to taste. It is then cooked at medium heat for approximately half an hour, swirling the saucepan every so often so that nothing will stick to the bottom and so that there will be some broth left to pour over some toasted bread.


    Ascoli Piceno

    Carnevale in Italy is generally celebrated with sweet things. In Ascoli, however, the traditional Carnevale dish is chicken ravioli with a dusting of cinnamon and pecorino cheese. This dish guarantees an appetizing sweet and spicy aftertaste. It is made from chicken broth, celery, carrots, onions and the addition of a piece of lean pork for flavor. The meat is boned and minced along with the vegetables, it is then mixed with stale bread that has been soaked in the broth, nutmeg, eggs, pecorino cheese, parmigiano cheese and is seasoned with oil and pepper.

    The pasta is made by mixing eggs and flour and then rolling out the dough. Little balls of filling are placed on the pastry with a spoon, which is then cut into small circles and folded over to form a half-moon shape. The ravioli are boiled in the broth and served cold or at most, warm, and sprinkled with some cinnamon mixed with some grated, aged pecorino romano.



    This wild spinach, also known as “le volighe,” grows on the slopes of the mountains near Teramo in the National Park of Abruzzo. It can be found as far up as two thousand meters and is used to flavor many local dishes. To cook this pasta dish, the natives of Castelli, a town nestled at the foot of the Gran Sasso, lightly brown carrots, celery and onion in some olive oil while the spinach is boiled with some borage. The sautéed vegetables are then blended and cooked on low heat for half an hour, and a dash of tomato sauce and some herbs, such as marjoram, thyme and parsley, are added.

    In the meantime, the tacconelle pasta, known locally as “sagne a pèzze” is prepared. It is rhomboid in shape, made from flour, water and a pinch of salt. After being cooked in boiling water, the tacconelle are mixed with the spinach sauce again before serving.


    Santo Stefano di Sessanio, AQ

    The area of L’Aquila and Monti della Laga are places of transhumance. But what did the shepherds do with the members of their flocks that were old and no longer had the strength to make the long journey to the temperate climate of the plateaus in Puglia? They cooked them in the “cottora,” a terracotta pot that used to be placed directly onto the embers of the fire. This dish requires a long time to cook: the mutton was placed in the pot in the morning when the shepherds left, and it was eaten in the evening when they returned.

    The animal was boiled in water on a low heat, with carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicory and “iolaci,” the local name for wild mountain spinach. Every so often, if the shepherd could afford it, the broth was topped up with red wine. This allowed the meat from the older animals to soften more and stew well, making a tasty sauce which remained at the bottom of the pot.


    Mucciafora, PG

    The ancient rural culture of wild herbs is being revived in Valnerina, even among young people. The wild herbs are used both for medicinal purposes and in cooking. In Sant’Anatolia di Narco, for example, especially in the spring, workshops are held for travelers and schools. Field gromwell, a bushy wild plant, is among the most versatile herb used in cooking. It is delicious as a condiment, especially in “fojata.”

    After removing the stems, the field gromwell is boiled. A few cloves of garlic are lightly browned in oil, and then removed. Diced pig’s lard can also be added to brown in the oil and, after being well-strained, the field gromwell is added to the pan along with some salt. When it has cooled, it is combined with grated pecorino cheese. The dough is made seperately by mixing flour, salt and half a glass of oil. It is left to stand for a litte while and is rolled out very thinly, onto which the gromwell mixture is placed. It is then rolled up and cut into 10cm pieces (although some people leave it as one long piece, curved like a snake) and set out on a tray. It is then baked in the oven at approximately 200 degrees Celsius until golden.


    Sant’Anatolia di Narco, PG

    In the past, hemp was very commonly used in Central Italy for for clothes, cardboard and insulation in constructiuon. This simple product – containing protein, vitamins and fiber – was also a standard ingredient in the kitchen, where it has recently made a comeback in the form of seeds, flour and oil. In Umbria, many forms of hemp are being experimented, including its gastronomic use, where it is paired with the precious saffron of Castelluccio.

    A recipe from the Renaissance period attributed to Jean de Bockenjeim, cusinier to Pope Martin V, suggests a simple, interesting soup. “Take the hemp,” he writes, “trim it well in hot water and boil it slowly until it thickens. Take off the outer layer and pass it through a sieve to squeeze out any water. Put it on heat with breadcrumbs and onions roasted in oil, dilute it with the water used to boil them, add saffron and other spices. Serve it in a bowl sprinkled with raisins. It is great for people who are ill”.


    Montefiascone, VT

    This is the typical Sunday dish eaten by families in Tuscia. It is made similarly to the Ariccia recipe, but in this version, rosemary is substituted with wild fennel. The rabbit innards are cleaned out, washed and cut into little pieces. They are then stewed in the pot along with diced potatoes and garlic, fried in olive oil and are given further flavor by the addition of dried fennel flowers. Sometimes, people add sausage and bacon.

    When it has been cooked, the stomach of the rabbit (devoid of its legs) is stuffed with the innards and potato cubes, two salted cloves of garlic, pepper and some fresh fennel. The carcass of the rabbit is sewn with a piece of thick cooking string, sprinkled with salt, drizzled with olive oil and put into the oven at 180/200 degrees for about two hours. Once it has been roasted, the rabbit is doused in white wine, which in the province of Viterbo, is the legendary white wine Est Est Est form Montefiascone.


    Montalto di Castro, VT

    Among the various types of “acquacotta,” this is probably the most traditional. It was a dish made by peasants and cowherds in the Maremma area. It was cooked outdoors, left to stew in a pot on the campfire. Nowadays an earthenware pot is used. The following are added to salted water and cooked for about an hour: pieces of potato, half a chilli pepper, four cloves of garlic, a sliced onion, chopped or vine tomatoes, chicory (preferably wild) which has already been cooked to remove its bitter flavor, and a sprig of fresh mint ( known locally as “nepetella”).

    In the version using dried, salted cod, the fish is added after being soaked in milk when the stew has been cooked halfway through. If too much water boils off, more water or vegetable broth can be added at intervals; the volume of liquid must always be sufficient but not excessive so that toasted bread can be dipped in and served with the acquacotta. The dish can be enriched by serving a boiled egg on the bread. It is left stand for about ten minutes and a few spoons of Canino DOP olive oil are added.

    Portraits of friends

    "Hospitality means making the traveler feel at home." We heard this phrase repeated several times along the way. Here is a collection of portraits of people who opened their doors to us, welcoming us into their world and making us feel truly at home.

    Le Vie blu

    We have come across an abundance of water. We even went to a place called "the water factory." We followed rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, lakes, creeks. Water is the silent protagonist of our journey, the blue thread that has led us to discover intriguing stories of villages, of nature, crafts and delights. Therefore, we find it only fitting to mention each of the blue ways that inspired the project.

    The rivers Tronto, Castellano, Vomano, Corno, Torbidone, Nera, Serra, Velino, Marta, Capecchio, Fiora, Rio Arno, Leomogna, Lice, Fratta and the Fosso dell'Acero stream; the springs Acqua Premula and Santa Susanna; the baths of the Viterbo area; the Marmore Falls; the lakes of Piediluco, Turano, Salto, Ripasottile, Bolsena, Pellicone and the salt flats of Tarquinia.