I've been coming to this tiny village, Mercatello sul Metauro, in Marche, Italy for about eight years now. My family shared an old farmhouse and then some apartments with friends from back home meaning we had a month here every year. The years that my family didn't make it over from Australia, I spent a month alone here in this town of only 1,500 people taking advantage of the free rent, soul-inspiring food and the peace and stillness that allowed me to focus on some big projects. In this town I finally found the time to build this blog. Then two years later, I built my freelance business here after my remote job ended.
A day here starts with a morning coffee at Franco's Bar in the town piazza, everyone crowded around the long counter. The rest of the morning is slow, time to work or take a walk around town, see a friend, stop in at one of the small grocery stores or delis before they close for siesta break; if it's the weekend, this is market time, when the piazza is taken over with a few very good produce stalls.
Lunch is taken at home with a spread of grilled vegetables, cheeses and the local flat piadina bread. The need for an after-lunch nap descends upon you quickly. Then it's time for more work or reading or maybe an afternoon drive to one of the surrounding hilltop towns. Five o'clock is the time to take a big walk in the hills or take your bike out riding in the countryside, there's even an abandoned highway they never got around to finishing, stretching a smooth concrete track out through the mountains, perfect for yoga and meditation as the sun sets.
Upon your return, it's time to eat again. Umberto offers up incredible pastas like tagliatelle with porcini and truffles or the hand-rolled strozzapretti pasta with spinach and parmesan cream. Jo makes the woodfired pizza for the town, in summer it's zucchini flower on a white base, in winter, the buffalo mozarella margherita on the red base wins.
This town is a home in the world for me, a unique place to slow down and be still and savour quiet daily pleasures for a while.