“Center of the Adriatic, center of Italy, center of the heart,” reads a brochure at the Tourist Office. You’ll agree if you seek it out, heading through the mountainous Marche region to the “la Riviera dell’Adriatico“, as Italians call this rocky stretch of seacoast, just south of Ancona. And due to unseasonably hot weather this fall, Italians have enjoyed the splendid Sirolo beaches all the way up to mid/October!
The pleasures are many. The sea, first of all… jagged limestone cliffs plunge to the sea below the town of Sirolo, framing peaceful bays of cobalt blue waters. The beach called “San Michele” entices. Below a pine forest a white-sand beach with just three rows of beach chairs and umbrellas. I have wondered about the naming of this beach: there must be a grotto in those seaside cliffs somewhere. I like to imagine that maybe a local fisherman gave thanks to the Saint in a seaside grotto after making it home safely in a storm….
Halfway down the road to the San Michele beach is one of the best restaurants on the coastline, da Silvio where Iranian owner (once cook for the former owner, Silvio), Mansur, and his friendly staff dish up seafood wonders. The only distraction: the enticing seaviews below.
A memorable seaside lunch and a relaxing afternoon at the beach are best followed by a pre-dinner stroll through Sirolo itself, once the thirteenth-century fiefdom of a count that still preserves its medieval traces.. remnants of the medieval walls, a fortified guard tower and the twisty streets characteristic of medieval defensive urban planning (can’t shoot a crossbow around a curve!). The white limestone homes are accented by color: blue doors, red and bright green shutters, fuchsia petunias in overflowing window boxes and colorful hanging wash all give chromatic splashes to back streets.
As day gives up to nightfall, the muted conversations of diners at the backstreet restaurants mingle with the chatter of local children riding their bikes and kicking soccer balls in this seaside haven. Nothing quite like a Sirolo summer night: still time to enjoy if this unseasonably hot weather hangs on.