Gualdo di Macerata

Gualdo is a sleepy and picturesque little village with a water fountain in the piazza and a shady tree lined avenue bordered by neat flower beds and a children’s garden with play park. It ranks high in the town ratings for its cleanliness, friendliness, location, amenities and architecture, evidenced by the number of British who have already bought here.  Gualdo boasts magnificent views towards the Sibillini Mountains and early risers will see the morning sun diffusing a mantle of powder pink over her peaks.  But the winter snow makes an even greater impression, imposing and theatrical with Monte Vettore not giving up her snowy white peak until as late as May.

 

In  the town’s centre Bar Carletti is open every day except Wednesday; it's the meeting place where locals and visitors spill out onto the terrace to share a coffee and a chinwag.  It's one of two bars in the village with Scarlet's Bar alternating their closing so that there is always somewhere to go for a coffee and croissant breakfast or aperitivo before supper. Away from the town’s main piazza, and nestled amongst its narrow, stone streets are where the locals put out their chairs and gather in the summer evenings for a chat.  This is normal summer practice in these sleepy little villages. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and teenagers and tots gather in the park to enjoy the seemingly endless 'no school nights' of the summer.  There are no hooligans here, children have the greatest respect for their families and visitors and love to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language if you take the time to involve them.

The town blends two magnificent, old churches amongst its architecture; admirably clean! (notice Don Bruno giving instruction).  It's lovely to hear the peal of bells to remind you of the towns importance but maybe not when you are on holiday.  Hunters Lodge is just far enough away to be able to hear the familiar chimes without being cruelly jolted from your slumber.
Quaint and ancient though it is Gualdo has every amenity for the visitor: a bank, post office, butcher, baker, laundry, doctor, greengrocer, pharmacy, minimarkets, cafes, restaurant and petrol station.  And to top it all, a bustling market on Tuesday morning selling clothes, shoes, housewares, plants, vegetables and fresh and fried fish.  All the locals gather in the piazza on market day, if not to buy then to meet up with their neighbours for a chat.  Be warned the smell of the frittura di pesce (mixed fried fish) will have you salivating.  Whitebait and calamari are two of the delights on offer.  If you really can't resist, then make it a take-away Tuesday.
Throughout the summer months, Gualdo hosts a number of cultural events and during August, Italy’s festival period, there is an event in the town almost every evening.  Those involving food appear to be the most popular; the pizza and beer evening and the multicultural gathering, more commonly known as the 'notte degli stranieri' when all nationalities get together to share food typical of their countries. Each take a dish to add to the table displaying their national flag. Eating and dancing, two of the things Italians like most!   Italians love to dress up and at Christmas time there is a queue of people hoping to be asked to take part in the 'presepe vivente' (live nativity).  We are a farming community so there is no better place to find a donkey or two, lambs, horses, cows for the stable and in 2013 we even had a live baby Jesus, albeit swaddled in thermals!

 

Gualdo is already on the map, an important and historical town, and ideally situated, only 35 minutes by car to the mountains and 50 minutes to the sea with a host of places of interest and magnificent scenery sandwiched in between. Be sure not to miss it.

And, of course, Gualdo gets its fair share of snow.
Postcards of old Gualdo, some showing the village as it was over a 100 years ago.  The real beauty is that Gualdo is not so different today.

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