Fascinating Force

We were due to set off for Force (pronounced For-chay) at around midday, so I spent my last morning in Petritoli trying on hats with sis (she was due to go to a wedding). The road up the Aso valley was quiet and we arrived at our writer friends from China’s house in good time. Great to be back here – we hadn’t visited since their wedding five years ago.

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Hong Ying, the Mayor, Adam Williams, Clio Williams, and bridesmaid Sybil.

Adam and I grew up together in Hong Kong – I’ve known him practically my whole life. He’s a lovely man, a hugely talented writer, and my son’s godfather (I’m godmother to Clio, his daughter from his first marriage).

After parking in the church square, hubby and I made our way to the Palazzo dei Piaceri Celesti, named after Adam’s fabulous debut novel The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure.

Hong Ying made a mouth-watering meal for us, which we ate in the garden. She’s a wonderful writer, and I’d read her debut novel, K: The Art of Love, before I’d even met her.

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Force is perched on a panoramic mountain, and its narrow streets climb steeply between old house fronts in mellow brick. Fascinating!

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After lunch, we went for a stroll, then a drive to Ascoli Piceno, stopping off to take this pic of Adam and Hong Ying’s daughter, Sybil, with Force in the background.

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Another delicious meal, with plenty of chat and wine, followed by a DVD The Grand Hotel Budapest. Tired, hubby and I fell into bed and, before we knew it, the church bells were ringing in the morning. After breakfast, we followed Adam’s car to Sybil’s riding school to watch her walk, trot and canter her pony. Then, tearful lumps in our throats, we said goodbye to our friends, who’ll be returning to China at the end of August. But, they’ll be back in Italy next summer and, hopefully, will visit us in the Veneto.

Our adventures in Le Marche over, the motorway beckoned and, gritting our teeth, we faced the journey home. Not so bad this time, thank God. Back at our little house, the cats looked up at us as if to say, ‘Where have you been?’ or, more likely, ‘It’s dinner time.’ Our lovely neighbours had been feeding them, but the four mouseketeers are always up for a bit more nosh. Life is so ‘dolce vita’, even for the cats, at Douglas Bland Artist’s studio in Italy.

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Perfect Petritoli

It’s a long drive down from the Veneto, made worse by the fact that we encounter two major hold-ups, and we’re hot, tired, and thirsty by the time we get to Petritoli. But the sunflower fields and beauty of this small town in Le Marche lift our spirits as we leave the motorway behind.

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Sis and brother-in-law have restored a small town house here. We haven’t visited since the restoration; for the past few summers we’ve been busy looking after Mum. We’re totally bowled over by the gorgeousness of it when we arrive for an adventure at Casa Clodagh. A little gem, but they’ve put it on the market for they’ve found somewhere else they’d like in exchange. As the sun pinks the sky, we settle down for a lovely evening on the roof terrace, with delicious food and drink. Wonderful!

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Having grown up in Hong Kong we love swimming in the sea, and off we set for Pedaso beach the next day armed with umbrella and sunscreen (my skin and the sun don’t mix).

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A delicious fish dinner in the evening at Villa Montotto makes a perfect ending to a perfect day.

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The following morning we decide to visit the beautiful old Roman town of Fermo nearby. We stroll around, have lunch, then a yummy gelato in the main square.IMG_1267

Sis and me with Jackadoodle Cara.

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Home for a siesta, then out again to find some wine to take back to the Veneto. Brother-in-law knows a place where you can buy it from a pump at 1.30 Euros a litre. We don’t have any bottles so opt for 10 litre boxes at 15 Euros instead. The staff at Cantina Di Ruscio couldn’t be more helpful, and we stock up. That should keep us going for a while…

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Our final day. After a snack lunch at Casa Clodagh, we stop off for coffee and cake in a seaside caffè

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then go to the beach again to swim off the extra calories.

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Oh, and a relaxing read under the umbrella.

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Back in Petritoli, hubby and sis climb the tower. What a view!

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Another delicious dinner, this time at the Albergo Roma. Incredibly good value and amazing food.

Ah, so sad to be leaving, but we’re off on another adventure to visit friends who live half an hour away in fascinating Force. Can’t wait!