If bucolic idyll is your thing then spend a few days at Agriturismo Ramusé in Ascoli Piceno province. It’s tucked away on a wooded hillside with distant views of Force, the nearest village.
I first met the owner, Paolo Ciccioli, when he had a truffle stall in London’s Borough Market but he gave that up to concentrate on restoring and running the agriturismo which was his grand parents’ home. He is still passionate about truffles and you can go truffle hunting with him and Trilli, his truffle trained spaniel. We paid Paolo and Trilli a visit last week to interview his aunt, Anna Maria Squarcia, for the Pasta Grannies project and he used some of her tagliatelle to make an unorthodox but summery pasta dish with fresh tomatoes, green Ascolana olives, Ghiotto cheese and wild oregano.
Guests described Paolo as burning with enthusiasm for the food produced in the area – and it’s true, he’s a champion of small producers and all the products used in his kitchen have a story attached. The agriturismo doesn’t have a restaurant open to the public, but Paolo cooks an evening meal – for those who sign up on the blackboard – and these are eaten at a communal table; expect to meet a wide variety of nationalities.
It’s an excellent place to idle away a few days, going for walks, lolling by the oval swimming or picking cherries from the orchard.