My parents had planned a trip to Greece with the hostel program over a year ago and when we announced our plans to be in Italy for all of 2007 they added a flight into Ancona to spend a couple days with us. We picked them up on Monday in Ancona and drove back to Ascoli Piceno after stopping for lunch in Recanati and taking a tour of Santa Casa in Loreto. Tuesday we took them up through the picturesque country north of Ascoli Piceno around Castignano and Montedinove.
While in Castignano at the top of the town we were fortunate to find the Chiesa San Pietro Apostole open and there was a lady inside doing some restoration work. She took some time to explain some of the artwork inside the church including the large partial fresco of the Last Judgment and a beautiful bejeweled reliquary. She also explained some of the signs on the front of the church relating to the Templar Knights who traveled through this area during the time of the Crusades.
On Wednesday we drove up into the Sibillini Mountains to Casteluccio to see if the flowers that area is so famous for were in bloom. Unfortunately only the yellows were out and the locals advised it would be mid-June before the valley would be full of color. From there we headed to Norcia to visit the home of their famous salami, funghi and tartufi.
Thursday morning we strolled around Ascoli Piceno and my Mom picked up a few souvenirs for herself and some friends. We then took them up to Jesi, just west of the Ancona airport, as they wanted to be closer for their early morning flight on Friday. It was a short visit but we were glad they were able to add a stop in Italy to their trip to Greece and we enjoyed the time to just be together.