Il Nido del Ghiro (Nest of the Dormouse) is a traditional Marche stone-house dating from 19th century. The Italian owners have lovingly restored in 2011 retaining original architectural features. Standing alone, beside the ancient Visso fortification walls, it towers the village with a wonderful view. The house is on two floors: at the entrance, a kitchen fitted with sink, four-ring stove with oven, fridge/freezer and fireplace, laid out in a rustic traditional style; a bathroom with toilet and bidet and a large living room with pellet ecological heating; on the second floor, the bedroom area with two comfortable double bedrooms and another triple bedroom; bathroom with toilet, bidet, shower. Most of furnishings date 18th century and include antique chest of drawers, wardrobe and bread chest. Outside a panoramic terrace with a big stone barbecue and the private garden welcome your rest and your al fresco meals. The house is free from all sounds of the modern world, but the whisper of the near river.
Today, Visso is the headquarters of the Sibylline Mountain National Park and is an architectural gem set among wooded hills at the convergence point of five valleys and as many rivers.
The house is at the top of a private road and so it is a peaceful haven with no sounds of passing traffic and, as we are about 607 m above sea level, the air is pure and healthy. Although there can be many sunny days, January to March is usually dry and chilly with a heavy snowfall in early January. (Frontignano, the nearest ski resort, is only a fifteen-minute drive away.) In April, May and early June, there can be rainy days but Spring is a fantastic season - fruit trees blossom, the sun frequently shines, wild flowers blanket the fields and verges, the birds sing and, at night, the fire-flies glow. From mid-June to early September, it is normally warmer but still fresh, sunny and dry. Autumn, with its burnished and russet foliage, is a magical time. It does sometime rain and, as the days shorten, it becomes cooler. It is the ideal time for walking and exploring.
Local Wines and Food: The best known regional white wine is Verdicchio, produced mainly in Matelica (30 kilometres away) and Castelli di Jesi. It varies from the cheap and cheerful to superb vintage wine. Local red wines, named after where the wine is made, are Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno. A famous local, sweet, sparkling wine is Vernaccia di Serra Petrona. Produced in Camerino and other nearby towns is a superb aniseed spirit, called Mistrà, that is delightfully used to 'correct' a coffee. In Visso there is a nice and fully supplied cantina 'Belisario' in which is possible to find and taste all these famous wines and other spirits & liqueurs.
Local foods include 'ciauscolo' (a spreadable salami), which is produced only in Visso and exported all over Italy and abroad. In Visso is possible to visit the laboratories (Pettacci, Calabro', Vissana Salumi) and watch the production of this salami and other typical local foods.
Among local dishes , 'lentil soup', also with sausages, 'coniglio in porchetta' (rabbit stuffed with pork and wild fennel), 'polenta' (a solid pasta made from maize flour on top of which is meat or vegetables) and 'vincisgrassi' (a superior lasagna), fresh trouts , grilled or 'in salmi'. Local cheeses include 'pecorino' (from sheep's milk) and 'ricotta' (from the remaining whey). Excellent honey and olive oil are also produced in the area.
Eating In and Out: at a few meters of the house (five minutes by foot) in the village centre there are all kinds of shops : groceries, butchers , greengrocers, local specialist bakers, mini markets, selling a wide range of foods that includes local and regional specialities. It is, therefore, very easy to buy locally almost any food required - apart from some exotic ingredients for Indian and Chinese food!
Close by, there are several unpretentious restaurants and pizzerias, serving good and inexpensive meals. At some of them, it is possible to eat outside in summer. The nearest are 'Taverna del Ponte' (pizzeria) 20 mt., 'La Filanda' (100 mt) typical restaurant and pizzeria, 'Wanted' (100 mt.) restaurant&pub, 'Osteria Richetta' (200 mt) typical restaurant . Within a ten-minute drive there is the 'Trattoria del Pescatore', probably the best of all, restaurant and pizzeria, where 'il Nido del Ghiro' clients are welcome and have a special discount.
All guests are provided with a list of local restaurants and we are very happy, if required, to provide advice and make any required bookings. At weekends in summer and on feast days, it is normally essential to book in advance.
Ski: about a 15-minute drive away, you can ski in the spectacular scenery of the Sibillini Mountains. The nearest ski resort is Frontignano di Ussita . Then there is 'Monte Prata' ski resort, near Castelluccio and at the feet of Vettore Mountain (2480 mt, the highest of Sibillini group). A few kilometres away, at a height of 1070 meters, is Pintura di Bolognola, where there are seven ski lifts taking you up to 1845 meters that have a run of 5 kilometres. A little far away there is also Sarnano - Sassotetto ski resorts, which is also well equipped with chair-lifts and ski-lifts. The resorts are generally unsophisticated but never overcrowded and with no queues for the ski lifts. It is also unusually cheap! The ski season is normally from mid-December to the end of March.
The wonderful scenery and view from Nido'windows, the sound of the river, the rare peace all contribute to a wonderful experience. The gentleness and hospitality of Paola and Pietro make a great time even more special. Thank you for allowing is to share this for a while.
Tati & Family and Agata (our dog)
Despite recent publicity, the Marche is still one of the least visited tourist areas in Italy, despite its richness in Arts, natural beauties (Mountains, Lakes, countryside), traditional Foods (Lenticchia soup, ciauscolo a spreadable salame, the most famous) and Folklore. Our rustic stone house is situated in Visso, a famous Pope medieval village, antagonist in the twelve century of the well-famous Norcia. Visso, this walled, medieval village has still preserved its medieval atmosphere thanks to its own Saint Mary's 11th century church, the House of Town Hall and the Wall course along the Nera River, the river which feeds the famous 'Marmore Falls'. It is difficult, when sitting at a table outside the 'Sibilla bar' in the main piazza or when strolling along the narrow streets, not to feel you have wandered back to the Middle Age. Today, Visso is the heart of the Monti Sibillini National Park, if you are trekking lovers or mountain bikers, within easy reach (without taking Your car), You can enjoy walking into ancient shepherd parcourses or relaxing, drinking a glass of the excellent local wine, on our panoramic terrace seeing Visso top-roofs or lazing in the silence of our extensive garden. Besides walking or trekking on the beautiful paths of the Sibillini Mountains, visitors can practice plenty of outdoor activities, both for sport or leisure. In fact in the surroundings of Visso is possible to practice horse riding (even all day trips), nice excursions on mule or donkey, hang-gliding and paragliding in the Castelluccio di Norcia plateau, swimming and water sports in Fiastra lake, ice skating in a wonderful ice palace 5km from Visso, rafting in Nera river and other rivers of the area, freshwater fishing. During the winter the Sibillini National Park offers several skiing resorts such as Frontignano, the nearest and widest ski resort of Marche, Sassotetto, Sarnano, Bolognola, Forca Canapine. In summer in 45 minutes by car is easy to reach the shores of Adriatic sea, where is possible to spend a day in nice sea villages such as Civitanova Marche, S. Benedetto del Tronto, Recanati, Cupra Marittima, Porto S.Elpidio. For visitors who are also lovers of fashion and shopping, in Marche are located a big number of factories of famous Italian fashion brands, where is possible to buy at very low prices all the articles of the newest collections. At about 30 mins from Visso is possible to shop in the factory outlets of Tod's, Hogan, Fay, Nazareno Gabrielli, Nero Giardini, Frau, and other brands of the italian fashion. For lovers of history and culture, in Visso and its surroundings is possible to find a lot of historical buildings and many pieces of ancient art. Famous places to visit are Norcia, Cascia, Camerino, Assisi, Gubbio , Spoleto, S. Eutizio abbey, Macereto Sanctuary, and other historical attractions. Regarding natural attractions, a very interesting place to visit is Frasassi Caves (about 1 hour from Visso), the widest and most famous caves in Italy.