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The Conero in all its splendor

Luigi Silvestri

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The rocky terrain is tapestried with the trees so typical of Mediterranean vegetation, carefully conserved within the protected area of the Park; here you'll find arbutus trees and Spanish broom, Holm-oaks and cluster pines.

On the sea- facing side, that part of the coast offers small beaches and semi-hidden inlets so loved by tourists and natives alike, whereas the inland-facing flanks gracefully descend towards the vineyards of Montepulciano grapes which yield the excellent Rosso Conero wine. At one time this area was also an important military outpost and strategic point where, from lookout towers such as the one whose remains still stand, the people had set up an early warning system for the arrival of invaders and pirates. In the early 1800s, during the time of Napoleonic rule, a fortress was built as a protective measure; today, the structure has been converted to a hospitality facility.

The sea, too, generously offers its fruits, one of which the Mosciolo di Portonovo (the Portonovo mussel) is especially well-known. This mollusc, typical of this corner of the sea, is protected by strict regulations which limit harvesting to the period between May and October. The fishermen go out early in the morning to return, five or six hours later, with the fresh shellfish. The waters here are still uncontaminated and the delectable morsels can be eaten and enjoyed fresh from the sea.

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