Girasole, meaning “turns towards the Sun”. Interestingly the Italian name for sunflowers, the reason being they grow up facing the direction where the sun rises and following the sun religiously through out the day to maximise photosynthesis. Lucked out that eternal summer, no more I love you’s, landed in Bologna, Italy. Took to the train to the seaside town, Rimini, picked up my little car drove off. It felt so liberating to be back on the country side. My heart filled with casual sense of relief, to be able to spend my whole summer here feeding my dire overworked soul. Undulating terroir, uneven shades of green and beige, the scent of morning vineyards and dry grass hay. The best part of it all, no overcrowding at all. Just me and lots of space. Finally away from keyboards, reminding myself this why I travel to feel alive again. Whats there not to love about Italy: rich in culture, cuisine, coffee, compassion and castles.
Its quite random how I end up in Le Marche. I had no major plan to begin with, that’s how life should be. Let the little things surprise you everyday. On the second week of June, I drove pass massive fields that stretched out as far as my eyes can see. Before I came to my realisation that I am in sunflower land and its the blooming season, especially on a sunny day, bright yellow adorned these land with wisdom jewels. No wonder McDonald’s logo is yellow in colour. A city boy standing in the middle bright yellow fields, my senses immediately calm down with clarity, fresh energy and enlightenment. How I was I so lucky to be alive? Was I meant to witness how destructively beautiful mother nature and human can create.
Most international (the Chinese) tourists flock to the South of France for photo opportunity like these and not many come here to the eastern Italian region. Its truly Italy’s best kept secret (well, not a secret anymore thanks to me) Don’t worry, the people of Marche would welcome anyone to know more about their region. Just like the Japanese’s version of Cherry Blossom season, the sunflowers would be harvested within 3 weeks of full bloom. Everything about that week was perfect. How I wish it can stay forever bloom all year round, there would not be any depress people left on earth. Other activities like wine tasting at vineyards that produce amazing Red wine (Morro d’Alba) White wine (Verdicchio). You will unlikely to run out of activities here.
Take a peek what Marche, Italy has to offer @discovermarche, I know you guys are dying to know the hell is this place? There are multiple fields dotted around Marche, my photos taken between Ostra Vetere and Corinaldo. There is a good hillside amarillo near Umbria and Loreto as well.
In that moment, I was taken aback by how little to none tourist even come here. I practically had the fields all to myself, well not exactly, because there were swarm of bees collecting the nectars. Yes, Bees and they are kinda larger than those city bees, which is also why there are lesser people wandering into the fields. Just make sure you make a quick pose and make a run for it. I was already uncomfortable with all the bees buzzing around, I am just glad there were plenty of sunflowers kept them occupied while I get my photograph taken.
Although I spent only about a month in Le Marche, from rolling hills to the pebbles beaches made me misses the countryside dearly, which serves as a good reminder to write more about this promising land. It turned out that the sunflower field was merely one of the many things that impressed me about Marche. An uncharted territory that you won’t normally read about unless you travel there.
AP Tips: Always keep a look out for tall green stalks! Sunflowers are at their peak only for a few weeks. In general, the season runs from mid-June until early-August. Not every day is great weather as seen below, so I recommend driving around and scouting fields that has ample parking space by the roadside for safety reason. To get a great photos, do take note of the direction of the flower heads, as you can see the images below, they are facing away from me. I drove away to other fields to find the right one for me. On a sunny day, the flower opens up more than ever. Another perfect way to see witness these phenomenon is to choose any one of the beautiful hill top towns in the region. I recommend overnight here too, you can support local businesses by having a gelato or espresso in the town square. Then as you drive along the country roads, you can enjoy the extensive views of the countryside and if you time it right, the sunflowers will reward you with bright luminous yellow.