I first lived in Italy in 1976/77, then again in 1979 and over the following 25 years visited Italy at least nine times. I travelled everywhere, or so I thought - Sicily, Umbria, Tuscany, Lombardy, Piedmont, Lazio, the Aeolian islands, Veneto, Campagna. But it wasn't until 2004, when Italian friends suggested we visit Le Marche that I first heard of it. And no, it's not in France. It's the region that lies between Umbria and the Adriatic Sea and is by far the most magical of all the Italian regions. Amandola, which we discovered thanks to Google when looking for a place to buy, is in the most spectacular part of Le Marche in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains.