Macerata (more lessons learned)

Macerata (more lessons learned)

Friday, November 1st, 2013

I had time on my hands after leaving the BnB at Rosora I so I decided to go to Macerata. I thought that I had been there about 20 years ago but I certainly didn’t recognize anything. It’s a much larger city than I remembered. Like most Italian cities there is a centro storico (historic center). In this case it was another of those old cities built at the top of a hill so everything was up and down. I stopped at the tourist office as I tend to do and got a map and asked for advice on a place to eat. Usually I ask “If I were your cousin that came from the United States, where would you advise me to go where you eat well and pay little (si mangia bene e paghi poco).” Of the choices, the nice lady immediately told me the best place to go. So I walked up and down in the old part of town and then headed for the restaurant. Oh, no! It’s closed for a week of vacation. All of the others that she recommended were in the centro storico and I really didn’t want to climb up and down again so I settled for a couple of tramazzini and a corner bar before heading out of town. Then I headed for the next stop. Another BnB that I found through AirBnB. Another adventure.

Having learned the lesson about never being without a source of charging for my iPhone when I left Rosora I bought a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter receptacle in the car and provides a USB port to charge the phone. When I left Macerata I dutifully put in the address. I was in no hurry so I decided to use the navigation feature again since I had no worries about exhausting the battery. It was a very pretty drive along country roads and the roads became progressively smaller. Finally I was on a road barely wider than one lane and Google maps told me that I had arrived at the destination. BUT the number on the house was wrong. There was a place in front, outside of the gate to park so I did so and started trying to figure out what was wrong. I rechecked the address, reentered it into Google maps and the same result. About that time I noticed in the rear view mirror that a Carabinieri car had pulled up on the road behind me. The Carabinieri are kind of an elite police force in Italy. They are actually part of the military so I don’t know what the equivalent would be in the U.S. In any case I sensed that perhaps someone in a nearby house in this isolated area had concern that maybe I was up to no good. I hopped out of the car and went over and talked with one of the guys. I showed him the address that I was searching for and he told me that I was WAY off base. I was near Potenza Picena rather than Monsampolo del Tronto, the proper destination that was an hour’s drive south. He seemed a little bit annoyed, not very friendly. I imagine that he was a little pissed about having been called by some little old lady only to find a lost American tourist. In any case he pointed me in the proper direction and I made it to the tiny (and of course lovely) little town of Monsampolo del Tronto. At that point of course I realized that trying to use the iPhone to find the B&B would be totally useless so I called Meg the proprietor. I talked to her for a while and then passed the phone to some helpful resident. Then I was given directions out of town and with a couple of more calls to Meg I finally arrived at the destination.

Lesson learned: don’t trust Google maps for a address in a remote location. You can get to a town but an exact address? Forget it. For a non-Italian speaker it probably would pay to get a detailed description (a map would be better) from the proprietor about how to get there. I say map because in my experience Italians are not great about giving directions.

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