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Destination Central Italy:
Senigallia's Spiaggia di Velluto
Story and photos by Tom Weber

sunset at a beach along the Adriatic coast, Senigallia, central Italy

he tan lines are already fading, but I earned those "stripes" during a relaxing week at the seaside resort and port city of Senigallia in the Marche region along Italy's Adriatic coast. There, I enjoyed seven laid-back days of early morning rises and late night turn-ins with plenty of great food sandwiched in between.

seaside resort in Senigallia

rows of folded bech umbrellas and chairs, Senigallia

the Spiaggia di Velluto or Velvet Beach, Senigallia

Noted for its kilometers-long Spiaggia di Velluto (Velvet Beach), sporting the Foundation for Environmental Education's (FEE) coveted Blue Flag certification, Senigallia was the perfect destination for me to experience firsthand the joys of a true Italian seaside vacation and the therapeutic values of saltwater, sun and la cucina Marchegiana (regional cuisine of the Marche).

stone column of an structure dating back to Roman times, Senigallia

Granted, I spent the bulk of my settimana al mare barefoot in the velvety sand, but, when not basting my body with SPF 50+, and, to my surprise, I discovered an entirely different view just behind the boardwalk where ancient cobblestone transitions this popular seaside resort back to its historical roots.

columns and arches of an ancient or medieval structure, Senigallia

Founded around 385 BC as Sena Gallica (Old Gaul) by the Senones, a Gallic tribe, the city fell under the Roman Republic when sandal-clad legions marched in, defeated the grubby Gauls in 295 BC and established Senigallia as its first colony along the Adriatic seacoast.

sunset at a beach in Senigallia

Over the ensuing centuries, Senigallia, where hillsides covered in grapevines and sunflowers roll down to the Adriatic Sea, was either conquered, destroyed or rebuilt by, among others, the Byzantines, the Lombards and the Saracens before settling in as part of the Papal States until Garibaldi's "land grab" united all of Italy in 1861.


Centro Storico

the Roca Roveresca Fortress, Senigallia

the ancient Roman Foro Annonario and its oval piazza

watermelons for sale at the Foro Annonario

table setting at a restaurant under the Foro Annonario's colonnades

Around the centro storico (historic center), Senigallia's rich past unfolds with expertly restored ancient structures, like the Roca Roveresca Fortress and the ancient Roman Foro Annonario and its oval piazza. Doubling as the city's daily open-air produce market, the Foro is dotted with shops and under-the-colonnades restaurants.

The Port and Fish Market

biker crossing a small bridge to a breakwater at the port of Senigallia

the breakwater at the port of Senigallia

moored leisure craft at the port of Senigallia

fresh produce at the fish market at Senigallia's port

On a bike or via flip-flops, take in the large port of Senigallia, crossing over its small bridges to the breakwaters along the seafront, meandering around the moored leisure craft in the front harbor to a smaller harbor in the back where a fresh fish market unfolds daily at the crack of dawn.

Rotonda a Mare

the Rotonda a Mare and boardwalk, Senigallia

Back along the lungomare (boardwalk), continue your walk/ride past numerous bagni (beach clubs) down to the impressive Rotonda a Mare, a unique piece of 19th century architecture that was uprooted once and completely renovated thrice. The rotunda fronts the busy Piazza della Penna, where street artists perform nightly.

Wine Tasting

racks of white Verdicchio

No matter where you turn in Senigallia, locals touch glasses in Cin Cin fashion filled with chilled white Verdicchio, THE wine of the Marche region. Nothing on earth compliments the tasty and abundant regional cuisine like its revered grape. And the best place to sample this vintage, in all its iterations, is at Enoteca Galli in Senigallia's historic center.

wine tasting at the Enoteca Galli in Senigallia's historic center

No fees are charged for a descriptive and lengthy tasting session, and you're under no obligation to purchase. Guido, the son of owner Umberto, was the sommelier on duty and uncorked five bottles for tasting before I finally waived a white hanky and pleaded BASTA!

Still upright when I left the enoteca, I did purchase a carton each (6 bottles per) of the five Verdicchio that I sampled, and they were delivered to my hotel the next morning before I headed home. Now, that's service.

For more information on Enoteca Galli, visit its website at


the Hotel Turistica, Senigallia

Hotel Turistica – Just a block over from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk and its velvety-sand beach sits the second most popular family-friendly hotel in all of Senigallia. According to TripAdvisor, actual vacationers who have made Senigallia their summertime destination return to the Turistica again and again.

rooftop terrace of the Hotel Turistica

A comfortable establishment, the three-star rated, 59-room, renovated mid-rise Turistica has a time-tested reputation of delivering high-quality service at affordable rates. A seven-night, single-room stay, with full board option (beverages not included), costs about 560€, or just 80€ a day during the peak season.

dining area at Hotel Turistico's wrap-around veranda

For its highly competitive prices, the Turistica delivers comfortable, squeaky-clean air-conditioned rooms in an array of single, double and family-size layouts with balconies, private baths, flat-screen satellite TVs and in-room safes.

There's also complimentary parking, WIFI access, use of the hotel's stable of bicycles, and, a reciprocal arrangement with one of the private bagni (beach clubs) for hotel guests and use of all of its amenities.

Chef Santini and his crew (with child) at the Hotel Turistico

And, I've saved the best reason of all for last: Turistica's incredible three-course lunch and dinner menus – part of the full-board package – prepared daily by executive chef, sommelier, professor of culinary arts and author, Luca Santini. His creative Marchegiana-style kitchen alone will have you booking the Turistica when you decide to sample the Riviera Adriatica.

Hotel Turistica postcard

If you really want to go native and experience a true Italian beach vacation just like gli italiani, then pick surprising Senigallia and its Spiaggia di Velluto as your destination and the Hotel Turistica to hang your hat, fork and wine glass.

panoramic shot of Senigallia's beachfront

For complete information on the Turistica, visit the hotel's English language website.

For all-things Senigallia, visit the city's official Office of Tourism site.


Related Articles:
ISCHIA: Eat, Drink and Whistle; The Riviera di Ulisse; Cape of Circeo, Italy; A Culinary Journey Through Southern Italy

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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