A year after his first dip in the Adriatic Sea, sitting on my lap and splashing the water around him, Little T returned to the beach at Fano a flurry of activity, running along the shore, filling up his water pail, shovelling sand and venturing out into the shallow water to practice swimming. Our week long holiday in Fano, Italy, visiting my in-laws was an active one, with our mornings spent at the beach, afternoons in the garden and evenings in the city centre or out for dinner. Fano, located in Italy’s Marche region along the Adriatic coast, is a lovely city to visit year-round and especially during the laid-back summer season…
How We Got There:
The closest airport to Fano (about 30 minutes drive away) is Ancona’s Falconara Airport, which RyanAir flies to out of Stansted Airport bright and early, usually at 0630. For us, living in West London, that means leaving the house at 0330 or, if I’m traveling solo with Little T, staying overnight at the Radisson Blu Stansted hotel. We’ve made this trip countless times, almost every two to three months for years now, and overall I think RyanAir has improved a lot with its service, but the seating situation is just so uncomfortable! Thank goodness it’s only a two hour flight. I traveled solo with Little T on the way back and could hardly move, having squeezed the two of us into this narrow seat and shoehorned all of our stuff into the tight space at my feet.
What We Did:
We stayed with my in-laws, who live about a 5 minute walk away from the beach and 10 minutes from the city centre. My goal each morning was to get to the beach by 9am, then we’d head back home for lunch at about 11am, Little T would get a quick shower to rinse off the salt water and then he’d nap for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Then he’d be up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for more fun, which usually involved playing in the garden before dinner.
We lucked out with gorgeous weather for our visit, enjoying the fresh, salty sea breeze, clear skies and glorious sunshine. It was wonderful to see Little T taking in this experience and surprising us with how brave he was, venturing out into shallow water with Nonno, on a canoe, on an inflatable crocodile or to practice his swimming.
So each morning we’d head over to the family umbrellone at Bagni Lido Uno, located along a stretch of coastline (shared with Bagni Lido Due) protected by two jetties on either side which create a calm beach environment, that coupled with the shallow waters make it ideal for families.
Lido Uno is a private beach with the umbrellas and loungers rented out each season, with much of the same crowd renting out the same spots every year, giving the beach a great sense of community. The path on the beach takes you back to the main area that features the typical amenities: changing cabins, vending machines, a cafe, a small playground, showers and restrooms.
Little T made new friends at the beach, such as his hat twin here, which was wonderful since he doesn’t have any young cousins to play with. (There’s a 16+ year age gap between my husband and his sisters, and Little T’s cousins are now in their twenties. Meanwhile there are no cousins yet on my side of the family – I am the eldest, sharing a similar age gap of 14+ years with my college age brothers.)
So each day, Little T would meet other toddlers or young children to share toys (which occasionally required encouragement from us parents), fill up water buckets, dig up holes, pick seashells…
And have a look at new critters, like this little crab (who I don’t think was doing very well…)
Little T also loved being out in the water with Nonno! It was his first time using arm bands and I was amazed at how confident he was in the water, since it’s been a while since we’ve gone to swimming lessons. He eventually wanted to splash about without the arm bands, so we moved in closer to the shore, where the water was at his waist, to take them off.
Little T also borrowed a crocodile inflatable from one of his new friends…
And went out in a canoe with Nonno, just a short distance away from the shore…
Our afternoons were spent in the garden, playing ball, chasing butterflies, picking fallen leaves or simply doing laps around the house pushing the lawn mower (not switched on of course)…
A couple of late afternoons we stopped by Marina Dei Cesari for Little T to explore Nonno’s boat… (We’re waiting until he’s a bit older to take him out sailing.)
And other afternoons and evenings were spent wandering around the picturesque city centre…
… and stopping for an apertivo at our long-time favorite spot, Caffe Centrale…
… or strolling along the beach for an aperitivo by the sea at Arzilla Beach Village.
We certainly made the most of being by the sea during this trip! Living in London, it’s what I miss the most…
Where We Ate:
Osteria dalla Peppa – a quaint restaurant in Fano’s city centre that serves authentic specialties local to the Marche region, using only ingredients grown or bred in the area, with everything handmade and representing the local gastronomy.
Little T had a plate of his favorite pasta dish – handmade cappalletti, small meat and cheese filled “little hat” shaped pasta which are typically served in broth. He had his with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and cut in half.
Meanwhile, I had the cresc tajat con fagioli, a hearty, rustic dish characteristic of the region. The pasta is made with polenta, flour and water, and served with beans. Since discovering the dish a couple of years ago, it’s the main reason I look forward to visiting Osteria dalla Peppa.
Antica Trattoria – a pizzeria and restaurant up in the rolling hills of Fano’s countryside that offers this stunning view…
… and serves local specialties and delicious pizzas – like the shrimp and zucchini ones that my in-laws ordered and the margherita that Little T devoured.
I was introduced to gnocchi with ragu during my very first visit to Fano with my husband (which was back before we were married and – hard to believe – thirteen years ago!) and I’ve been ordering it regularly ever since… pretty much every time we go out to eat while we’re in Fano! At Antica Trattoria, I had the gnocchi with a duck ragu and it didn’t disappoint.
Ristorante Pizzeria Yankee – a restaurant with an excellent seafront view, located right across a small road from Sassonia Beach. I, as usual, ordered gnocchi with ragu and we ordered a simple margharita pizza for Little T, who spent the time waiting for the food furiously coloring away with the markers the waiter gave him.
To be honest, my dinner wasn’t all that great, but crossing the road to watch the stunning sunset from Sassonia Beach made up for it!
We had a wonderful stay in Fano spending time with my husband’s side of the family, making the most of the sunshine and being by the sea. Can’t wait to go back!