It’s a quiet Tuesday evening, and you’ve just got back from work. You hang up your jacket, say hello to your family, and wander into the kitchen to make some dinner. Then, you hear it. Something is tapping on the window. You turn around and see a huge blue and yellow Macaw parrot waiting on the sill, knocking politely with her beak. You open the window to give her a couple of hazelnuts. She whistles cheerily as if to say “grazie!” and then swoops down the street on her colourful wings.
For most people, an evening visit from a parrot (however polite) would be an unusual experience… But here in Le Marche, Franky is a regular sight and has become a mascot for the locals. Whether she’s racing through the streets, watching football matches at the local bars, dancing along telephone wires, or even perching on cyclists' shoulders (she was great friends with the late Michele Scarponi), Franky is free to fly wherever she pleases.
The man who has seen Franky’s fame closest of all is her owner, Giacomo, who lets her out of the house each morning as he leaves for work. He posts her news on Franky's Facebook page, and is always happy for people to say hello to his pet on her travels… As long as she’s back in time for dinner!
Le Marche is a paradise for food-loving travellers. From the rolling hills of the inland countryside to its resplendent coastline, and of course its cuisine, this is a region with so much to discover… And who could be a better local guide than Franky? I called Giacomo to find out more!
Lucy: Ciao, Giacomo! I’ve heard a lot about Franky’s adventures - what’s the furthest distance she’s ever flown from home?
Giacomo: Franky flies a long way! We live in a small inland town, but she often goes all the way to the coast which is about 30km away. You’ll usually find her around Cingoli, Jesi, Porto Recanati and Macerata… She flies off in the morning for a day of exploring, and always comes back home in the evening!
Lucy: Wow, she must get hungry after all that flying.
Giacomo: Yes! Luckily she flies up to windows and knocks with her beak, and her friends will give her fruit, nuts and water. Everyone knows Franky, so there’s always a snack waiting for her somewhere.
Lucy: So Franky is invited into local people’s homes to enjoy the local food... just like guests who book with Cesarine! Do you have any advice on how to be a good guest in Le Marche?
Giacomo: To be a good guest, you’ve got to taste everything you’re offered, as the people in Le Marche are very proud of their typical produce. Ciauscolo sausage, Crescia Marchigiana, or Vincisgrassi, our regional variation of lasagne... and lots of fish. We have fish soups known as Brodetto, and Ancona is famous for its baccalà (salt cod). I love Frascarelli, which is rice served with a delicious sauce with chunks of ham or pork cheek. Le Marche has a rich food culture with so many interesting things to eat, but it’s relatively unknown.
Lucy: What are Franky’s favourite towns in the region, and which specialties will you find there?
Giacomo: She loves flying around Porto Recanati, Osimo, Filottrano... But one of her favourites is Ancona, it’s famous for its fish, such as baccalà, which is traditionally cooked in a tray with bamboo canes in the base. Ancona is great for foodies. When Franky passes through, they give her prawns to snack on - you just hand her a whole one, she takes off the shell with her claws. Great table manners for a parrot!
Lucy: Clever Franky! Any recommendations for places to visit in Le Marche?
Giacomo: Definitely visit Grotte di Frasassi, some of the world’s most beautiful caves. Or, there are lots of things to see in the town of Urbino. Also, you can’t miss Le Marche’s coast; if you like night life then I’d go for Civitanova Marche (or as locals call it, Citanò). Then, there’s the beautiful Monte Conero area, just north of Ancona. You’ve got to visit Numana and Sirolo, which are two hilltop towns built into the rock, with a panorama over the coast and little paths down to the beach. In the south of Le Marche, there’s San Benedetto, which has some of the best beaches.
Lucy: If someone in our Cesarine community see Franky on their travels, can they say hello?
Giacomo: Of course, they should take a photo with her! She’s often sitting on roofs and telephone wires, so just whistle to invite her down and give her a healthy snack, such as fruit and nuts. A funny thing about Franky - which doesn’t happen to any other parrots I know - is that she will actually blush if she likes someone’s company. You can see the white skin through the feathers on her cheeks going bright red. It’s unusual, but that’s Franky for you!
Grazie mille, Giacomo and Franky!
To keep up to date with Franky’s antics, you can follow her on Facebook
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