Indigenous peoples cancelled by a burgeoning empire. Devastating earthquakes level ancient monuments. Marauding invaders loot and pillage art treasures. And yet, verdant hillsides ripple with vineyards and olive groves. The dramatic blue Sibillini Mountains shelter shepherds, freedom fighters, and necromancers. Lined with palms and orange trees, the luxurious Adriatic coast is monitored by medieval towers and pagan temples. This is the Land of Piceno--Le Marche, Italy--whose founding symbol, Picus, sacred woodpecker of Mars, guides us through the vicissitudes of time.