Visit "Italy's best kept secret" and find everything your heart desires: 180 km coastline, hundreds of historic, cultural and religious attractions including 71 historic theatres and a wonderful unspoilt nature - the region is home to two national parks, four regional parks and five nature reserves. Book your holiday accommodation in Marche with In-Italia and choose from our hand-picked collection.
The scenery is magnificent and staying in the so-called Truffle Valleys is a wonderful experience which every gourmet or nature lover should make time for. Staying in the Truffle Valleys is also a good starting point for visiting some of the classic towns in Marche including Urbino and Urbania. One should also not forget the fabulous cuisine and fine wines that the region is very proud of, Rosso Piceno and Rosso Conero and the world famous white Verdicchio from the area around the town of Jesi.
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The many natural areas including Conero Nature reserve, "Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi" and Monti Sibillini National Park have plenty to offer. The former is based on the coastline meaning only mountain, Monte Conero. The mountain is covered by forest, and there are a number of trails and roads that are suitable for both walking tours, trekking and mountain biking. There are many vantage points from the mountain, from where you can enjoy views of the Adriatic Sea.
Monti Sibillini National Park extends over 70,000 hectares and includes 18 municipalities, both in Marche and Umbria. There are many excellent trekking routes, including one that ends in the stunning mountain lake 'Lago di Pilato' about 1500 meters above sea level. There are also many small towns in the Sibillini mountains, each with their own characteristics. On the plateau around the picturesque city Montemonaco grown lenses that are sold both in Italy and abroad. Also produced sausages, hams, cheeses, honey, etc. in the mountains, which are sold from stalls and shops in small towns.
Marche has a number of interesting towns, large and small, with many attractions, especially from the Middle Ages and a good and authentic atmosphere - precisely because the region is not overrun by tourism to the same degree as the surrounding and more famous neighbouring regions. We recommend that you visit for example. Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, Recanati, San Severino Marche, Urbino and Urbania. If you like truffles, it is advantageous to take the "truffle town" Acqualagna or stay in the middle of Truffle Valleys.
The region's capital is Ancona. It is an old town with Roman sights including ruins of an amphitheatre and Trajan's triumphal arch. Pesaro is the hometown of the composer Rossini. It is known for its annual Rossini festivals and also for its interesting monuments. When you arrive in Ancona, is one of the first monuments you notice is the beautiful Romanesque cathedral of San Ciriaco. It sits high above the sea, and really is an impressive sight.
Ascoli Piceno is the region's second largest city and it is located inland on a high plateau surrounded by two rivers Castellano and Tronto. The city is exceptionally beautiful and evocative, very light with many beautiful places. It also has many attractions to offer, including an archaeological museum, many Romanesque churches, medieval churches, city museum, and an art museum.
Numana enjoys an idyllic setting by the coast. Numana Alta is the oldest part of town and is very characteristic with narrow alleyways and lovely atmosphere.
The town of Sirolo in Marche is labelled the Pearl of the Adriatic. This small beautiful seaside resort located 100 meters above sea level, and from the square in the middle of town has a wonderful view of the Adriatic Sea. On clear days you can catch a glimpse of Croatia's coast. Sirolo has in recent years become an increasingly popular resort, especially among Italians and not without reason. The small town is very cosy and charming, with its narrow, cobbled streets, flower boxes, sidewalk cafes and restaurants. There are some very beautiful beaches of Sirolo. Since the city is high, walk or drive through pine forest down to the beach. The most visited is Spiaggia Urbani. Here there is a good selection of cosy restaurants and cafes with reasonable prices. You will find both private beach (where the deck chair and / or umbrella is mandatory), and a small public beach with showers. There is a small bay where the water is usually very quiet. Therefore, Spiaggia Urbani is suitable for families with children.
The most beautiful, least touristy beach is San Michele. You will also find beach umbrellas, but the public beach is larger than that of Urbani, and there are only a few bars. The beach is not as child-friendly as Urbani, as the water becomes deeper faster. The northern coastline of the region around Gabicce Mare and Pesaro has quite fine and wide sandy beaches, the latter is only approximately. 45 minute drive from Urbino area.
Numana is a small seaside town in very idyllic surroundings, but with the best view of the area's largest mountain, Monte Conero. Numana Alta is the oldest part of the city and is characterized by its narrow streets and a cosy atmosphere. The beach in Numana is very nice and quite wide. Along the beach road you will find a wide range of restaurants and bars. The water in Numana has a beautiful turquoise colour.
Further inland you find interesting towns like the beautifully located Cagli, which has a number of old palaces and churches. Cantiano is another medieval town in a wonderful setting with well-preserved old buildings. Serrungarina is a smaller town east of Urbino, again beautifully situated and offering really good restaurants. Urbania is a delightful town with a lively cultural centre. It has several monuments but is also known for its pottery production.
Around Ancona, towns like Offagna, Osimo and Castelfidardo all have their own charm. One should not miss out on the town Recanati (about 40 miles from Ancona) and its lively Saturday market. It also contains a great deal of interest and it was here that one of Italy's most famous poets - Giacomo Leopardi - was born in 1798. Not far from Recanati is Porto Recanati, with its cosy little town on the coast, and the glorious seafront and pebble beach is quite popular in the summer months.
If you find yourself in the area around Macerata, we recommend that you visit Tolentino and Caldarola. Both are small, charming towns. The former includes an impressive Basilica di San Nicola and the latter has the opportunity to visit the medieval castle Pallotta. Close Tolentino is the small cosy town of San Severino Marche, there is an overlooked but lovely little town to wander around in. Macerata in itself is a really beautiful, exciting and vibrant city. Here there is both a university and an arena.
Around Ascoli Piceno, the towns of Ripatransone, Offida, Sant'Elpido a Mare, Montefiore and Montecosaro are worth seeing. The town of Ascoli Piceno is seen by many as the most beautiful town in the Marche region.
Urbino can rightly be called an architectural pearl. With its magnificent Renaissance buildings it is a joy to visit. t was here that the historically important Renaissance prince Federico da Montefeltro ruled, and his 'Palazzo Ducale' is one of the Marches major attractions.
In Urbino, you can also visit the world famous Renaissance painter Raphael's childhood home. You should also stop by Oratorio di San Giovanni, where beautiful frescoes painted by the brothers Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni back in early 1400-century adorn the walls.
Ascoli Piceno is a smaller version of Siena and is full of atmosphere and quaint streets.
Marche has a number of well-preserved Roman monuments including theatres and triumphal arches. Many of the regions towns and cities also have an unmistakable renaissance touch and they are proof of the region's long history.
Marche has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, however we do not know not with certainty exactly by whom it was inhabited during the early period. The region was subsequently inhabited by the Picenere who were warriors, and spoke a language similar to Indo-European. Picenerne has given its name to Picenum, the area south of Ancona, and today we find their traces in the name of the town of Ascoli Piceno, one of the region's largest cities, located 120 km south of Ancona. Also Etruscans and Greeks have left their mark on the region.
In 299 BC, the population from the picenske part of Marche formed an alliance with Rome, and mingled with the Gauls in the north and with other italliske people in the south central region, for example, Sabines (people from Central Italy).
Christianity came primarily Marche through the port of Ancona, and this part of the region (Rimini, Pesaro, Senigallia, Fano and Ancona) came after the fifth century under Byzantine influence. The area was later transferred to the pope. To the south were the Lombards, a Germanic people, who dominated.
During the period from the 14th to the 16th century, some families of enormous power came to rule and oppressed a significant part of Marche. In Rimini and Pesaro the family Malatesta reigned, and in Urbino were the Montefeltro family. Alessandro Sforza ruled the Marca d'Ancona (a significant part of the region, including Ancona city) approx. until the year 1500 when Pope took control of Ancona.
In around the year 1520 the region was divided into 3 main parts: the Principality of Urbino, Principality of Camerino and Governo Generale della Marca. The latter was ruled directly by the Pope.
Marche is a great base for a holiday with plenty of sun and lovely beaches. Here is a something for everyone. If you want to swim from the rocks this is possible and if you want a good sandy beach to lie on and enjoy life, then Marche also fulfils this wish.
The beaches of Numana, Marcelli and Porto Recanati are cosy and fine, but also the beaches around the charming seaside town of Ancona are something special. Sirolo is a little way up the Monte Conero, and where there are several minor trails and paths down to the water. Also the beach at Porto Novo is lovely, not least because of the really beautiful and serene natural surroundings.
Approximately 37% of the region is covered in mountains reaching heights of around 1700 m in some places. 53% is undulating countryside and the remaining 10% is flat.
In Marche it is possible to experience a lovely natural habitat both in the mountains and in the hilly areas. In some places the hills are known to harbour the valuable truffles. Here you will find protected Nature Reserves with small lakes and rivers where it is possible to enjoy nature in all its glory.
There are several protected natural parks in Marche where you can experience the landscape in all its glory with small lakes and rivers. In the magnificent nature reserve Parco del Conero, just south of Ancona, and very close to Porto Novo, Sirolo and Numana, there are great opportunities for outdoor experiences. Parco del Conero is based on the coastline under the splendid Monte Conero. The mountain is covered by forest, and there are a number of trails and roads that are suitable for both walking tours, tracking and mountain biking. There are many vantage points from the mountain, where you can enjoy views of the beautiful Adriatic Sea. In some places the coast is impressive and fascinating with its steep cliffs and lovely sandy beaches.
The park 'Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini' covers an area of 70,000 hectares and includes 18 municipalities, both in the Marche and Umbria (Montemonaco, Amandola, Arquata del Tronto, Montefortino, Montegallo, Acquacanina, Bolognola, Castel Sant Angelo, Cessapalombo, Fiastra, Fiordimonte, Pievetorina, Pievebovigliana, San Ginesio, Ussita, Visso, Norcia and Preci). You need a car to see this impressive park and there are many excellent routes, one of which ends in the stunning mountain lake 'Lago di Pilato about 1500 metres above sea level.
There are also many small towns in the Sibillini mountains, each with their own distinct characteristics and charm. These towns commonly produce sausages, hams, cheeses, honey, etc. in the mountains, which are sold from stalls and shops in small towns.
f you are a nature lover, you should definitely pay a visit to the stalactite caves at Frasassi (see Frasassi caves), north of Ancona, in Genga, near Fabriano. These beautiful caves were discovered in 1971, and the colours are so well preserved, as they have only been exposed to a few years of wear and light. Stepping into the caves is like stepping into a new, magical world of colors, sounds and light, you feel almost transported to a scene from HC Andersen's 'The Snow Queen'. There are guided tours of the caves every half hour during daylight hours all year round.
Marche is exciting to get to know with regards to wine and gastronomy. Every taste is catered for: fish and seafood, meat and game and lots of delicious sausages and hams. Truffles frequently form part of the cuisine in Marche, particularly in the autumn when they accompany game dishes and other delicacies. During the last few years the wine has improved steadily and Marche is now a force to be reckoned with, both in Italy and internationally.
Fish and seafood: In Marche delicious fish soups with all kinds of fish and seafood are often available.
Meat, game and poultry: In the central mountain areas and in the hilly terrain, game dishes such as hare, wild boar and pigeon are often on the menu. But pork and lamb is very popular as in the rest of Italy.
Sausages and ham: The delicious sausage “Ciauscolo" is made from pork in the area around Ascoli Piceno. Another very famous sausage, which can almost be described as brawn, is “Coppa di Testa". It is made from ears, tongue and other pieces of meat.
"Fegatino" is a popular sausage made of pigs' liver. “Lonza" is available everywhere in Marche; it is made from pork and air-dried. “Salame di Fabriano" is also much appreciated and goes very well with a glass of Rosso Piceno.
Two fine air-dried hams are produced in Marche. “Prosciutto di Carpegna" is produced in the northern and central parts of the region, and “Spalletta", which really is belly of pork, is produced more or less everywhere in Marche.
Cheese: Marche is best known for producing the delicious "Pecorino dei Monti Sibillini" which is available both fresh and matured. At times the cheese has a mushroom and truffle aroma – a real delicacy.
Sweets: A special sweet from Marche is "Lonzion di fico" consisting of figs, almonds and hazelnuts. It is often served with grape juice but can also accompany a medium-matured cheese.
Wine and vineyards: For a long time Marche has been known for its white wine Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi although its quality is found to vary. Marche produces two red wines: Rosso Piceno and Rosso Conero, which at times are excellent.
Below is a list of good vineyards in Marche: Maurizio Marchetti, Moroder, Azienda Santa Barbara, Colonnara, Terre Cortesi Moncaro, Le Terrazze and Umani Ronchi.