Marche – Provincial Italy at the Adriatic Sea
In Marche, you come upon rural traditions and handicraft, medieval towns and celebrations as well as ancient monuments. Together with the unspoiled nature of the Adriatic coast and the Apennines, the region displays a pleasant nativeness, which fascinates a great number of tourists every year.
Geography - Between the Adriatic coast and the Apennines
Marche is a region in the centre of Italy which is enclosed by the Adriatic coast and the mountain range of the Apennines as well as the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. The five provinces of Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata, Pesaro and Urbino take up an area of 9,694 km² and can be divided into three landforms. The Adriatic coast (180 km) in the east with its fine sandy beaches and well-known bathing resorts changes to a hilly landscape after a few kilometres, which is concluded by the beautiful peaks of the Apennines in the west. Monte Vettore is the region's highest mountain with a height of 2,476 metres. It lies in the Sibillini Mountains and constitutes the natural border to the neighbouring region of Umbria. Marche is dominated by subtropical climate, which causes humid winters and hot summers.
Nature - Limestone gorges, caves and mountains
Marche's nature is characterised by the coast at the Adriatic Sea with long, fine sandy beaches and limestone cliff coasts. At the Riviera of Monte Conero and the park of the same name (Conero Regional Park), you find wonderful, partly hidden beaches in the midst of limestone rocks as well as green and wild vegetation. The mountain range of the Apennines also consists of limestone. Its impressive peaks, gorges and grottoes invite travellers to hikes and expeditions. Other natural highlights in this region are the nature and regional parks, the Monti Sibillini National Park and the Frassasi Caves. The latter attract visitors from all over Europe and are of great interest to speleologists (cave researchers) because of their karst phenomena.
Culture - A journey into the Middle Ages
Marche has preserved its medieval nature and fascinates visitors with its medieval towns and sites. Towns like Ascoli Piceno have an impressive old town, beautiful squares (Piazza del Popolo), historical palaces (Palazzo die Capitani del Popolo) and traditional handicraft workshops. The small town of Ancona accommodates one of the region's most interesting medieval churches (San Ciriaco Cathedral) and the Roman amphitheatre, Trajan's arch and the archaeological museum in the Palazzo Ferretti transport travellers into a long-forgotten time. Gradara Castle lies on a hill and is a prime example of medieval fort architecture, while Urbino's old town represents the Renaissance with its Palazzo Ducale. The historical centre of Urbino is part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO.
Experience - Traditional handicraft and a provincial cuisine
Just like the towns, Marche's most important events, handicrafts and cuisine are an expression of the region's medieval past. The historical horse show Quintana of Ascoli Piceno and the Fano Carnival, one of the oldest and best-known carnivals in the whole of Italy, reflect ancient traditions. Lovers of classical music will enjoy the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. Marche's traditional art handicraft mainly consists of ceramic, copper, wood and leather work, which is why you often see potteries, coppersmith's and shoemaker's on a stroll through one of the medieval towns. The local cuisine contains fresh ingredients from the region as field, forest, meadow and sea offer anything you need for a healthy, delicious meal (e.g. mushrooms, deer, nuts, herbs and fish). Suckling pig, marinated lamb, brodetto (an Italian fish soup) and spaghetti vongole (spaghetti with Venus clams) are typical dishes in Marche.
Activities - Bathing at the Adriatic coast and hiking in the Apennines
Marche provides space for a number of sporting and leisure activities. The Adriatic coast is the ideal destination for water lovers and water sports fans. Bathing resorts like Sirolo, Portonovo, Cupra Marittima and Benedetto del Tronto invite holidaymakers to go bathing, surfing, diving or parasailing and the Conero Regional Park (Parco regionale del Conero) fascinates with rugged rocks, fine sandy beaches as well as with its diverse flora and fauna. The well-developed trail network and rivers of the Apennines in the region's heartland are excellently suited for hikes, trekking, canoeing and cycling tours as well as horseback rides. In addition, there are winter sports areas with many pistes and cross-country ski trails for skiers and snowboarders in the peaks of the Apennines.
Sun-worshippers should travel Marche in July and August. Holidaymakers who do not only want to lie at the beach but also want to explore the towns and nature of the heartland can visit the region in April, May, September or October. At this time, the vegetation is in full bloom so that travellers are presented with an impressive natural spectacle. The local airport is Ancona-Falconara but the airport in Rimini (Emilia-Romagna) is only an hour's drive away and also a great starting point for a trip to Marche.
Holidays in Marche offer relaxation, history, nature and the traditional Italy. Active holidaymakers, lovers of culture and beachgoers get their money's worth on a trip to this native region.