Marche Italian region, a true gem to be discovered
The Marche region, set like a gem between the Apennine mountain range and the Adriatic Sea, offers tourists visiting Italy an extraordinary journey. Preserved by mass tourism circuits, the Marche offers emotions with an authentic Italian taste. Take inspiration from this article and book your next vacation to discover the Marche.
How to reach the Marche
The main airport of this region is Falconara in Ancona, small and not used much for international flights. If you decide to land in Ancona, our suggestion is to travel with Lufthansa, making a stopover in Munich. Otherwise it is possible to travel from London or Bruxelles with different low cost airlines such as Easyjet or Ryanair. The solution we suggest is to land in Rome, giving you the opportunity to visit the eternal city (if you have never visited it before), or to cross central Italy from coast to coast. On your way to Marche you can visit Abruzzo, another beautiful Italian region and spend one night in Santo Stefano, a beautiful and enchanted village on the top of the Apennine mountains.
Let’s discover together what this beautiful region offers! Untouched nature, medieval villages, art cities, theaters, monuments and a lot of countryside. In some respects it is reminiscent of Tuscany, with its villages at the top of the hills with a wilder taste.
The best 10 cities and villages to discover in the Marche region
Ancona, the Capital
Overlooking the Adriatic Sea, where one of the major Italian ports still stands since the Roman Empire, Ancona is a city of art with a historic center rich in monuments and with a thousand-year history. Ancona is one of the main economic centers of the region with the highest number of inhabitants. The Cathedral of San Ciriaco is the main monument with its facade in white and pink marble which dominates the city from the top of the Guasco hill. Here is where the city Acropolis stood and where some remains are still visible. Don’t miss the Roman amphitheater from the 1st century AD.
Less than 30 km away from Ancona is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Loreto, a real jewel of Italian religious architecture. When entering this place maintain a maximum concentration to feel a great emotion in your heart and soul. Inside the “Santa Casa” you can observe the statue of the “Black Madonna”, the patron saint of aviators.
Northwest of Ancona, about 40 km away, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Marche: Corinaldo. This medieval village is surrounded by mighty walls dating back to 400 BC that you can walk around. The circular walk is 912 meters long. Doors, ramparts, defense towers, swallow-tailed Ghibelline battlements, patrol walkways mark the landscape of this fortified city where one has the feeling one has gone back in time. Don’t miss the “Piaggia”, a staircase of a hundred steps towards which the red brick houses arranged in a herringbone pattern converge.
Surrounded by walls that are among the best preserved in the region, Jesi has the title of an exemplary UNESCO City for its ability to preserve a centuries-old architectural, artistic and cultural heritage. Its origins are ancient, from a Roman colony in 247 BC. It was the birthplace of Frederick II of Swabia (who was born here in 1194) and of the famous Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi (1710). The entire historic center is made up of churches, palaces and squares, with narrow streets and paved streets. Walking through its alleys is like traveling back in time … Stop in Piazza Colocci where the Palazzo della Signoria stands. It is considered as one of the most significant public buildings in the Marche region. Don’t leave Jesi without first seeing Piazza della Repubblica, where stands the majestic Giovan Battista Pergolesi Theater, a spectacular temple of Italian opera built between 1790 and 1798. Famous for its perfect acoustics, it is a triumph of gilding and rococo decorations with paintings and frescoes.
It is a beautiful medieval city considered one of the most monumental in Italy. Ascoli has its roots in travertine, a special marble in which the area is rich and which is a constant element in the architecture of this small city. The main square, Piazza del Popolo, is paved with this marble. On rainy days this marble floor looks like a real mirror, reflecting the 59 columns that make up the colonnade of this beautiful square. This city with a medieval and Renaissance appearance is also famous for its towers. Initially there were over 200 towers, but throughout history many have been torn down. Today it is possible to admire some of these, among which the most important is the Ercolani tower.
Once you’ve visited the city with a private guide, there are two things you can’t miss:
- Have a drink at the historic Caffe Meletti, a Liberty style Café in the main square.
- Eat the famous Olives all’Ascolana. This dish is famous throughout Italy for aperitivo was born right here in Ascoli Piceno. And for foodies we organize a special cooking class to learn how those delicious olives are prepared and cooked!
Set on a hill more than 600 meters above sea level, Cingoli is nicknamed “Balcony of the Marche”. From a vast terrace, on the walls of the medieval castle, you can enjoy the spectacular view of most of the Marche region, up to the Adriatic Sea and Mount Conero. Walking through the town, do not miss a visit to the Cathedral, the Baroque Church of San Filippo Neri and the Church of San Domenico which preserves the painting of the Madonna del Rosario by Lorenzo Lotto.
San Severino Marche
It is considered one of the most interesting towns in the region and has just over 13,000 inhabitants. Among the main attractions is Piazza del Popolo which is certainly wide, bright, really special and the hub of the city. With its elliptical and elongated shape, this has always been the market square. Among the buildings that overlook the square, we suggest you visit the Teatro Feronia. On the top of the hill, the imposing and marvelous Castello al Monte stands out, dominating the area with its Torre Smeducci (leaning like the Pisa tower).
Surrounded by a long city wall in terracotta and adorned with sandstone buildings, once a simple village, Urbino became “cradle of the Renaissance” thanks to the work of important artists and, still today, walking through its historical center you can breathe the fifteenth century air . A characteristic that has earned the city the honor of entering the World Heritage List in 1998. For UNESCO, the city has the undisputed merit of having been a point of attraction for the most illustrious Renaissance and Italian artists who transformed it into an exceptional urban complex. Walking along the steep and narrow streets you can see all the buildings of the Renaissance Urbino: the former Monastery of Santa Chiara, the Church of San Domenico, the Mausoleum of the Dukes in the Church of San Bernardino, Palazzo Boghi and the majestic Palazzo Ducale, the most important building in the city. Here you can visit the National Gallery of Marche, the most important museum in the region.
It is located in the province of Pesaro e Urbino at few kilometers from the Romagna Riviera. It is known as the city of one of the most famous and tragic love stories in the world, the one between Paolo and Francesca, the two lovers of the Fifth Canto of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. The fortress with its fortified village is one of the best preserved structures in Italy and is protected by two walls, the outer one with a length of 800 metres. The walls are reinforced at regular distances by fourteen square towers whose interior is open at the side of the village. Here you can walk through the ancient patrol path, where the view is truly unique. Stop for lunch in Gradara and taste the typical dish of the village: “Tagliolini con la Bomba“. It’s a traditional local dish based on hand made pasta with soup and served with a sauté of onion and lard.
It is an ancient town of Roman origin located in the middle valley of the Metauro, along the roman route called “Flaminia”. For the richness of art and culture and for its charm, Fossombrone is a place to discover little by little. Start your visit to the village from Corso Garibaldi and its characteristic double arcade called “the loggias” which are divided into lodges of the rich and lodges of the poor. One of the first monuments you will encounter, walking through the beautiful streets of Fossombrone, is the church of San Filippo dating back to 1600 which will amaze you with its baroque majesty. A magical place that attracts photographers and tourists is the Concordia Bridge over the Metauro river which, through its reflection, gives a poetic and exciting representation of Fossombrone. Dating back to 1792, it is one of the most praised in Italy for the simplicity of its single round arch.
For nature lovers, here are the best natural attractions in the Marche region
Monti Sibillini Natural Park
This park is one of the most beautiful and large in the Marche region where you can enjoy outdoor activities like trekking, cycling, horse riding and more. And for the less sporty people? A fantastic truffle hunt! In these woods truffles are born spontaneously and this is why many local restaurants offer it on their menus. It is a not the most precious of truffles, but is intense in flavor. This ingredient makes many local dishes of the Marche region special. This area is also famous for its genuine wine: the “Rosso Piceno”. In the last few years new wine cellars have been developed offering organic and high quality wines.
these underground karstic caves, whose stalactites and stalagmites have given rise to natural sculptures with bizarre and original shapes, are located in the municipality of Genga, in the province of Ancona. The Frasassi Caves are an example of what nature over the millennia has managed to create. The guided tour inside these caves is a path that winds for almost 2 km that ends at the “Sala Bianca”, an absolute miracle of mother nature.
If you are in the area of the Frassasi caves, don’t miss the Temple of Valadier. It is a church set in the rock. To get there you have to walk about 700 meters, but it’s worth the effort!
Much of the Ancona area falls within the Conero Regional Park, characterized by wide evergreen forests of Mediterranean scrub, by cliffs overlooking the sea, by beaches reachable only by swimming, by a still uncontaminated countryside rich in typical products, such as lavender, honey, oil and legumes. Among the places in the park Portonovo should be mentioned. It is an evocative destination frequented by locals and tourists, with its woods close to the beaches and with its ancient monuments.
Did you know that in the Marche it is possible to drink a very special wine? For centuries, in the hills around Jesi, an alcoholic beverage (about 14 °) called “Vino di Visciola” is produced. It is sweet, flavored and made with an ancient variety of wild cherry fermented in local red wine.
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the Marche Italian region and that you get inspired to learn more or see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend and if you are interested in learning more about traveling to this area or any other region in Italy, please contact us for more information.
Stay tuned for more blogs about other regions in Italy and be sure to click the link below for an example of tours we offer in the Marche region.