6 Things to Love About Le Marche

Le Marche Italy situated on the Adriatic Coast
Gorgeous landscape in Le Marche

Often overlooked by many visitors to Italy, the unspoiled region of Le Marche located between the Adriatic coast and the Apennine Mountains is a hidden gem that has more to offer than you can imagine. Boasting spectacular sceneries and charming towns such as Urbino and Ascoli Piceno, here are 6 things to love about Le Marche.

Hilltop Towns

Rich in history, monuments, and churches, the hilltop towns of Le Marche are off the beaten path and rarely overcrowded. While there are too many to name, here are a few to offer you a glimpse of these charming towns.

One of the most notable is Cingoli. Located on the edge of the provinces of Macerata and Ancona, it is also known as the “Balcony of Le Marche” for its spectacular views.

Le Marche, Italy - Loreto

Loreto, Le Marche

Just an hour’s drive from there, but don’t expect it to be deserted, is the striking town of Loreto, a popular pilgrimage site second only to Lourdes in France. Heading further south you will come across Fermo, a well preserved medieval town perched on top of Sabulo hill and Acquaviva Picena, home to a formidable 13th century fortress that is one of the most beautiful in the region.

Beaches

Situated along the Adriatic Coast, it should come as no surprise that Le Marche offers some amazing beaches. Over 20 beaches in this region are recognized as blue flag beaches indicating that they have met standards established by the Foundation for Environmental Education including cleanliness and safety.

Le Marche, Italy - Mezzavalle

Pristine beach of Mezzavalle

You will be spoilt for choice as Le Marche boasts sandy as well as pebble-stoned beaches with some located near towns and others that are completely immersed in nature. From the popular beach resort of San Benedetto del Tronto which is perfect for families to the secluded paradise of Mezzavalle, there is a beach for everyone!

Nature

Traveling east from the Apennines mountains towards the coast, the spectacular landscape evolves from a mountainous terrain to one that is gentle with wine and olive groves before giving way to seaside towns.

Le Marche, Italy - Conero Natural Park

View of Conero Natural Park

For those who love the outdoors, the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains which continues into Umbria boasts incredible views as well as fascinating wildlife. In addition to the different hiking trails in the National Park, activities such as horse riding and mountain biking are also possible.

Also worth visiting is the Conero Natural Park with its rugged coast. Although the hike is challenging, you will be rewarded with stunningly breathtaking views!

Castles

While there are plenty of castles dotting the landscape, the most spectacular is the fairy-tale like Gradara castle perched on a hilltop 465 feet high. Built between the 11th and 14th century, it had seen contentions between various families and is known as a symbol for lovers thanks to the poet Dante. In his poem the Divine Comedy, he recounts the tragic love affair which took place at this castle.

Le Marche, Italy - Gradara Castle

Medieval wall of Gradara Castle

Another castle worth noting is Rocca Roveresca in the seaside town of Senigallia. In the past, the castle had not only been the town’s stronghold but also headquarters of an important artillery school, prison, hospital and orphanage. Today it hosts exhibitions and cultural events.

Food and Wine

Relatively unknown outside of Italy, Le Marche is a thriving wine production region boasting 12 DOC and 2 DOCG wines. The best known of these wines is the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, an outstanding white wine from the province of Ancona.

Similar to the wines from this region, the cuisine is lesser known than that of its neighboring regions of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. As a region on the Adriatic coast it is common to find typical seafood dishes and one such dish is brodetto, a classic fish stew with variations in each town.

Le Marche - Ciauscolo

Ciauscolo – A soft salami

From the land, you have to try the appetizer olive ascolane which are crispy fried stuffed olives and the classic baked pasta dish vincisgrassi that is similar to the well-known lasagna. This dish uses a pasta sauce recipe that dates back to 1784 found in Il Cuoco Maceratese (The Chef from Macerata) by Antonio Nebbia and obviously through time, adaptations have been made.

Other typical products from Le Marche are the Prosciutto of Carpegna which is a D.O.P protected ham and ciauscolo, a soft salami that is spread on bread like pâté.

Shopping

There is plenty of shopping to be done in Le Marche and it is the place for bargain hunters! The region has a large number of designer factory outlets such as Prada and Tod’s. If that isn’t enough, here’s a well-kept secret – you will find quality leather goods especially in the area of Macerata and Ascoli Piceno!

Ready to head to Le Marche? Share with us in the comments below what you’ve found most intriguing about this region!

Le Marche is one of Italy's under appreciated regions. find out why you should check it out on the Walks of Italy blog.

5 Comments

  • Lyn says:

    Some of my best days were spent in Le Marche. While I was in school in Castelraimondo it was “living the dream” for me.

  • Heading to Le Marche region for the month of June as part of our three month trip of a lifetime. First time to Europe for me and I can’t wait. Glad I found your site. We’ve read so many good things about the area that we decided it was a must-see stop. 🙂

  • Valentino says:

    The most beautiful holidays’ places in Italy are usually crowded and expensive, but not Le Marche. It is a hidden holiday gem in Italy, nowadays the most authentic place where to enjoy the Italian uncontaminated culture. To get and move there is not easy, you need motivation and a car. When you will be there you won’t be disappointed. Astonishing landscapes, fabulous architecture, gorgeous food and wine. Everything you want to be happy while in vacations is there. Get it!

  • barb says:

    Great article, thank you. I’m all about traveling the path less travelled!

    My husband and I will be driving the Adriatic Coast in early June as an alternative to visiting the other coast (Amalfi). Do you have a suggestion for a coastal town for a one-night stopover? We will be coming from Vieste and heading to Arezzo and would like to break up the long drive by staying the night along the way. We are considering either Sirolo/Portonovo or Grottamare. We are interested in visiting a typical local coastal town (read: non-touristy) and love nature/the outdoors. Thanks for any suggestions.

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