This weeks destination, Le Marche, is on my list of places to explore and I’ve scheduled a visit later this year when I’ll be in Italy for 4 weeks. So expect lots more information on this region of Italy referred to as the next Tuscany (Lonely Planet)!
Why would I go?
Le Marche offers beautiful coast and rustic hinterland with many spectacular ancient cities to be visited (think Urbino (pictured below) Ascoli Piceno and Macerata).
The region also offers some magnificent national parks and reserves including the stunning Monti Sibillini. Mountains make up approximately 31% of the terrain with the remaining 69% being hills with the region being separated from most of the remainder of Italy by the Apennines.
The combination of sea, hills and mountains provides great environments for sources of food too. Fred Plotkin in “Italy for the Gourmet Traveller” (a great read by the way) recommends the region for its superb seafood as well as excellent truffles, mushrooms, meats, olives, grapes and particularly cheeses.
What would I see?
Urbino is just one of the highlights of Le Marche and is one of the best preserved and spectacular of the Italian hill towns. The entire city is walled so you will need to drop your car in one of the many car parks provided. Highlights of the town include the Palazzo Ducale, the Duomo and the Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista.
Other highlights of any visit to Le Marche include (extract below from Marche Voyager):
- The provincial capital of Ascoli Piceno lies at the southern end of Le Marche. This beguiling old town is well worth at least an overnight stay. Its travertine-paved main square is one of the most beautiful in Italy.
- The administrative capital of Le Marche is Ancona, a city with less obvious attractions for the tourist. Give it time, however, and you may find you enjoy the salty charm of this bustling sea port. It’s also one of Italy’s principal ferry ports with boats to Croatia, Greece and Turkey.
- Another of the region’s provincial capitals, Pesaro is both an appealing seaside resort and a thriving commercial town. Good shops, fine beaches and great fish.
- Another of the region’s main centres is Macerata, a dignified town, famous for its annual outdoor opera festival and capital of the province of Macerata.
- The alluring hilltown of Fermo is the capital of the recently-created province of Fermo and boasts a fine historic centre and outstanding main square.
- Many of the smaller inland towns are also well worth visiting and most can make a good base for touring. These include , Cagli, Camerino, Cingoli, Jesi, Offida, Recanati and Sarnano.
And remember to find time to enjoy the vineyards and wine of the Le Marche region too!
Where will I stay?
We’ve got some magnificent Australian and NZ owned properties in Le Marche. Choose from one of these three self catering villas:
Casa Celestino -a beautiful villa, sleeping 8 and offers all the conveniences of modern day living whilst embracing its old world charm, including such features as the original beamed ceilings, doors, shutters, polished cotto floors and stone staircase.
La Vecchia Scuola – a magnificently restored school house offering accommodation for 8 set in an idyllic vista of patchwork fields, gnarled olive groves and orchards and the occasional verdant grapevine.
Casa Principessa – a beautifully restored farmhouse situated in the famous Golden Triangle area of Le Marche with magnificent views of the villages of Gualdo, Sarnano and the majestic Sibillini Mountains. The house has been lovingly restored and transformed into a charming and comfortable villa for 8 with a modern touch.
or enjoy the more intimate experience of a bed and breakfast (great for couples!) with:
La Mela Rosa – nestled in the undulating foothills of the spectacular Sibillini Mountains. Now a luxury B&B, La Mela Rosa began life in the early 1800s as a stone farmhouse. In the last three years it has been completely renovated and tastefully refurbished to provide excellent quality bed and breakfast accommodation for up to three couples.
- 1st tip – Le Marche is pronounced “lay markay”.
- 2nd tip – you’ll need a car to explore the region but it’s not as easy as driving within Umbria or Tuscany as many of the roads (outside of the main coastal towns) are steep and twisting!