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Blick auf Urbino, Bild: essevu / shutterstock

The Marche in Italy – the unknown holiday paradise

When you think of Italy as a holiday destination, you immediately think of many different places, such as Tuscany, Lake Garda or the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. However, the rather unknown area “The Marche” (Le Marche in Italian) is usually not one of them. The region is located in east-central Italy between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines and consists of the five provinces of Pesaro and Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, Fermo and Ascoli Piceno. The most famous place is the important port city of Ancona, which is also the capital of the Marche.

Why in the Marche?

The landscape of the Marche is very varied and, in addition to the beautiful sandy and pebble beaches on the Adriatic coast, also includes rugged limestone cliffs, rolling hills and mountain peaks up to 2400 meters high in the west. So if you can’t really decide between holidays in the mountains or by the sea when planning your holiday, you will find both here at a distance of only about 50 kilometres. If you want, you can discover idyllic medieval mountain villages on a mountain bike tour in the morning and go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon. Mass tourism is still a foreign word in the Marche region and individualists will certainly be thrilled by this insider tip. The region really offers something for every type of holiday. Historically interesting cities with imposing buildings, lively beach life and fantastic nature that is perfect for many outdoor activities. Incidentally, the area has already been awarded several prizes for particularly sustainable tourism.

Beach vacationers also get their money’s worth, because on the 180-kilometer-long Adriatic coast of the Marche are some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy. Whether you prefer extensive sandy beaches with palm-lined promenades or small hidden pebble bays – no problem. Wooded rocky outcrops and steep cliffs complete the dreamlike postcard scenery around the 26 seaside resorts, each of which offers its guests a very different flair.

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The most must-see cities in the Marche region

Ancona, Marche
Loreto Square in Ancona, Image: Tatiana Diuvbanova / shutterstock

Most holidaymakers in Italy appreciate the combination of interesting sights and the southern attitude to life with balmy summer evenings in street cafés and fish restaurants by the sea. Of course, you can also enjoy this very special atmosphere in the Marche. If you are on holiday in this part of the country, you should not miss a visit to the city of Urbino, often referred to as the pearl of the Marche. Its unique architectural monuments from the Renaissance period in the 15th century are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is essential to plan enough time for a visit. One of the many highlights is the imposing Palazzo ducale, which scores with its arcaded courtyard and many precious paintings, among other things. Raphael, one of the most famous painters in the world, was born in Urbino in 1483. His birthplace is now a museum and therefore an absolute must for many visitors to the city. A somewhat macabre attraction, on the other hand, are the 18 mummies in the Chiesa dei Morti chapel, which are extremely well preserved without any embalming.

Fano is also definitely worth a trip if you are interested in architecture and history. The old city gate of Emperor Augustus is very impressive. The beautiful alleys and squares also offer a perfect backdrop for a relaxed stroll through the picturesque town. The Passegitata promenade is particularly noteworthy, which invites you to take a walk as well as to go shopping.

Ancona, the capital of the Marche region, has seen a significant increase in tourist numbers in recent years, not only due to the popularity of the historic centre, but also to the excellent ferry connections to Greece and Croatia , as well as the many cruise ships that dock in the port of Ancona.

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If you are looking for a destination that offers both long, beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea and an interesting historical core, you will be delighted by Pesaro, the northernmost town in Le Marche. It is also a perfect starting point to discover the Monte San Bartolo Natural Park. Pesaro is the birthplace of the famous Italian composer Rossini. In his honour, the Rossini Opera Festival takes place here every summer. Music lovers should definitely get tickets in good time for this great spectacle, which regularly attracts countless locals and foreigners.

Discover the nature of the Marche

Monti Sibillini, Marche
View of Monte Vettore at sunrise, highest mountain of the Monti Sibillini National Park, Image: Christian Peters / shutterstock

There are several natural parks in the Marche region, the largest of which is the one in the Sibillini Mountains. The area around the over 2400-metre-high Monte Vetore is always visible from all sides and the panorama does not have to hide behind that of the much more famous Dolomites . If you want, you can hike here on steep paths and, with a bit of luck, come across rare animal and plant species along the way. Since 1997, the Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi Nature Park has even been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Outdoor enthusiasts hike on an extensive network of paths past sulphur springs, impressive grottos and the spectacular Gole di Frasassi gorge. The Conero Nature Park, which is located south of Ancona, and Monte San Bartelo, which lies north of Pesaro, also offer landscape experiences at their best.

The distances between the lively coastal towns and the traditional villages of the mountain ranges are never very far, making the Marche region an ideal destination for all lovers of Italy and those who want to become one. Hardly any other area of the country is as pristine and spared from mass tourism as Le Marche, which is also the only one to have a plural article in its name.