Sun, mountains, grottos, lakes, sea and beaches. Wood cladded slopes, farmland, medieval towns and villages. Skiing, horse riding, climbing, cycling, rambling and hang gliding. Art, architecture, museums castles and forts. Art, good food and wine. All to be found in one fascinating region.
Le Marche, The Marches in English, is mostly an agricultural region and is surprisingly very green. Le Marche is situated in the centre-north of Italy on the Adriatic coast with an area of 9,694 sq. km., 180 km of coastline and a population of 1,426,000. It is divided into four provinces as shown on the map. To the west of the Ascoli Piceno and Macerata provinces are the impressive Sibillini mountains, (often spelt Sibylline in English) a 40 kilometre range with several peaks the western side of which runs down into Umbria. The Sibillinis make up the regions National Park and Nature Reserve. From this mountain range, hills roll eastwards towards the coast. The driving distance between the mountains and the beaches is approximately 1 Hour. The area is dotted with small towns and quaint villages perched on wooded hilltops, mostly with historic centers built in local stone.
A towns comune (municipality or town council) usually covers quite a large surrounding area divided into districts known as contradas. This area will be mostly agricultural or woodland but may contain smaller villages or hamlets known as frazione (e.g. Ceresola frazione di Smerillo where Ceresola is a small hamlet in the municipality of Smerillo). The main roads follow the valleys with smaller roads branching off to the hilltop towns. These roads are much narrower (similar to 'B' roads in the U.K.), usually well surfaced with asphalt but may be steep and curvy depending on the terrain. The region is interlaced with white roads (gravel) connecting the many small frazione dotted around the countryside. These gravel roads are ideal for walking, serious trekking, cycling, biking and most are perfectly viable by car.
The Sibillini National Park has many footpaths which are mostly signposted for the more adventurous and those who want to get nearer to nature. There are also many routes among the mountains for cycling and mountain biking. The Park offers many other activities such as horse riding, climbing and skiing.
Besides the National Park there are a number of Regional Parks in the Province of Ancona, namely the Parco Regionale della Gola, della Rossa and di Frasassi where you will find the famous caves Grotte di Frasassi (see our maps section). Immediately south of Ancona there is the Parco Regionale del Conero. Monte Conero 572 metres a.s.l. is at the heart of the park with the most astounding views of the coastline. Steep calcareous cliffs descend steeply into the blue-green Adriatic sea with lots of small coves and beaches. The park has a visitors centre with ample parking in Via Peschiera, Sirolo. Besides lots of free pamphlets and maps you will find details of guided cycle outings with your own or hired bikes and daily guided walks ranging from easy through intermediate to demanding.
The Adriatic coast offers a great variety of resorts from the very quiet to the crowded, both sandy and pebbly.
Restaurants, large and small are abundant throughout the Marche region and prices are very reasonable, you will enjoy the local food and excellent wine. The local people must be among the most friendly in Italy.
See our selection of photo albums of Le Marche
Worth a visit.
Find and click on English Version in the opening page. All main pages are in English but unfortunately all other links lead to Italian pages - still worth looking at.