Le Marche – a rich history
Le Marche has a rich history.
The name Le Marche derives from the Frankish for “frontier”.
It was the birthplace of Rossini, Raphael, Leopardi the poet and many other great artists.
Le Marche became a key place for Renaissance art. Many artists thought of Le Marche fondly, whether it was their place of birth or somewhere they visited frequently. Major artists include Piero della Francesa, Bramante, Perugino and Raphael. Examples of their influence remain to this day.
For instance, Piero della Francesa’s work hangs in the National Gallery of Le Marche in the Ducal Palace, which is an excellent example of 15th-century architecture.
Across Le Marche, you can see notable examples of architecture from this period, and all of them are beautiful remnants of an intriguing past.
The region has abundant beautiful art, both in museums and countryside churches too. The brothers Carlo and Vittore Crivelli worked here and there are numerous examples of their work to be found in the area. The polyptych in Ascoli Piceno’s Duomo is regarded as one of Crivelli Brothers‘ finest works.
The village and Castle of San Leo and the legend of Count Cagliostro
The village of San Leo is found on the cliffs that loom above the river Marecchia and its surrounding valley. Boasting a picturesque view of the river and its valley, it is now home to a museum and extensive art collection, making it one of the leading historical and cultural places to visit in the region. However, the history of one man is what appeals to people most about San Leo.
According to Wikipedia, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro was the alias of the Italian occultist Giuseppe Balsamo. Cagliostro was an Italian adventurer and self-styled magician. He became a glamorous figure associated with the royal courts of Europe where he pursued various occult arts, including psychic healing, alchemy and divination.
Denounced as a charlatan, a forger and a swindler, he was arrested by the Inquisition and originally sentenced to death. This was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment at the Forte di San Leo, where he would die on 26 August 1795.
More places to visit – the larger towns in the region
The larger towns in the Le Marche region are also interesting places to visit. Ascoli Piceno has the stunning Piazza del Popolo, one of the prettiest squares in Italy. There is a museum with beautiful pieces, including a Rembrandt near the far corner of the square.
Fermo has underground Roman cisterns built between AD40 and 50. More on those below.
Macerata is home to one of Italy’s oldest universities and has a unique open-air theatre.
Offida is famous for its traditional lace-making and Loreto has the Basilica della Santa Casa. Legend has it that this duomo holds the home of Jesus’ childhood – carried here by angels.
Le Grotte di Frasassi
Le Grotte di Frasassi – Frasassi Caves – are the most extensive cave structures in Europe, with underground lakes, stalagmites, stalactites and crystal formations. Discovered in 1971, the Caves were explored thoroughly before being opened to the public in 1974.
The Roman Cisterns were built in the 1st Century AC in the Roman colony of Firmum Picenum to store water. The Cisterns are made up of a total of 30 rooms, subdivided into three lines per 2.200 square metres. The archways and high ceilings are a feat of Roman engineering and the temperature inside the Cisterns remains cool throughout the year.
The Teatro dell’Aquila (literally “the Eagle’s theatre) is absolutely stunning. From the outside you could be forgiven for walking past it, but the inside of the theatre is exceptional, with very elegant and sumptuous decoration throughout it’s five tiers.
Other historic and cultural places to visit
Other historic and cultural places to visit that may interest and entertain you, as included in Tripadvisor’s The 10 Best Things to Do in Fermo, are the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino church, the Duomo, another theatre – Teatro Arena Villa Vitali, and two museums – the Museo Archeologico and the Pinacoteca Civica, Palazzo dei Priori.