Le Marche is still Italy’s best-kept secret, yet is as captivating an area as anything you will find elsewhere in the ‘bel paese’. Known as ‘Italy in one region’, it has retained its authenticity and remains one of the very few places in Italy to have escaped mass tourism despite its miles of untamed coastlines, medieval hilltop towns full of art and culture, it’s hidden beaches, its patchwork quilt countryside, its three national parks – it really is a secret slice of Italy. It is one of Italy’s last untouched regions. It’s a must if you have already ‘done’ Italy or for gourmet travellers, culture vultures and nature lovers alike and if you really want to experience true, authentic Italy.
Here’s a taster of what Le Marche has to offer:
Food is a fundamental part of any holiday experience wherever you travel in Italy. La Cucina Marchigiana is influenced by the land and sea with its combination of fertile farmlands and the nearby Adriatic coast. Delicacies include the highly-prized white and black truffles, fine olive oils, Olive Ascolana (breaded, stuffed olives) along with tasty salumi, porchetta (suckling pig stuffed with fennel and garlic), wild boar and mountain sheep cheeses.
Le Marche wines are making their mark on the world-stage and are now being taken seriously. Each year the list of excellent wines from Le Marche just keeps growing. In 2017 a Verdicchio from Le Marche was awarded Italian white wine of the year by the prestigious Gambero Rosso. Le Marche has been identified as one of the regions for THE next big thing in Italian wines. Come and discover for yourself with a guided tour of hand-selected vineyards – family run, consortiums, organic, bio-dynamic, sustainable – and learn for yourself about the classic and ‘non-classic’ wines of the region.
3. Art & Museums
With over 250 art galleries and museums to choose from you are sure to find something of interest. Le Marche is the birthplace of many talented artists and where the Renaissance first took root and is blessed with many works of art by such masters as Rubens, Raphael, Tiepolo and Titian. Not forgetting the Crivelli brothers who lived and worked here and whose triptychs can be found in the Duomo and the Pinacoteca (art gallery) in Ascoli Piceno as well as many other works of art in other towns.
4. Medieval Towns and Villages
Picturesque towns and villages throughout the region are perched on the top of the rolling hills and with views across the patchwork quilt countryside to the coast and the imposing mountains. With 23 voted as among the most beautiful in Italy you are spoilt for choice. Meander through the cobbled streets, visit the piazza, stop for a coffee and experience the slow rhythm of authentic daily life as you watch the world go by.
Ascoli Piceno is the jewel of Southern Le Marche. A travertine paved, architectural gem and its Piazza del Popolo is one of the most elegant piazzas in Italy.
Just a few of other towns of note include:
– Offida with interesting sites and museums as well as the home to traditional bobbin lace-making
– Fermo which boasts one of the largest and well-preserved examples of Roman cisterns in Italya and built around the 1st century AC
– Macerata which is home to the impressive open-air theatre and hosts the Macerata Opera Festival – one of Italys most prestigious musical events
The hilltop town of Loreto is one of the worlds most important shrines to the Virgin Mary and is visted by thousands of pilgrimes from around the world. Dominating the countryside for miles around is the dome of the cathedral Sanctuario della Santa Casa which hosts the house of Mary. The cathedral has a XVIII century bell tower and a XVI century octagonal dome. There are many chapels, paintings and statues that make this place truly unique. Outside the structure is further enriched by walkways, sticking out corridors built for defensive purposes views over the sea and the Sibillini Mountains.
6. Bonaccorsi Gardens
These gardens were painstakingly mapped out in the 1700’s, following principles of symmetry and geometry – and they remain faithful to the original design. They’re free to visit, and you’ll be treated to intriguing statues, views for miles and original automata making for an unforgettable day out.
I will stop there but the list goes on: 180 km of coastline known as the Riviera del Conero and the Riviera del Palme. The Frassasi Caves: an impressive array of stalactites and stalagmites spread along 1500 metres of limestone caverns. Outlet shopping: Le Marche has an endless number of manufacturers and designers and hidden in the hill-top towns are small businesses, outlets, shops and factory stores where you can pick up famous (and not so famous) brand fashions at a discount. If you want to see true artisans at work Le Marche is not to be missed. Sagras and Festivals: Mainly during the summer and autumn months a multitude of sagre are held in the local towns and people come from miles around to socialise, sing, dance and generally have fun.
Above all, the most endearing qualities of this region are its authenticity and the friendliness of the people. The pace is slower and you really get a feel for local living.
Whether you want to come as a couple or as a small group of friends our luxury boutique Hotel Leone is the perfect base to discover the undiscovered. We will help you to learn and experience more about the people, the customs, the history, the culture and the natural beauty than you ever could on your own. We want you to experience Italy like a local, find out what real Italy has to offer….