“So blessed by God for its beauty its variety its fertility; from this dwindling of mountains that protect, from this laying of seas that hug, from this rising up of hills that greet, from this opening of glens that smile” Giosuè Carducci
The region Marche really has an incredible amount of surprises to offer to tourists that come visiting this enchanting territory. In this article we are going to list some of the most beautiful towns to visit in the Marche. In this place there are small villages that looks as if they were lost in time, cities rich of history and culture, and towns rooted in traditions and legends. Every small town in the Marche has something special to offer, and we want to give you a preview of what you could see when discovering the territory from your holiday house in the Marche.
It’s not only about the monuments and the places of interest, but about the ambience, the smells, the traditions and events you cannot miss. The beauty of the Marche is found in the character of this territory, in the liveness of its inhabitants, and the perfect harmony between an urban and touristic territory, and the unspoilt nature which is still present in this region, from the mountains of the Appennini, descending toward gentle hills and the Adriatic Sea.
Our virtual tour in the most beautiful towns of le Marche
It doesn’t matter whether you choose the Marche for its beaches and relaxing time by the Adriatic Sea, or if you prefer trekking by the mountains in the interior of the region: you have an infinity of options for this beautiful territory and you should take some time to decide what to do on your holidays with your family taking into consideration all the different itineraries and ideas.
In our next article, we have started with a lists of the top 10 places to visit in the Marche, going from south to north of the territory: let’s get to know this incredible region’s towns, so that we can accede to the heart of the Marche!
It wasn’t easy for us to choose which town to propose, but you can’t really miss the next thirteen destinations if you want to really see the Marche.
Therefore, we have:
- Ascoli Piceno
- Cupra Marittima
1)Ascoli Piceno: the town of elegance
Ascoli is one of the most visited town in the Marche. What makes this town so different from all the other ones in the region is the great harmony of its constructions: in fact, the whole historical centre was built from stones taken from the Piceno’s caves and this gives the town a sense of elegance and smoothness, making it a real joy just to walk around these streets.
The most well-known feature of this town is Piazza del Popolo, one of the most fascinating squares that you will ever visit, not only in the Marche but in our entire country. The effects of perspective that is given by the buildings surrounding the square gives to the onlooker a feeling of greatness: all the edifices were built by the will of the governor Raniero de’Ranieri, following a strict standard of construction, with travertine columns, vaults made of red bricks and big windows. The results are striking.
2) Cupra Marittima and the Riviera of the Palms
When staying in the province of Ascoli Piceno, you simply cannot miss a visit to Cupra Marittima. This town is located by the sea, along the famous “Riviera delle Palme”, a promenade shadowed by thousands of luscious palms, along with blooming gardens, avenues, parks and a long cycling lane that you can follow up to Benedetto del Tronto.
Besides this, Cupra Marittima, with its ancient and beautiful medieval hamlet, offers to the visitors enchanting itineraries between the Mediterranean scrub, surrounded by the fragrance of pine-trees.
3) Fermo and his roman remains
We leave the sunny towns on the seaside and we delve into the hills of the interior. The territory around Fermo deserves to be visited as you will see here the true essence of the region Marche and you will feel as if you had turned back time. Fermo is a very beautiful town, rich of treasures from the past: we can see here, in fact, perfectly preserved Roman remains.
In particular, we suggest to visit the great complex of Roman water reservoirs, made of more than 30 subterranean tanks used to gather rain water and then distribute it to the whole town. You cannot miss the stop in one of the town’s many inns, where you can taste the many delicious local specialities, complemented with a good glass of red wine.
4) Macerata: the cultural Town of le Marche with its ancient university
We keep our ascent toward the north of the region by stopping in Macerata, a town that welcomes us in all of its cultural and artistic richness. Home to a famous University, founded in 1290, Macerata is a lively and intelligent town, where there is no lack of entertainment.
The town has more than 2.000 years of history, leaving evidences all over the town: one example is the library Mozzi Morghetti, one of the biggest libraries of the region, containing more than 350.000 volumes, some of which very old and invaluable.
5) Osimo the underground town
Osimo extends over a hill, that overlooks the underlying cultivated fields. From the top of the town a visitor can see the view spacing until it reaches Conero’s cape, an uncontaminated corner of the region, located just near the Adriatic. Secure behind imposing Roman walls, still perfectly preserved, Osimo is one of the cities in the Marche that has the most to tell, between history, legends and tales and histories and religious events that may or may not have happened.
For example, many people do not know that Osimo has a genuine subterranean town, made of tunnel and caves carved in the mountain more than 25000 years ago, so that people could protect themselves and stock up water. Besides, Osimo possesses a number of tales about miracles and healings and even three sanctuaries can be found in this town, where over the course of time, inexplicable events happened and are, even now, a place of pilgrimage.
6) Ancona: the most important city in le Marche
Surpassing the beautiful Conero, we arrive to Ancona. This city is the capital of the region and famous for its port, where people can board and leave for a number of locations, like Croatia and Greece. Its history is very ancient and is connected to that of the Pre-historical and Pre-roman populations, when written records did not exist yet.
It’s really difficult to make a short list of the things to see in Ancona, because there are simply too many. However, the good news is that almost everything can be visited by foot, as it is possible from the historic centre to walk to the port. Along the route, numerous artistic treasures can be found, like the majestic Arco di Traiano, still perfectly preserved, that was erected in Roman times and is now found just in front of the port.
7) Jesi, a real open-air museum
Let’s make a detour from the coast to the interior of the region as in our virtual tour across the Marche, we certainly can’t forget about Jesi. In fact, this ancient town which is surrounded by wide walls, is an actual open-air museum.
To Jesi was given from Unesco the name of “Exemplar city”, just for the care that is put in the preservation of the cultural and artistic heritage: and actually, you will see, when walking around the city, that there is an incedible numbers of churches, imposing buildings, museums and libraries. Another element very important to the city is the gastronomical one.
And in reality, this region of le Marche is famous for a variety of really unique recipes, like fig lonzino, the cavallucci, or the cheese pizza. This region is also very well known for its wines: the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is, for example, one of the most appreciated white wines at a national level, but in this territory we can also find the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and the Rosso Piceno, two very impressive red wines.
8) Fabriano: a town full of surprises
Let’s go further inland. We arrive at the Parco Naturale Regionale della Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi, the largest protected area in the Marche region. Here we could write a separate book, because there are so many things to see. Although we are talking about the towns of Le Marche, we recommend you stop for a walk in the unspoilt woods and perhaps a visit to the Frasassi caves, then continue on to Fabriano.
Fabriano is known throughout Europe as the ‘city of paper’, thanks to the many industries that have developed around the city over the years. You can visit the Paper Museum, which traces its history and where, especially children, can engage in creative workshops to learn how paper is made. But the surprises don’t end there.
Strolling through the streets of Frasassi you will come across the Museum of the Historic Piano and Sound, and the Museum of Ancient Crafts by Bicycle. You’ll even find an old pharmacy carved out of wood, the Mazzolini and Giuseppucci Pharmacy Museum dating back to 1896, as well as being able to taste unique typical dishes, such as Fabriano salami (Slow Food presidium) while enjoying a glass of craft beer.
9) Senigallia, la città delle Marche con la spiaggia di velluto
Did you miss the sea? Let us return, just for a moment, to the coast, to reach Senigallia. We have already mentioned it extensively in previous articles for its beach, defined as “velvet”, which attracts tourists from all over the world. Senigallia, however, offers much more to its visitors.
An unmissable stop is undoubtedly the Rocca Roveresca, a symbol of military architecture from different eras perfectly harmonised with each other. The foundations bear traces of the original structure, built in Roman times, and inside, you can see the remains of the limestone blocks that made up an ancient quadrangular tower. On top of this was built, first a small fortress commissioned by Cardinal Albornoz and later, in the 15th century, the fortress of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. However, it was Giovanni della Rovere, lord of Senigallia from 1474 to 1501, who gave the Rocca Roveresca its current structure, in perfect Renaissance style.
Visiting the Rocca Roveresca is like taking a leap back in time, discovering the architectural differences of the various periods and letting yourself be captured by the magical and mysterious atmosphere of the Rocca, witness to who knows what adventurous events.
10) Corinaldo, “the town of fool”
We continue our journey back into the hills to one of the most extravagant towns in the Marche region. It is Corinaldo, known as the “town of the madmen”. It seems, in fact, that the inhabitants of Corinaldo are characterised by great inventiveness, cunning and ingenuity. Once a year, Corinaldo even hosts the Festa dei Folli (Fools’ Festival) where participants can receive the prestigious ‘Passaporto del Matto’ (Fool’s Passport).
Corinaldo is also a beautiful village to visit on foot, with its walls and views of the landscape below. Here you can also find the birthplace and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Goretti, Saint and Martyr of the Catholic Church, venerated throughout Italy.
11) Mondavio, the town where time stopped
Not too far from Corinaldo, in a strategic position on high ground, stands Mondavio. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and certified with the Orange Flag (the tourist-environmental quality mark) by the Italian Touring Club. Mondavio is protected by its Rocca, an imposing example of Renaissance defensive construction.
Strolling through the narrow streets of the town, we expect to see a 16th-century lady with her handmaidens or a group of soldiers appear from around the corner. Time seems to have stopped. Accomplice to this evocative sensation are the reconstructions of the environments and scenes of daily life set up inside the Rocca, and the many reconstructions of war machines that are placed near the moat, under the fortress.
12) Urbino, the most fascinating city of le Marche
At this point we enter a beautiful hilly landscape of cultivated fields, vineyards as far as the eye can see and small forests. If you get hungry, it won’t be hard to find a place where you can pamper yourself with the many local specialities and a glass of wine. Fascinated by the landscape that surrounds us, we almost don’t realise that we have arrived near Urbino.
The view of the city, in itself, leaves you speechless. Urbino is a true work of art, one of the most representative examples of Italian Renaissance architecture. Urbino was the court of Federico di Montefeltro, an important Renaissance patron, second only to Lorenzo il Magnifico. Federico put his heart and soul into making his city beautiful, safe and culturally interesting. Within the impressive Ducal Palace, he surrounded himself with artists, painters, men of letters and musicians, and contributed to giving Urbino its character of a lively, open and stimulating city.
He also employed Giovanni Santi, a humanist, painter and poet, known as Raphael’s father. The young artist thus found himself growing up in a cultured environment, rich in stimuli, where his innate artistic talent was easily cultivated. In Urbino you can visit Raphael’s birthplace and the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, where you will find numerous Renaissance-style collections.
13) Pesaro, cittadina turistica e musicale
We end our virtual tour of the most beautiful towns in the Marche region by reaching Pesaro. We are once again by the sea and the atmosphere is that of a cheerful tourist town, suitable for children and families. Pesaro has its roots in the period of the Roman Empire, and there are many perfectly preserved remains that can be visited both in the old town centre and in the surrounding area.
Pesaro immediately reveals its cultural side: museums, theatres and libraries abound in the centre. There is an interesting multimedia museum in the house where Gioacchino Rossini was born in 1792.
Immediately north of Pesaro, Monte San Bartolo offers exciting routes for lovers of trekking and the outdoors, while families will find everything they need to have fun along the well-equipped beaches.