The saying ‘in the small barrel there is good wine’ seems to refer to the Marche region: small, but full of hidden treasures. Here you can enjoy sunny beaches, medieval villages, ancient traditions, artistic and architectural gems, unique landscapes, and excellent cuisine, all within a few kilometers.
Today we want to guide you through an itinerary that will allow you to discover some of the unmissable destinations in the Marche region. Discover what to see in this region in 7 days.
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On the border with Romagna is Gradara, a delightful medieval village dominated by an imposing castle. Inside the historic mansion, there are several rooms that are still furnished, including one that recalls the story narrated by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy and featuring Paolo and Francesca. Once outside, you can also walk on the high walls of the castle patrol walkway and admire the village from an unusual perspective. In Gradara every year during the summer season the Siege of the Castle is celebrated, with a costume event not to be missed.
We start in Pesaro, whose historic center is truly beautiful, and ideal to be explored on foot or by bicycle. Pesaro was also the birthplace of the musician Gioacchino Rossini. Book a visit to the Rossini House Museum and learn more about the artist’s life. Also in the city centre you will find the San Giovanni library and the Pescheria Visual Arts Centre, which today hosts contemporary art exhibitions and cultural events.
Moving towards the sea, one can instead admire the Sfera Grande, a bronze sculpture in a spherical shape created by the artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. There are also many places on the beach where you can have an apéritif and listen to live music.
This ancient university town is also the birthplace of Raphael, one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance. Here you can also visit the Raphael Sanzio House Museum, where some of his drawings and works can be found. The historic centre of Urbino has entered – with merit – in the list of UNESCO heritage sites. Strolling through its narrow streets, all uphill, you can admire the Palazzo Ducale, the ancient residence of Duke Federico da Montefeltro and today home to the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. Inside you can admire some 15th- and 16th-century masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Tiziano. Visiting it will be an opportunity to immerse yourself in Italian Renaissance Art. Inside the Palazzo Ducale, don’t miss the studiolo (small studio) and the Duke’s great library. Once outside, make a stop at the Duomo, with its octagonal dome.
Once these visits are over, you can treat yourself to a glass of wine in one of the town’s many wine shops and stroll up to the Albornoz Fortress in the highest part of the town. The climb will test you, but we guarantee that the effort will be more than repaid. The fortress, formerly built to defend Urbino, is now surrounded by the beautiful Parco della Resistenza (Resistance park), a peaceful place where you can relax while enjoying a marvelous view over the entire town and surrounding valley.
The Frasassi Caves and the Valadier Temple
In such a lush green region, you cannot miss a visit to one of the most incredible natural spectacles you can find in Italy: The Frasassi Caves. Large enough to contain the entire Milan Cathedral, the caves can only be visited in the company of a guide. Due to a large number of visitors, our advice is to book in advance to avoid tedious queues. The visit lasts about an hour, during which you can explore the various rooms and take a closer look at the stalactites and stalagmites.
A short distance from Frasassi is the Valadier Temple, in the municipality of Genga. Charming and very characteristic, this small temple is located inside a cave. To reach it, you will have to walk uphill for about a quarter of an hour. But don’t worry: it is an easy and undemanding climb, so much so that it can be done even with small children or a pram. Some people even go up the climb by bicycle.
The Conero Riviera
The Conero Riviera is a concentration of beauty, culminating in the amazing Due Sorelle (”two sisters”) beach in Sirolo. If you love the sea, this stretch of coastline will leave you stunned: in front of the small beach, bathed by crystal-clear water, emerge twin stacks, aptly named “the two sisters”. This beach can only be reached by sea. If you plan to spend a day of sun and sea here, we recommend that you leave early in the morning, as by the afternoon the beach will already start to get dark.
The Lake of Fiastra and the Lame Rosse
Nature lovers cannot miss the Fiastra Lake and the Lame Rosse, nicknamed by many the “Italian Grand Canyon”. The Lame Rosse are in fact red rock outcrops, reminiscent of the typical American landscape. To get to the Lame Rosse from Lake Fiastra you can take a pleasant trek through a forest. It is mostly an easy walk, with a more difficult final part due to the gravel and a steeper climb.
The Sibillini Mountains
The Sibillini Mountains are an essential stop for those who love the outdoors. Here the unspoiled, wild landscape will captivate you and make you forget the hustle and bustle of the city. Within this green oasis, you will find wonderful medieval villages and castles. If you like trekking, don’t miss the trail up to the Lake of Pilato or, if you prefer a slower pace, discover sanctuaries and enchanted places on easier trails.
In the southernmost part of the region is the town of Ascoli Piceno, a few kilometers from the Sibillini Mountains. The heart of the city is Piazza del Popolo, nicknamed the ‘lounge of Italy‘, entirely paved in travertine marble. Overlooking this square are the city’s main buildings: The Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo, the Church of San Francesco, various Renaissance palaces, porticoes, loggias, and the historic Caffè Meletti where artists and writers such as Sartre and Hemingway passed through, and which is still famous today for its “anisetta con la mosca”, a liqueur to which a whole coffee bean is added.
Strolling through the historical centre, one arrives at another beautiful square, Piazza dell’Arringo or dell’Arengo, so called because public assemblies (“arreghe”) were held here during the Middle Ages.
A very beautiful and not so well-known is Macerata. This town, with its squares and alleys full of lively cafés, will be the perfect city stop after so much sea and nature. The historical center of Macerata, enclosed between Piazza della Libertà – where the Loggia dei Mercanti, the Palazzo del Governo and the Lauro Rossi Theatre are located – and Piazza Mazzini, is truly enchanting. We recommend you walk through the center, browsing through the hidden courtyards and admiring the façades of the houses. Very characteristic is the Civic Tower. Its clock is famous for its carousel of magi (“wise wizards”) parading at 12 noon and 6 p.m.
Among the symbols of Macerata is the Sferisterio, a neoclassical stadium where many concerts of Italian and international artists and opera music are held during the summer season. Moreover, art lovers will find what they are looking for in the rooms of the Civic Museums of Palazzo Buonaccorsi, with its extremely rich art collection that includes, among others, works by the painter Parmigianino.
Famous for being the birthplace of Giacomo Leopardi, Recanati is worth a visit not only to admire the narrow streets of the town but also to retrace and discover the poet’s life. Leopardi’s places include the house of Silvia, his beloved, the house where his mother was born, the hill of infinity, and the house where Giacomo himself was born. But this town is not only famous for being Leopardi’s birthplace, as it is also home to the Museum of Music, where you can find instruments made by companies and craftsmen from the Marche region. In Recanati, you will also find the museum dedicated to the opera singer Beniamino Gigli. Some stage clothes, awards, and memorabilia belonging to the tenor are on display here.
And finally, during your stay in Recanati, don’t miss the Torre del Borgo with its beautiful panoramic terrace.
Moving from the hinterland to the sea, make a stop in the town of Senigallia. Here you will find the famous ‘Velvet Beach‘, so, called because of the softness of its sand. Awarded for many years the blue flag attesting to the quality of its services and the cleanliness of its coastline, Senigallia’s beach is loved by everyone: families, groups of friends, and couples. After a day at the beach, refresh yourself with a nice walk along the seafront promenade to the Rotonda a Mare. This now iconic structure is one of the symbols of the city. The old town center is also an architectural treasure, with contains several historical palaces – such as the Palazzo del Duca or the Palazzetto Baviera, both located on Piazza del Duca, near the Rovere fortress.
If you are looking for some fun, we recommend coming to Senigallia in the summer. In fact, during the summer, the city comes alive with events and concerts, including the famous Summer Jamboree, dedicated to American music and culture of the 1940s and 1950s.
The beaches of San Benedetto del Tronto
One of the most beautiful coastlines in the Marche region is the one in San Benedetto del Tronto. This unspoiled coastline, combined with the clubs and the many activities available, make San Benedetto del Tronto the perfect destination for those seeking relaxation and fun.
Heading towards the sea, a few steps away from the pine forest, is the Palazzina Azzurra, built in 1936 and a symbol of local tourism. Photo exhibitions and other cultural events are held here from time to time.
Walking along the promenade dotted with palm trees and characterized by numerous gardens, you can arrive at the beach, which offers fine golden sand, shallow waters, and many establishments where one can hire sunbeds and umbrellas.
The beach at San Benedetto del Tronto has been awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ since 1999, attesting to the quality of the coastline. Here, during the summer season, you can find many small bars where you can have a cool cocktail or attend a party.
As you may have guessed, this region is a surprise to discover, different in every season of the year. And you, have you already booked your villa holiday in Le Marche?