Le Marche region is flanked by the Adriatic Sea and backed by the Apennine mountains. The coastline has a vast strip of sandy, palm-lined beaches and is more populated. On the peaceful mountains, many idyllic walled villages dotted the sparsely populated hills.
One of the more remote and least touristed regions of Italy, making it rarely crowded but authentic, it’s an ideal destination to relax and unwind on a laid-back vacation.
Marche has a long and rich history to discover and a multitude of quaint, tended towns and villages to explore. It has a charm all of its own, an atmosphere that cannot be found anywhere else!
The Marches is full of walled cities. During the 14th and 15th century, Le Marche was transformed into independent states ruled among the noble families and Papal State, and always in conflict one against the other, therefore, defensive fortresses and castles were built throughout the region. Some of these outstanding walled cities are Corinaldo in Ancona province and Gradara in the province of Pesaro-Urbino.
The historical Centre of Urbino is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The following towns and villages are among the beautiful villages or major towns in Marche and should be in the bucket list on any Marche’s vacation.
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Ancona is a seaside city built on two hills with its harbor between them. It was a bustling port ever since Roman times and even today, it is the main departure point for ferries heading to Croatia, Greece and Turkey. This city lies directly opposite Zadar.
Much of the town is modern and industrial. It was heavily demaged in both World Wars and then hit by an earthquake in 1972 . However, some of its old buildings still remain, such as the Arco di Traiano, built to honour Emperor Trajan, who played an important role in the development of the city. Not far from the cruise terminal is the 18th century Mole Vanvitelliana building. This pentagonal architectural complex was originally built as a quarantine hospital for Leprosy sufferers but is now home to the Tactile museum, where the knowledge of art is transmitted not through sight but through touch.
Piazza del Plebiscito, the main square, is home to several key buildings including the Church of Saint Domenico, the Prefettura di Ancona and the Museo della Citta , and a host of cafes and restaurants. The 11th century Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Ciriaco, located on the top of Monte Guasco, is the most iconic religious structure in the city. It can be seen from a distance. The vista uphill is stunning! Not far from the cathedral are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and a gladiatorial school. Do not miss the beautiful Caduti Monument dedicated to those who lost their lives during WWI .
Ancona boast some excellent beaches such as the Portonovo Bay, miles of sandy beaches and crystalline water, where you soak up the beautiful sun, or just relax under the shady palm.
Ascoli Piceno is known as the city of a hundred towers, as historical records show that there are about 200 towers during the Medieval times. There are still over 50 well preserved towers, to be seen today!
One of the unique characteristics of the city is the historic center is built largely out of the grey coloured marble travertine stone extracted from the surrounding mountains, which gleam brilliantly in the afternoon sun.
Piazza del Popolo is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. A Renaissance square, it is surrounded by buildings with elegant arcades and ornate facades, many of which house cafes and restaurants. Next, Piazza Arringo, the oldest square and several important buildings stand here. It is home to the Pinacoteca, the town’s excellent art museum displaying the ancient Ascoli , with its ancient towers in tact. The imposing Cathedral of St. Emidio stands in one corner, with the Baptistery of San Giovanni next to it.
Corinaldo is picture-perfect hilltop village, built in the shape of a heart hence its name which is derived from the Latin Cor in Altum ‘Heart on High’. It was voted as one of 'Italy's prettiest village' in 2007. Surrounded by a 14th century walls, it was divided into two sections by a massive 104 steps staircase , called the La Piaggia. Located at the center of La Piaggia there is a famous well, called the Polenta well. According to legend, a famer was climbing the stairs with a corn flour sack on his shoulders, and decided to stop at the well for a rest . He put the sack on the well's edge, unfortunately the sack tumbled down into it. The poor man tried to save it and went down into the well himself , and he was never to be seen again! Some of Corinaldo’s wonders including the Church of the Addolorata, Church of Santa Maria Goretti, neo classical Town hall, as well as the beautiful little opera house, the Teatro Goldoni.