Le Marche is a region that has escaped commercial mass tourism for years and it has only been with the arrival of the low cost airlines that Le Marche has really opened up to adventurous travellers.
Discovering Le Marche means getting to know a land of excellence, history and traditions, an enchanting region featuring the mountains of the Apennine chain, which gently slope towards the sea along wonderful valleys.
Le Marche has got a network of cities of arts and historic villages with its gorgeous theatres, amphitheatres, libraries and museums that hold masterpieces by artists such as Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Bellini, Carlo Crivellia and Rubens. Its cultural heritage includes important religious structures such as abbeys, churches and monasteries and civil constructions like castles, fortresses and walled towns. The most important example is Urbino, a Unesco city and a capital of Renaissance, where the Duke Federico da Montefeltro commissioned the building of the Palazzo Ducale, one of the Europe’s most exquisite noble residences.
The region is also famous for its events such as the Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) in Pesaro, the Opera Festival in the Sferisterio in Macerata and the Pergolesi Spontini Festival in Jesi and Vallesina. Interesting figures such as Giacomo Leopardi, Raphael, Giovan Battista Pergolesi, Gioachino Rossini, Gaspare Spontini, Father Matteo Ricci and Frederick II were born here.
Perhaps not everybody knows that in Le Marche there are 500 piazzas in the centre of the historic towns and ancient villages; thousands of churches, including 200 Romanesque ones, 90 abbeys and important sanctuaries, 7 archaeological parks; 400 museums and art collections; more than 70 historical theatres; 180 km of coast with 26 resorts on the Adriatic Sea.
Le Marche is also famous worldwide for handicraft. The whole region is dotted with small and big treasures of master craftsmen and fashion products from footwear to leather goods, from clothing to accessories.
The varying types of beaches and the proximity of the hills and mountains open up a whole range of sporting options, including sailing, golf, scuba diving, thrilling horseback rides, water-skiing and mountain biking.
The two regional nature parks on the coast of Le Marche provide an opportunity to spend a holiday combining the joys of an unspoilt natural environment with the pleasures of the seaside. Between Gabicce Mare and Pesaro there is the Monte San Bartolo Regional Park, where it is possible to go for hikes and guided tours. The park comprises an area of wetlands of national importance and is the winter habitat of the herring gull, the Mediterranean gull and the cormorant. On the coast there are picturesque rocky coves with small beaches. The Monte Conero Regional Park includes woods of holm-oak and downy oak and there are large areas of Mediterranean scrub. The park is an excellent place to see passage-migrants such as the long-legged buzzard, the honey buzzard and the marsh harrier. Another regional nature reserve is the Sentina, between Porto d’Ascoli to the north and the Tronto river to the south. This is a land of sand and water, with sandbanks, salt marshes and wetlands that are home to 143 bird species.
The caves of Frasassi are one of the most interesting systems of limestone caves in Italy. After the discovery in 1971 of the Grotta Grande del Vento, the caves were opened to the public in 1974 and now attract thousands of visitors every year. With its fascinating series of small lakes, exquisite stalactites and gigantic stalagmites, the underground tour is enhanced by the spectacular use of lighting.