|Marche border on Emilia Romagna and San Marino Republic to the North, with Umbria and Toscana to the West, Abruzzo and Lazio to the South and Adriatic Sea to the Est. It extends over a surface of 9.694 square kilometres, whose 36% are mountains, 53% hills, and 11% are plains. It is divided into 4 provinces - Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata and Pesaro-Urbino. The Regional Administrative centre is Ancona.|
Tourist may wonder if the people who live in the Marches are glad to inhabit this corner of Italy. Well, yes: they are very happy to live here. Their land is not characterized by a showy spectacularity. It is quiet and rarely appears on the crime news; besides, year by year it acquires an important place in the world market thanks to the production of high-quality objects. Here people are well-balanced and their region, citing a very common phrase, is "man's measure/suitable for men".
There are at least ten good reasons to visit or choose it as a temporary residence, intentionally excluding from the list the general features of the region: first of all the colourful landscape with low hills alternating with little towns located on hazardous peaks.
The Marches are definitely different from the bordering regions: the rich and flat Emilia-Romagna, the green and less cultivated Umbria, and Abruzzi which still has some wild areas. Geografically, the Marches area a real island, whose features are so unique and at the same time varied that the writer Guido Pinvene described them as a "concentrate" of Italy.
Also eno-gastronomy is considered a constant characteristic: food is far from the Nouvelle Cuisine; on the contrary, it is linked to tradition and often it occupies a relevant place in cooking history. This region boasts 12 C.D.O. (controlled denomination of origin) wines. The sea - with an extension of about 170 Km - is an element of life and civilization on the Marches, besides greatly influencing its gastronomy.
The third general element is the widespread historical, artistic and architectonic worth. Over the centuries, the Marches gathered extraordinary evidences. One-month of hiking would not be sufficient to get an idea of all that. In this region, the new relationship between sea and hinterland - which satisfies the most favourable conditions for an involvement which can be daily and not simply occasional. After saying that, we can try to choose the ten most famous popular, fascinating destinations, always remembering that their outskirts are as rich in interesting aspects. First of all Urbino, which represents the best "vehicle" the Marches have to make themselves known all over the world. Urbino is a town to be visited with and adequate preparation as it is the heart of a steady and refined civilization, the Montefeltro's, that left excellent evidences. Another town that can satisfy the wish for knowledge and aesthetic sense is Ascoli Piceno, so cosy and well-preserved that it is defined "a small Siena".
Beautiful squares, narrow foreshortened streets (rue), nobles' towers, decorated or severe-looking churches remind the tourist the XV century. Ancona is the administrative centre of the region; it is searching for its precise functional identity although those who see it from the A14 motorway - with the S. Ciriaco on the 5^ of Guasco Hill - enjoy a view that confirms it to be a town with a great spectacular effect. After all, the ancient part of Ancona is suggestive and it would be worth a thorough visit. The green lung of this area is the Conero Riviera with its flora, fauna, panoramic glimpses, its little creeks on the sea and big and small rocks which contribute to create a magic atmosphere, especially where urbanization is moderate and respectful to nature.
The same type of atmosphere is typical also of the Caves of Frasassi, near Fabriano "the town of paper", Fabriano, a centre full of history whose value has become rapidly a destination for thousands of tourist, among which there are many Italian and foreign students.
Talking about colours, the Marches wonders include the Sibylline Mountains chain which, in addition to costituting a beautiful background from the inside of the region, offers wonderful landscapes, seasonal flowering, possibility of relaxing stays in several centres, and all that is often increased in value by history and arts.
As far as religious tourism is concerned, the Marches boasts the town of Loreto, site of the homonymous Madonna's Sanctuary and therefore frequently the destination of numerous devotional pilgrimages. But there are other important historical towns such as Jesi, Fermo, Macerata, Fano, Pesaro, Fabriano, Camerino, San Severino, Cingoli, Osimo, Offida, original destinations continuously offering new discoveries. The town of Recanati, where it is still possible to feel Leopardi's harmony, is among the ten treasures of Marches. These places praised by the poet arouse deep emotions in those who know his immortal verses.
Dulcis in fundo: the Marches Riviera beaches. From Gabicce's panoramic sceneries to Grottammare and S. Benedetto del Tronto's wonderful palms boulevards there is a succession of sandy shores or natural rock creeks. It is not easy to choose ten reasons for coming and visiting the Marches. In the region, in addition to 246 municipalities, there are panoramic destinations, gorges, Roman settlements, art galleries, private art collections, evocative events and folklore. The region considerable thermal wealth is considered an extra advantage to a traditional holiday: seven thermal baths in the 4 provinces offer the possibility to join the pleasure of sea or mountains and the benefit of treatments for several diseases.
Thermal baths, which usually are surrounded by the greenery and supported by good hotel accomodations, can be found at Carignano and Monte Grimano (in Pesaro-Urbino province), S.Vittore (Ancona), Sarnano and Tolentino (Macerata) and Acqua Santa and Torre di Palme (Ascoli Piceno).
The Marches industry and craftsmanship are not to be forgotten, as they have often gone beyond the national borders, making a name for itself in the world. All that is the result of creativity and passion for regional entrepreneurship, whose most famous leaders are Merloni, Scavolini, Berloni, Benelli, Gabrielli, Guzzini, Poltrona Frau, Jenny, Grati, Italiana Manifatture. This means that progress succeeds in creating sophisticated and refined manufactured articles but not in alterating traditional values - like the pleasure of staying together with simplicity and fun -, inherited from a great country civilization which leaves respect for other people's personal sphere, solidarity, friendship, sense of professional creativity and measure intact.