The Italians describe Le Marche as “all of Italy in one region.” This is a perfect description as this area combines a rich history and culture with breath taking mountain ranges, hills that roll like poetry and lush green fields that resemble a stunning and ever-flowing patchwork carpet.
Whilst most of Le Marche is an enchanting tapestry, rich in greenery and medieval villages, southern Le Marche also benefits from a close proximity to the National Sibillini Park and the Sibillini Mountains.
Despite a relatively small population of 1,564,886 people, the region boasts a flourishing economy with the lowest unemployment rate in Italy and hence is an ideal proposition for those interested in starting or expanding a business.
|The Sights||The Culture|
|The Fashion||The Food|
|The Wine||How to get to Le Marche|
Tiny townships perch on hilltops crowned by medieval castles. Larger towns in the valleys house incredible architecture and many museums and art galleries of great interest.
Romanesque churches abound in even the smallest villages and there is still room for six national and regional parks to enjoy, especially the Sibylline and Gran Sasso mountains.
Basilica della Santa Casa
The Basilica della Santa Casa is an outstanding Duomo in Loreto that legend says is meant to hold the house in which Mary and Joseph are said to have raised Jesus. As the story goes, although the house was originally found in Nazareth, it was under threat from the Turks so angels carried it all the way across mountains and the Adriatic to the safety of Loreto. It’s also worth noting that this is the reason that the Virgin Mary is often referred to as Our Lady of Loreto .
As you can imagine, Loreto has become a site of pilgrimage for Catholics and huge attraction even for non-Catholics. Truly a wonderous place.
The 180km coastline of mainly blue flag standard beaches are a delight for swimmers and sailors, especially the southern coast known as the Palm Riviera which is fringed with the palm trees and tamarisks that characterise the area. Grottammare (where Mia Casa Marche is based,) is a particular gem of the Palm Riviera.
Grotte Di Frasassi
The Grotte Di Frasassi are huge cave structures discovered in 1971 in Genga in the province of Ancona. These caves are some of the grandest, most magnificent natural caves in all of Europe and offer an outstanding example of underground lakes, stalagmites, stalactites and crystal formations. Truly stunning; they are an absolute must see.
Did you know, that one of the ‘rooms’ in the Grotte Di Frasassi known as ‘Ancona Abyss’, is so huge that the even the great Duomo cathedral in Milan could easily fit inside it?
When you think of Italian culture it is easy to think of the Colosseum in Rome or the great Dante and his Divine Comedy poems from Florence. But what about Le Marche? Well, although it might not be immediately obvious, Le Marche has some of the richest historic culture in Italy.
Raphael, one of the greatest Renaissance painters and arguably one of the greatest painters to have ever lived, whose works are now predominantly held in The Vatican was from a small Marche town called Urbino. Featured to the right is one of his most famous pieces, ‘The nymph Galatea’.
Born in the coastal Marche town of Pesaro and considered the ‘Italian Mozart’, Rossini was a hugely prolific and now world famous composer of, amongst other works, 39 different operas. What is particularly interesting is that despite being renowned as a composer, Rossini actually gave up music at 39 years of age and instead took up cooking. He later became known as ‘The Fat One’, and even now his name adorns restaurant menus everywhere with great meals like ‘Tournedos Rossini’.
Leopardi was an Italian poet who was born in Recanti in Le Marche. Although Le Marche was actually part of a papal state in Leopardi’s time, he became a leading character during the Enlightenment. His most famous works are generally considered to be the Canti or L’infinito (The infinite) that famously ends with the line ‘E il naufragare m’è dolce in questo…‘ ( It’s sweet to drown in this…) Because of these fantastic works he is often mentioned in the same paragraphs as other Italian literary greats such as Dante, Boccachio and Petrach.
Fashion is one of the first things you think of when you think of Italy. Some of the greatest names in current modern fashion like Prada and Armani are based here in Le Marche. There is a reason that Le Marche is also world famous for producing some of the finest shoes, bags and leather goods as it is also home to Tod’s, Fey, Cavalli and Lori to name but a few.
Forget Milan if you’re looking for style, Le Marche is the new capital of fashion.
Tip: If you’re looking for great deals on new fashion you should definitely take a trip to one of the many fashion outlets in Le Marche. Some choice options might be:
Prada – Fashion – Via Alpi, 97 Montegranaro (Prov, Ascoli Piceno)
Fornarina – Shoes- Zona Industriale A, Civitanova Marche (Prov.Macerata)
Tod\’s – Shoes – Corso Garibaldi (Loc.Casette D’ete) 134 Sant’Elpidio A Mare (Prov.Ascoli Piceno)
Le Marche offers some truly fantastic local food and eating out isn’t an expensive habit in the region either so it can be quite easy to try some incredible new gastronomy. Typically you can get a full three course meal with side dishes, wine, water and coffees for between 10 and 20 Euros per person.
A good point to know is that residents of Le Marche are known amongst Italians for eating huge amounts of meat so if you’re ordering a meat dish then you will not be disappointed in the size or quality.
If you eat along the coast then you must try the local seafood. It’s often plucked straight out of the sea that morning. Spaghetti alla vongole (clams) is a real treat as is brodetto which is a popular local fish stew made with 13 different species of fish.
If you visit Le Marche in the summer you should definitely try the local truffles. If you get the opportunity you should take a trip over to Acqualanga and Sant’Angelo in Vado to sample the freshest truffles.
Tip: If ever you see the dish, ‘Tagliatelle con funghi’ (Tagliatelle with mushrooms,) check to see if it comes with truffle because if so you will fall in love with the dish.
The region is also making a decided move towards organic farming methods – the fruit, vegetables, cheeses, hams, salamis, wines, olive oils, truffles and other local produce from this fertile area are top quality. The restaurants firmly believe in following the seasons and using the best produce available at each time of the year – the way nature intended. In the summer time many towns hold festivals to promote their particular gastronomic speciality.
Le Marche wine is considered a must by gourmet travellers and sommeliers in restaurants world wide and is rapidly finding itself in homes worldwide due to it’s subtlety on the pallet and lightness on the wallet. That’s not to say that all the wine is cheap, of course you can find top class wines that will cost you but on the whole, Le Marche offers fantastic wines at excellent prices.
Tip: Generally you can’t go wrong with the house wine (vino della casa).
Le Marche produces a huge amount of white wines, it’s pride being Verdicchio made from the local grape of the same name.
Tip: The local white goes particularly well with fresh fish straight from the Adriatic.
Although famous for it’s white, Le Marche also boasts some excellent red wines. A particular favourite is the Rosso Piceno. Smooth on the pallet yet tangy and refreshing, it always seems to taste especially good when the sun is just setting over the hills.
Le Marche boasts 20,000 hectares of vin-yards and the owners are always keen for visitors which is not only a great way to spend the day but can also lead to some rather nice reductions in price.
The main Airport in Le Marche is situated to the north of Ancona. It offers regular flights and large short and long stay car parks. It is easily accesible as the A14 Autostrada runs the length of Le Marche and connects with Bologna in the north and Bari in the south. i
Ancona Airport offers a huge choice of flight destinations from many airlines. Ryanair for example flies to:
London (Stansted), Brussels, Madrid and Seville
To reach the south of Le Marche it is just as easy to fly to Pescara Airport which is located in Abruzzo. Pescara is only 60km to the south of Grottammare where Mia Casa Marche is based.
Ryanair also flies into Pescara all year round. Some of the destinations they offer are:
London (Stansted), Barcelona, Brussels, Eindhoven, Oslo, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan.
There are also regular flight in to nearby Rimini and Bologna airports which are both in good driving distance from Le Marche.
Rome is also a very good option. Although it is much further away from Le Marche than the other airports, flights to Rome are typically far more regular and generally cheaper than other smaller airports. Okay, so it’s a bit of a trek from Le Marche but that\’s not a problem as there are regular luxury coaches that run directly from Rome airport to Le Marche. This coach trip typically takes about 3 hours and tends to be very affordable at 35 Euros return.
By Road and Rail
Popular attractions are within easy reach from Ancona. Rome can be reached in just over three hours, Bologna in two hours and the cities of Perugia and Florence are both less than three hours away by car.
Italian rail services are very reliable and generally far cheaper than in the UK. There are excellent and regular services north to Bologna from Le Marche from which point you can easily move onwards to Paris and the UK.
If coming to Italy from the UK by car, it is easy to drive from Calais down to Le Marche and can be done in about two days. However, there are a few points that need to be noted if you choose to drive.
Continental motorways often charge tolls. France can be particularly expensive so a good route down is often to cross from Calais in to Belgium then down through Luxmbourg, Germany, Switzerland and finally in to Italy. From Milan you can pick up a direct Autostrada (motorway) to Le Marche. You will face tolls in Italy but they are dramatically cheaper than in France.
Switzerland. Upon entry, Switzerland will change you 40 Euros as a form of road tax to allow use of their motoways. Once paid, they will place a sticker in your windscreen allowing you use of Swiss motorways for the rest of the year.
Another great option can be the MotorRail options from northern Europe.
AutoSlaap trains run directly from Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands down to Livorno in Tuscany, Italy. From there it is an easy drive to Le Marche. The beauty of the MotorRail options is that The Netherlands is easily accessible from Scandinavia and the UK and the rail element removes the stress of the long drive and necessity to find and pay for hotels as the trains are sleepers.
Where can we travel once we are in Le Marche?
Le Marche is a fantastic hub through which you can see the beauty of southern Europe, So we’ve already mentioned above that there are regular, reliable and very affordable coaches from Le Marche to popular destinations such as Rome. Other options get even more exciting when you realise that ferries run from Le Marche to great destinations such as Greece, Croatia and Turkey.