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LE MARCHE

Italy-in-One Region

ITALIAN SECRET

Le Marche is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Sandwiched between the Adriatic and its better known neighbours Tuscany and Umbria, this quiet and sparsely-populated region has long slipped under the travel radar. Yet with a string of charming hilltop towns and a landscape ranging from snow-capped Apennine peaks to dreamy beaches and otherworldly caves, it’s the perfect place to experience Italy without the crowds. Outstanding with their geometrical shapes and imposing appearance, Italian castles are not only awe-inspiring but absolutely marvelous – a splendor that is best observed in person. Interestingly, no two castles seem alike and each has unique features that correlate with historical events, natural surroundings, and political changes over the centuries.

RICH HISTORY

Few countries in the world are suffused with such a strong sense of historical continuity as Italy. From the myths that surround the birth of the Etruscan civilization to the foundation of United Italy in the 19thC, past and present are inextricably linked in a seamless web that stretches back over three millennia. This short account provides a thread to guide you through the labyrinth of this complex story. You'll find more detailed local history in the individual town pages.

RESTAURANTS

Marche is centrally located on the eastern Italian coast, nestling between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. The region is characterised by a rugged, mountainous inland and a beach-lined coast, dotted with quaint seaside towns. These variations in the region’s geography are also reflected in its food; seafood is popular, along with rural delicacies such as wild funghi, game, nuts and herbs and the region’s treasured truffles. Coniglio in porchetta, rabbit stuffed with wild fennel is a revered regional speciality, and traditional porchetta made with suckling pig and stuffed into rolls is a popular street food.

Autumn in Le Marche

If you are not fond of hot days and you love the beautiful mild sunny days, when the sun gently caresses your skin and senses, inviting you to spend time in the open air, why don’t you take the chance of a holiday in Marche in Autumn?

The Scent of the Grape Harvest

Especially in the first part of autumn, the scents of the grape harvest invade the Marche hills. With must they make the typical, soft donuts that you can find in many local bakeries, must biscuits, perfect to be served with “vino cotto” (literally “cooked wine”) and “sughetti” (a kind of polenta made of must, corn flour and walnuts). When the must is cooked for a long time, sapa is produced: it is a sweet and sticky ingredient perfect for seasoning polenta and making cavallucci (a typical local biscuit). In Montecassiano the festival of sughitti is held during the last week of September. The oldest Sagra dell’Uva (wine festival) in Italy is held in Cupramontana at the beginning of October: it’s a festival with food, music, dances and, of course, Sir Wine.

Olive Harvest & Olive Oil

One of the most magical moments in Marche, and in Italy in general, happens at the end of October / beginning of November: this is the month of the olive harvest, when you will see many people working around the olive trees to pick the precious fruit. Do not hesitate: the new oil, with its intense green color, is immediately ready to be tasted and purchased. If you have friends who have a farmhouse in the countryside with olive grove, ask them to invite you for the harvest: it will be a beautiful moment to share with your friends and then you can bring the olives to the mill and attend to the production of your own olive oil.

The Foliage of Canfaito Beech Forest

If you want to make an experience of colours, then you can’t miss the Canfaito beech forest: every year you can enjoy the same and always different show of the beech leaves changing colours. You’ll feel like under a golden dome made of yellow, orange and red leaves. Just enjoy a relaxing walk under the beech trees and don’t forget to stop by Elcito, a tiny untouched village, where you can breathe an atmosphere of old times, when shepherds woke up at dawn, spent the whole day out with their animals, longing to go back home and find some warmth in front of the fireplace with their families.

Medieval Villages

Visiting the numerous Medieval villages spotted all around Marche may be quite a challenge under the August sun, but doing it in Autumn, when the air is still warm and sun lights up the stones that make up the town walls, has a totally different appeal. Stroll through the narrow streets of the Marchigiano towns, where a beautiful panorama awaits you at every corner. Difficult to recommend a village: just switch off your satellite navigator, follow a less traveled road and certainly you will find a quiet and nice village waiting to welcome you.

Chestnut Festivals

The good and sweet smell of roasted chestnuts is one of the nicest in autumn. You can go yourself to look for chestunts and then cook them at your place or, if you are not sporty enough, there are many chestnut festivals in October, especially in the Sibillini area, where people roast chestunts along the roads and you can buy a cone. The most famous chestnut festivals in Marche are in Smerillo and Montemonaco. Smerillo is particularly famous also for being one of the balconies of Marche: thanks to its elevated position, you can admire wide open views, stretching from the Sibillini mountains to the sea, passing through the rolling hills and medieval villages.

Truffle

Autumn also offers another delicious, sought-after and highly appreciated product: truffles. Two are the most important events in Marche dedicated to truffles: the National Fair of White Truffle in Acqualagna and Diamanti a Tavola in Amandola, dedicated to the precious white truffles of the Sibillini. The most famous chestnut festivals in Marche are in Smerillo and Montemonaco. Smerillo is particularly famous also for being one of the balconies of Marche: thanks to its elevated position, you can admire wide open views, stretching from the Sibillini mountains to the sea, passing through the rolling hills and medieval villages.

The Conero Area in Peace

Ok the temperature is not suitable for a swim but the Conero without the crowds of summer allows you to make many experiences, from cycling to walking (we especially recommend two trips: the viewpoint up to Passo del Lupo, and that from the Belvedere) as well as visiting the villages of Sirolo and Numana.

Travel to Le Marche

AIRPORTS

Le Marche’s main transport hub is the Adriatic port city of Ancona. International flights serve Marche Airport just northwest of town, while ferries sail to and from destinations in Greece, Croatia and Albania.

PRIVATE CAR

You need to be a good driver in Le Marche; the roads are narrow and often steep. Fly to Ancona and rent a car. For speed, take the A14, connecting the entire region along its 111-mile coastline, from Pesaro in the north to Ascoli Piceno in the south. For pleasure, drive the strade statali through Le Marche's beautiful landscapes.

RAIL

Once in the region, trains run up the coast and buses serve most inland towns and villages. Realistically, though, you’ll want your own wheels for exploring the region’s verdant hinterland. Car hire is available at Marche Airport and Ancona train station.

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