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Culture: Arts & Crafts

Ceramics in Le Marche - Maiolica (Click here for map of Urbino, Gubbio and Casteldurante (Urbania))


Maiolica is a type of tin-glazed earthenware pottery that originated in Italy during the Renaissance. Le Marche is a region in central Italy that has a long history of producing maiolica ceramics.

Maiolica production in Le Marche dates back to the 14th century, and the region quickly became one of the most important centers for maiolica production in Italy. The towns of Urbino, Gubbio, and Casteldurante (now known as Urbania) were particularly renowned for their maiolica production.

Maiolica ceramics from Le Marche are known for their rich colors, intricate designs, and high level of craftsmanship. They were often used for decorative purposes, as well as for practical items such as plates, bowls, and vases.

Today, maiolica production in Le Marche continues to thrive, with many artisans carrying on the traditions and techniques that have been passed down through the centuries. Visitors to the region can explore workshops and galleries where they can see these beautiful ceramics being made and purchase pieces to take home as souvenirs.

One of the best hat-making centres in Europe (Click here for map)


Montappone, Province of Fermo has a tradition of making hats, becoming one of the most important centres of production in Italy, together with the nearby towns of Massa Fermana and Monte Vidon Corrado.

Straw hats were the main product in past centuries, whereas the focus is now on the production of all kinds of fashion hats. More than sixty million hats are produced annually in this area. In Montappone you can also visit two different hat museums, including the unique one named “Il cappellaio pazzo” (The Mad Hatter) which pays homage to Lewis Carroll’s famous novel's day.

The Oldest Paper Manufacturing in Europe (Click here for map)

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The history and the heart of the paper making world in Europe began in Fabriano, Province of Ancona, Marche dating back to the 13th century. In 1276 the first paper mill opened. The paper produced was of such a high standard that it was chosen by renowned artists and writers throughout history such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, Albrecht Durer, Gustav Clint, J.M.W Turner and John Ruskin for their work.


The heart of lacemaking in Italy (Click here for map)


Offida, a town in the southern province of Ascoli Piceno, has a very important local tradition dating back over five centuries. That is lacemaking, which is still carried out in the traditional way using bobbins; the finished product being extremely intricate and beautiful. There are still many women here who continue the tradition, and you can watch them work and buy some of the intricate, elegant pieces of lace, pendants, earrings, bracelets they produce. It is very labour intensive, which requires experience and takes many hours to produce one piece. 

The world capital of accordion makers (Click here for map)

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Castelfidardo, a town in the province of Ancona, has been the international capital of accordion builders since the 19th century thanks to the ingenuity of the artisan and inventor Paolo Soprani, the creator of the first Italian accordion factory in 1863. Castelfidardo has since expanded to about 50 accordion factories. It also produces a variety of other musical instruments including the harmonica, piano, organ, keyboards, and guitar. Every October the town organises an annual accordion festival attracting musicians from all over the world. It also has a unique museum dedicated to the accordion, the International Accordion Museum, which houses over 350 instruments including a replica of the first-known example from China dating back 4,500 years.

The World Capital of Shoe Production


Le Marche has some of the best shopping outlets in Italy (which include designer shoes at discount prices) scattered in the hills mainly in the centre-south of the region. Artisans, small family-run factories, and big multinationals sit alongside one another producing fashions for designers such as Prada, Armani, and Tod’s. Most of the world brands are based in the region or produced under licence and have a Le Marche designer factory outlet or store where you can buy fashion at a discount. Whilst being the capital of footwear manufacturers in Italy, the region is also rich in manufacturing companies that produce locally made high-quality clothing, hats, and other goods like handbags. 

Some of the most prestigious fashion brands that are produced include Tod’s, Naturino, Hogan, Fay, Prada, Paciotti, Santoni, Loriblu, Kickers, Fabi, Fendi, Nero Giardini, Giorgio Armani, Pollini, Vic-Matiè, Simonetta, Versace, Gucci,

Giamarco Lorenzi, Nando Muzi, Rossi, Ugo Boss Churches, Paciotti, Alberto Guardiani, Sergio Rossi, and many others. Nearly 80% of Italy’s domestic production of footwear is based in the provinces of Fermo and Macerata. The factories and outlets gravitate mainly around six municipalities including Fermo, Civitanova, Monte San Giusto, Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Porto Sant’Elpidio, Montegranaro and Monte Urano.

One of the Oldest Motorcycle Factories still in operation in Europe (Click here for map)


The history of Benelli dates back to 1911 when the company was founded in Pesaro, Italy, by six brothers: Giuseppe, Giovanni, Francesco, Filippo, Domenico, and Antonio Benelli. Initially, the Benelli brothers focused on repairing and manufacturing motorcycle parts.

In 1921, Benelli produced its first complete motorcycle, a 98cc two-stroke model. This marked a significant milestone as it marked the company's transition from motorcycle component manufacturing to full-fledged motorcycle production.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Benelli expanded its motorcycle lineup and gained recognition for its innovative designs and engineering prowess. The company introduced larger displacement models, including the 175cc and 250cc motorcycles, which became popular for their performance and reliability.

In the 1930s, Benelli also ventured into racing and achieved notable successes. The company participated in various motorcycle racing events, including the prestigious Isle of Man TT races. Benelli motorcycles were known for their speed and agility, earning the brand a reputation on the racing circuit.

Following World War II, Benelli faced challenges as the factory was severely damaged. However, the company made a remarkable recovery and resumed motorcycle production. In the 1950s, Benelli gained significant traction in the market with the introduction of the Leoncino (Lion Cub) model, a small-displacement motorcycle that became highly popular in Italy.Today, Benelli remains an iconic Italian motorcycle brand. The company's headquarters and main manufacturing facility are still located in Pesaro. Benelli produces a diverse range of motorcycles, including sport bikes, naked bikes, adventure bikes, and scooters, blending Italian design, performance, and innovation. The brand continues to evolve, drawing upon its rich heritage while embracing modern technologies and meeting the demands of motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. 

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