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Guide to Le Marche

Proudly sponsored by Friends of Le Marche, Italy

Italy. What a world of images that word conjures up. Sunshine, wonderful food, mellow red wine, renaissance art, romantic music, tranquil rolling landscapes…


There is a part of Italy where you can find all the good things that Italy has to offer! It is called Le Marche. This unspoilt region offers a rare blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. It also offers an affordable option for relaxing, family-friendly holidays for every taste and age. There are snow-capped mountains for climbing or skiing, 180 kilometres of sandy beaches for swimming or just lounging, medieval villages to explore and vistas of glorious rolling hills which you can just sit and enjoy. 



Historic Hilltop Towns: Montefiore dell'Aso, Province of Ascoli Piceno, founded in 1178. This enchanting town is the birthplace and inspiration for the Association of the Friends of Le Marche, Italy. (

The local communities appear to have resisted external influences and still live rich but simple, slow-paced lives. This, coupled with other local factors, has produced a populace that live longer than in many other parts of Europe! A sense of well-being is manifest.


Within Le Marche, 19 of its 236 villages have been accepted into the Club of Most Beautiful Villages, as recognised by the National Association of Italian Communes. The Association’s goal is to protect, preserve and revitalise many of the small towns and villages that have suffered after years of mass exodus by citizens, often for the purpose of finding work in cities.

Seaside: Beach of San Michele, Sirolo, Province of Ancona

One of the Most Diverse and

Picturesque Landscapes in Italy

Le Marche is often described as “All of Italy in one region” and “the best of central Italy”.

It combines most of the elements that make Italy special: stunning landscapes, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, over one hundred miles of white sandy beaches and blue sea.

It also offers rich wildlife, lakes, valleys, nature reserves, cities of art, medieval towns, hill-top villages and castles unspoilt by tourism.

180 kilometres of pristine coastline and sandy beaches:

Le Marche has been voted as having the second cleanest beaches in Italy (by the Federation for Environmental Education). There are now 18 'blue flag' beaches in Le Marche spread along a total of 180 kilometres (111.8 miles) of pristine coastline with 26 seaside resorts and nine marinas.


The important "eco-label" is given to sites that meet strict criteria including water quality, environmental management, safety and other services

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Mountains: View of Sibillini Mountains from Osimo, Province of Ancona

The largest cave system in Europe:

The Frasassi Caves are the largest cave system located near Genga in the province of Ancona. They are the longest and among the most interesting in Italy with a 240 m high central chamber which is large enough to comfortably hold Milan cathedral. 

The protected area is a series of towering limestone gorges which provide the rocky habitat for several golden eagles as well as peregrine falcons and eagle owls. 

​​The region offers a wide selection of parks and protected nature reserves

There are 12 protected areas: two national parks (Monti Sibillini and Gran Sasso plus Monti della Laga), four regional parks (Monte Conero, Sasso Simone e Simoncello, Monte San Bartolo and Gola della Rossa plus Frasassi), six nature reserves (Abbadia di Fiastra, Montagna di Torricchio, Ripa Bianca, Sentina, Gola del Furlo and Monte San Vicino plus Monte Canfaito), and more than 100 protected plant and flower areas with 15 state forests.

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Key Regional Information

No. of Provinces: 5

Provinces: Pesaro Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, Fermo & Ascoli Piceno

Capital City of the region: Ancona

No. of Municipalities: 236

Population: 1,541,692

Domonym(s): Marchigiano, Marchigiani

Area Size: 9,614 Km2 (3,743 sq. mi)

Density: 160.0 Km2 (430/sq. mi)

Coast Line: 180 Km (111.8 mi)

Max Altitude: 2,476 m. (8,123 ft.)


Mountain: 31.2% Hill: 68.6% Plain: 0.0%

How do you say it?

Le Marche is pronounced 'lay markay'. It translates into English as 'the Marches’. The "ch" has the k sound when it goes before the "e" or "i". It is an ancient German word meaning "lands along the border“ or borderlands.


Where is it?

Le Marche lies on the eastern side of central Italy, nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine mountains. It borders Emilia Romagna, San Marino and Tuscany to the North, Umbria to the West and Lazio and Abruzzo to the South (see map). The region is divided into five provinces: Pesaro and Urbino (PU), Ancona (AN), Macerata (MC), Fermo (FM) and Ascoli Piceno (AP).


How do we get there?

Le Marche is easily accessible via low-cost flights to five airports including Ancona, Pescara, Rimini, Bologna and Perugia of which Ancona (Raffaello Sanzio Airport) and Bologna (Guglielmo Marconi Airport) are the most conveniently located.

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Architecture: Cloister of the Basilica of St Nicola of Tolentino, Province of Macerata (built 14-16th Century)

Ideal for outdoor exploring and sport   

The extremely varied landscape and varying natural environments of Le Marche offer opportunities to enjoy many different sports and outdoor pursuits including biking, hiking, trekking, horseback riding, golfing (18 golf courses), diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, alpine and cross country skiing - all in a pleasant and safe environment.

Le Marche also offers seven main ski resorts spread along the Apennine mountains ranging from 1,236 to 2000 metres in altitude and containing a total of 27 ski lifts and 80 km of slopes. 

Arts Crossroad of World-Class Talent

The Marche region has generated extraordinary talent including one of the most influential artist of the High Renaissance, Raphael Sanzio. Le Marche also welcomed the genius from other regions in Italy and throughout Europe enabling the region to play a pivotal role from the medieval to the Renaissance period. A few of the great artists like Piero della Francesca and Leonardo da Vinci, Carlo Crivelli worked and lived in Le Marche. Even the great Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens was commissioned to produce an artwork for a church in Fermo, Marche.

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