All the unmissable places to see in Le Marche between sea, hills, mountains and cities of art
Today we take you with us to Le Marche. This beautiful region located in central Italy, between Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Abruzzo, overlooks the Adriatic Sea with no less than 180 kilometres of beautiful beaches stretching from Gabicce Mare to the mouth of the river Tronto.
It has wonderful hilly landscapes full of olive groves, vineyards and medieval villages and boasts over twenty peaks at an altitude of 2000 metres in the Apennines. If you add to all this art, culture, nature, entertainment, good food and excellent wine, the reason for its plurality is revealed. 😍
What to visit in Le Marche?
Follow us and we will tell you about the thousand shades of this region and the different souls that populate it. From the sea to the mountains, passing through hills and places of art, medieval villages and traditional local dishes, Le Marche remains in the hearts of those who visit it, whether for a weekend or a longer holiday.
The important thing is not to be in a hurry to fully enjoy the concentration of Italy that this region has to offer, an ideal place to relax for all tastes and needs and at all times of the year.
Discover the best places to visit in Le Marche!
In this guide, you will find an itinerary with the most interesting places to visit to help you organise your trip or not to miss anything if you are already in Le Marche, with all the information you need to grasp and take with you the uniqueness of this region from every place you decide to explore.
The top places to see in Le Marche
The itinerary we have prepared for you consists of a list of places, events, and attractions not to be missed, covering the region from north to south, with the main cultural, historical and artistic as well as architectural and naturalistic aspects.
Like all lists, it cannot be considered exhaustive, but it will allow you to organise an unforgettable trip, regardless of its duration. Following is a roundup of all the food and wine specialities of Le Marche. 👇
19 things to see in Le Marche, for all tastes
Urbino is a symbol of the Italian Renaissance and the birthplace of Raphael Sanzio, with a historic centre that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
A must-see if you are in Urbino:
- Palazzo Ducale, home of the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche
- House Museum of Raphael Sanzio
- Cathedral and Albani Diocesan Museum
- Church of San Giovanni Battista
- Albornoz Fortress for a relaxing break in the countryside
If you are visiting Urbino with children, we recommend booking the City Explorer tourist train, info point in Piazza Risorgimento.
2. MONASTERY OF FONTE AVELLANA AND MONTE CATRIA
Mentioned by Dante in the 21st Canto of Paradise, it is the perfect place to meditate and immerse yourself in nature. Hidden in a hollow between hills and mountains at the foot of Monte Catria, it is surrounded by extensive beech forests. It is worth a visit if only to admire the scriptorium dating back to the 13th century, where the amanuenses copied manuscripts embellishing them with miniatures.
A naturalistic curiosity: the Catria is home to a pair of the rare golden eagle, the rock partridge or small mountain pheasant, the coral chough, the Catria horse, and a small nucleus of mouflon.
The Castle of Gradara and its fortified village represent one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Italy. The Rocca, 142 metres above sea level, is famous for the story of Paolo and Francesca, made immortal by the verses of Canto V of Dante’s Inferno. The main tower, 30 metres high, dominates the entire valley.
Not to be missed in Gradara:
- Ornithological Park with Falconry Centre
- Theatre of the Air, an environmental education park
- Lovers’ Path
4. FURLO GORGE NATURE RESERVE AND THE GIANT’S KETTLE
A narrow gorge located along the original route of the Via Flaminia, the Furlo Gorge runs alongside the Candigliano river, a tributary of the Metauro, whose erosion contributed to its formation.
You will find yourself in front of one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Marche, perfect if you love taking photographs but also if you have a passion for trekking. Also suitable for trips with children, with a playground and the Furlo Adventure Park, this location is a stone’s throw from excellent food and wine destinations, such as Acqualagna and its truffles.
Among the unmissable places to visit in the Marche region, we also suggest the Marmitte dei Giganti (Giant’s kettle) in Fossombrone, not far from Urbino, formations caused by river erosion, an area full of magical and fairytale-like views.
Known throughout the world as the “City of Rossini”, celebrated every year with the ROF, the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro is a perfect city for every type of holiday: sea with 7 kilometres of sandy coastline and over 100 tourist facilities, hills, sport, music, art, and culture.
Top places to visit in Pesaro:
- Seafront and “Palla di Pomodoro”, a famous sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro
- Villino Ruggeri, from the Art Nouveau period
- San Bartolo, a place for excursions and relaxation
And if you love cycling, you will find plenty of cycle paths, especially the Bicipolitana, a route reserved for bikers and that connects different parts of the city.
Known as the City of Vitruvius, the City of Carnival or even the City of Girls and Children, Fano is a Roman origin city, which remains can still be admired today by visiting the Arch of Augustus, the Augustan Walls and the Augusteum building. It is one of the cities you absolutely must visit in Le Marche: it will win you over with its surprising historic centre, its welcoming beaches, and its most important monuments.
Here is what you should not miss in Fano:
- The Former Church of San Francesco, a roofless church turned into a splendid open-air monument
- The Fortuna Theatre and Roman remains, which we have already told you abou
- The Malatesta Fortress and the Bastion of San Gallo
If you love the sea even out of season, take some time for a stroll and some beautiful pictures.
A curiosity for sports enthusiasts: Fano is home to the Adriatic Bowl, an internationally famous venue for skateboard enthusiasts and home to numerous competitions at all levels.
7. SENIGALLIA AND CORINALDO
Known as the City of Velvet Beaches for its sandy shores, Senigallia is most famous for its Rotonda a Mare. Yes, the one of the dancing summers of the 1950s and 1960s! Although its origins date back a hundred years earlier, when the first wooden platform was built for hydrotherapy and recreational activities.
But what is there to visit in Senigallia?
The Rocca Roveresca, in Piazza del Duca, named after Giovanni della Rovere, Lord of Senigallia, who in the second half of the 15th century gave the Rocca its present form. Also in Piazza del Duca is Palazzetto Baviera, with its splendid stuccoes decorating the rooms on the piano nobile and frescoes by Federico Brandani from Urbino.
If you love the colours and scents of the local markets, you absolutely must visit the Foro Annonario, with its fruit and vegetable stalls and fish market. Not far from there you will find the Portici Ercolani, built by Cardinal Ercolani along the Misa River during a particular period of splendour for Senigallia commerce.
Events not to be missed: the “Summer Jamboree”, every year in June, to relive the magical atmospheres of the legendary 1950s in the historic centre.
Among the places to see in the Marche region, there is Corinaldo, one of the most visited towns in the region and rightfully entered in the club of “The most beautiful villages in Italy”. Situated inland from Senigallia, on a hill 203 metres above sea level, it still retains all the charm of its medieval origins, with well-preserved walls dating back to the 14th century and no less than 912 metres long.
8. FABRIANO AND THE FRASASSI CAVES
A UNESCO Creative City and the City of Paper, Fabriano was known for its paper mills that today mainly produce banknote paper, but once produced the famous F4 drawing sheets. In the Paper and Watermark Museum, you can retrace the historical journey of paper, from handmaking to the display of watermarks.
There are many things to do in Fabriano, Marche…
Like, for example, visiting the curious Bicycle Museum of Crafts, or that of the Piano, or even that of Magic, a ten-minute drive away, near the Frasassi Caves. An unmissable destination if you are in these parts, also recounted by Alberto Angela in his programme “Wonders the Peninsula of Treasures”. A gem you absolutely cannot miss is the Tempietto del Valadier, set in the rock at Genga. A must-see in the surrounding area if you are in Fabriano:
The Frasassi Caves and the Gola della Rossa Park
Discovered in 1971 by a group of CAI (Italian Alpine Club) speleologists from Ancona, the Frasassi Caves are one of the largest underground complexes in Europe, inside the Gola della Rossa e Frasassi Regional Natural Park.
Inside, you can admire the splendid natural sculptures formed by limestone stratifications over 190 million years. The guided tour lasts about 70 minutes and covers 1.5 kilometres, at a constant temperature of 14° C.
The region’s capital city, Ancona stands atop the Guasco Hill, in a scenic position overlooking land and sea, from the port to the Roman amphitheatre to the promontory on which the cathedral, San Ciriaco, soars. A must-see destination in the Marche region if you love photography, because in addition to the many city views, you will love being able to photograph both sunrise and sunset over the sea.
What to visit in Ancona, capital of Le Marche region?
Certainly, the Arch of Trajan, a Roman arch dating back to the 1st century A.D. and the nearby Mole Vanvitelliana, a pentagonal artificial island in the harbour, designed by architect Luigi Vanvitelli. It is home to beautiful exhibitions and the Omero Museum, the unique barrier-free tactile museum. From the port, you can walk to Piazza del Plebiscito or Piazza del Papa, and from there to the Duomo di San Ciriaco, a splendid Romanesque cathedral.
The city has several beaches, high and low coastline. At the end of Viale della Vittoria, behind the Monumento ai Caduti, we descend to the Passetto beach, famous for its Grotte, places carved out of the ridge once used by fishermen and now huts to enjoy the sea.
The castles of Ancona
There were twenty castles that made up the defensive system of the Republic of Ancona, among which we recommend visiting Offagna, with its Rocca and the Medieval Festivals held every year in July, Castelfidardo, famous for its accordion production, and the Castle of Rocca Priora in Falconara.
10. CONERO RIVIERA
The portion of coastline from the port of Ancona to Numana is known as the Conero Riviera, a relief in the Umbrian-Marches Apennines overlooking the sea. In the heart of the Regional Park of Mount Conero, certified with the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism, the Riviera is particularly rich in inlets and small beaches, both rocky and pebbly, all awarded the Blue Flag for their crystal-clear waters, a paradise for sea lovers, in summer and winter alike.
The most beautiful beaches in Le Marche, all worth visiting!
The most famous one is Due Sorelle beach, named after two rocks, that look like two praying nuns, but from Ancona towards Numana you will be spoilt for choice:
- Portonovo with the famous “moscioli” – Slow Food Presidium mussels
- Due Sorelle
- Sassi Neri
- San Michele
Don’t miss the two pearls of the Riviera, the seaside villages of Sirolo and Numana.
A place of worship for the spirituality of the Marche region, but not only, Loreto owes its fame to its Sanctuary, a rare example of a fortified basilica, with patrol walkways, towers, and guardhouses. It houses the relic of the Holy House of Nazareth, where according to tradition the Virgin Mary was born. The marble enclosure covering the Holy House, designed by Bramante, is particularly noteworthy.
Birthplace of Frederick II of Swabia and the composer Giovanni Pergolesi, Jesi was a Roman colony and boasts the best-preserved city walls in the Marche region, which has earned it the title of UNESCO “Exemplary City”.
What to see in Jesi in the Marche region?
The “Stupor Mundi” interactive museum, the first museum dedicated to Frederick II and where Frederick II of Swabia was born, and its historical centre, a true treasure chest of history, art, and culture.
A hilltop town with a splendid view of the Marche hills, Recanati was the birthplace of the poet Giacomo Leopardi and the tenor Beniamino Gigli.
The places we recommend you visit in this splendid town are undoubtedly the Leopardian places:
- Piazzetta Sabato del Villaggio
- Leopardi Palace, with its extremely valuable library and over 20,000 volumes
- Silvia’s House
- The Hill of Infinity
- Mount Tabor
- The Tower of the Lonely Sparrow
What to do in Cingoli, the balcony of Le Marche and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy? Enjoy its splendid panorama from 630 metres above sea level, with views over the Umbro-Marchigiani Apennines to the Sibillini Mountains and the Gran Sasso. We also recommend a visit to the Town Hall where you can admire the “Madonna del Rosario”, a painting by Lorenzo Lotto. Don’t miss the gates of the city walls and the Park of Living Stones.
Home to one of the oldest universities in the world, it is famous for the Arena Sferisterio, an example of neoclassical architecture that offers a respectable opera season every summer, the Macerata Opera Festival.
Places to visit in the Marche region, if you are in Macerata:
We recommend the eighteenth-century Palazzo Buonaccorsi with its marvellous Hall of the Aeneid that will remain in your heart as well as in your eyes. Here you can visit the collections of ancient and modern art and the Museo della Carrozza.
16. ABBEY OF FIASTRA AND THE NATURE RESERVE
The Abbey of Santa Maria di Chiaravalle di Fiastra is one of the most valuable monuments of Cistercian architecture in Italy, with its splendid brick cloister with low pillars, lowered arches and trussed roofing.
The Abbey is in the heart of the Nature Reserve of the same name, with 1800 hectares of cultivated fields, protected vegetation and fauna, two rivers and a lake, perfect for a stay of peace and tranquillity in contact with nature.
17. SIBILLINI MOUNTAINS
They rise in the Apennine ridge between the Marche and Umbria regions and owe their name to the legendary Sibyl, the prophetess who is said to have lived in a cave on the mountain that later took her name.
They are part of the Monti Sibillini Natural Park, which includes no less than twenty peaks above 2,000 metres, including Mount Vettore, the lakes of Fiastra and Pilato (the only lake of natural origin), where the rare Marchesoni chirocephalus lives, and the Lame Rosse, the Grand Canyon of the Marche, formations with pinnacles and towers made of gravel, clay and silts created by erosion due to atmospheric agents.
What to do in the Sibillini Natural Park?
There are many hiking trails at various levels of difficulty, with opportunities for horseback riding and mountain biking, hang gliding or paragliding, and rock or ice climbing. During the winter season, several ski resorts also open with no less than 66 km of slopes.
18. ASCOLI PICENO
Also known as the “City of Travertine”, from the white marble with which the streets of its historic centre are paved, Ascoli Piceno boasts one of the most beautiful squares in Italy: Piazza del Popolo. Rectangular, it is bordered by the Palazzo dei Capitani, the historic Art Nouveau-style Caffè Meletti and the Gothic forms of the Church of San Francesco, to which the Loggia dei Mercanti is attached.
19. RIVIERA DELLE PALME
The city of San Benedetto del Tronto is the beating heart of the Riviera delle Palme, so called because of the palm trees that adorn its promenades, ready to welcome tourists all year round.
Here are the amazing villages not to be missed in the south of the Marche region with its splendid sea, maritime tradition and perched villages overlooking the coast:
- Cupra marittima• Acquaviva picena
- Torre di Palme
What to eat in Marche?
The Marche region is particularly rich in food and wine tradition. There are several SLOW FOOD presidia such as Fabriano Salami, Portonovo Wild Mussel, Red Apples, Sibillini Mountains Pecorino and Fig Lonzino.
Also renowned is the Sibillini White Truffle, celebrated in important local fairs between October and November (Pergola, S. Angelo in Vado, Apecchio and Acqualagna).
What dishes should you taste, if you visit Le Marche?
Among the traditional dishes, you should try Vincisgrassi (local lasagne), Frascarelli, a kind of polenta made with rice flour, served white or with sauce, and porchetta (roast suckling pig) from Le Marche.
If you love street food, you will enjoy the Olive Ascolane and the crescia, a kind of puffed piadina, stuffed in different ways from north to south.
Food and wine specialities to taste in and around Le Marche
Prosciutto di Carpegna and Casciotta from Urbino, Ciauscolo, a typical soft salami to be eaten in slices or spread on bread, Formaggio di Fossa and Pane di Chiaserna, bread made with water from the Cantiano springs. Then there is the famous Brodetto, the fish soup typical of the Marche seaside resorts, in two different recipes from Ancona and San Benedetto del Tronto.
Among the wines and liqueurs, savour Vino di Visciole, Verdicchio, Rosso Conero, Rosso Piceno, Bianchello del Metauro and Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, all DOC wines, Anisetta, a typical liqueur from Ascoli created by the historic Caffè Meletti with an aniseed base, and Moretta, a special coffee to be enjoyed between Fano and Senigallia prepared with aniseed, various liqueurs, coffee and lemon peel.
Now that you know what to see in Le Marche, what to do and what to taste, all that remains is to wish you a pleasant journey and a happy holiday in Le Marche Region!
Cover photo: unsplash, nicola-fittipaldi
Featured photo: pixabay, valtercirillo