Located in central Italy, between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, Marche is filled with beauty through the various cliffs and caves which overlook the most unforgettable beaches. Step back in time and embrace the rich traditions and cultures which shape the history and create Marche to what it is. The region has a total of six provinces, Ancona (region capital), Ascoli Picene, Fermo, Macerata, Pesaro and Ubrino.
Mostly comprised of hills and mountains, the region on looks the Adriatic side of the Umbria-Marche Appennines, which is then greatly contrasted by the lovely hidden, sandy beaches – make sure you take a stroll around sunset to capture a picturesque image.
The great past of the region is still embraced today through its art cities, its enchanting piazzas turned living room where the people meet to discuss the issues of the day. Ancona which is the regions capital, is the main ferry port and offers the major gateway to the locations such as Venice, Turkey and the Greek Islands.
A great time to visit is during the first ten days of May, where the whole town of Ancona celebrates the Fair of St. Ciriaco, the patron saint of the town. For four days, the town is happily invaded by hundreds of stalls, craft fairs, local food stands, street performers and pavement artists. Those who love music will enjoy the Ancona Jazz, which is the main festival in the Marches dedicated to this highly successful music genre, attracting international names to the regions capital city.
Prior to the 1980’s Marche was considered to be a rather poor region, however it was made established due to its high agricultural output and input to conventional crafts. Since then the region has been drastically transformed, with many small craft workshops which are scattered all through the town and are now small businesses – some of which have become major brands known all over the world.
Marche encompasses the historic centre of Urbino which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its Palazzo Ducale is an enthralling architectural and artistic example from the Italian Renaissance. While, Gradara, is a magnificent example of medieval military architecture.
Those who love Italian sweets will be enriched by the Fano’s Carnival which has at least three distinguishing features: the throwing of sweets to the crowd from the allegorical floats; the traditional “vulon, a mask that cartoons the town’s best-known characters; and the musica Arabica, a band whose instruments consist of tin cans, coffee pots and jugs.
Food within the region is not limited to one particular dish but somewhat blends the flavours of the whole region with each of their own distinctiveness. Representative dishes would consist of roast suckling-pig and marinated lamb. Dishes are created around truffles and mushrooms.
The fresh flavour of the sea can be recognised in different fish dishes such as brodetto, which is a fish soup containing more than 14 fish species. It is often enhanced with tomatoes or saffron.
Many would say that the traditional dessert is fried ravioli stuffed with chestnuts, cream and ricotta cheese. You must also try the pecorino sheep’s cheese from Talamello, wrapped in walnut leaves and ripened in tuff caves (formed by limestone and calcium); ham, dried cured loin of pork; and brawn salame.