Le Marche in a Nutshell
Welcome to Le Marche
A visit to Le Marche is to sample the lifestyle that has produced the highest level of life expectancy in Europe. With 180 kilometres of pristine sandy beaches; access to a variety of sports and outdoor activities in every season; and locally sourced, seasonal produce used in recipes passed down for generations, Le Marche is an undiscovered gem amongst Italy’s many places of wonder.
Pronounced “Lay Markay,” it is an ancient German word meaning “borderlands,” 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.
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. The region is divided into five provinces: Pesaro and Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, Fermo and Ascoli Piceno.
Le Marche is easily accessible via low cost flights to four airports including Ancona, Pescara, Rimini and Perugia of which Ancona and Pescara are the most conveniently located.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 17 '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
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
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.)
Hillside Vineyard (AP)
Lago di Fiastra, Sibillini Mountains
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.
Visitors to Le Marche are spoiled for choice no matter the season.
Hot air ballooning
Le Marche’s Food & Wine
The food in the Le Marche region shares equally the bounty of the sea and the countryside. The region boasts an incredible variety of dishes based on tradition and local produce.
The use of fresh, top-quality materials assembled with the minimum of fuss marks out Le Marche’s food. The region is also the biggest truffle (tartufi) producer in Italy, particularly of the prized white truffle.
As with any rural diet, much use is made of food gathered from the wild, including mushrooms, game, nuts and field herbs.
You can eat traditional Italian dishes and Le Marche recipes at local restaurants at a fraction of the costs in Northern Europe and elsewhere in Italy.
Local specialities include:
Fish: Brodetto (fish broth) or zuppa di pesce is a fish soup flavoured with saffron.
Meat: The region's signature dish is porchetta, where a roast pig is either served whole, or served sliced into crispy bread rolls.
Pasta: Vincisgrassi is the Le Marche recipe for Lasagne made with ground pork, mushrooms, tomato and bechamel sauce (sometimes topped with local truffles). Favourite meats include cinghiale (wild boar), pork, veal, rabbit, hare, game birds (quail, pigeon), chicken and goose. Other classic pastas include “papardelle alla papara”, a flat pasta with duck sauce.
Wines: The classic wine of Le Marche is Verdicchio, a crisp, young, green-tinged white wine, excellent with fish and seafood. There are good red wines such as Rosso Conero, based on the Montepulciano grape, and the Sangiovese of Rosso Piceno.
The World Capital of Shoe Production
Artisans, small family run factories and big multinational corporations 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. Thus the region is one of the best in the world for shopping outlets, for shoes as well as other goods such as handbags, hats and clothes.
Some of the most prestigious brands of fashion are produced in the region, and they include Versace, Gucci, Armani, Prada, Tod’s, Naturino, Hogan, Kickers, Fabi, Fendi, Le Silla, Loriblu, Mando Muzi, Nero Giardini and many other.