MARCHES – WHY GO?
Look out Tuscany, Le Marche’s (the Marches) bronzing beaches and mountain ski resorts are proving a popular destination with visitors who want sun and ski alongside jewel-box towns loaded with history and stunning nature scenes.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Star of the show in the Marches’ cluster of medieval towns is Urbino, bursting with medieval art treasures. The ducal palace built for Duke Federico in the 15th Century is a stunner and a fine example of Renaissance opulence.
Sun and ski
Ski at Sassotetta and Ussita in the winter, or bring a bikini to take your pick of golden sands – both quiet and crowded – in the summer. As it’s barely an hour from the Appennine mountains to the Adriatic coast, you can do both in a day.
A wonderful hilltop stop is Ascoli Piceno, with its vast marble paved piazza and the holy town of Loreto. Jousting matches are held here in summer, when hundreds of costumed riders take to the streets in the town’s Quintana festival.
See the gigantic stalactites and underground lakes in the Frasassi caves or pick a concert at the outdoor Macerata summer music festival, where opera fans listen to Strauss, Bizet and Puccini in an impressive arena that was once a ball game court.
Back to nature
Take a trip to the beautiful nature reserves in the stunning Monte Sibillini range. While you are there be sure to keep an eye out for wolves and deer on the ground and soaring eagles swooping through the sky above you.
MAKE A DATE
Monteleone di Fermo concludes its Easter worship with a beautiful nighttime procession carrying the statue of the Madonna Addolorata.
Fill up at Monsanpietro’s polenta and sausage fair.
Ortezzano plays host to a festival celebrating the pressing of the grapes. Needless to say the wine flows freely.
Enjoy a candlelit dinner in one of the restaurants in the romantic back-streets off the Piazza del Popolo in the hill top town of Ascoli Piceno.