National Park Le Marche
A mountain chain rising in the heart of Italy and reaching Mt. Vettore
(2,476m). The park was established with the aim to safeguarding the natural
environment, and wildlife including wolves, golden eagles, peregrine falcons,
and a number of local plants. In winter there are skiers but the rest
of the year the mountains are scattered with a few walkers and mountain
Food and Drinks of Le Marche
The cuisine of Le Marche is as diverse as the whole of Italy with each
area focusing on it's own produce. In rural areas many dishes include
nuts, game and even truffles if you are lucky. The wild foods of the mountain
slopes provide food too, for the game and pork is widely available and
delicious. Fish stews around the coast can be delicious using fresh fish
History of Le Marche
Before the Roman conquest (3rd century BC) the region was inhabited by
the Piceni along the coast and the Gauls in the mountains, then under
the Romans it was important for trade, which developed along the Via Flaminia
and Via Salaria. At the time of the barbarians' invasions, it was split
in two, with the Southern part under the Lombards and the Northern under
the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. The name of the region comes from
the establishment by the Franks of "Marche", that is Marquisdoms, such
as Camerino, Fermo and Ancona.
Little by little the towns and cities got more and more independent from
the feudal lords, and in the 14th century the region was divided into
a number of small states with the Malatesta in Fano, and the Montefeltro
and later the Della Rovere in Urbino. Then the State of the Church gradually
widened its influence in the region, until in the 17th century all the
territory was under the rule of the Popes. In the Napoleonic period Marche
was a republic, then after the Congress of Vienna returned under the State
of the Church, to be finally annexed to Italy in 1860, during the Second
War of Independence.
Le Marche Coastline
The Marche region has 180 kilometres of Adriatic coastline and a host
of inviting seaside resorts if you want to spend a week or two al
There are basically two types of beach resort in the Marche. First there
are the bigger centres with a lively atmosphere, busy nightlife, plenty
of visitors from abroad and nose-to-tail hotels along the prom. Good examples
include (from north to south) Gabicce Mare, Pesaro, Senigallia, and San
Benedetto del Tronto.
Then there are the many more smaller resorts with less spectacular beaches
and more rented villa/apartment accommodation rather than hotels. These
places are often filled for the short summer season by Italian families,
often inland marchigiani, who return each year. The adults will
always sigh that they're doing it for the bambini but secretly
love it. And there's always the mobile telefonino so they can
pretend to be in the office.
A couple of places that don't fit into either category are the resorts
nestling under the rocky peninsular of Monte Conero. Here you'll find
rocky coves and white limestone cliffs totally unlike any other stretch
of the Adriatic from Trieste in the north to Italy's "spur" at Gargano
in the south.
All the resorts in the region have a very short season; basically they're
only crowded from mid-July to the third week of August. Come in mid-June
or right at the end of August/early September and you'll have plenty of
room with reasonably reliable weather. Most places are pretty well closed
up from mid-September through to mid-May.
Although all resorts have a stretch or two of free public beach (spiaggia
libera), it's often at the least attractive end of the strand and
is rarely as clean as the bits where you pay. Anyway, if you want the
real Italian beach experience choose from one of the many pay sections
with their ranks of umbrellas and sun beds. They're usually not that expensive,
have all the facilities you could want and are the best place to see Italians
up close. If you're staying at a hotel, free access to one of the beach
concessions is usually included in the price.
Le Marche can boast one of the highest number of Blue Flag beaches of
any region in Italy. The prestigious Blue Flag is awarded by the
Foundation for Environmental Education to environmentally well-kept beaches
across Europe. The important "eco-label" is given to sites that meet strict
criteria including water quality, environmental management, safety and
The region's eleven towns with Blue Flag beaches in 2006 are, from north
to south, Gabicce Mare, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, Sirolo, Numana, Porto
Recanati, Civitanova Marche, Porto San Giorgio, Grottammare, and San Benedetto
- Pesaro - The Rossini Opera Festival in late summer. For further details visit the Rossini Opera Festival web site.
- Macerata - The open-air opera season in the
magnificent Sferisterio arena - summer; further details at the Sferisterio Arena web site.
- Ancona - The newly-restored Teatro delle Muse has a strong opera,
classical music and jazz season. Full details on www.teatrodellemuse.org
- Fano - Fano Jazz by the Sea - July. tel +39 0721 8292883
- Polverigi - Festival Internazionale Inteatro - contemporary theatre
festival - Villa Comunale Nappi - July. tel +39 071 909007
- Ancona - Klezmer Music Festival at the Mole Vanvitelliana - July.
tel. +39 071 203045.
- Urbino - Early Music Festival - July. tel +39 0722 309601
- Jesi 2003 - Jesi Opera season - Teatro G.B.Pergolesi - end-September
to November. tel +39 0731 538351
- San Severino Marche - Blues Festival - July - tel. +39 0733 41252
- Osimo - International Dance Festival - July - Piazza Duomo - tel.
+39 071 7249271
- Senigallia - International Piano Competition -Teatro La Fenice - August-September.
tel. +39 071 6629350
- Falerone & Urbisaglia - Teatro Classico - Classical theatre productions
staged in two of the Marche's finest Roman amphitheatres - July &
August - tel. +39 0734 710115 (Falerone) or +39 0733 506385 (Urbisaglia)
- Amandola - International Theatre Festival - end August to early September.
tel. +39 0736 840704
- Castelfidardo - International Accordion Festival early October. One
of the world's leading events dedicated to the instrument. Tel +39 071
- Ancona - Ancona Jazz Festival - Teatro Sperimentale - early November.
tel. +39 071 217 4239
Eating events or Sagre:
Pretty well every town and village throughout the Marche has some food
or wine event during the summer months. Here are just a few of them :
- Pianello (near Cagli) - Sagra della Lumaca (snails) - mid-June
- Apiro (near Cingoli) - Sagra del formaggio pecorino (pecorino cheese)
- Sefro (near Camerino) - Festa della Pizza - early July
- Matelica - Sagra della Rana (frogs)
- Ostra Vetere (near Corinaldo) - Festa della trota (trout) - earlyJuly
- Montemarciano (near Senigallia) - Sagra del pesce (fish)
- Corinaldo - polenta festival on third Sunday in July to commemorate
the time when the town's people successfully resisted a siege thanks
to copious supplies of the stuff.
- Sefro (near Camerino) - Festa del Tortellino alla boscaiola (pasta)
- late July
- Castelplanio (near Jesi) - Sagra della crescia sul panaro (stuffed
flat bread) - last Sunday of July
- Ostra Vetere (near Corinaldo) - Sapori ed Aromi di Casa Nostra - late
July - local food, music and a procession of old farm machines
- Monte Vidon Combatte (near Fermo) - Sagra delle quaglie (quails) -
- Sassoferrato - Sagra del Cinghiale (wild boar)
- Cingoli - Sagra di prosciutto e melone
- San Severino Marche - Sagra della ceca (chick peas)
- Staffolo (near Cingoli) - Festa del Verdicchio (verdicchio wine festival)
- Fermo - Sagra delle vongole (shell fish)
- Serra San Quirico (near Fabriano) - Sagra del coniglio in porchetta
(roast rabbit with fennel)
- Monteprandone (near San Benedetto del Tronto)- Sagra delle olive fritte
(fried stuffed olives)
- Pedaso - Sagra Nazionale delle cozze (mussels)
- Massignano (near Ascoli Piceno) - Sagra delle frittelle (omelettes)
- Vererotta (near Ascoli Piceno) - Sagra della vitella allo spiedo (spit-roast
- Loro Piceno - Sagra del Vin Cotto (a sweet "cooked" wine)
- Apiro (near Cingoli) - Sagra della polenta
- Montecassiano - Sagra del pesce (fish)
- Cupramontana - grape festival in the heart of Verdicchio wine
country in September.
- Piandimileto (near Urbino) - Mushroom fair
- Lapedona (near Fermo) - Sagra del Vino Cotto (the Marche version of
- Fermo - Sagra della Polenta
- Arcevia - Sagra dell'uva (grape festival)
- Acqualagna (near Cagli) - Fiera nazionale del tartufo (truffle fair)
- last weekend in October and first two weekends in November in the
town that calls itself the "truffle capital".
- Acquasanta Terme (near Ascoli Piceno) - Festa d'autunno (autumn produce)
- Montemonaco (near Ascoli Piceno) - Sagra della Castagna (chestnut)
- Castelsantengelo sul Nera (near Visso) - Sagra del Marrone Castellano
- Sant'Agata Feltria - White Truffle fair
- Sant'Angelo in Vado (near Urbino) - Mostra del tartufo bianco (white
- Talamello (near San Leo) - Formaggio di Fossa cheese fair
- Acqualagna (near Cagli) - truffle fair - last weekend in October
and first three weekends in November in the village that calls itself
the "truffle capital".
Fun & Games:
- Ascoli Piceno La Quintana - jousting in Ascoli's main square on the
first Sunday of August. The most authentic "medieval" goings-on in the
- Urbino Festa del Duca - a jamboree in honour of Duke Federico on the
third Sunday in August.
- Cagli Palio dell'Oca - medieval games to win a golden goose in mid-August.
- Mondavio Wild Boar Hunt - a medieval chase in the square - very jolly.
- Fermignano Palio della Rana - yes, a race with frogs in wheelbarrows
- the joint is really jumpin' on the first Sunday after Easter.
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