Many tourists opt for the extra touristic Italian cities and regions: Tuscany, Lazio, or Lombardy, etc. This could be for lack of knowledge, lack of publicity over the areas, or maybe Italians purposely like to keep some special spots for themselves. Being that Italy is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, some places may have been purposefully kept from the itineraries of the main tourist crowds. If you’ve already ventured to the most famous cities, Le Marche is a less-known region that we suggest you get to on your next tour of Italy.
Le Marche is the perfect spot for a more relaxed Italian holiday. Surrounded by Umbria, Emilia Romagna, Abruzzo, and the famous Tuscany, it’s the central region that many seem to forget about or simply not know of. With access to the Adriatic Sea, the rolling hills and mountainous inland landscapes, Marches is a perfect vacation spot. The towns and villages of this region are a fantastic, less touristic/less-crowded option with so much to offer. In the following paragraphs, we’ve compiled some great experiences this region has to offer.
The beaches of Le Marche dive directly into the Adriatic Sea. Crowding the shoreline in the summer months are sunbathers, tourists, and locals alilke. Monte Conero is a mountain of limestone, which features many coastal towns at its base. Numana is an ancient port that was destroyed by a series of earthquakes during its prime. Since, it has functioned as a small fishing village. Today, it is a small town in the Conero Rivera with lovely views. The smallest on the riviera, is the town of Portonovo. It’s known for the mussels of the area which are found in all the restaurants along the coast of the town. The best view of the mountain and seaside comes from the town of Sirolo. It’s a lovely ancient town, dating back all the way to the Roman empire.
Ascolano olives are a staple of the Le Marche region. Coming mainly from Ancona, these are larger than most other types of olives and vary in color. Situated in olive groves are many properties of this region. These are great stays for a unique experience in the fall months, when the harvest takes place. The large oil mills on the farms run day and night to produce the incredible oil of this region. From green and purple olives to thick, golden oils, it’s a magical process to witness. By the end of your stay, you’ll be spoiled with the best olive oil you’ll taste in your life. You’ll be tempted to ship bottles home to keep year round. It’ll be difficult to use mass-produced brands after experiencing these fresh, rich flavors.
Grotte di Frasassi
This is a truly unique excursion if you can handle it. If you’re looking for simple, easy walks on the rolling hills, through olive groves and vineyards, this is not the trip for you. They will fully equip you with hard hats and rubber boots, lamps, etc. These underground caves are extensive, up to 18 kilometers discovered, with only 1 kilometer accessible during the tour. Stalagmites cover the floor of one section, giving the impression of a floor of candles. One area is said to be so large it could hold the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, which is in Milan, by the way. Delicate areas of stone, stalactites, and stalagmites are extremely unique visual wonders of this excursion. It’s an intense expedition but well worth it and surely one you will not forget!
Basilica della Santa Casa
The town of Loreto holds a famous site of Catholic pilgrimage. This comes as no surprise to most, given that Italy is largely Catholic and features gorgeous churches and religious architecture, art, etc from centuries of religious practices and prevalence throughout the country. This basilica is particularly special to Catholics. The historical significance and importance in the Catholic religion lies within the Holy House or Santa Casa inside the church. It’s a beauty not only for architectural reasons but also for the artistic mosaics and paintings from famous artists of the 16th century which decorate the interior of the structure.
This delicacy in the mushroom family adds a strong, earthy flavor to many dishes. Typically found in the region of Piedmont, truffles have specific harvesting times in which dogs sniff and “hunt” for them. Acqualagna is the capital in Le Marche for truffles. You can plan a truffle hunt during specific times of the year. The truffle hunting dogs dig up the main truffle, leaving the buds, The hunter will then pat them back down into the earth in order to support the continued growth. Used for oils, creams, sauces, and pastes, while sold traded and sold in private markets are these unique mushrooms. While some are traded and bought in private markets, many are used for specific products like oils, sauces, creams, and pastes.
Main dishes of Le Marche
typical of the coast
The region of Le Marche features some particular delicacies in terms of food and drinks. It is a famous area for anise and the anise-based liquor, Anisette Melletti. A particular grape of the region gives birth to a citrus-noted dry white wine coming from the Verdicchio grape variety. Decorating menus along the shoreline are plenty of fish dishes due to the long line of Le Marche coastline. The Brodetto dell’Anconetana is a tomato soup featuring 13 species of shellfish and fish. It is also a great place to indulge in a dish of mussels. Moving inland to the hillside terrain, the Ascolana olives are stuffed with meat and fried for a dish known as olive all’asolana.
Moving to the inland forest-area meats, the region features a special lasagna delicacy. It is made with a sauce of truffles and béchamel, spread in the layers with veal, and liver on the fields of soft sheets of pasta. Typically grilled on embers of wood, meat dishes like lamb and rabbit add a smoky, wooded flavor. Lastly, the pork sausage is an intense combination of flavors, sure to leave your belly full and happy. With a recipe of non-alcoholic wine (vino cotto), and fennel and garlic, this smokey flavor is a must-try. Truffles are a staple of the area, so if you’re a fan of this pungent flavor, it’s a good place to indulge in dishes of truffle here as well.