LE MARCHE & BEYOND
Le Marche, Tuscany and Umbria make up Central Italy. Situated on the eastern side of Central Italy, between the Adriatic Sea and the high Apennine mountains, much of the Le Marche region remains unspoiled by the ravages of mass tourism.
Whether you want to admire masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, hike wild uncharted mountains or sun yourself at the beaches of a traditional Mediterranean fishing village, Le Marche has enough to keep you entertained, and you'll rarely have to jostle with hordes of other tourists.
Many visitors who come to Le Marche are looking for a taste of real Italy, and if that’s what you're looking for, you won’t be disappointed.
Whilst the Adriatic coast has been a mecca for 'sun and sand' holiday-makers for decades; few venture far from the beaches to find true delight in places where time really has stood still. Compared to its Central Italian neighbours, in Le Marche culture comes in smaller proportions but the quality is of the very best.
Urbino remains one of the most important towns in Le Marche – indeed in Italy – for the tourist in search of great Italian art and architecture. The beguiling streets will reward the curious traveller and its Centro Storico now boasts the honour of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This jewel of a Renaissance city remains little changed from the days when Duke Federico of Montefeltro set up his celebrated court here in the second half of the 15th Century. Here he gathered the greatest painters, poets and scholars of his day and housed them in one of Italy’s most beautiful Renaissance palaces, which still stands as an eloquent memorial to this quintessential Renaissance man.
Fano, is an alluring, seaside town that doubles as a busy fishing village. You can enjoy particularly elegant passeggiata along the main streets which is flanked by tempting shops. Every Wednesday there is a lively market selling handmade cheeses, local olives, seafood and produce but also a wonderful assortment of shoes, handbags and clothing.
The coastal part of the town boasts two stretches of fine beach. To the southeast runs the Spiaggia Sassonia, a long strand of pebbly beach with a wide promenade. To the northwest runs the shorter Spiaggia Lido, all sand and row upon row of beach umbrellas in true Italian style. A perfect place to sit and watch the world go by while enjoying an aperitivo.
This small town of Fossombrone, once the Roman settlement of Forum Sempronii, looks splendid from afar on the banks of the Metauro Valley. Church towers and the upper stories of larger noble palaces peep out through the terracotta roofs of the town’s terraced streets, while above it stands the 15th Century Corte Alta Palace, now home of the civic museum and art gallery.
Higher still loom the ruins of the medieval bastion built by the Malatesta family, lords of Fano, to defend the town against their rivals, the Montefeltro of Urbino.
Limestone is the leading player at the Furlo Gorge, a dramatic natural pass through the mountains. This is a place for lovers of Gothic scenery – naked limestone cliffs rise up on either side of the bright green waters of the Candigliano river, leaving just enough room for the narrow road to pass.
The small village of Furlo at the mouth of the gorge is a good place to eat truffles in season . Well worth a visit is the small romanesque Abbey of San Vincenzo. Built before 970, it is one of the oldest Benedictine monasteries in Le Marche. The small kiosk by the abbey also sells delicious piadina, or flat bread, filled with sausage, cured meat or cheese, a local staple served all over Le Marche and not to be missed.
Spread across the slopes of a hillside, this ancient fortified town consists of terraced streets and steep alleyways, flanked by buildings and surrounded by an escarpment wall. In front of it stands the long piazza of the borgo. Cartoceto is traditionally known for its olive oil production. Four olive presses operate in the town and the surrounding area, producing extra-virgin olive oil of excellent quality which has also been awarded the "D.O.P." mark (denomination with a protected origin). Another specialty of the area is a cheese known as 'formaggio di fossa'.
Città di Castello
Città di Castello is a city located in north Umbria, in the province of Perugia. The town’s location in the valley of the Tiber River, and surrounded by the Apennines, is picturesque to say the least.
When visiting Città di Castello one can’t help but imagine how the town of all-brick buildings would have looked at the time of the town’s founding, which is thought to date back to the Iron Age and the Etruscans. The city is still surrounded by the walls which were mostly built in the 16th century
The capital city the region of Umbria and of the province of Perugia. The city is located about 164km north of Rome and 148km south-east of Florence. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area. Bordered by Tuscany, Lazio, and Marche, Perugia is a university town ,popular with students, it is also a well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy hosting multiple annual festivals and events.
The famous painter Pietro Vannucci (nicknamed Perugino) was a native of Città della Pieve, near Perugia. and was the teacher of Raphael, the great Renaissance artist who produced five paintings in Perugia and one fresco. The city's symbol is the griffin, which can be seen in the form of plaques and statues on buildings around the city.
A small Umbrian town 19km east of Perugia, Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis — patron saint of Italy, founder of the Franciscan order, and one of the most popular Catholic saints in history.
Assisi’s main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica di San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of Francis and beautiful frescoes of his life. And there are at least seven other churches well worth visiting for their history, beauty, and connection with Francis or his friend Clare.
The town of Assisi, with its Roman ruins, winding medieval streets and sacred shrines, has been a major Catholic pilgrimage destination for centuries and is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.