Thinking About Your Next Trip? Le Marche Are Waiting For You

Lonely Planet put Le Marche in second place of the best regions in the world to visit.

Le Marche
Camerino (MC). Photo courtesy of Mario Severini

Lonely Planet put Le Marche in second place of the best regions in the world to visit

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet published its Best in Travel 2020 book and put Le Marche in second place of the best regions in the world to visit next year.

As a 100% born and bred marchigiana, I can’t help but agree with this ranking. Also, I don’t lie when I say that I’ve been telling anyone I met the same things that the famous publishing company highlighted: le Marche might not be as famous as Tuscany — “its superstar neighbour”, to use Lonely Planet‘s words, but they are as charming and appealing. They have plenty to offer to its visitors: stunning natural beauties and vistas, good food, a lively coastline, inviting events and towns full of history and elegant architecture.

Some inland areas of my beautiful region, however, have been severely hit by an earthquake in 2016. Gorgeous towns like Visso and Camerino have been working tirelessly ever since to recover and give this land and its treasures a future. This is why visitors and the fundamental contribution they bring to our economy are more than welcome, especially now and in the years to come: by traveling in these areas, they will support the local economy and help our territory thrive again.

View of Chiesa di San Venanzio from the Ducal Palace of Camerino (MC). Photo courtesy of Mario Severini

Author Joe Fullman wrote for the Lonely Planet’s publication that “exploring Le Marche’s lesser-known treasures is like unlocking a secret level in the video game of Italy”: I would like, then, to invite you all to come unlock the gems in my region by giving you some reasons why you should consider visiting le Marche.

1. Villages and towns full of history, art and stunning architecture

From the hills to the coast, you will find beautiful towns, castles, enchanting squares and churches, richly decorated theaters, Roman and Renaissance buildings, and hidden artworks.

You don’t want to miss a visit to Urbino and its Ducal Palace, which hosts the National Gallery of Le Marche. There you can see artworks from painters Raphael — who was born and started his career in Urbino, Piero Della Francesca, Lorenzo Lotto and the list goes on.

Even the smallest churches hide the most magnificent polyptychs and religious art. So it’s no surprise that the biggest ones are masterpieces and important places of worship and pilgrimage: one of the most important ones is Loreto’s elegant Basilica della Santa Casa, which enshrines a little building that is believed to be the house where the Virgin Mary lived.

Basilica della Santa Casa, Loreto (Ancona). Photo courtesy by Mario Severini

If you’re looking for sightly squares, head to Ascoli Piceno, San Severino Marche, Fabriano (and everywhere else, to be honest); if you’re passionate about fortresses and castles, you can go to Gradara, Tolentino (Castello della Rancia), Camerino (Rocca Varano), Senigallia (Rocca Roveresca) and breathe some history while you’re there.

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno. Photo courtesy by Mario Severini
Piazza del popolo, San Severino Marche (MC). Photo courtesy by Mario Severini

2. Cultural fervor

As I mentioned before, some great artists such as Raphael were born in Le Marche and worked there. Giacomo Leopardi, a great Italian poet, grew up in Recanati. Pesaro gave birth to composer Gioachino Rossini, well known for his operas.

Le Marche, then, have definitely something to show you when it comes to art, literature, music and cultural events. The offer ranges from opera festivals (Rossini Opera festival, Macerata Opera festival), to songwriting competitions (Musicultura), music festivals (international ones, like the Summer Jamboree in Senigallia), historical reenactments and rich theater seasons in every town.

3. Mouthwatering delicacies

As you all know, every Italian region has its special dishes and food. Of course, Le Marche make no exception: I suggest you try olive all’ascolana (from Ascoli Piceno), which are big green olives stuffed with meat, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried; ciauscolo (my personal favorite), a delicious spreadable salame; special kinds of pasta, like vincisgrassi and maccheroncini di Campofilone (don’t let the name confuse you: they’re a long type of pasta); tartufo (in Acqualagna you can find a delicious white truffle); brodetto, a fish stew you can try in San Benedetto del Tronto, Ancona, Porto Recanati and Porto San Giorgio; local wine, such as Verdicchio (produced in Jesi and Matelica).

At almost any time of the year you can find festivals all across the region, the so-called sagre, that celebrate these foods and bring people together by combining good eats with live music, raffles and markets. What’s more, we have a fair showcasing our products: it’s called Tipicità, which means “typical products”, and the next edition will take place in Fermo in March 2020.

Interested in haute cuisine? Four restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars and the winner of Masterchef Italia 7 has just become the chef of Locanda Fontezoppa in Civitanova Marche.

4. Outstanding natural beauties

Le Marche has something for any nature lover: mountains (Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini), endless hills and, finally, a long, gentle coastline.

Monte Vettore, Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini. Photo courtesy by Mario Severini

Beach lovers can’t miss a visit to Numana and Sirolo, the place to stay if you need to relax and swim in crystalline waters.

Monte Conero. Photo courtesy by Mario Severini

One of our natural wonders truly is a hidden gem: you should consider going to Grotte di Frasassi if you want to witness what our mother nature is capable to do in the underground.

Hoping I managed to spark your interest, I look forward to seeing you around my region!

For more information on what to do and see, check the official website of Le Marche and this interesting blog by Juliana, who loved the region so much that she decided to move there!

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