Culture And Coast: Travelling In Le Marche, Italy

When you think of Italy, what do you picture? While the Colosseum of Rome, the gondolas of Venice, or the rolling hills of Tuscany might play a major part in your imagination, there is a great deal more to the country than meets the eye. Away from the beaten path, Italy is a country of color and culture, and by taking a peek at some of its most hidden spots, you can stumble across something truly amazing. Such is the case with Le Marche. A coastal region stretching for 100 miles, Le Marche dips its toes into the Adriatic and stretches up into the sky higher than Tuscany and Umbria. Practically untouched by the outside, Le Marche is Italian through and through; if you’re venturing to the country any time soon, you should stop in for a while and say hello.

If architecture is your thing, consider making a pit stop in Urbino. A hillside town, Urbino has slopes to rival some of Italy’s most mountainous regions and a walk in the local area will seriously work your calf muscles. Apart from any of the fantastic strolls to be had, here you can cast your eye on some of the town’s impressive local architecture. Having been largely constructed during the 1400s, the town is practically a memorial to the country’s past, showcasing some of the most grandiose buildings you may have ever seen. Around the town you can eat and drink to your heart’s content, all while taking in your fill of Italian culture.

If you’re on the road in the south of Le Marche, you might want to drop in on Ascoli Piceno. The jewel in the crown of the south, the town is known for its honey colored limestone buildings and some of the prettiest sights in the region. There’s more to Ascoli Piceno than just the architecture, however, and across the town there are a great many delicacies to be tasted. The town’s delicacies might not look like anything you’ve tasted in Italy before­­—the region even boasts its own version of lasagna, a twelve-layer pasta stuffed with ingredients like chicken liver, truffles, and béchamel sauce—but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of being sampled. The local wine is also worth writing home about, making for the perfect accompaniment to long Italian meals.

Daytrips by the sea are a big deal in Italy; wherever you head in the Le Marche region, you’re practically guaranteed a taste of paradise. Pesaro is perhaps the best choice you could make, offering up the perfect serving of coastal and cultural delights. The birthplace of composer Gioachino Rossini, Pesaro is the home of the yearly Rossini Opera Festival that takes place each August. When you’re not busy lapping up all the local culture, you can try soaking in a few rays on the nearby beaches, with miles of coastline at your disposal. The beaches are less hectic than other nearby regions and offer plenty of safe bathing space for any type of swimmer.

If food’s your bag, you’ll need to make a beeline towards Macerata. Each Wednesday the town hosts a food market and it’s well worth sampling some of the local delights that are on offer. Once you’ve picked up your loot, find a local spot in any of the town’s picturesque squares and make a meal out of it. Macerata is the perfect place to go for a late afternoon stroll, so don’t be afraid of walking off all of that food.

Tucked away on Italy’s Adriatic coastline, Le Marche is a sight well worth exploring. Packed full of cultural gems and coastal paradises, the region is Italian through and through, offering travelers a chance to see the country in a brand new light.

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.