Years ago Marche was presented as a secret Tuscany with undulating hills, barely ‘discovered’ medieval towns and wide sandy beaches, but those days are over. Marche has become one of the popular summer holiday destinations, where campsites, villaggios and forgettable hotels crowd the seaside.
Still, you don’t have to travel far inland for authentic hilltown atmosphere. Towns like Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, Fermo, Jesi and Osimo are positively enchanting as is the Renaissance gem Urbino. There is business, industry and modern urbanity in Ancona and bigger cities along the coast such as Pesaro, Civitanova, Senigallia and San Benedetto. And there’s a hiker’s paradise of caves, quaint villages and wilderness in the Sibillini national park, where Marche borders up to Umbria and Tuscany.
The culinary traditions of Marche span the entire spectre from heavy rural dishes like the local vincigrassi lasagne and generous fish soup brodetto to delicate white and black truffles. And there are some great gourmet restaurants in the region.