Truffle stronghold, medieval museum and representative of idyllic small-town life – the Marche in Italy is all of these things. The Marche region is located in the center of Italy with the Apennines to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east and is best known for its rolling hills, agricultural products, parks and nature reserves, as well as coastal towns and beaches.
The perfect region to discover small mountain villages and picturesque towns that have preserved their medieval and Renaissance heritage. I took a little trip to the Marche region of Italy, which is right next door, and of course I don't want to deprive you of the towns and places I liked best.
Marche Italy: 6 places that will charm you
1. Potenza Picena – Roman refugee village
Potenza Picena stands on a small hill in the province of Macerata. The village, called Monte Santo by locals until 1882, looks like a typical medieval-style village. Potenza Picena is located on a hill and surrounded by imposing city walls. At that time, refugees in the Roman Empire (5. Century) a colony assigned – from it developed Potenza Picena.
The charming town consists of to the two residential areas – Montecanepino and San Girio. Nearby is also the seaside resort of Porto Potenza Picena with a sandy beach interspersed only in some places with cliffs. As small as the little town is, you'll find 27 churches here and that's really impressive for such a small town.
Since Potenza Picena is located on a hill, you have a wonderful view of the sea and the surrounding land. It's worth exploring this town and sipping an espresso in between.
2. Monti Sibillini National Park& Lago di Fiastra
Fiastra Lake is located in the Monti Sibillini National Park of the Marche Region. In summer you can enjoy the sun along the shore equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas and swim in the crystal clear, clean water.
It is Lago di Fiastra, an artificial lake created in the 1950s and named after the town of the same name. With a capacity of 20.4 million cubic meters of water, depth of 87 meters and a dam that forms a barrier to the Fiastrone River, this is the largest hydroelectric reservoir in the Marche region.
On the main beach you can rent paddle boats for a little boat ride or do some fishing. Because here you can find different kinds of fish. Among them trout, barbel, perch and carp.
In the village of San Lorenzo al Lago, near the small beach, there is a ca. 3 km long nature trail. It runs along the eastern shore of the lake almost to the dam. This is a very relaxing route that can also be done by bike. In this way you can see a large part of the lake and its bays. The circular route starts from the same path and the duration is about 2.5 hours.
The Monti Sibillini National Park is partly completely navigable and only closed in winter because of the danger of avalanches. The roads are not in the best condition – gravel roads and large stones on the road are not uncommon. However, this should not stop you from exploring the National Park.
At every corner there is a new twist. You will pass by millet fields (for which the National Park is famous), small towns located in the National Park and various viewpoints that are guaranteed to take your breath away.
3. Ascoli Piceno – The city of the 50 towers
Ascoli Piceno, a town with almost 5.000 inhabitants, lies at the confluence of the Tronto and Castellano rivers in the Italian region of Marche. Of the more than 200 medieval spindle towers, nearly 50 remain. The public squares are full of people, especially in the evening, when everyone meets for a glass of wine or an anisetta from the famous Anisetta Meletti.
Ascoli Piceno was founded several centuries before Rome and embodies the historical origins of Italy. The area has 10 churches and monasteries, 50 medieval towers and a multitude of fascinating architectural wonders.
Ascoli Piceno is home to Sant'Emidio all Grotte – a baroque church built in 1721 with a travertine facade built into a limestone cliff. For a small donation visitors can enjoy a tour of the church, monastery and surrounding caves.
Another worthwhile attraction to visit in Ascoli Piceno is the Giardino Botanico, a local botanical garden with rare plants.
4. Treia – the best food in the Marche
Treia is a characteristic village in Marche, north of the valley of the river Potenza in the province of Macerata. The typical medieval center is surrounded by ancient walls with seven gates that mark the entrance to the village.
The most famous is the Vallesacco Gate, which in 1263 became the national monument of the famous battle between Montecchiesi and Corrado d'Antiochia. The main square, Piazza della Repubblica, with its horseshoe shape, is one of the most beautiful and scenic in the Marche region.
In Treia you can eat wonderfully and chow down on typical Macerata-area products – pork loin, bacon salami, pecorino and ricotta and wildflower honey from the Sibillini Mountains. Campofilone's Tuffel Tagliatelle are unique and reflect the spirit of the Marche perfectly.
5. Loreto – A place of pilgrimage with charm
On a hill called Prodo, surrounded by olive fields, lies Loreto, a town in the province of Ancona, south of the Marche region. If you arrive by car, you can admire from a distance the shape of the dome and the bell tower of the imposing cathedral around which the city has grown.
The view from above stretches from the Adriatic Sea over the Conero Mountain to the Apennines of Umbria. Loreto is by the way one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations of the Christians.
The fame of Loreto is due to the Sanctuary of the Santa Casa, which preserves the relics of the faithful from the house of Mary. It is a small house of three walls, which, according to tradition, was carried here from the Holy Land by the angels.
The cathedral is dominated by a bell tower from the 18th century. It has a seventeenth-century church designed by Luigi Vanvitelli and a sixteenth-century octagonal dome. Century dominates.
The historic center of the town is surrounded by walls built by Pope Leo X. were built to protect the shrine from the attack of the Turks. The main square where the locals meet is the Piazza della Madonna. Next to the Basilica rises the Palazzo Apostolico with the Museum and Art Gallery of the Holy House.
6. Portnovo – idyllic gem on the Adriatic Sea
The beautiful bay of Portonovo is also called the Green Bay. Because this bay is nestled in the middle of the nature reserve of Conero, far from the busy roads. Here you can relax and let the wind blow around your nose in the sheltered bay.
At 12 noon the surrounding restaurants come to life. A delicious smell is wafting around your nose, because one of the specialties here is fresh fish. Who can resist such an incredible culinary temptation?
Here in Portnovo mussels, the moscioli, are harvested. These are not caught, but collected from the cliffs of the coast. The offer of fish specialties is really endless!
Inside the bay you can explore the paths that lead from the small grove down to the beach. A small detour to the town is also worthwhile, here you have a beautiful view of the sea and you can enjoy a gelato in the square.
The Marche – one of many beautiful regions in Italy
You already know this region or you want to know something new? Then I can recommend you Emilia Romagna. In Emilia Romagna there are many and equally beautiful cities. With my fellow travel bloggers I have also put together for you the.
A little further away? On my travel blog you can also find tips for , the beautiful and and the untouched and unknown in the north.