With mountains, beaches, Renaissance and medieval wonders, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor experiences, all with breathtaking landscapes, Le Marche is certainly a stunning region, and unfortunately one often overlooked by interested property purchasers. With an airport and high-speed train connections, it is also easy to move between this region and other places in Italy and even Europe. In this article, we cover some of the best towns and cities to make Marche your home, as well as a few of the many enjoyable sights you can see and activities to do.

Small town life
While March does offer city life for those looking for it (see below), there is no shortage of charming little towns to consider. While Italy itself has a plethora of picturesque medieval villages, one of the most beautiful is Gradara. Overlooking the town is an imposing 11th century castle with an interesting historical connection. It is reputedly where the lovers Paolo and Francesca—shown also in Dante’s Inferno—were murdered by Francesca’s husband. In the castle today, you can see Lucrezia Borgia’s old room, terracotta by Andrea della Robbia, and an altarpiece by Raphael’s father.

Out of the towns highlighted in this section Cingoli is the biggest, so might be best for those searching for a medium-sized place. It’s also known as the Balcony of Marche (“Il Balcone delle Marche”) due to its breathtaking view of the countryside. With historic buildings and art to take in and a magical river not far away (literally called “Il fiume incantato di San Vittorio,” the Enchanted River), you will feel as if you are living in a dream. Cingoli also boasts Mulino Bravi, a family-owned water mill that has been producing its own flour since 1565.

The stunning Torre di Palme will offer you a beautiful taste of the sea. There are a number of touching Gothic and Romanesque churches to quiet your mind, as well as an archeological museum to examine ancient treasures. Not interested in the sea? There is a small forest nearby—the Forest of Cugnolo—filled with beautiful flora and fauna. Within there is also an eerie cavern known as the “Lover’s Cavern” for the tragic story of two young lovers supposedly hiding there long ago.

Ancona is a lively port city and could be a wonderful option if you are looking for something other than a small town. Like many places in Italy, it has ancient origins and was founded by Greek settlers in the fourth century BC. Today you can still see the incredible Arch of Trajan too dating to 115 AD. It’s little wonder then that they have the National Archeological Museum of Marche with the largest collection in the region. There is also the Mole Vanvitelliana, a massive pentagonal building originally built as a quarantine center but now used for cultural events. Visit the Pinacoteca to see such amazing works as Titian’s Gozzi Altarpiece and Lorenzo Lotto’s Sacred Conversation. With art, culture, history, lovely beaches, and fantastic seafood, Ancona is a great choice for your Marchigiano property.

Among the three cities highlighted here, Urbino is the smallest and so is considered more of a medium-sized city, the perfect place for those looking for a sweet-spot between city and small-town life. Like Florence, it was an important hotspot of art and culture in the Renaissance and still preserves this historic atmosphere. This was in part thanks to the famous Duke Federico da Montefeltro. (Who might be today best-known for his striking profile portrait by Piero della Francesca, showcasing a missing part of his nose, now housed in the Uffizi in Florence). He commissioned one of the largest libraries in the country and supported artists and writers of the time, including Raphael. There are a number of interesting places to visit in the city, such as the Ducal Palace, the National Gallery of Marche, and the home Raphael was born in. You can also enjoy the view of the stunning surrounding landscape from the Fortezza Albornoz.

Ascoli Piceno
Finally, the city of Ascoli Piceno is worth mentioning. It’s a particularly beautiful place, with many of the buildings made from a striking, unique, marble-like stone known as travertine. And the stone is more than just beautiful—the buildings made from it also endure earthquakes quite well. Like Urbino, it maintains a historic atmosphere, from the many Romanesque churches to the Quintana, a bi-yearly 15th century historical reenactment that takes place in July and August, with parades and a jousting tournament. To explore history even further, you can indulge in an archeological tour. Or visit Caffè Meletti, a beautiful café—in fact, named one of the 150 Historical Cafes of Italy—that has still preserved its charming, early-20th century interior. Such famous people as Ernest Hemingway have even stopped inside for a drink.

Explore what the region has to offer
If you decide to make Marche your home, there is much you will want to see in the region itself. Below are only a few options:

  • Frasassi Caves: Discovered in 1971, these caves are well worth a visit. The Ancona Room is supposedly big enough to hold Milan’s cathedral inside (That means at least 350 ft/108 m high). There are a number of different tours you can take, including a more challenging route for the particularly adventurous.
  • Lake Fiastra: For a different, outdoor, dose of nature, Lake Fiastra is a crystalline gem nestled in the Sibillini Mountains. When the weather’s warm, you can take advantage of various activities like kayaking.
  • Lame Rosse: From Lake Fiastra, you can hike up to the unique red rocks known characteristically as Lame Rosse. The rock formation is otherworldly and was formed from years of erosion to reveal the red clay of these rocks. Literally “lame rosse” means “red blades.”

Why Marche is a good investment
As this article has demonstrated, Marche is filled with stunning, unique scenery, historical, charming towns, and the benefits of both mountains and coast. These are all luxuries more popular places like Tuscany have, but Marche still remains a generally “undiscovered” secret for foreigners in the Italian landscape. The cost of living reflects this; it is cheaper than many other Italian regions. And, as mentioned, with Ancona’s airport and a high-speed train connection, you also have the rest of Italy and Europe at your fingertips.

This article has covered a few of the must-see towns and cities in Le Marche, as well as a few interesting places to explore in the beautiful region. If you’re ready to make your move to Italy and need help finding property, look no further than Italian Real Estate Lawyers. Contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com.

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