One of the greatest hidden gems in Italy is the Le Marche (pronounced “leh mar-keh”). Embracing the Adriatic Sea, with breathtaking landscapes and hilltowns, this region is a wonderful Italian place to discover.
Rolling hills in all shades of green, medieval hilltop towns, tiny villages with beautiful houses, kilometers of vineyards and olive trees, breathtaking beaches alongside the blue sea, wonderful food and exquisite wine. It’s not possible to describe everything that the Marche Region has to offer in one single post.
Much of the region is still relatively tourist-free and uncrowded, especially inland. Here you can perceive a genuine and authentic atmosphere in all its nuances: traditions, food, landscapes, nature, and people. Rarely a visitor will be charged with higher prices or eat at tourist traps: in each tiny village, you will be able to feel the local soul and roots.
This region is home to some of the world’s most unique art and heritage, with views and colors that will amaze you: are you ready to see the Marche travel guide I’ve prepared for you?
Where is it located? Le Marche Italy Map
Extending for around 10.000 kilometers along the Adriatic coast, it is located in Central Italy, between Tuscany and Umbria to the west, Emilia-Romagna to the north, and Lazio and Abruzzo to the south.
The great peculiarity of this region is that you can go from an altitude of over 2000m to sea level in just over an hour. Incredible, don’t you think? This special dialogue between mountain and sea can be recognized in many local aspects, like food, history, and habits.
Click on the map to see the details
When is the best time to visit it?
Wondering when to visit this region? I suggest you check all the different attractions this region has to offer in each season. Believe me, the atmosphere of each period has a special reason to make an unforgettable trip here.
In my opinion, the best travel months are April, May, June, September, and October. These months combine the convenience of a low or mid-season with pleasant weather.
Consider that August is vacation peak time for Italians, with cities emptying out for a week before, and two weeks after, the August 15 Ferragosto holiday. So, this region can be busy during the summer, especially along the coast. But if you visit it out of season (Middle of September to May), you’ll enjoy charming villages, uncontaminated beaches, and unspoiled landscapes all for yourself.
During the low season, you can enjoy an authentic Italy, appreciate the sea view without beach umbrellas and eat at family-run restaurants with handwritten menus. What else?
In Italy, a province (in Italian, provincia) is an administrative division of intermediate level between a municipality (comune) and a region (regione).
The region is divided into five provinces: Ancona (regional capital), Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata, and Pesaro and Urbino.
Good reasons to visit it
Do you love some of the points below?
- Italian traditions, cuisine, history, and people
- Picturesque towns with medieval and renaissance heritages
- Nature and untouched landscapes
- Sports in the middle of nature
- Tiny villages and hidden gems
- Authentic experiences and live like a local
- Slow life
I can spend hours asking you similar questions. But if you have said yes to some of them, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed during your visit to this wonderful region.
New Tuscany or Next Umbria?
Some people predicted that Le Marche will become “the new Tuscany” or “the next Umbria”.
Do you want to know my sincere opinion? Neither. This territory is a unique region, with an unforgettable combination of qualities and a unique identity. I’m sure this region will enchant you with its impressive culture and breathtaking beauty.
How do you say it in english?
I know you’ll find many different translations online and offline. Probably this diversity is due to the fact it’s the unique Italian region with the name in the plural.
It derives from the plural noun of “marca”, originally referring to the medieval march of Ancona and nearby marches of Camerino and Fermo.
A march, or mark, was, in broad terms, a medieval European term for any kind of borderland. More specifically, a march was a border between realms in which different laws might apply.
In some cases, you’ll find the word “Marche” or the “Marche region”, and in other cases, you’ll find the article “Le” not translated in English – as you can see in the Marche Tourism social media or in the Lonely Planet channels.
Although other translations could be considered correct, I prefer to use the most common term: Le Marche. Simpler, no?
It’s pronounced [leh ˌmarkeh] or [marke]; in English it sounds like leh-mahr-keh or just mahr-keh. To avoid any doubts, you can listen to the correct pronunciation below:
Someone born in this region is…
The Marche’s native is called marchigiano (pronounced “mar-ke-jar-noh”) or marchigiani in the plural (pronounced “mar-ke-jar-nee”).
Marchigiano refers to a tight cluster of local neo-Latin languages speech types spoken in the Region. There are notable grammatical, lexical and idiomatic differences between Marchigiano and standard Italian language, but it could be relatively comprehensible for a speaker of Standard Italian.
In itself Marchigiano is not uniform from town to town: being divided into different areas it could sound completely different.
Just to have an idea, listen to the phrase below in Marchigiano dialect of Ancona, the capital. It means “Hey man, what are you saying?”
“Fiòlo” means “son”, it’s used for children, but it also can be used in a dialog between adults, even if they’re not relatives.
(thanks to Raffaella, a local friend and the “voice-over”)
Usually, I don’t like to generalize, especially when the topic is people and behavior: it could be limited as well as too personal. But at the same time, we can’t ignore some common customs, traditions, the environment and the historical effects in a community. So, I’ll try to give you my external point of view about the marchigiani.
Let’s start with the fact this region has its name in the plural: the region’s name as well as each area has distinct behavior characteristics. But if I seek for a general and common denominator, I can say the marchigiani are friendly, discreet and welcoming. They consider themselves a little bit closed, but honestly, if you don’t compare them to people of some cities in the south of Italy, they are not. In my opinion, their behavior represents perfectly this geographical area, with an equilibrated position between the north and the south of Italy.
I noticed also a strong relationship between the marchigiani and their land, with a visible civic-mindedness (to be honest, I didn’t find it in all Italian regions I’ve visited).
I met many kind, lovely and authentic people here and they made me feel at home immediately. But I also perceived that it depends on your behavior. For example, they don’t love invasive people, as they are not invasive.
I think travelers who demonstrate respect for their environment and culture will always be welcome here. How can you not agree with them?
Things to do
This region offers so many amazing things to do and to see! Just find below some inspirational insights:
- Discover the natural wonders between wild nature and national parks
- Enjoy pebble and sandy beaches: just choose your favorite one!
- Explore trails and mountain bike itineraries
- Visit some of the cultural and artistic cities
- Take part of a wine and olive oil tasting
- Take part of a local folkloristic event
- Buy handmade shoes and souvenirs done by an ancient handcrafter
- Discover the local gastronomy
- Experience the local traditions, music, and dance
- Explore castles, ruins and small streets
- Go to a photowalk in an impressive sunflowers field
- Go hunting for truffles
See also our list of the 10 best places to visit
Would you like to discover the typical local food? There’s no better way to comprehend a culture than through its food. In this region, as all over Italy, it is a fundamental part of its culture.
Every single town will be able to delight you with a typical dish and a unique story. Most of the traditional dishes could not be found in the whole region, as they are produced in a limited area. So, you can imagine how difficult is creating a must-eat list! I tried to do choose the most famous ones in some different areas: I hope you can taste it all!
Check our list of 10 authentic typical dishes
Every year the weather is different so these insights are just to give you an idea of what to expect.
From the end of March temperatures often shoot up into the 20°C and most days are filled with warm and pleasant sunshine, but you’ll generally need a light jacket in the evening.
Summer is hot and there is normally very little rain until late September.
Autumn can offer many sunny and warm days but especially in hill areas, nights are cold. I recommend you dress in layers, to be prepared for climatic changes between daytime and evening.
The coolest months are January and February. Temperatures tend to be about 7°C along the coast and from 3°C to 6°C inland. Temperatures in the mountains are freezing. Snow starts to fall on the Sibillini mountains in late November / early December and gradually falls at lower altitudes as the winter advances.
When looking for things to do in this Italian region, you’ll find inspiring and exciting times waiting aplenty! This wonderful region will enchant you!
- 10 Places to visit in Le Marche
- Le Marche Travel Guide
- 12 Things to do Le Marche Italy
- 10 Authentic local dishes
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Are you planning a trip to Le Marche? Check out the list of hotels in Le Marche and book it now!
About the Author, Juliana de Brito