|• THE MARCHE TRAVEL GUIDE|
|- A first overview|
|- City of art and culture|
|- Rural tourism and touring|
|- The Marche and the sea|
|- Wine and Food in the Marche|
|- Marche - uncontaminated nature|
|- Marche - Sport and leisure|
|- Thermal Baths and Wellness|
|- Romantic Marche|
|- The Artisan Marche|
|- The Marche region in blue|
|- Marche Fortresses and castles|
|- MARCHE for young people|
|- Marche for families|
|- The Marche and wellness|
|- The Green Marches|
|- The Archaeological Marche|
|- Medieval festivals / historical reenactments in the Marche|
The cultural and artistic scenario of The Marche region is an expression of cultural pluralism established throughout the course of history. A territory of transit for painters, sculptors and architects that left a profound mark in history influencing their successors. The Marche Region is one of the richest regions in Italy for natural treasures: 500 squares, more than 1000 important monuments, 37 strongholds, 106 castles, 15 fortresses and 170 towers, thousands of churches of which 200 are Romanesque, 96 abbeys, 183 sanctuaries, 72 historical theatres all renovated and functioning. The region also has the greatest number of museums and galleries, as well as a significant amount of libraries, a total of 315, among which the Venerable Hermitage of the Holy Cross (Eremo di Santa Avellana) and that of the Leopardi family which keep the ancient volumes.
The Marche Region is, therefore, a true open-air museum, consisting of a wide network of artistic cities and historical villages set within green and soft hillsides, where one of kind masterpieces can be found from Piero della Francesca to Lorenzo Lotto, from Raffaello to Carlo Crivelli, from P.P. Rubens to Titian, without mentioning the numerous historical theatres and the ancient Roman roads which are the testimony of an illustrious past.
A region where culture first and foremost is a way of being and a strong way of feeling internalised in the approach to life and the modus operandi. The Marche is, in fact, an ancient and historical territory yet at the same time very modern and innovative; a region open to change, however, attached to its values and traditions; a region where one experiences and breathes a unique connection between culture, a civilisation of achievements, art and genius, creativity and craftsmanship, that de facto allowed Made in Marche brands to be recognized worldwide.
Other than museums, libraries, archives and theatres, the cultural heritage includes numerous monumental and religious assets, abbeys, monasteries, churches, spread out over the entire territory, as well as civil assets with castles, walled centres, fortresses which tell the story of a glorious and lively past. Loreto, for example, is home to one of the most famous Marian sanctuaries in Europe and at the same time it is rich with important works of art. Recanati, enchanting village, is the birthplace of Giacomo Leopardi, and through its streets we can relive his poetry: the “Il Sabato del Villaggio” Square, the “Passero Solitario” Tower in the cloister next to the Church of St. Augustine; the Hill of “L’Infinito” on Mount Tabor.
Ancona, capital city of The Marche, perches on a promontory that inclines toward the Adriatic Sea and lays claim to the feature which renders it unique: the sun which rises and sets on the sea. The city takes its name from the translation of the Greek word for elbow (ankon), due to its shape. A must see is the historic city centre full of churches and museums, one of the most noteworthy is the Cathedral of St. Ciriaco, one of the most outstanding examples of Romaneque architecture in The Marche, Piazza Plebiscito with the church of St. Domenico, which keeps a Crucifixion by Titian, San Francesco alle Scale whit the Assumption of Lorenzo Lotto, the Loggia dei Mercanti, the Picture Gallery F. Podesti, known for its painting by Carlo Crivelli, Lorenzo Lotto, Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Guercino, A. Lilli, Carlo Maratta etc., the National Archaeological Museum of The Marche, the Teatro delle Muse (Le Muse Theatre).
Ascoli Piceno is full of valuable features: the ancient Roman vestiges, the evidence of the Romaneque and Gothic eras are indelible in that which is defined the city of one hundred towers. The historic city centre owes its harmonious and compact look to the local travertine, raw material for all of the constructions. Piazza del Popolo is the family room and meeting place of this city, also known for Caffè Meletti; the civic Picture Gallery, full of works by Carlo Crivelli, Titian, Guido Reni, the Civic Contemporary Art Gallery dedicated to the great master of the Twentieth Century Osvaldo Licini, the State Archaeological Museum, the “Cartiera Papale” and the Roman Theatre are all worth visiting.
Macerata rises on a large hillside, like most of the most beautiful cities of the Marche. Its noble and stern aspect is softened by the warm colours of the rock and the bricks of the buildings in the historical centre where the historical University and surrounding walls are. The home town of Jesuit Matteo Ricci (Macerata, 1552 - Beijing, 1610) surrounded by the sixteenth century ramparts, is crossed by the many streets going towards Liberty Square, heart of the historic centre, onto which the Loggia dei Mercanti, Palazzo del Comune, Torre dell'Orologio, Palazzo della Prefettura, the eighteenth century Municipal Theatre Lauro Rossi and the ex-Church of San Paolo dating back to 17th Century, next to the entrance on its right side to the Palazzo dell'Università. In the vicinity of Liberty Square are the civil Museums of the Buonaccorsi Palace, known for the eighteenth century gallery depicting the Stories of the Aeneid. It hosts the famous Sphaeristerium Opera Festival, in the open arena of the same name, designed by the architect Ireneo Aleandri.
Fermo, thanks to its position offers a breathtaking view that ranges from the sea to the peaks of the Sibillini Mountains. It was inhabited since the Iron Age (10th – 3rd cent. B.C.) and then it was a Roman colony (Firmum Picenum) from the first half of the 3rd century A.D. For this reason, there are archaeological remains of megalithic walls which are the proof of the attest the Picenes origin of Fermo; The great underground tanks used for collecting water for the supply of the colony from the Roman area are preserved. Piazza del Popolo, of rare beauty and architectural design, is one of the most striking to visit; as well as Piazza del Girfalco, where the magnificent Cathedral stands. Not to be missed, the Polo Museale which includes Palazzo dei Priori, Cisterne, Teatro dell’Aquila, Villa Vitali and the Diocesan Museum.
Pesaro, already a Roman city, hosts the yearly Rossini Opera Festival and is home to the Fondazione Rossini, dedicated to the composer Gioacchino Rossini, one of the most important Italian composers of opera for the theatre. Not to be missed are the Palazzo Ducale, Liberty Square, in front of which the “Large Sphere” floats on a mirror made of water, cast in bronze and made in 1998 by the sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, the Diocesan Museum and the Rossini House. The pride of the city are: the civil museums, full of paintings and ceramic works, among which the famous Holy Conversation by Giovanni Bellini stands out, a masterpiece of Italian painting of the 15th century; the S. Giovanni public library and the “ Museo Archeologico Oliveriano”
Urbino, was a focal point of the Italian Renaissance and the birthplace of Raffaello Sanzio, in 1998 it was declared a UNESCO Heritage City. It is situated between the valleys of the rivers Metauro and Foglia, from which it is possible to enjoy a breathtaking view which embraces the surrounding hills, immortalised by Piero della Francesca in his paintings. An absolute must see is the Palazzo Ducale, masterpiece of the Renaissance period, full of works of art, among which the famous Studiolo by Federico da Montefeltro and where the National Gallery of The Marche is located, a unique sequence of extraordinary works that vary from the 13th century to Gothic sculptures, from Piero della Francesca to Raffaello, from Titian to Federico Barocci. In Urbino it is also possible to visit the Home of Raffaello Sanzio, known both for being his family house and as an eloquent example of a fifteenth-century mansion; the Cathedral, the Parish recreation centre of S. Giovanni frescoed by the brothers Jacopo and Lorenzo Salimbeni in 1416.
Beyond these cities of a widely recognised great historical, architectural and cultural value, the biggest surprises in art are given to us by the less known cities which represent a chest of small hidden treasures, scattered over the entire territory.
Not to be missed...
From 2012 visiting museums and art and archaeological itineraries of The Marche is easier thanks to the museum portal full of information on approximately 400 museums of the region, the related itineraries and the dozens of themes through which it is possible to discover the culture of the region. www.musei.marche.it
Discovering the art and cultural treasures is a once in a lifetime experience and with The Marche Museum Card it also becomes much easier. The card permits to visit museums and archaeological sites, guaranteeing free entry to all of them, without limitations to opening hours. With the Marche Museum card you also have the right to discounts and offers for events and exhibits, as well as other tourism and cultural facilitations. For more information: www.cartamusei.marche.it
Lorenzo Lotto (Venice 1480 – Loreto 1557). The bond between the Venetian painter and the Marche is very tight: the region today preserves numerous works of art which allow for an in depth journey through the genesis, the significance and the development of the artistic journey of the painter. www.lorenzolotto.info, in Italian and English with tour packages.
Franciscan itineraries. Connected to the figure of Saint Francis of Assisi both for the geographical proximity and the elective affinity, the Marche narrate an extraordinary chapter composed of history, places and itineraries of the Franciscan culture. Churches, museums and sanctuaries are indicated in the website and have a wide range of itineraries which spread out over the provinces of the region www.francescanesimomarche.it
Itineraries in the abbeys. Among the first areas which have accepted the Monasticism phenomenon, thanks to the figure of S. Benedetto da Norcia, The Marche is lined with abbeys and monasteries of indisputable architectural value. The most famous are the Hermitage of Fonte Avellana and the two Cistercian abbeys which are Santa Maria in Castagnola (Chiaravalle, Ancona) and Santa Maria di Chiaravalle di Fiastra (Tolentino). The list and opening hours are available at www.turismo.marche.it
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