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Rural tourism and touring

Ancient villages, hidden itineraries, authentic traditions

Parco del Conero
Monte Conero

There are numerous small villages scattered throughout the entire region, enchanting havens, full of history and culture, where time seems to have stopped, leaving space for a pleasantly slow pace, people friendly, marked only by the inescapable passing of the hours and seasons.


Endless are the tours and itineraries to take in order to discover the most hidden but also the most evocative small villages of the Marche, where it is still possible to experience an atmosphere of genuine authenticity. Small villages, like pearls set in landscapes without time, still preserve the original traits, where the jobs of the past are still performed and the inhabitants give a warm welcome to the visitors. Artisan traditions and typical flavours to be discovered without haste, in a people friendly atmosphere: from Montefeltro to Sibillini, from San Benedetto del Tronto up to the Gabicce Coast, The Marche offers numerous occasions to get lost between the perfectly conserved villages and small towns, where a Medieval and Renaissance atmosphere can still be experienced. Submerged in enchanting mountain landscapes or erected on vineyard covered hills, every town reveals itself as surprisingly beautiful and unique.


By car, motorbike or by any means, outside the main tourist routes and visiting the less crowded and famous cities, you can rediscover the Italian way of living, letting yourself be guided only by your curiosity. In fact, the original farming roots, the love of the land and a sober and demure lifestyle are still deeply rooted in these areas.


Many of the enchanting villages of the Marche are part of The most beautiful villages of Italy, a club established in 2001, with the intention of contributing to protecting those small centres or individual fractions, from the strong artistic and historic interest that, being outside of the main tourist circuits, risk being forgotten.


Coming from the north, in the province of Pesaro Urbino, you arrive at: Gradara, a large castle with a perfectly conserved adjoining village, known for the love story between Paolo and Francesca, immortalized by Dante in his Inferno; the village of Mondavio, with its fortress, the Rocca Roveresca of Francesco di Giorgio Martini and that of Montefabbri, whose Medieval urban planning gives it an enchanting initial visual impact. Continuing onwards we encounter the village of Corinaldo, a collective work of art, which boasts a perfectly preserved circular wall which is almost 1 km long; close by, is the village of Offagna, whose enchanting historical centre is enclosed within the ancient Castellane Walls, dating back to the 12th Century. In the province of Macerata, perched on the green and rolling hills are Matelica, where every tradition and history go hand in hand with innovation and development, and Montecosaro, that with its castle at the top of the hill appears to stretch out towards the sky. In the inland are: the village of Esanatoglia, also called threaded city, that with its seven bell towers and walls dominates the Esino river valley; Cingoli, also known as „the balcony of the Marche‟, whose city centre is at 631 mt above sea level and possesses the Madonna of the Rosary masterpiece by Lorenzo Lotto; Treia, whose thirteenth-century walls together with neoclassical buildings make it an elegant village. Perched on a hilltop are Montecassiano and Montelupone, one of the small places that has best preserved evidence of its history with the castle walls and four gateways. Further to the south of the province of Macerata, on higher ground, close to Sassotetto is the village of Sarnano, famous for its thermal sources. Not far away is San Ginesio, another small town within walls and with a beautiful square that stands against the blue background of the Sibillini Mountains, where the village of Visso, is located at over 600 metres above sea level and home to the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains.


In the province of Fermo, Moresco boasts a typical fortified layout dominated by two ancient towers: the older of the two belonged to the since-destroyed castle dated from the 12th century; the other is the square-based Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) designed by Vincenzo Pagani. In the province of Ascoli Piceno, we have: Montefiore dell'Aso, standing on the opposite side of the Aso river valley. Montefiore has well conserved great towers and various gateways of the original city walls sating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, other than the museum of St. Francesco which contains a splendid Triptych by Catlo Crivelli. Towards the coast are Grottammare with its village perched on a hill overlooking the water and, farther inland, Offida, enclosed by a ring of castle walls.


Within The Marche there are 17 Orange Flags, a trademark of tourism-environmental quality awarded by the Italian Touring Club, to the small inland municipalities that stand out for excellence and a welcoming atmosphere. Among them: on the hillside, other than those already mentioned, Corinaldo, Gradara, Mondavio, Montecassiano, Montelupone and San Ginesio are included in Acquaviva Picena, which has an indisputable medieval charm, and Camerino, home to the University which occupies the entire medieval Palazzo Ducale, with many sculptures and paintings from the 14th and 15th century in its museums as well as an extraordinary painting by G. B. Tiepolo in the church of St,. Philip, which portrays the Apparition of the Madonna to St. Philip; Monterubbiano, of ancient origins and where there have been various Paleolithic and Neolithic archaeological finds; Ostra, with its surrounding walls and imposing gateways, and Ripatransone, famous for its panoramic position with vineyards that stretch out almost further than the eye can see; Staffolo and Urbisaglia, with an imposing fortress that dates back to the 14th century, with an unquestionable charm, as well as home to the State Archaeological Park of the Roman city Urbs Salvia. . Worth visiting in the mountains are Genga, with ancient origins and known for the Frasassi Grotto, Mercatello sul Metauro, very interesting for its antique buildings which are preserved with great care, among which, spectacular sacred buildings, Pievebovigliana, with many archaeological finds sating back to the 14th century B.C., and Sarnano.


In the entire region there are Farmhouses and Country houses, the majority of which are open from April to October, where it is possible to stay for long or short periods of time, purchase biological products and taste typical traditional dishes of The Marche region. Farms with ancient manor houses, a tangible sign of the existence of a metayage system in the past, farms in full operation, original mills, authentic farmhouses, some luxuriously renovated, or elegant monasteries and castles, surrounded by enchanting scenery, by woods, meadows, vineyards, olive groves, which can be the perfect and ideal place for a holiday with the purpose of discovering, nature and relaxation. The territory offers many solutions, starting from simple healthy programs from walking routes up to greater articulated programs ideal for lovers of hiking, as well as mountain-biking and horseback riding, which is developed on the hillsides and in the nearby countrysides among the lakes, rivers, mountains and other unique natural beauty. For whom, instead, prefers to regenerate their body and spirit, The Marche offers thermal establishments, where it is possible to treat yourself to a massage and baths in healthy thermal waters.


There are numerous events and e historical reenactments which take place in the city centres, such as entertaining celebrations, to celebrate religious occasions or festivals. In fact, every year The Marche live the magic of the past, with horse races and costume parades, offering eloquent re-enactments of historical events that take place in the ancient centres of the city (among which, the famous Quintana in Ascoli Piceno) and the entertaining festivals to celebrate religious occasions or at Carnival time (as in Fano, Ascoli Piceno and Offida). Unchanging over time and very charming are various events to celebrate religious occasions. Very striking, for example, are the Living Nativities, such as in Genga, set up in the scenery of the Frasassi Gorge, also interesting are the three main Nativity museums, located close to each other, in Morrovalle, Macerata and Tolentino.

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