When you think of the region of The Marches
, your mind
is taken to lands of culture, art, history, folklore, fun and international
events. There are numerous cities of interest: Urbino, Ascoli, Piceno,
Camerino, Macerata, San Leo, Offida, Ripatransone, Montalto Marche and
San Severino Marche are just a few. In addition, we can't forget the
famous seaside resorts of San Benedetto del Tronto, Grottammare, Sirolo
All of the places mentioned are characteristic of the The Marches landscape.
We begin in the west in the stunning Sibillini mountain chain with its
various national parks (Parco di Gola Rossa, Riserva dell'Abbadia di
Fiastra, il Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, Il Parco Nazionale
dei Monti della Laga, La Riserva della Gola di Furlo); as we head towards
the east, we notice the decline of the hills and the medieval castles
and villages which, even today, retain their historic charm; continuing
eastwards we reach the Adriatic coastline - one long beach interrupted
only by the majestic Monte Conero.
Ancona is the regional capital. Other important cities are Urbino, Ascoli,
Piceno and Pesaro.
exploring Marches villas
Sirolo and Numana
At the southern foot of Monte Conero
lies the beach
, one of the two bays formed under the cliff
and overlooked by the historical town centre, known as Numana Alta.
Prior to the eighth century BC, Greek merchants came to this Picene
harbour and shortly afterwards Numana was occupied by the Greeks who
controlled Ancona; later it became an important Roman town. In the historical
town centre of Sirolo, bounded by massive walls since the Roman era,
opens a fantastic belvedere on the promontory of the Conero, an isolated
rocky outcrop on the flat Adriatic coast.
This splendid view over the Regional Park
shows a magnificent
mountain overlooking the sea, covered in pines and larches, which in
the summer turns yellow with gorse. Descending to Sirolo
by steep woody paths from which there are wonderful panoramic views,
we reach the beautiful Urbani beach. Crescent-shaped, the fine gravel
beach ends in a jetty. A natural grotto opens in the cliff face, beyond
the bathing establishments.
localities of Montefeltro
is the departure point of a tour that touches
on both faith and art. It begins in the local sanctuary of Madonna delle
Grazie, formerly the church of San Francesco, which was erected in 1325
at the orders of the Minorite.
In 1922, the sacred image of the Crowned Virgin by Cardinal Spada in
1687, was transferred there from the Chiesetta di San Marco. This church
is a gothic art gem with a wonderful doorway constructed (in the 14th
century) from white stone from Istria and red stone from Verona.
Heading in a northerly direction, you arrive at Tavullia, (until 1940
called Tomba) which has two sanctuaries: S. Pio and della Madonna del
Monte (in the hamlet of Montpeloso).
We continue to Urbino
where we can admire the famous
and majestic Palazzo Ducale, not only a jewel of the Renaissance Italy
crown, with its splendid renaissance court but also a fortified residence
situated above the Mercatale (market).
The court is reachable by a helix staircase created by Francesco di
Giorgio Martini which allowed access between the Montefeltro residence
with the stables of Data and the exterior of the walls. The palazzo
was ordered by Federico di Montefeltro and is the work of the celebrated
Dalmation architect Luciano Laurana who produced the designs for the
spectacular courtyard of honour, the great staircase, structures connecting
the building to the old Castellare (castle) and the magnificent façade
of the Torricini.
there is the Sanctuary of Madonna delle
Grazie and the 1400AD fresco in the church of S. Giovanni Battista.
Continuing towards Montefeltro, at Montecerignone there is the Santuario
del Beato Domenico Spadafora (between the 18th and 20th centuries) where,
in the left nave, are the remains of Beato domenico, born in Sicily
Passing through the many places so rich in history, art and spirituality,
you cannot help having a look at San Leo
. In the town
there is the Pieve, the 14th-16th century basilica and the romantic
Duomo (1173) which houses the tomb of S. Leone. A few steps away is
one of the most ancient Franciscan convents: Sant'Igne which was founded
by Saint Francis himself.