Le Marche is an ancient region once home of the Picene tribe who were conquered by the Romans. Later it was part of the Papal States and known for its many monks and monasteries. Some of the many hiking trails in the magnificent Sibillini mountains follow the routes of pilgrims who trekked across Italy to Rome and Loreto on the coast which is still a major pilgrimage site. The area has remained detached from many of the influences that have spoilt other parts of Italy and the people retain the traditional virtues of generosity and politeness.
Le Marche has its own unique cooking traditions and produces quality olive oil and wine. There are several vineyards near the house that are worth a visit and a tasting. There is a plethora of reasonably priced but excellent restaurants in the area, ranging from pizzerias to more upscale and classy restaurants. We have written a list of our favourite places that you will find in the house guide. There are many very good fish restaurants on the coast and fantastic ice cream shops near the house.
If you should ever tire of lazing by the pool or enjoying the tranquillity of our house, there is plenty to do. The Abbadia di Fiastra nearby is an ancient abbey with huge grounds where you can walk, cycle and horse ride through fields and woodland with views towards the mountains. Bikes, including those with electric motors, are available to hire at the Abbey.
The nearest beaches are at Civitanova Marche but the best are on the Conero peninsula, near the regional capital of Ancona. The area is a protected nature reserve where you can find beautiful beaches,including remote places where you have to hike down to the sea or take a boat.
The high Sibillini mountains are a great place to escape the summer heat with beautiful scenery and a network of marked paths.
There are many pretty ancient towns dotted all over the region, usually on hilltops. They include Urbino, capital of the Renaissance Duke of Montefeltro which is a couple of hours away, Ancona with an interesting old town and a beautiful cathedral, Macerata and Tolentino which are both near the house. The former has a famous summer outdoor opera festival and the latter a monastery and church with medieval frescoes. The jewel of the area is Ascoli Piceno with two beautiful squares and many art treasures and Renaissance buildings.
One of the most rewarding activities is finding beautiful paintings in little known churches and abbeys dotted around the area near the house.
Remains of the ancient Roman colony of Urbs Salvia are 10 minutes from the house with frescoes, a gladiatorial arena, a theatre and other relics.
About 90 minutes from the house are the impressive caves at Frasassi, among the most spectacular in Europe and filled with imposing stalagmites and stalactites. They are situated in an area of great natural beauty.