Four Towns in Le Marche and Why You Should Visit Them
With so many things to see and do in our favourite part of Italy, include a visit to these towns in Le Marche during any visit.
Abundant in hilltop towns, beautiful Adriatic coastline, charming medieval cities and fantastic beachside towns (see here for things to do in San Benedetto Del Tronto), Italy’s Le Marche has it all. Read on to see why these four towns are amongst our favourites.
Perched at the top of a hill surrounded by the Potenza and Chienti river valleys, this jewel is one of our favourite towns in Le Marche. Students from all over the world study at Macerata’s elegant 11th century university, creating a vibrant, bustling cafe culture and busy small town atmosphere. Within the city walls are an abundance of museums, cathedrals, theatres, medieval piazzas, grand 15th century architecture combined with modern boutiques and cafes that line its cobbled streets.
Stroll through the Piazza della Libertà in the centre of the old town and enjoy a cappuccino in one of the cafes that surround the square, admire the 15th century Torre dell’Orologio clock tower that watches over it, and marvel at the interior of the 18th century Teatro Rossi.
Take a guided tour of the majestic 19th century Sferistero amphitheatre, or enjoy a performance during the Opera Festival each summer. Explore the grand rooms of the Museo delle Carrozze – more than just a carriage museum, the building itself is a work of art.
The first time I saw Loreto was from the autostrada where it sat high on a hill above the road. The sun was setting and the silhouette of the town’s mighty dome against the red sky literally made me gasp in awe.
Smaller than many other towns in Le Marche, Loreto is built around that domed building – the Basilica della Santa Casa (the Shrine of the Holy House), a Catholic place of pilgrimage which history tells us is the home of the Virgin Mary. A rival to Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore, the interior of the Basilica is a feast for the eyes, richly decorated with gold statues, enormous frescoes and detailed mosaics that took almost three hundred years to complete.
Explore the Piazza della Madonna and the art collection at the Palazzo Comunale, stroll through one of the tiny cobbled streets that lead off of the square, and enjoy an espresso at the city gate where panoramic views of the Adriatic sea that stretch to the Apennines await.
More of our favourite towns in Le Marche
An important trading town with Rome during the days of the Roman Empire, Ascoli came to life around 299BC when a road connecting Rome to the Adriatic coast was built, offering both trade and military importance to the Romans.
Today, the Piazza del Popolo is the perfect place, day or night, to sit and people watch. Dominated by the large dome and tower of the Gothic-style Church of San Francesco at one end, and an array of perfectly covered walkways and tiny shops on the other, the Piazza del Popolo is alive with families, cyclists, strollers and tourists alike.
Look for one of a kind pieces at the Piazza’s monthly open air antique market, admire the views of surrounding mountains and river’s Tronto and Castellano from the Roman Solestà Bridge, stroll through the gates of Porta Gemina and explore the remains of the neighbouring amphitheatre, relax with a coffee or slice of pizza from one of the numerous cafes and restaurants that line Ascoli Piceno’s cobbled streets, and be sure to sample Olive Ascolane – fried stoned olives stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, eggs and Parmesan cheese for a delicious local treat.
This beautiful mountain village sits on the global stage – it is the international capital of the accordion and the tiny town produces over 15,000 of the instruments every year – many of them by hand and exported around the globe.
READ MORE: LONELY PLANET LE MARCHE – ASCOLI PICENO
Visit Victoria Accordions, not just a shop but a museum of all types of accordions from the 18th century right through to present day, enjoy the sounds of musicians every autumn during the Festival Internazionale Fisarmonica Castelfidardo, where local performers mix with artists from all over the world to fill the town’s streets with music, food, dancing and more. Explore the International Accordion Museum to learn more about Castelfidardo’s link with an instrument that is enjoyed and played by generations of Italians.
Admire the Marche National Monument – a huge bronze statue built to commemorate the Battle of Castelfidardo on the 18th September 1860.