Marche, Italy

The Marche is an Italian region with an ordinary statute in central Italy of 1 480 839 inhabitants, with the capital Ancona, facing east on the Adriatic Sea. The Umbria-Marche Apennines mark the border with Tuscany and Umbria to the west; to the north the region borders with Emilia-Romagna and the Republic of San Marino, to the south with Abruzzo and Lazio. They are part of the Adriatic Ionian Euroregion whose forum (Adriatic Ionian Initiative) has its secretariat in Ancona.

The region is distinguished by a strong homogeneity: a large part of the territory is hilly, the inhabited centers are mostly located on the tops of hills and the agricultural landscape, derived from sharecropping, is characterized everywhere by numerous small plots, bordered by centuries-old oaks and marked by farmhouses; the percentage of scattered population is in this regard among the highest in Italy. From an anthropic point of view, the region is equally homogeneous: despite the considerable variety of dialects, the character of the inhabitants is described in the texts as uniform throughout the territory. Furthermore, the history of the Marches has been characterized by a series of parallel autonomies in each area; the same plural of the name in fact sanctions its fundamental unity despite the richness of local aspects. Indeed, paradoxically, the vocation for autonomy of each area is the most unifying factor. The economy is characterized by a peculiar economic-entrepreneurial model, defined as the "Marche model".

The region is also characterized by a singular wealth of internationally famous artists and scholars: Raffaello Sanzio (1483 - 1520), the genius from Urbino who was one of the greatest interpreters of Renaissance painting; Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868), one of the greatest operatic composers in the history of music; Giacomo Leopardi (1798 - 1837), one of the greatest Italian poets of the 19th century and one of the most important figures in world literature; Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952), known for her revolutionary teaching method, applied in thousands of schools around the world; Gentile da Fabriano (1370 - 1427), one of the most representative painters of international Gothic; Ciriaco d'Ancona (1391 - 1452), father of Archaeology; Donato Bramante (1444 - 1514), architect and painter, one of the main artists of the Renaissance; Father Matteo Ricci (1552 - 1610), one of the greatest popularizers of Western culture in China and a scholar of Eastern civilization; finally the two famous composers Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 - 1736) and Gaspare Spontini (1774 - 1851).



The Marches are located in central Italy and are crossed by the Apennines and bathed by the Adriatic Sea. Most of the land is hills, the rest is valleys and mountains. The beaches are sandy without stones throughout the region, excluding some in the Conero area. Ascoli Piceno, Ancona and Urbino are the most representative cities of the region which has different cultures, in fact the province of Pesaro and Urbino is influenced by Romagna, the province of Ancona by Tuscany and Umbria, the province of Ascoli Piceno by Abruzzo, while those of Macerata and Fermo are the most "Marche-like". This has allowed the region to obtain the nickname of "Italy in a region".

The character of the inhabitants is temperate and industrious and this is reflected in the calm that floods the countryside and the small villages built on top of the hills, where time seems to pass more slowly. People here might appear more reserved than in other parts of Italy, especially in small inland towns.

The Marches have sea, hills and mountains, therefore suitable environments for every taste.


When to go

In summer the climate is mild and winters are not too harsh so you can visit them pleasantly all year round. Obviously, if you want to spend time at the beach, we recommend the summer period (the beaches are never too crowded). In winter in the mountain and high hill areas there could easily be snowfalls that hinder travel.


Spoken languages

The use of dialect is widespread in the Marches, in many areas the average number of speakers of the dialect exceeds the national average. There is no single Marche dialect; Pesaro is influenced by Romagna, Ancona by Umbria, Ascoli by Abruzzo, while the Fermo-Macerata dialects have undergone less influence from neighboring regions. Obviously the official language is Italian.



There are numerous village festivals where you can see representations of ancient customs.

Here are some of them:
At carnival: Carnival of Fano and Carnival of Ascoli
In summer: Bababoom reggae festival
Palio of the Sword - Camerino
Palio of the Demigiana - Castelvecchio di Monte Porzio


Territories and tourist destinations

From North to south:
Territories of Pesaro and Urbino — Urbino, is among the most beautiful cities in the region, with its Palazzo Ducale.
Marca anconitana — Undoubtedly the best-known attraction in the Ancona area is the Frasassi caves, huge karst cavities discovered by chance in 1971. The Conero Riviera with the towns of Portonovo, Numana and Sirolo attracts a large number of holidaymakers devoted to bathing.
Territory of Macerata —
Marca Fermana — the territory of the city of Fermo
Piceno — The Piceno is the historical-geographical territory located in the south of the region. Ascoli Piceno, the historic and administrative capital, boasts a historic center built almost entirely in travertine. In it the numerous noble towers and bell towers still standing stand out and for this reason it is called the City of a Hundred Towers. A must is the Renaissance Piazza del Popolo. Other important places in the Piceno are the Adriatic coast with San Benedetto del Tronto and the western area of the Sibillini Mountains, for their environmental beauties and historic villages of architectural value such as Grottammare with the historic part called Grottammare Alta, Castorano, Offida and Castignano.


Urban centers

Civitanova Marche
Ascoli Piceno
San Benedetto del Tronto

Ascoli Piceno



Other destinations

Fortress of San Leo

Riviera del Conero
Monti Sibillini National Park


How to get here

By plane
Ancona Falconara Airport (officially: "Raffaello Sanzio" Marche Airport) is served by some airlines including Ryanair with many flights to European destinations but at the moment (year 2013) only a couple to Italian airports (Alghero and Trapani ). Volotea lines are about to inaugurate flights to Cagliari, Catania, Palermo.

By car
Le Marche can be reached via the A14 motorway from both Emilia Romagna and Puglia. Alternatively, the region can be reached through Umbria via the Colfiorito pass (near Norcia).

On the train
The Adriatic railway touches almost all the places on the coast and is also crossed by arrows. The main stations along the coast are those of Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, Ancona, Civitanova Marche, Porto San Giorgio and San Benedetto del Tronto. Another important railway is the Rome-Ancona with quite long travel times, however.

By bus
The Rome-Marche line makes round trips from the capital, stopping in various towns and villages along the way.


Getting around

By car
To move from one place to another, the use of the car is recommended even if many roads in the mountain areas have many stretches full of curves which can be annoying for those who are not used to them.

On the train
On the coast there is the Adriatic railway line with numerous stations.

By bus
The coaches are a valid alternative to the car and connect practically all the localities.


What to see

Pre-Roman and Roman times
National Archaeological Museum of the Marches in Ancona
Piceno necropolises from the 8th century BC have been found in the localities of Matelica, Numana and Sirolo. c.
Arch of Trajan and Roman amphitheater in Ancona
Roman bridge of Solestà, Cecco bridge and Roman theater in Ascoli Piceno
Roman cisterns of Fermo
Sentinum Archaeological Park
Archaeological Park of Urbs Salvia. The finds are on display in the nearby archaeological museum of Urbisaglia
Archaeological site of Ricina, an ancient city in the Potenza river valley.
Archaeological site of Santa Maria in Portuno near Corinaldo (Ancona).
Excavations of ancient Ostra
Archaeological area of Monte Torto

Middle Ages
Romanesque art — The most valuable examples of Romanesque architecture are the church of San Claudio al Chienti near Corridonia and the abbey of Chiaravalle di Fiastra, both in the territory of Macerata. The baptistery of San Giovanni in Ascoli Piceno. The cathedral of Ancona (San Ciriaco) and that of Osimo (San Leopardo). The church of Santa Maria della Piazza in Ancona. The church of San Vittore alle Chiuse near the Frasassi caves. The Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata in Montecosaro

Gothic painting — Gentile da Fabriano is among the leading exponents of the field. The artist worked in his hometown but the creations of his youth took flight on unspecified dates for the most important museums in the world and not one has remained on the soil of the Marche. The works of Allegretto Nuzi, a fellow villager of Gentile, met the same fate with the exception of the frescoes that decorate the cathedral of S. Venanzio in Fabriano, the sacred altarpieces in the art gallery of his hometown and another painting by him exhibited in the art gallery of San Severino Marche. The works of lesser-known artists remain but not for this without interest such as the frescoes of the Giotto school in the chapel of the church of S. Nicola in Tolentino by an unknown author but indicated by historiography with the conventional term of "The master of Tolentino". Also from the Giotto school is Giovanni Baronzio (14th century) whose polyptych is exhibited at the National Gallery of the Marches in Urbino. The works of a contemporary of his, Diotallevi di Angeluccio are on display in the art gallery of San Severino Marche and in the church of S. Domenico, still in the same city. Of notable importance are the works of Olivuccio di Ciccarello "discovered" in 2002 (previously he was known under the erroneous name of Carlo da Camerino). Several of Olivuccio's works are exhibited in the Vatican art gallery, others are dispersed in various Italian museums. In the land of Marche his works are scattered between Urbino (National Gallery of the Marche), Mondavio (Palazzo Comunale), Recanati (frescoes of the Church of S. Agostino), Macerata Feltria (Church of S. Michele Arcangelo) and above all in Ancona ( Diocesan Museum and Civic Art Gallery "Francesco Podesti"). The "Francesco Podesti" civic art gallery in Ancona also houses works by Carlo Crivelli, a painter defined as late Gothic despite the fact that he lived in the 2nd half of the 15th century. The artist arrived in the Marche from Zara in 1468. Two polyptychs by him are kept in the church of Santi Lorenzo e Silvestro in Massa Fermana and in that of San Giorgio in Porto San Giorgio. In 1473 he settled in Ascoli Piceno where he executed the Polyptych of Sant'Emidio for the Cathedral. Another painting of his "Madonna with child" is kept in the Buonaccorsi palace in Macerata. The civic art gallery of San Severino Marche collects works by Lorenzo Salimbeni (1374 - 1420), one of the leading exponents of Gothic in Italy together with his brother Jacopo. The most interesting works of the two brothers are a series of frescoes that decorate the walls of the Oratory of San Giovanni Battista in Urbino.

Gothic architecture — Examples of Gothic architecture are the facade of the Loggia dei Mercanti in Ancona (1451-1459), the work of the architect Giorgio da Sebenico

The church was erected to commemorate the visit of San Francesco to Ascoli Piceno in the year 1215 and retains the name of the saint, despite having been dedicated and consecrated on 24 June 1371. It is an example of Gothic style.

Art of the 15th and 16th centuries
Renaissance and Mannerism — Renaissance architecture finds its best example in the ducal palace of Urbino. The building houses the national gallery of the Marche where works by Piero della Francesca and Raffaelo are exhibited. Examples of Renaissance town planning are the small town of Fossombrone, the country residence of the Della Rovere dukes and the people's square in Ascoli Piceno. Also worth mentioning are some medieval fortifications transformed into noble residences in the 16th century such as the castle of Gradara which according to some would have been the backdrop to the tragic love between Paolo and Francesca and that of Pallotta in Caldarola which served as the summer residence of Cardinal Evangelista Pallotta. The Palazzo della Signoria in Jesi is one of the most impressive palaces in the Marche region. His project bears the signature of the Sienese Francesco di Giorgio Martinireca. In the field of painting, Lorenzo Lotto (1480 - 1556) from Venice also stands out, whose works can be admired at the Villa Colloredo Mels civic museum in Recanati, at the civic art gallery of Jesi and at the Francesco Podesti art gallery in Ancona.

Art of the 17th and 18th centuries
Baroque and rococo - A major example is the facade of the Basilica of Loreto whose project, although elaborated by Bramante, was completed many years later. The dome of the basilica is, however, clearly Renaissance in style and bears the signature of Giuliano da Sangallo. The bell tower, on the other hand, is in rococo style and was built by Vanvitelli in the second half of the 18th century. Other examples of Baroque architecture are the church of San Giovanni Battista in Jesi and the collegiate church of San Martino and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte both in Caldarola. In the field of civic architecture, Villa Bonaccorsi in Potenza Picena and some noble residences in Macerata such as Palazzo Compagnoni Marefoschi and Palazzo Buonaccorsi prevail. The latter houses today (year 2013) a museum dedicated to carriages. The most visible example of rococo are the interior decorations of the halls of Palazzo Pianetti in Jesi.

Art of the 1800s and 1900s
Neoclassical art — The reaction to the exaggerated frivolities of the rococo manifested itself from the end of the eighteenth century. The leading figure of this transition phase was Cosimo Morelli (1732 – 1812). an architect from Imola very active in the Papal States. We owe him the Teatro Lauro Rossi in Macerata, the Teatro dell'Aquila in Fermo inaugurated in 1790 and the Teatro Pergolesi in Jesi. The architect Ireneo Aleandri (1795 - 1885) of San Severino Marche was instead responsible for the Sferisterio of Macerata, a theatrical structure inaugurated in 1821, Villa Caterina in Porto San Giorgio (1825), commissioned by Prince Gerolamo Bonaparte, the restoration project of the Teatro Ventidio Basso in Ascoli Piceno (1840-1846) and the design of the facade of the Sanctuary of San Pacifico in San Severino Marche (1842), his native town. Giuseppe Valadier (1762 - 1839), one of the most important Roman architects of the neoclassical period was the designer and architect of the cathedral of Urbino (1789) and of the collegiate church of Monte San Pietrangeli (1799-1830).

Romantic painting — An exponent of the romantic current was Francesco Podesti (1800 - 1895), author of the frescoes in the church of the Ss. Sacramento in Ancona and of oils on canvas mostly of a mythological nature exhibited in the civic art gallery of Ancona. Ferdinando Cicconi (1831 - 1886), a student of Podesti, is remembered above all for having decorated various theaters in the Marche region such as the Ventidio Basso Theater in Ascoli Piceno, the Luigi Cicconi Theater in Sant'Elpidio a Mare and the Montini Theater in Fabriano. Some canvases by him are exhibited at the Civic Art Gallery of Ascoli Piceno.



Via Carolingia — European itinerary that crosses the places traveled by the court of Charlemagne between the eighth and ninth centuries to go from Aachen to Rome, where Pope Leo III crowned the Carolingian sovereign emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas night in the 19th century .


What to do

The Marches offer many suggestive and interesting villages both on the coast and in the hinterland. If you want to spend time at the beach, the best area is the Conero area; however, the whole coast is dotted with family-run chalets. For mountain walks and skiing, the best places are Monte Catria in the province of Pesaro Urbino and Ussita Frontignano in the province of Macerata. The regional zoo is located in Falconara Marittima, a few minutes from Ancona.



The cuisine of the Marches is of peasant origin, the meals in the Marches are generally very abundant; it always starts with an appetizer, which can be made up of a selection of local sausages: ciauscolo (a variant of salami typically from the Marche region), lonzino, porchetta (pork or rabbit), galantina (turkey, rabbit or chicken stuffed with olives, vegetables and eggs), loin, Carpegna raw ham, salami (there are numerous variations that vary from north to south of the region...mixed with cheeses, almost always pecorino, sometimes flavored with chilli , truffle, mushrooms or olives.

Also as an appetizer, bruschetta is very common, which can be with oil, tomatoes, ham, mushrooms, spread sausage, mozzarella or truffles.

Other appetizers are sausage with grapes, lentils and rocket with vinegar and pickled vegetables.

The main first courses of the region are tagliatelle (or other types of pasta such as maltagliati) with duck, asparagus or wild boar, vincisgrassi (a variant of lasagne, served without bechamel), fish soup, passatelli (a type of pasta served in broth typical of Pesaro) and nidi (a type of long pasta) with ricotta and spinach (sometimes fresh wild herbs are used instead of spinach).

As for second courses, the choice is very wide, the meat (often grilled) can be lamb, pork, beef, veal, sheep, mutton (lu crastò), wild boar, various game, pigeon, rabbit (often in porchetta accompanied with wild fennel, in the Marche dialect "finocchiu vastardu"), duck, turkey, chicken, guinea fowl...; on the coast instead fish is preferred (if fish is desired inland you can taste the trout caught in the rivers that run through the valleys).

Fritto all'ascolana is famous, made up of vegetables and fried lamb meat, plus stuffed olives stuffed with meat (or on the coast with fish), the undisputed symbol of the region, which can also be considered an appetizer if served alone .

Among the desserts the most popular are the black pudding, the nougat, the donut and the sweet fried pizza.

There is also a widespread consumption of preserves of various types (figs, plums, apples, strawberries, raspberries, berries, blackberries, peaches, apricots...). Typical of the Pesaro area is instead the bostrengo, a dessert made with figs, honey and citrus peel.

At Christmas, families eat bread baked in a wood oven, with walnuts, dried figs, pepper and raisins.

Meals often end with fresh local fruit (often grapes, melons, figs, apples or watermelon depending on the season) and a good coffee, perhaps laced with the local spirit par excellence, Mistrà.

In the Marches several farmers produce honey, apples, peaches, vegetables and olive oil and, in the Sibillini area, they cultivate the Pink Apple, characteristic of the region.



In the Marches a large quantity of wines is produced, both red and white, the most famous being Offida (white and red), Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva (white), Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva (white) and Rosso Conero Riserva (red), all DOCG wines, but also Rosso Piceno (red) a DOC wine. Other DOC wines produced in the Marches are: Bianchello del Metauro, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Pesaresi, Esino, Falerio, I Terreni di Sanseverino, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Pergola, Rosso Conero, San Ginesio, Serrapetrona, Terre di Offida, Verdicchio dei Castles of Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.

You can also taste the craft beers with the typical preparation recipes of the Marche region at agritourisms or farms.

Mistrà is a very popular local home-made spirit made from aniseed. There are two main marketed versions: the Varnelli typical of the Macerata area with an intense flavor and the Meletti typical of the Ascoli area with a more delicate flavour. The Vernaccia di Serrapetrona is also very interesting.



The Marches are one of the Italian regions with the lowest crime rate and there are no particular dangers, however it is necessary not to abandon common sense.


Physical geography

The Marches are located on the side of the middle Adriatic and occupy approximately 9,365.86 km² of Italian territory, which extends between the Conca river to the north and the Tronto to the south; to the west the region is limited by the Umbria-Marche Apennines. It has a characteristic shape of an irregular pentagon and develops mostly longitudinally from north-west to south-east.


Hills and mountains

The plains, not detectable in percentage terms, are limited to a narrow coastal strip and to the part of the valleys closest to the mouth of the rivers. The Marche region is therefore entirely hilly and mountainous. In particular, the Marches are one of the most hilly regions of Italy: the hills comprise 69% of the territory (6,462.90 km²) and as many as 82% of the municipalities are located in the hills.

The remaining 31% (2,902.96 km²) of the territory is therefore mountainous. The Apennines that cross the Marches are called Umbria-Marche, and include five folds, curved and parallel, with the convexity directed towards the coast. The western fold extends entirely in Umbria, the other four instead concern the regional territory and are described below, from west to east.

The four folds of the Apennines in the Marche region

The central fold of the Umbria-Marche Apennines forms the border with Umbria and extends south of the Bocca Trabaria. From north to south it includes the following mountains more than 1,500 meters high: Monte Nerone, Monte Catria, Monte Cucco, Monte Pennino, Monte Fema. The Serra di Burano extends between the Nerone and the Catria. In addition to the aforementioned Bocca Trabaria, the most notable passes are those of Bocca Serriola, della Scheggia, the Fossato Pass and the Colfiorito Pass. Most of the region's rivers originate from this fold.

The eastern fold extends from the Gola del Furlo to that of Arquata, and then continues for a short stretch in the territory first of Lazio and then of Abruzzo, up to the Montereale pass. It includes, from north to south, Monte Paganuccio, Monte San Vicino, Monte Letegge and the majestic backdrop of the Sibillini Mountains, with Monte Vettore (2478 m), the highest regional relief, and numerous other mountains exceeding 2,000 m. This fold is characterized by numerous gorges, which the rivers born further west must cross to reach the sea. The best-known passes are Passo Bad, Forca di Presta and Forca Canapine. In the first two folds there are important karst complexes, including the well-known Frasassi Caves.

The third, short fold has an ellipsoidal shape and is between the valleys of the Musone and Potenza rivers. On it stands Cingoli, at 631 m a.s.l.; the town is surrounded by lower hills and dominates almost the entire Marche region, deserving the nickname of "balcony of the Marches". The maximum elevation of this fold is that of Monte Acuto (824 m).

The last fold reaches the sea and is made up of the promontory of Monte Conero (or Monte d'Ancona), which extends eastwards with its high cliffs, halfway along the Adriatic coast, between Ancona and Numana. Also this fold, like the previous one, has an ellipsoidal shape; moreover it has the maritime side much steeper than the internal one.

North of the Bocca Trabaria pass there is a limited but important sector belonging to the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, with Monte Carpegna, 1415 m. The northernmost portion of the Monti della Laga, which extends south of Arquata del Tronto and where the 2073 m Monte Macera della Morte stands out, is also in the Marche region.


The highest mountains

The highest mountain massif in the region, and among the first four in the entire Apennines, is that of the picturesque Monti Sibillini, located between the provinces of Fermo, Ascoli Piceno and Macerata; evocative and ancient legends are set here, such as that of Guerin Meschino, the Grotta della Sibilla and the Lake of Pilato.

Here stands the already mentioned Monte Vettore (2476 m), the highest in the region, and numerous other mountains that exceed 2000 meters:
over 2400 m: Cima del Redentore (2,448 m), Cima del Lago (2,422 m), Pizzo del Diavolo (2,410 m), all in the Vettore group and surrounding Lake Pilato;
over 2300 m: Punta di Prato Pulito (2373 m), Cima dell'Osservatorio (2350 m), Monte Porche (2333 m), Monte Priora (2332 m);
over 2200 m: Pizzo Berro (2279 m), Cima Vallelunga (2221 m), Monte Argentella (2200 m);
over 2100 m: Monte Sibilla (2173 m), Palazzo Borghese (2145 m), Monte Bove (2169 m), Monte Torrone (2117 m, in the Vettore group), Monte Rotondo (2101 m).

Outside the Sibillini group, the following are mentioned:
over 2000 m: Monte Macera della Morte (2073 m), in the Monti della Laga;
over 1500 m: Monte Catria (1701 m), Monte Pennino (1.571 m), Monte Nerone (1526 m);
over 1400 m: Monte San Vicino (1479 m), Monte Carpegna (1415 m);
over 1000 m: Monte della Strega (1276 m), Monte Letegge (1323 m, in the eastern chain), Monte Ascensione (1100 m).



The coast, 173 km long, has a straight line, with long sandy or gravel beaches.

The low coast is interrupted in half by the Conero promontory, which divides the Marche coast into two sections with different trends: the northern one is oriented from north-west to south-east, the southern from north-north-west to south-south- East. Monte Conero, the nucleus of the promontory, gives rise to high and spectacular limestone cliffs and represents the highest point of the Marche coast and of the entire Adriatic coast, with cliffs more than 500 m high overlooking the sea.[30] The Conero protects the Gulf of Ancona to the north, in the innermost part of which the port of Ancona is located.

Another stretch of high coast is that of Monte San Bartolo, near Pesaro; the Ardizio hill, on the other hand, south of Pesaro, despite being very close to the sea, does not touch it.

According to the Ministry of Health, 98.2% of the coast is suitable for swimming.

Rivers and mountain gorges
The rivers have a torrential character and are typically parallel to each other, forming a structure of valleys which is often called "comb". The rivers of the Marche region are rarely tributaries of other major rivers. Another important feature is the fact that almost all of them are born in the Apennine chain which forms the border with Umbria and that therefore, to reach the sea, they cross the eastern chain forming picturesque gorges such as those of Furlo, Frasassi, della Rossa, Pioraco, Infernaccio, Fucicchie and Arquata.

The upper valley of the Nera river, a tributary of the Tiber and therefore belonging to the Tyrrhenian side, is in the Marche region, while all the other rivers fall on the Adriatic side.

The differences in length between one river in the Marche region and another are not great: the longest is the Metauro (121 km), followed by the Tronto (115 km), the Potenza (95 km), the Chienti (91 km) and the 'Esino (90 km).

With regard to the hydrographic basin and the average water flow, the largest are the Metauro river, with 1,325 km² and 20.8 m³/s; followed by the Esino with 1,203 km² and 18 m³/s, and by the Tronto, with 1,192 km² and 17 m³/s.

The center of some cities is crossed by rivers: near the mouth of the river Foglia rises Pesaro; the Misa river, before reaching the sea, crosses Senigallia; the center of Ascoli Piceno is surrounded by two rivers, the Tronto and the Castellano, which converge there. Some river mouths have been used to obtain canal ports, as in the cases of Pesaro and Senigallia; in the case of the canal port of Fano, it is the terminal part of the Albani canal, which originates from the Metauro, which is used as part of the port.



In the Marche there are no large natural lakes. Despite their small extension, the two coastal lakes of Portonovo and the glacial Lake Pilato, located at an altitude of 1,941 m, are very interesting from a landscape and naturalistic point of view. The main lakes by extension are Lake Cingoli and Lake Fiastra, both artificial.

Geographical and administrative boundaries
To the north, the Marches border on Emilia-Romagna (province of Rimini) and the Republic of San Marino; to the west with Tuscany (province of Arezzo), Umbria (province of Perugia) and Lazio (province of Rieti); to the south with Abruzzo (province of Teramo) and to the east with the Adriatic Sea. The extreme points of the political borders are Gabicce Mare to the north, Acquasanta Terme to the south, Borgo Pace to the west and San Benedetto del Tronto to the east.

The line that:
follows the watershed between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic (to the west),
follows the Adriatic coast from the promontory of San Bartolo to the mouth of the Tronto (east)
it delimits the basin of the Conca river from its source to Monte Grimano Terme and that of the Foglia river (to the north).
it delimits the Tronto basin (to the south).

With this criterion, the administrative region generally coincides with the geographical one; however, there are some exceptions, listed below.
Some territories of the upper Valmarecchia are in the Marche region; these are the extreme northern areas of the municipality of Monte Grimano Terme (province of Pesaro and Urbino); this municipality falls for most of its territory within the natural border of the Conca basin.
The fraction of Monte Ruperto, despite being located within the Marches (province of Pesaro and Urbino), is an enclave of the Umbrian municipality of Città di Castello (PG), of which it is an administrative island.
Part of the upper Valnerina, with the municipalities of Castelsantangelo sul Nera, Ussita and Visso, is in the Marche region (province of Macerata) although it belongs to the Tiber basin and therefore to the Tyrrhenian side.
The upper Tronto Valley, which constitutes the large basin in which the municipalities of Amatrice and Accumoli are located, despite being located on the Adriatic side, administratively does not belong to the Marches, but to Lazio (province of Rieti).
The upper valley of the Sentino, a left tributary of the Esino, which roughly coincides with the municipal territory of Scheggia and Pascelupo belongs to Umbria.
Part of the upper valley of the Foglia river, which extends into the municipal territory of Sestino and partly into that of Badia Tedalda, is administered by the Tuscany region. In the lower valley, on the other hand, most of the municipal territory of Mondaino falls within the Foglia basin, but belongs to Emilia-Romagna.

Until 2009, since they were already part of the Duchy of Urbino, seven municipalities entirely included in the Valmarecchia (Casteldelci, Maiolo, Novafeltria, Pennabilli, San Leo, Sant'Agata Feltria, Talamello) were from the Marches, which in that year were annexed to the Emilia-Romagna following a referendum; two other municipalities in the Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Montecopiolo and Sassofeltrio, following consultative referendums with a favorable outcome, were aggregated to the Emilia-Romagna region on 17 June 2021. Monte Grimano and Mercatino Conca instead rejected, again by referendum, the aggregation to Emilia-Romagna.



The Marche region is subject to earthquakes: in fact, 97.3% of the region, equal to 230 municipalities, has been classified as medium or high risk.

The Marches have been hit in recent decades by various earthquakes, including: the Montefortino earthquake and the Ancona earthquake of 1972, the Fermo and Porto San Giorgio earthquake of 1987, the Umbria and Marche earthquake of 1997, the dell'Aquila in 2009 (which also affected some localities in the province of Ascoli Piceno to a minor extent) and the earthquake in Central Italy in 2016 and 2017.



In the coastal area north of Ancona the climate is sub-Mediterranean with sudden changes in temperature from season to season: hot summers, but refreshed by the benevolent sea breeze, and cold winters (in Pesaro the average January temperature is 3.8 °C) with regular seasonal rains. South of Ancona, the subcontinental climate eases to make way for a sublittoral climate which takes on more markedly Mediterranean characteristics in the Riviera delle Palme (in Grottammare the average January temperature is 7.6 °C).

In the flat areas and in the low hilly areas a rather sub-continental climate reigns, with very sultry summers and harsh winters characterized by dense fog in autumn and possible heavy snowfalls in winter. Spring can be quite rainy.

In the mountainous and high hill areas there are cool summers and cold winters with ample possibility of snow; winter is also harsh in the internal hilly areas where low temperatures can occur. In fact, the Marches were one of the Italian regions most affected during the 2012 snowfall.



Picene civilization
The first period of cultural unity of the Marches was in the Iron Age, when the region was inhabited almost entirely by the Piceni. The spread of the Picene civilization marks the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, as well as the transition to history, with the introduction of writing.

The testimonies left by this civilization are very rich and strongly characterized, especially in the sculpture, even monumental, in the figurative art, which presents a remarkable imagination in the figures and a tendency towards abstractionism, in the originality of the forms of ceramics, in the abundant use of amber, in the great variety of weapons, in the showy female kits. The language of most of the inscriptions is Italic and is called Sudpiceno; in four inscriptions the enigmatic Language of Novilara is instead attested.

Gallic invasion and Greek foundation of Ancona
In the 4th century BC, the region saw the arrival of the Senoni Gauls, a Gallic population from the French province of Champagne, who occupied the entire northern sector of the region, up to the Esino river, but also some areas further south.

In the same period the Greeks of Syracuse founded the colony of Ankón, the current Ancona. With the Syracusan foundation, the emporium became a city of Greek language, culture and aspect, which it then maintained for a long time, when the surrounding region and central Italy had already entered first under the influence and then under the Roman state.

The Piceni, therefore, who before the arrival of the Sènoni lived throughout the territory that we now define as the Marche region, found themselves living together with different cultures, which profoundly influenced their way of life, so much so that archaeologists speak of a new phase of civilization picena: the "Piceno IV", the last of this Italic people before its Romanization. At the same time, even the original Celtic culture of the Sènoni, in contact with Piceni and Greeks, undergoes an evolution, dissolving into a Celtic-Greek-Italic koiné, where the Celtic element remained unchanged only as regards the armament

Ankón, through its port, maintained intense relations with the main centers of the eastern Mediterranean, as evidenced by the archaeological evidence, numerous and significant especially for the Hellenistic age. In the late 2nd - early 1st century BC. it was gradually absorbed into the Roman state, while remaining a Greek linguistic and cultural island for some decades.


Roman period

After the battle of Sentino, in 295 BC, the Gauls were defeated by a coalition between Romans and Piceni. When the Roman allies became too intrusive, with the foundation of colonies in the Piceno territory (the most important Firmum Picenum, today's Fermo), the Piceni rebelled giving life to the Picentine war, which ended with the submission to the Romans, and then to the war social.

Two important roads connected the Marches to Rome: the Flaminia, which reached Rimini, and the Salaria, which reached Porto d'Ascoli. Furthermore, during the imperial period, Ancona was chosen by Trajan as the port of Rome towards the east, as evidenced by the inscription on the arch of Trajan in Ancona, in which the capital of the Marches is called accessum Italiae, i.e. "entrance to Italy".

Like all the territories of the modern Italian regions, even the Marche region underwent various administrative changes in the Roman period. Under the empire of Augustus, the southern part of the region was part of Regio V, called Picenum, while the northern part, called Ager gallicus picenus, was included in Regio VI, which also included the eastern territories of present-day Umbria. With the administrative reorganization of Diocletian, the whole territory of the current Marche was reunited in the Flaminia et Picenum, which also included Romagna. This province was divided under the empire of Theodosius I into two districts: the northern Marches, called Picenum Annonarium, formed the Flaminia et Picenum Annonarium with Romagna, while the south of the region formed the Picenum Suburbicarium. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Marches, after having been part of the kingdom of Odoacer, entered the orbit of the Eastern Roman Empire like the rest of Italy, while the old name "Piceno" was lost.


High Middle age

During the Gothic-Byzantine War, the territory of today's Marche was the scene of important military actions; Ancona and Osimo were two cornerstones of military actions, the first Byzantine and the second Gothic. After the Byzantine victory, the region, together with the rest of Italy, was under the rule of the Eastern Empire.

Subsequently, following the invasion of the Lombards, the regional territory found itself broken into two parts: the cities of the north of the region up to Ancona remained under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Roman Empire, constituting the Byzantine Pentapolis, in turn divided between the coastal cities incorporated in the maritime Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Ancona, Senigallia and Fano) and the inland ones included in the food Pentapolis (Gubbio, Cagli, Urbino, Fossombrone, Jesi and Osimo).

The south of the region and the northern part of Abruzzo (today's provinces of Macerata, Fermo, Ascoli, Teramo and Pescara) were instead conquered by the Lombards, who established the Marca Fermana, which bordered to the west with the Duchy of Spoleto and to the south with the Duchy of Benevento, also of Lombard origin. The presence of the Longobards has left significant traces, such as the necropolis at Castel Trosino on the Via Salaria.

Subsequently, the entire regional territory was unified by taking the name of Marca di Ancona (also called Marca Guarnerii, from the name of the first marquis, Guarnieri, from the end of the 11th century), indicated on ancient maps with the name of Marca Ancona olim Picenum. The term marca, or "marka", introduced by the Lombards, derives from the Germanic and means "border territories" of the Holy Roman Empire. The governor was initially based in Ancona, then, when this city was released from the control of the State of the Church, the government of the Marca moved to Fermo, which was the second city in the region in terms of political importance.


Communal age

We have a very clear picture of the regional situation in the fourteenth century thanks to the Egidian Constitutions, which serve to identify the borders of the Marca, practically coinciding with the current ones; the five major cities are also listed (Urbino, Ancona, Camerino, Fermo, Ascoli Piceno) and the large cities (including Pesaro, Fano, Fabriano, Jesi, Recanati, Macerata).

In the municipal era, the municipalities of Pesaro, Fano, Ancona, Jesi, Fermo and Ascoli Piceno flourished. In particular, the Republic of Ancona had moments of artistic and cultural splendor thanks to its maritime relations with the East; it is in fact one of the maritime republics whose coat of arms does not appear on the flag of the navy.

On December 26, 1194, Frederick II of Swabia was born in Jesi, the future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who honored the city in 1216 with the title of Città Regia, also giving it the title of Respublica Aesina, confirming all its rights over the lands of the countryside. These privileges allowed Jesi a certain autonomy even during the subsequent papal domination.



During the Renaissance the Duchy of Urbino was famous throughout Europe, a real beacon of Italian art and culture. Other cities where important economically and culturally lordships were Camerino, Fano, Pesaro, Senigallia, Fabriano and San Severino Marche. Ancona instead maintained its republican regime, like the other Italian seaside cities.

Pontifical period
Between the middle of the 16th century and the first decades of the 17th century, the cities of the Marches entered the State of the Church, which, like all Italian regional states, annulled the smaller political entities. A period of recession followed, shared by most of Italy, cleared only by the pontificate of Clement XII who in the eighteenth century traced the road today called Vallesina and gave breath to the regional economy by declaring Ancona a free port.


Napoleonic and Risorgimento period

With the arrival of the French troops, the Marches took on a republican order, constituting itself in the Ancona Republic, which was later absorbed by the Roman Republic. During the Risorgimento the Marches participated in the struggles for unification with the revolts of Macerata and with the heroic resistance of Ancona during the Austrian siege of 1849, simultaneously with Rome and Venice. The final battle of Italian unification was fought in the Marches: the battle of Castelfidardo is famous, which allowed the union of the territories conquered by Garibaldi in the south with those acquired by Vittorio Emanuele II in the north.



Contemporary period

In more recent history we remember the Red Week, the Revolt of the Bersaglieri and the participation in the Resistance, among the most massive and popular in Italy.

Recent territorial changes
Until 2009, the region included the territory of the upper Marecchia river valley, formerly part of the Duchy of Urbino (since the 15th century) and whose belonging to the delegation of Urbino and Pesaro was confirmed by Pius VII with a motu proprio on 6 July 1816 In 2009, however, it was detached from the Marche following a referendum in favor of entry into the Emilia-Romagna Region and, following the positive outcome of the latter, aggregated to it. The Marches appealed to the Constitutional Court, deeming that the parliament had unduly ignored the negative opinion of the region; in July 2010 the Court ruled on the appeal, judging it unfounded.