The town of San Leo, Le Marche

The town of San Leo, Le Marche

A&B recently posted three of Le Marche’s most beautiful hill towns: Jesi, Urbino and Ancoli Piceno.

Here are a few other places worth visiting in the ever beautiful “The Marches”.

San Leo is a medieval town nestled below its ancient castle. The huge fortress sits on a rocky hill and can be visited by walking up from the town. In the 18th century the fortress was used as a papal top security prison. San Leo has a 9th century church, 12th century cathedral, and columns from the Roman period.

Gradara can be visited easily from the coast and is a popular day trip. Gradara has some of the best preserved town walls, complete with towers, and the walls can be seen from the coast. There is a parking lot at the bottom of the town. From there you can walk up the main street through the city gates and on to the impressive castle at the top of the hill. This is one town in the Marche where you’ll find lots of souvenir shops.

Pesaro, on the coast, is an attractive seaside resort with many hotels and good seafood restaurants. Its central beaches are lined with umbrellas and deck chairs that charge for their use but you can find free beaches north and south of the center. Pesaro has a large main square lined with bars, a beautiful Renaissance palace, an art museum, and a museum of Renaissance and Baroque pottery. Its cathedral has a beautiful mosaic floor. Pesaro holds an opera festival in August.

Fano, once the Roman colony of Fanum Fortunae, is a small seaside resort and fishing port. A Roman arch serves as the gate to Fano’s historic center. The central piazza has a 16th century fountain and a palace with the Civic Museum and Pinacoteca. The more popular northern beach is sandy and mostly covered by umbrellas and deck chairs for rent while the pebbly southern beach has a long promenade.

Urbania is a lively medieval walled town in a lovely setting on the Metauro River. Urbania has an imposing Ducal Palace that was originally a 13th century fortress and a good museum with paintings, ancient maps and globes, and ceramics. Urbania has long been one of Italy’s top places for ceramics. In the Chiesa dei Morti is a small display of mummies. More about Visiting Urbania

Ancona, capital of Le Marche

Ancona, capital of Le Marche

Ancona, the capital of the Marche, is a big seaside city built on two hills with its harbor between them. Ancona was settled by both the Greeks and the Romans and was an important port in the middle ages. Unfortunately Ancona was bombed during World War II and then hit by an earthquake in 1972 but some of its old buildings still remain. There are good views from the high parts of the town.

Inland from Ancona are Italy’s top caverns, the Grotte di Frasassi. In the same area are the town of Sassoferrato with several interesting sights and the Museum of Roman Gilded Bronzes.

Loreto is an important religious town and holds one of the world’s most important shrines to the Virgin Mary, whom many people believe once lived here. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world visit Loreto each year. The Santa Casa, Shrine of the Holy House, holds many important works of art.