Le Marche

To Dream of Marche...
where the sheep have long tails and
where sunshine and sleepy siestas are the essence of summer days;
where the pace of life can never be described as more than "chugging" and
where the art of patience is learned every long day . . .

Much has been written about the Marche in the plethora of guidebooks now so readily available since the area has been uncovered. All of them endeavour to give an honest view of the beauty and culture of the region, but as we all know the real proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's not until you visit the Marche that you realise no amount of words however seductively written can accurately describe what you feel when you wake up in the morning to see that the early sunlight, not quite up, has just tinted the mountain tops; it's a glorious setting and reminds you of the majesty of the Sibillini, or the first view of a valley from on high, clothed in mist and gloriously haunting against the ghost of a landscape, the very stuff of Arthurian legends. Memories are made of these times, when the stunning, natural beauty of the Marche countryside assails the senses and leaves you wanting more.
The Adriatic coast has been attracting sun worshippers for a great many years and the Marche's coastline competes with the best. A 180 kilometre stretch to be precise, for beach lovers to explore. Seaside resorts are varied and appeal to the young and old alike. For the sun and fun seekers, there are the bustling, lively resorts with a busy night-life or for those who want the sea and sand and a more tranquil environment there are the smaller family beaches. Different again, is the area around Conero, just south of Ancona, by far the most magnificent and picturesque coastal resort with it's rocky coves and white limestone cliffs. Here the cliffs of Monte Conero plunge steeply into the sea creating wonderfully sheltered beaches, some so isolated they are only accessible by boat.
Venture inland and be prepared for a rare treat. Once off the main roads visitors will be struck by the simple charm of an unspoilt countryside, dotted with old, typical stone farmhouses with their tidy gardens set in a patchwork landscape of sunflowers, maize, olives, fruit trees and grapevines meticulous in their geometry. Visit the old hilltop towns, serene and lovely and reminiscent of times gone by. Visitors are still a novelty in some of these small towns where life simply stirs, nothing ever bustles even on market days when the locals come out in force to mingle with their neighbours and chat.
Even the historic towns and fortresses of architectural importance wear their stature with understated elegance. Architecture is never out of place in the Marche, buildings however mighty, appear to have been moulded from the very earth on which they stand and meld into their surroundings with a subtleness of colour only nature knows how to compose.
The Sibillini Mountain range has the very best to offer nature lovers, walkers and ramblers, and for breathtaking scenery it beats the rest of central Italy hands down. The roads are driveable and still relatively deserted so it's easy to explore. The highest peak is Monte Vettore, over 8,000 feet high.  The region has been designated a National Park so the wildflowers and wildlife here are protected. If the European bear, wolf or wildcat, is difficult to spot (but not impossible), watch out for the polecat, stoat, weasel, wild boar, porcupine, golden eagle, goshawk and sparrowhawk, less scarce and all of which count amongst the many species of wildlife recorded by ramblers.
Unspoiled and unpretentious, the Marche welcomes the visitor to all it has in abundance ~ come and discover it for yourself. 

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