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PROVINCIAL CAPITALS: Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, Pesaro, Urbino
OTER INTERESTING PLACES: Loreto, Fano, Grotte di Frasassi

Characterised by undulating countryside and peppered with quiet and seemingly untouched medieval towns and villages, Le Marche forms a narrow and little-travelled band between the Appenines and the Adriatic sea. The small hill towns are the region’s most beautiful feature. Urbino and Macerata are the best known but the countryside of other little villages often crowned by an ancient castle or medieval monastery.

Ancona: Piazza del Plebiscito; Pinacoteca Comunale; Galleria dell’Arte Moderna; Chiesa di San Francesco delle Scale; Chiesa di Gesù; Palazzo degli Anziani; Museo Archeologico Nazionale delle Marche; Cattedrale di San Ciriaco; Arco di Traiano; Arco Clementino; Mole Vanvitelliana.
Loreto: the story goes that angels tansferred the house of the Virgin Maryfro Palestine to this spot towaeds the end of the 13th century. A church was soon built over the site and is now the Santuario della Santa Casa.
Urbino: Palazzo Ducale; Galleria Nazionale delle Marche; Museo Archeologico; Basilica Metropolitana; Oratorio di San Domenico; Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista; Chiesa di San Bernardino; Casa di Raffaello.
Grotte di Frasassi: the biggest known caves in Europe , containing a spectacle of stalactites and stalagmites, some of them 1.4 million years old.
Ascoli Piceno: Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo; Chiesa di San Francesco; Loggia dei Mercanti; Pinacoteca; the Cathedral; the Old Quarter.
Monti Sibillini: one of the most beautiful stretches of the Appennines. Dotted with caves and lined with walking trails, the mountains are also the scene of more energetic sporting activities such as horse riding.

Inland mountain dishes are vincisgrassi, a rich lasagne with meat sauce, chicken livers and tartufo nero; strozzapreti al pesto, worm-like shreds of pasta with pesto; and then beef, lamb, mushrooms and excellent truffles. Near the sea you can eat brodetto, a delicious fish stew and olive all’ascolana, olives stuffed with meat and deep-fried.

In Urbino on the third sunday in August takes place La Festa del Duca: the town’s streets become the setting for a costume procession and the re-enactment of a tournament on horseback in celebration of the splendid era of Duca Federico. In Ascoli Piceno on the first sunday of August it is celebrated the Quintana: hundreds of locals dressed in traditional costume fill the town centre for jousting, parades and other medieval doings.

Marche, Italy - map