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The central Italian region of Le Marche is best known for its pretty landscape; the interior runs from rolling, vineyard-covered hillsides dotted with medieval towns and castles, to the rugged, majestic peaks of the Sibilline Mountain range. To the west, Le Marche shares a border with five neighbouring regions (Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, and Abruzzo), but its entire length to the east is lapped by the mild-tempered waves of the Adriatic Sea.
For travellers looking for a beach break, Le Marche’s coast offers a variety of seaside destinations—from tiny pebble-lined coves to long stretches of sandy coast—many awarded the coveted “Bandiera Blu” rating for quality and cleanliness. So take a break from Italy’s magnificent art and culture for a few days; instead, stretch out on a deck chair and relax in one of the Adriatic’s resort towns. Afterwards, fully restored, you’ll be able to better enjoy Le Marche’s lovely landlocked towns of Urbino, San Leo, and Ascoli Piceno.
Rebecca's favourite festivals in le Marche
Pesaro is birthplace to Gioachino Rossini (1792), and still holds a Rossini Opera Festival each year in August. If you’re really serious about pairing your beach and culture, plan a visit during the two weeks the festival runs and catch a concert or performance.
Senigallia, a pretty resort town not far from Pesaro to the south, goes retro each August with the fabulous Summer Jamboree vintage festival, featuring fashions, food, music, and more from the 1950s. The people-watching is excellent, as everyone from beachgoers during the day to boogie-woogie couples at night sport period togs and coiffures.
Like her neighboring Umbria, Le Marche also celebrates the mild weather from spring to fall with a number of sagre, or food festivals. One of the most beloved dishes from Le Marche is olive ascolane (green olives, stuffed with meat and fried): to taste this local specialty look no further than Monteprandone (near San Benedetto del Tronto) and its annual Sagra delle Olive Fritte each August.
The town of Castelfidardo, just outside the Mount Conero Park, is world famous for its handcrafted accordians (and home to the International Accordian Museum). The town also hosts the annual International Accordian Festival (Festival Internazionale della Fisarmonica) each year in September, which is well worth a visit to hear some amazing traditional music.
Le Marche: best beachside resorts
If you can’t seem to drag yourself completely away from the more rarefied side of travel, Pesaro is a good choice for combining both sea and culture. Pesaro’s beaches are fully equipped with the loungers, umbrellas, and beachside cafés and bars serving drinks and snacks common to Adriatic resort towns, so you need nothing more than a bathing suit and towel to enjoy a day on the sand.
Just steps from the waterfront, however, the elegant centre of Pesaro boasts a number of excellent sites to visit. The San Terenzio cathedral protects its Roman and Byzantine mosaics with glass panels, but a €1 coin will turn on the underground lights to admire them fully. The nearby Musei Civici have a small but excellent collection, including a Bellini altarpiece and Guido Reni's Fall of the Giants. Note also the numerous Art Nouveau villas built in the early 1900s for prominent local families, including pretty Villa Ruggeri, in Piazzale della Libertà.
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Family: San Benedetto del Tronto
One of the main seaside resorts of the central Adriatic coast, San Benedetto is a perfect no-hassle destination for letting the kids run off some steam on the beach. The city itself offers little of note, but the beaches are some of the best equipped in Le Marche. “Stabilimenti” (commercial beach establishments) sit shoulder to shoulder for kilometres along the coastline of San Benedetto, offering rental chairs and umbrellas. Yet they also offer a wealth of extras: playgrounds, organized activities, paddle boats, showers, cabanas, and a plethora of places to eat from the simple snack bar to the full-fledged seafood restaurant.
San Benedetto is a popular (and sometimes crowded) destination, but despite this the beaches are awarded the Bandiera Blu each year for their cleanliness and water quality. This coast gets overrun during the months of August and on summer weekends, so if you fancy a bit more peace and quiet, San Benedetto is best visited outside those times.
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Though it can be convenient to head to a beach with a stabilimento, where you don’t need to worry about packing chairs, umbrellas, refreshments, or much else, for those who yearn for the more remote and deserted coves, the gorgeous and rugged Parco del Monte Conero is one of the prettiest spots on Le Marche’s coast.
The Mount Conero promontory is one of the few coastal high points along the Adriatic, and has been a park and nature reserve for almost three decades. The more active can hike the 18 trails through the park, many with gorgeous views over the coast and sea, and try to spot some of the native birds and wildlife. Otherwise, at the foot of the mountain’s white cliffs, there are a number of tiny beaches (mostly pebble and many virtually deserted) from which you can enjoy an unspoilt view of the sea and mountains. The nearby picturesque villages of Sirolo and Numana are both worth a visit, and filled with excellent seafood restaurants.
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Italians like their resorts to have well-equipped beaches, excellent food, and a scintillating nightlife. Most of the holiday towns along the Adriatic have at least one hopping club where everyone from 15 to 65 will head once the moon rises, but some destinations have become particularly well known for their nightlife scene.
Gabicce—which boasts a number of unremarkable but clean and well-equipped beaches—is a hub of nightclubs, but the historic Baia Imperiale is by far the most popular and well known. A sprawling complex built in the style of a Roman temple and open since 1974, this club has a number of dance floors both inside and outdoors, each offering a different style of music from Latin to house to ballroom (hence the 65 year olds!). If you are interested in seeing how the Italians party, Gabicce is Le Marche’s mecca of mayhem.
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Le Marche Holiday Rentals
There is half a millennium of history attached to Villa Leonessa, whose spacious and stylish interiors are the result of a thorough restoration undertaken just three years ago, bringing the mod.cons into the 21st century while retaining as much of...
Charming and exclusive Villa situated in the heart of Le Marche region .
Villa San Pellegrino dates back to the 1800, but it has been completely renovated in the 1990. It belonged to a noble and very well known Italian family . The Private Chapel,...
Il Teatro is a charming townhouse set over two floors and with sleeping accommodation for up to four guests. It is in a quiet square overlooking the town's small open air theatre. The townhouse has a small roof terrace with great views looking ove...
Casa Santa Lucia is a beautifully restored stone farmhouse set in 10 acres, with its own wood, vineyard and landscaped gardens, between the hilltop towns of Mogliano and Petriolo, ensuring a peaceful, panoramic spot to enjoy a stay in the idyllic ...
Luxurious country house in breathtaking hilltop position with sweeping pastoral views across smallholdings, vineyards and olive groves to multiple mountain peaks. The villa has been completely restored in materials absolutely faithful to the origi...
Piazza del Popolo Pesaro © Florian-Prischl
San Benedetto del Tronto mared © globetrotter1937
Sirolo vista Conero © Gaspa
SPIAGGIA-DI-GABICCE-MARE © sarapappa
Monte Conero Due Sorelle © Claudio.stanco