Contemplate the masterpieces of painting, savour good food, chat with hospitable people and immerse yourself in landscape that warms the heart. There’s a little-known Italy where these experiences take on a truly special flavour. It’s not along the main routes of the peninsula but a new and surprising region which almost seems to keep its treasures away from prying eyes, just leave the Adriatic Sea behind you and walk towards the interior of the Marche to find charming countryside where archaeological parks, museums, art cities, castles and Libraries fallow one after the other.
To understand what we’re talking about, we suggest you start from Montefeltro and reach the enchanting historic centre of Urbino, UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of Raphael, the absolute genius of the Renaissance.
Following the painter’s tracks, after visiting the house where he was born you’ll reach the National Gallery of the Marche in Urbino, where Raphael’s famous painting ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ (La Muta) is displayed. Continuing south-west, in the area of the Colli Esini, you’ll find Fabriano, whose centre is dominated by the Piazza del Podesta, embellished by the elegant white stone palace of the same name, which dates to 1255, and the splendid octagonal fountain.
All the genius of the Marche is also dear in the municipal art gallery of San Severino Marche, the museum complex of San Domenico di Camerino, and the church of Sant’ Eustachio at Belforte del Chienti. Don’t miss the castle at Rancia di Tolentino and the archaeological park of Urbisaglia, a site of great historic interest where you can stroll through the streets of the ancient Roman city. Another masterpiece of rural Marche consists of the excellent wine and food, the result of the farmer’s work and a long craftsman tradition. You can expect a journey through taste that will surprise you with its ability to stimulate your senses with appetising and rewarding suggestions. It starts with the line white truffle of Acqualagna.
You can taste it all year round but you could come to savour it during the National Truffle Fair held between the end of October and the beginning of November. All the essence of Marche soil is also concentrated in the unique flavour of the extra virgin olive oil from Cartoceto, to try in local restaurants and also during a visit to the many producers in the area. You can taste the Campofilone egg maccheroncini in the Fermo area, a fresh pasta to eat with ragout. For the wines, there’s the Verdicchio from Matelica, a white wine to combine with fish-based dishes, and the Vernaccia from Serrapetrona, the only red Italian spumante which undergoes three fermentations.
Following the undulating outline of the hills, marvellous villages will sometimes appear that invite you to discover their harmonious architecture, the magic atmosphere permeating them and the hospitality of their inhabitants. In Offida, Montefiore dell’Aso, San Ginesio and Moresco, just some of the most beautiful villages in inland Marche, you can lose yourself among lanes and alleys experiencing extraordinary moments of peace and tranquillity. Strolling through the stone streets of these. Little gems you’ll perceive all the value of a culture which has conserved the legacy of a splendid past
Rural Marche is studded with parks and uncontaminated nature reserves towards the Apennines, where the rolling hills give way to majestic mountains. You’ll be won over by legendary stories, like those linked to the Grotta della Sibilla (the Sibyl’s Cave), in the Monti Sibillini National Park, and you won’t be able to resist the desire to hike on spectacular paths in the middle of woods or on crests above the tree line. In the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, just jump on a mountain bike for thrilling paths among valleys and waterfalls, breathing pure air and absorbing all the scents and colours of autumn. A truly regenerating experience! If you’d like to combine tasting delicious traditional products with physical activity, you can follow one of the many gastronomic itineraries of the area. If you’re Looking for a trip full of thrills, if you want surprises and marvels, rural Marche has everything to conquer you.