Le Marche or the Marches (in English) is one of the twenty regions of Italy. It is located in Central Italy and it borders Tuscany and Umbria, Lazio, Amelia Romagnia, and Abruzzo. Le Marche is a highly developed with modern networks of high speed trains and regular flights making it a hot holiday destination. Even though this region is sandwiched between the high Appenine mountain peaks and the Adriatic Sea and is highly exposed to mass tourism, its historical assets remain unspoiled.
In ancient times, Le Marche was a Picenum territory. Its coastal regions were inhabited by Senones. When the Romans conquered it in 295 BC it remained connected to the center of authority in Rome. Later on, the fall of the Roman Empire gave way to the occupation of the region by the Goths administratively making it a region under the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. Following the fall of the exarchate and the eventual administration under Charlemagne in the 18th century, and creation of the marches of Fermo, Camerino and Ancona in the 19th century, Le Marche became what it is known today. In fact, the name ‘Le Marche’ originated from the creation of the marches.
Although Le Marche was a region under the Papal States, local lords administered most regions leading to the growth of Le Marche into a free commune. From the 12th century to the Napoleonic region, the administration of Le Marche alternated from Frederick Barbarossa’s imperialism, papal authority and Renaissance rule under Gil de Albornoz. Napoleonic rule led to the unification of the Kingdom of Italy and the Roman Republic, but this unification was short lived and it broke apart with the defeat of Napoleon until the annexation of Le Marche by plebiscite to the Kingdom of Italy.
Currently this region is home to many towns and each town is unique in its own sense. Urbino; the ultimate renaissance city, connects the adventurer to the era when the Duke Federico of Montefeltro ruled Le Marche in the 15th century. On the southern end of the region lies Ascoli Piceno which is the provincial capital. Ascoli Piceno is an old town characterized by marble paved squares and architectural masterpieces from the Roman era. The administrative capital; Ancona, is known for its beaches and busy seaport facilitating trade between Italy, Turkey, Greece and Croatia. Pesaro; a provincial capital hosts appealing seaside resorts, fishing villages and fine beaches. Even though these are the main towns, there are other smaller towns such as Camerino, Jesi, Recanati, Cingoli, Cagli, Offida, Sarnano and San Leo which offer equally thrilling opportunities and sight seeing.
Alternatively, apart from each town has to offer in terms of its culture, cuisines and museums, there are other natural marvels which draw tourists and businessmen men alike to Le Marche. Some of these natural marvels can be found at Monti Sabillini where impressive mountain scenery and snow capped peaks provide a wonderful panorama, until late spring. For a perfect view of the peaks and alpine flower carpet, Monte Catria is the best choice.
The Frasassi caves are spectacularly lined with limestone. Other limestone caves can be found at the Furlo Gorge which is a natural pass that has consistently proved useful since the prehistoric times. However, not the whole of Le Marche is hilly. Some regions such as Monte Conero are flat. Though, these are rare exceptions to the hilly landscape which plunge into the sea to create breathtaking bathing resorts.