Le Marche, Italy

Welcome to Le Marche

The Le Marche landscape of rolling hills and medieval hill top villages is reminiscent of Tuscany or Umbria but without the tourists. This is the ‘real Italy’ with friendly people, good value restaurants, old fashioned piazzas and a slower pace of life. Le Marche lies in Central Italy bordered by Emilio Romagna to the North, Abruzzo to the south and the Appenine mountains form a natural border to Umbria and Tuscany to the west. As you expect from such a central position we enjoy the benefits of all that is special about Italy.  Food, wine, culture, climate, landscapes, architecture, art can all be found in this beautiful region.

Our local village of Montalto has a charming old town and lower down an impressive cathedral. There is a weekly market, a fantastic butchers and many other small shops selling everything from fresh pasta to seasonal fruit and veg. The next village is Montedinove with its concentric old town which feels lost in time with a pretty piazza, a popular spot for a coffee break or apperitivi.

The main towns of Ascoli Piceno with its grand architecture and piazza featuring the gorgeous art nouvea Cafe Meletti, and Fermo with its Thursday evening flea market are well worth a visit.

If that’s enough sight seeing, sandy beaches are half an hour away and truly Italian in style with rows of sunloungers, beach cafes and great seafood. For a change of scenery head to the mountains for a lovely walk along a natural gorge or picnic and swim at lago di Fiastra.

In the villa is a comprehensive booklet of further ideas for days out and activities. We provide a free map and can suggest driving routes and things to do and see.

The search for Authentic Italy

Once upon a time there were three sisters who lived in the centre of the magical country of Italy. The biggest and grandest was called Tuscana (sometimes Tuscany), she was handsome and opulent, she had the finest jewellery and people who wanted to visit Italy had heard of her splendour and came flocking to her court. They crowded round her pushing and jostling, lavishing wealth and praise on her. Tuscana came to believe all the wonderful things the travellers said and over time she became rather proud and self-important. Her haughty attitude towards visitors made some of them turn their interest towards her smaller sister Umbria in search of the authentic Italy of which they had heard so much.

Umbria too was handsome and she also had fine jewels, though not as fine as Tuscana. Like her sister Umbria too grew to be proud and rather puffed up by the attention of the travellers. Many of those who visited, doted on Umbria and Tuscany and would sing their praises. Even though they were treated poorly, had to pay fortunes for the privilege of visiting and had to suffer hot and crowded conditions, they could see no further than the two grand sisters.

Some of the more discerning and adventurous of the travellers were not convinced they had found the authentic Italy and they decided to visit the third sister. They had heard rumours about her but few had visited as she lived the other side of great mountains called the Sibillini. The mountains were named after the witch Sibilla who lived there and who cast spells on the reckless explorers who tried to discover her secrets. But the bravest and most intrepid of the travellers escaped the clutches of the witch and found paths through the mountains in seach of the promise of authentic Italy. On the other side they were rewarded by the sight of perhaps the most beautiful of all the three sisters and her name was Marche.

Marche’s jewels were delicate and fine and she possessed many other wonders. She served the hungry and thirsty travellers some of the finest food and wine they had ever tasted, exotic fish from her bountiful sea, delicious meats cured in the cool mountain caves, cheeses made from the milk of sheep, savoury and strong, soft and sweet, exquisite organic wines, wonderful fresh olive oils, mouthwatering fried olives stuffed with herbs. She showed them buried treasures called truffles that were worth more than gold and the finest porcini mushrooms they had ever seen. After they had eaten till they could eat no more she served them an ice cold potion with the  name Mistra. The magical elixir soothed their swollen bellies and sent them to sleep to dream of the new wonders that Marche would reveal for them on the morrow.

Marche was pleased to see the people who wanted to travel to Italy. She was warm and friendly. She charmed the visitors not with her grandeur but with her beauty, bounty and welcome. And the travellers knew they had found the authentic Italy they had been searching for.