5-Star Hotel Guide

Le Marche

In our opinion, Le Marche is Italy's undiscovered gem

Le Marche
Le Marche

Luxury guide to Le Marche

With a 100 miles of Adriatic coast, medieval hilltop villages and mountains to rival Tuscany and Umbria, it is difficult to see why Le Marche has remained under the luxury holiday radar for so long. Now, with a new generation of restored hilltop villas available for holiday rental at very reasonable prices, it is time to discover the delights of Le Marche...

As one of Italy’s least known regions, the best way to discover Le Marche’s many pleasures is by renting a luxury villa. Flights to Ancona are available year-round but EasyJet operates from London Gatwick during the summer months while BA flies every day to Bologna, which is a very straight two hour journey to the heart of Le Marche. From Rome airport it's a reasonable 3.5hr drive.

Le Marche's Adriatic coast combines resorts like Civitanova, popular with Italians, with deserted stretches of beach and coves along the limestone cliffs around Ancona, itself worth a visit to its bustling port. In Civitanova, the old port and colourful fishermen’s houses are charming and our favourite beachside restaurant, Galileo, is a must, where the freshest seafood is served by charming staff, accompanied by lovely views of the uncrowded sandy beach. The wine list gere is exceptional, too, featuring the best local Verdicchios, with several excellent ones at less than €20 a bottle. Visiting poetic Civitanova Alta, its hilltop sibling, is a must, where the narrow streets, squares and medieval ramparts provide an authentic glimpse of Marche’s lifestyle, largely unchanged for centuries. Sundays are always lively, with art exhibitions and concerts in the beautiful theatre and everyone dressed in their Sunday best congregating in the main square. And you will not walk far without a view of the blue Adriatic.

Not far from Civitanova Alta is the lovely hilltop town of Montecosaro, which is a delight to explore on foot, stopping for lunch or dinner at the exceptional Signore te ne Ringrazi, a stylish restaurant specialising in traditional but highly creative dishes with an emphasis on the freshest ingredients, including fish, vegetables and herbs. The setting, in the town hall’s wine cellars, is outstanding. In nearby Loretto you will find Michelin-starred Andreina, which features a menu with grilled and barbecued meat among the main courses, along with an excellent wine list. We can recommend other wonderful restaurants throughout the region.

The towns of Treia, Pesaro, Macerata, Urbino and Ascoli Piceno are also culturally noteworthy, featuring art and architecture from the region’s rich past and surprisingly good wines from Italy’s present. Urbino was the birthplace of Raphael and art permeates his home town with his work and others by Uccello and Botticelli to see in one of Italy’s best galleries, inside the Palazzo Cucale.

Famous sons of Le Marche include Lionel Messi (whose ancestors once lived here) and Diego Della Valle, founder of Tods, whose factory is still in Casette d’Ete with a huge outlet store near Civitanova Alta - a must for those seeking Italian style and Le Marche value.

There is so much to explore in Le Marche, from hiking in the Sibillini and Monte Conero national parks to exploring the Frasassi cave or boat trips along the Conero coast. Le Marche's 'big sky' is perfect for star gazing and then there is the history and wines of the Jesi region. Here historic hilltop villages keep secrets of Italy's past and cultivate treasures to be enjoyed today. The food and wines of Le Marche are treasured by those in the know, especially the white wines of Verdicchio dei Casteli di Jesi.

The best luxury villas in Le Marche

While top notch hotels are few and far between in Le Marche we do have a handful of really beautiful villas, including sensational Casa Olivi, a fusion of ancient and modern by architects Wispi and De Meuron, with stunning views towards Treia, and contemporary homes-away-from-home, Villa Olivo, and Villa Oliveto outside the lovely medieval hilltop town of Civitanova Alta, are two spacious, recently renovated villas which offer every contemporary comfort with beautiful views out to the Adriatic.

Lovely Casale Mignola is a totally restored farmhouse, perfectly positioned on a hilltop outside Cingoli, known as 'the balcony of Le Marche' for its fabulous views. Casale Mignola itself has gardens planted with over 1000 olive trees, created as land art with the rolling countryside beyond. Not far from here is our latest Le Marche luxury villa, Casa Apollonia, another beautifully restored farmhouse bringing contemporary design to its lovely setting and ancient structure.

If you have never discovered Le Marche, now is the time to uncover its magic, staying at one of our beautiful luxury villas.