Destinations

5-Star Hotel Guide

Le Marche

With a 100 miles of Adriatic coastline and numerous hilltop towns, Le Marche is Italy's undiscovered gem

Le Marche
Le Marche
Luxury Villas in 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.

As one of Italy’s least known regions, it is time to discover Le Marche’s many pleasures, and a luxury villa holiday is really the best place to start. Flights to Ancona are available year-round but EasyJet operates from London Gatwick during the summer months and BA flies every day to Bologna, which is a very straight two hour journey to the heart of Le Marche.

The 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 worth a visit, as is our favourite beachside restaurant, Galileo, where the freshest seafood is served by charming staff with lovely views of the uncrowded sandy beach. The wine list, here, 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. 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 exceptional, too. 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.

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.

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 Treai, and contemporary homes-away-from-home, Villa Olivo, and Villa Oliveto outside the lovely medieval hilltop town of Civitanova Alta.