Macerata is in the heartland of Le Marche and, although a smallish town, boasts one of Italy's universities as well as one of its finest libraries. You may like to visit the museum or the Ricci Palace art gallery, or simply stroll along the Corso Matteotti which is lined with the best of the city's palaces. The weekly market takes place on a Wednesday.
If you enjoy the Opera
If you are staying at the house during July/August, you will be able to attend the Opera Festival that takes place through the late summer months in Macereta. The event is held in the beautiful open air Sferisterio - an elegant neo-classical arena, a fitting setting for the music of Verdi and Puccini.
The Adriatic beaches
The Adriatic coast of Le Marche boasts many blue flag beaches. Families should try Civitanova Marche - the south beach promenade has a range of children's playgrounds with climbing frames and zipwires. The quieter Porto Potenza Picena is a sandy beach backed by a shady park and near the medieval hill town of Potenza Picena with its magnificent 18th century villa and gardens at Giardino Bonaccorsi.
Shopping in Civitanova Marche
This Adriatic resort’s heart is in Piazza XX Settembre, home to a selection of interesting shops and on a Saturday morning an enormous market - the best place to shop for leather shoes and handbags. Surrounded by a a cool oasis of green gardens there is also an amazing fish market.
The town of Ascoli Piceno
is an ancient city with wonderful piazzas, architecture and riverside walks. It was founded even before Rome and was home to more than 200 towers in the Middle Ages, more than 50 of which can still be seen today! The Piazza del Popolo (People's Square) is a striking traditional Italian square, with restaurants and cafes lining its edges. Visit on the first Sunday in August to experience La Quintana, Ascoli's jousting tournament. The day also includes a striking procession with around 1,400 townspeople dressed in 15th century costume and plenty of side-shows and open-air eating places.
Sarnano is a beautiful, well maintained medieval village, which is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Its narrow streets are great for strolling but not recommended for driving! This is a city renowned for its waters too, said to cure all types of ills.
One of the most alluring of the hilltowns of the southern Marche, Fermo has an ensemble of architectural sights which make it well worth a visit. During the summer period the main piazza plays host to Fermo's music festival featuring some of the world's finest performers, as well as outdoor markets. Famous for its underground piscine romane (roman pools) which comprise 30 magnificently preserved underground chambers built between 41 and 60 BC to conserve and purify the town's water supply. They are regarded as the finest example of their kind in Italy.
The Sibillini mountains
The Monti Sibillini National Park was established to protect the incredible wildlife and medieval villages in the Sibillini mountains, a beautiful stretch within the Apennine range. Keen walkers will be in their element, as the park is dissected by paths that wind alongside rivers, past stunning waterfalls and caves, through gorges and up the many peaks (10 of which are over 2000m). Make sure you include a visit to one of the many great 'refuges' (Rifugii) that serve up superb food using produce from within the park.
Discover the local wine
Le Marche produces a large variety of wines including 13 which carry the D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) label. Many are little known outside of Italy but visitors to the region will have a pleasant surprise when they try the Sangiovese local wine produced by many small aziendas and cantinas.
Local speciality - Olive Ascolane
A specialty of the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno, these stuffed olives, painstakingly and lovingly hand-made by local women, make an appearance at big events and special occasions. Green olives are pitted and stuffed with a filling of meat and cheese, dipped in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and deep-fried to a golden brown in sunflower oil. Served as starters or snacks, these moreish olives can be bought from the various wine bars and trattorie in Ascoli Piceno, either in a cartoccio (paper cone) for eating on the go or in frozen batches, to take back and fry at the villa.
Try the Brodetto all'Anconetana: a decadent fish soup
Stop at any restaurant along Le Marche's coast and you're bound to find a version of this fish soup. Traditionally made with 13 different types of fish and shellfish (one for each person at the Last Supper), the tomato-based soup, rich with the flavour of fresh seafood, evolved from the local fishermans' dilemma around how to use up their by-catch.
A 'must do' on anyone's list is to experience the 'passeggiata'.
In any town or large village, especially on a weekend or holiday, the inhabitants of the town will congregate in the main square in the early evening, to have a stroll around, talk to their friends, have an aperitif or ice cream, before dispersing for dinner. It is the perfect time to people watch!
Take a dip in Lake Fiastra
Spend the day on the lakeside beach enjoying this beautiful setting backed by mountains. You can swim in the lake, rent a pedalo or canoe, or even windsurf on it. In the summer light it takes on a wonderful aquamarine colour and there is a pizzeria on the shore for a leisurely lunch. You can cross the lake via the bridge at San Lorenzo al Lago and park at Fiastra just 2km up the hill. A walk to the castle and tower on the hill will reward you with an amazing view.
Have you visited La Serliana?
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