Le Marche

Le Marche is the most typical Italian landscape and, just as Italy with its landscapes and works of art is a distillation of the world, Marche is a distillation of Italy … Guido Piovene, “Journey to Italy”

The Marche region has an area of 9366 sq km; According to the 2001 census, the resident population was 1,470,581 (152 inhabitants per sq km).

It occupies the Adriatic side of the Umbrian-Marche part of the Apennines, roughly between the Foglia valley to the north and the Tronto valley to the south.

The capital of the region is Ancona; other provincial capitals are Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata, Pesaro and Urbino.

The landscape

The plains of the Marche region are not very extensive, but intensely cultivated and inhabited; The coastline, in some stretches, is of great naturalistic interest; The mountains, often wild, characterize the innermost area.

But the most typical landscape of the region, the one that most characterizes it, is probably the large hilly area, consisting almost entirely of a polychrome mosaic of cultivated fields, which has no exact equivalent in other Italian regions.

In addition to the profile and nature of the terrain of the hills, their appearance was certainly determined by the long permanence of sharecropping in the region. Sharecropping was carried out with a large number of small plots of land, owned by landowners, but cultivated and inhabited by peasant families who derived their only livelihood from them. And those fertile hills looked like a series of squares of various colors, depending on the crops that were there, and the farmhouses were placed within the fields.

This socio-environmental situation has changed considerably after the industrial boom and accelerated urbanization of the 50s and 60s of the twentieth century, which led to a marked exodus of the population from the countryside and the disappearance of sharecropping and the fragmentation of farms, replaced by larger plots managed by direct farmers.

But the landscape, even if it is no longer exactly what it used to be, substantially preserves its suggestion. Many of the farmhouses described on this site are the old sharecropper’s houses, renovated and adapted to the needs of guests. (Franco Sartini)

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Le Marche is a region rich in popular cultures and traditions… discover the events of the Marche region province by province or by type.


In ancient times the region was occupied by the Gauls to the north and the Picenes to the south of the Esino river; from the third century B.C. it began its Romanization. Initially divided into two regions, V (Piceno) and VI (Umbria), it was reunited in 292 A.D., but later had other administrative divisions.

While the Lombards settled in the southern part of Ancona, the exarchate of Ravenna controlled the northern part (Maritime Pentapolis), which the Franks later passed on as a donation to the Pope (752). In the tenth century, the name of Marca appears to indicate areas of imperial influence: first the March of Camerino, then that of Fermo, enlarged by the addition of the territory of Ancona. Despite the power of secular and ecclesiastical feudalism (bishops and abbeys), many cities became free communes.

From the 19th century. XIII affirmed and gradually consolidated their power various noble families, such as the Montefeltro (in Urbino, Cagli, Fossombrone), the Da Varano (in Camerino) and finally the Malatesta (from Pesaro to Osimo). But the Papacy, on the basis of ancient rights, seeks to impose its authority on the whole territory, now by fighting, now by agreeing with the communes, the feudal lords and the lords; already in the fourteenth century, thanks to the energetic action of Cardinal Albornoz, it directly or indirectly controlled many cities and castles; then, after the ephemeral dominions of Francesco Sforza (1433-44) and Valentino (early 1500s), he completed the subjugation of the region by occupying the municipality of Ancona (1532), then the Duchy of Urbino (1631), where the Della Rovere family, who had succeeded the Montefeltro family, had become extinct. The Marche remained in the Papal States, except for the brief interlude of the Napoleonic period, until it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. (Notes taken from the “Guida rapida d’Italia” of the Italian Touring Club, 1986 edition)

Copious traces of these and other historical and artistic events remain in many small and large towns in the region

Art & Culture

Although the region does not possess its own distinct artistic physiognomy, it occupies a prominent place in the framework of Italian art.

Conspicuous Roman remains are scattered throughout the Marche region (Ascoli; Firm; Urbisaglia; Falerone; Helvia Ricina near Macerata); The Arch of Augustus in Fano and the Arch of Trajan in Ancona have come down to us almost intact.

The construction activity during the Romanesque period (XI-XIII centuries) was noteworthy: among the most significant churches, where there is often a fusion of Lombard and Byzantine elements, we must remember S. Maria di Portonovo near Ancona, S. Maria a Pie’ di Chienti, S. Vittore delle Chiuse, S. Claudio al Chienti, S. Maria di Rambona, S. Ciriaco di Ancona, the Cathedral and the parish church of S. Leo, the baptistery of Ascoli, as well as civil buildings in Ascoli, Ancona and elsewhere.

The Gothic period (XIII-XV century), during which Venetian influences gradually predominated, was also fruitful: among the buildings stand out S. Francesco di Ascoli, S. Nicola di Tolentino, which contains a remarkable cycle of frescoes of the Rimini school of the 1300s, and the works of Giorgio Orsini from Šibenik to Ancona.

The Renaissance marks the pinnacle of art in the Marche region. The activity was particularly concentrated in Urbino around the splendid Doge’s Palace and in Loreto in the basilica of the Holy House, attracting famous architects (Luciano Laurana; Baccio Pontelli; Francesco di Giorgio Martini; the Sangallo etc.), sculptors (A. Sansovino) and painters (Piero della Francesca, Melozzo, Signorelli, the Vivarini, Giusto di Gand); other notable buildings stood in Pesaro (Palazzo Ducale, rocca, Villa dell’Imperiale), in Jesi (Palazzo della Signoria), in S. Leo (rocca) and in numerous localities. At the beginning of the 1400s, a local school of painting was formed (Gentile da Fabriano; the Salimbeni, etc.), which then merged with the Umbrian one, while numerous works by Venetian artists also flowed in (C. Crivelli; Giovanni Bellini; Lot; Titian).

Two great geniuses then gave the region to Italian art: Bramante and Raphael. Finally, it is worth mentioning the magnificent products of the minor arts, and especially the majolica that reached its maximum splendour in Castel Durante (today’s Urbania), Urbino and Pesaro. From the Baroque period onwards the region lived in the reflection of Rome. (Notes taken from the “Guida rapida d’Italia” of the Italian Touring Club, 1986 edition)

All farmhouses in Le Marche