Le Marche is, like the Ostmark and the Welsh Marches, border territory, a buffer land where various powers jockeyed for control and influence. Sometimes it was the Byzantines versus the Lombards; other times it was the Venetians against the Popes.
What it meant to the people we don’t really know (who asked them?). But who they became, in this fertile land of farms and vineyards, we know well: stocky, resilient, gregarious, self-sufficient and very supportive of their local communities.
What they created is truly lovely: hill towns like Urbino and Ascoli Piceno, mountain refuges like Loreto and bustling seaside meccas like Gabicce and Fano.
They also gave us some of the best cooking in Italy, the taste of which takes you right back to that wonderful woodland trattoria in Acquasanta Terme or that salt tanged restaurant in Senigallia.
One of the great things about the Marche is that they are easy to get to, whether you come by car down from the north or if you cross over Italy from Rome. You can stay at a good hotel by the coast, and find it easy to explore the hill towns behind. Or you can spend refreshing evenings inland in one of those hotels that once were medieval townhouses, and splash around on the beach during the day. Your choice.
Either way, do choose to spend some time in the Marche.
Article © Carl Ottersen