If you are looking for a European tourist destination, you should really consider the Marches region of central Italy. Depending on your own specific interests, it might well be your ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. And the Marches region hasn’t yet been discovered by tourists. There’s a tradeoff; on the one hand you will not have to fight the crowds to see what you want to see. On the other hand, you’ll have a hard time finding fancy hotels. And the local roads are not always the best, which is not much of a surprise when you consider the region’s hilly terrain. We’ll start our tour of this region in the north and work our way south.

The little town of Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was once a great center of learning. The University has some twenty thousand students, considerably more people than Urbino’s resident population of approximately fifteen thousand. You will also find the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche (National Gallery of The Marche) with Titian’s Resurrection and Last Supper. The city contains several Renaissance churches that are worth visiting.

Ancona is a port city largely destroyed during World War II. Its sights include the Twelfth Century Duomo di San Ciriaco (Saint Ciriaco Cathedral) and the Romanesque Santa Maria della Piazza.

Ascoli Piceno is a valley town of about fifty thousand people. You will definitely want to see the Piazza del Populo (Square of the People) and the Thirteenth Century Palazzo dei Capitani del Populo (Palace of the People’s Captains) as well as several other historic churches. You should try to get to Ascoli Piceno for the first Sunday in August to enjoy Renaissance costume parade and jousting tournament. Talk about a blast from the past.

The Marches offers several regional specialties, for example brodetto (fish soup) with thirteen kinds of fish and seafood. Make sure to see our companion article I Love Touring Italy – The Marche Region for a sample menu and additional information on Marche wines as well as an in-depth examination of its tourist attractions. The region is home to two DOCG (the G stands for Guarantita) red wines, the Montepulciano-Sangiovese based Rosso Conero Riserva and the Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, which is based on a local grape. You might also want to taste many of the other local wines, which may not be exported abroad.

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If you are looking for a European tourist destination, you should really consider the Marches region of central Italy. Depending on your own specific interests, it might well be your ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. And the...