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Marche

http://www.touritalynow.com/italy_information/italy_information_regions/images/italia_regions_marche.jpg Major Cities:

Ancona
Pesaro
Urbino

Situated on the east central coast of Italy, The Marche (plural for march, which means “territory”) are located on the other side of the Apennine Mountains from Lazio and the capital city of Rome. Boasting a long coast along the Adriatic Sea, The Marche occupy a narrow and hilly strip of land with a very mountainous interior that makes it difficult to travel north and south. Covering about 3,800 square miles, this quiet region is home to about a million-and-a-half people, most of whom make their living as farmers. Major crops include cereal grains, vegetables, and grapes. Fishing is also a major industry, and over the last three decades, local craft artisans have taken their small hobbies and turned them into profitable businesses, further contributing to the lessening of the poverty level in this somewhat isolated region.

Undeniably, the main attraction in The Marche is Urbino, an ancient walled city that was an important Renaissance ducal town, situated on a picturesque hillside. Urbino is home to an early 16th century university and a magnificent ducal palace that now houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, an art museum that displays a fine collection of Renaissance paintings. The town’s Duomo is quite impressive as well as is the Romanesque Sant’Agostino, where there’s a beautiful 6th century carved choir inside.

Also of note is the town of Ascoli Piceno, surrounded on three sides by mountains and situated at the confluence of two rivers. It has a stunning central square and buildings constructed largely of Italian travertine. Fifty of its 200 Medieval towers still remain and the town’s many churches and convents are worth including on any Italy tour. Be sure to explore the Malatesta Fortress as well.

Looking for a coastal resort destination in The Marche? Check out Pesaro, a town of less than 100,000 that thrives on tourism and the fishing industry. Aside from attractive sandy beaches, Pesaro features plenty of 15th and 16th century palaces and churches and has been home to the annual Pesaro Film Festival since 1965.

www.regione.marche.it