Marche Region Italy: Map, Culture and Cities to Visit 

The Marche region of Italy (pronounced “MAR-kay”) is nestled along the central Adriatic coastline. It is a region of Italy that offers a rich cultural heritage, stunning seasides and landscapes, traditional cuisine, and historic cities to discover.

The Marche region is geographically situated at 43° 37′ 0″ N, 13° 31′ 0″ E. This puts it approximately halfway down Italy’s eastern Adriatic coastline in central Italy, bordered by Emilia-Romagna and San Marino to the north and Abruzzo and Umbria regions to the south. Knowing the precise latitude and longitude helps locate the Marche and understand its relationship to surrounding regions and terrain features. Its diverse landscapes range from mountains and parks to white cliffsides and seaside resorts.

Politically, the Marche is one of 20 regions in Italy with ordinary statute. The current president overseeing the regional government is Francesco Acquaroli, elected in 2020. The capital and largest city is Ancona, which is situated along the coast. Other major cities include Pesaro and Urbino, which are located more inland.

Historically, the Renaissance significantly impacted the Marche, especially seen in architecture and art. The legacy of this golden age persists today through palaces, fortresses, galleries, museums, and medieval villages. Cultural attractions include traditional dance, theater, local wines and olive oils, beaches, and family-run trattorias serving seafood delicacies.

The top destinations to visit in Marche region are:

  • Urbino, with its UNESCO-recognized Renaissance history.
  • Ascoli Piceno features ancient Roman ruins and Gothic churches.
  • The sandy beaches of San Benedetto del Tronto.
  • Pesaro is the birthplace of opera composer Rossini.
  • The port town of Ancona has ferries to Croatia and Greece.
  • Dozens of charming seaside villages and hilltop towns offer local wines, markets, and stunning vistas.

With its rich past, natural beauty, and slower pace of life, Italy’s Marche region rewards visitors seeking culture, nature, and relaxation away from more tourist-heavy areas.

Where is the Marche Region Located in Italy? 

The Marche is a Central Italy region, situated between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. It stretches approximately 110 miles along the Adriatic coastline and extends inland about 50 miles at its widest point.  The Marche shares borders with Emilia-Romagna to the north, Tuscany to the west, Umbria and Lazio to the southwest, and Abruzzo to the south. It has one of the shortest land borders with another country, meeting Croatia and the Adriatic Sea to the east.

Locating on the Adriatic coastline’s central part means the Marche region enjoys a strategic position for trade and transport routes to Eastern Europe. The coastal towns and ports connect to important ferry links across the Adriatic to destinations like Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar.

Meanwhile, the landscape helps isolate some medieval hilltop towns, preserving historical architecture, culture, and charm. Towns like Urbino, San Leo, and Sarnano seem untouched by modern life.

What is the Population of Marche, Italy? 

The population of the Marche region of Italy is approximately 1.5 million as of 2023, having declined slightly in recent years. The population density is 158 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Tourism plays an important role, with over 2 million visitor nights spent in the region’s hotels during 2018. The most visited provinces are those along the Adriatic coastline, which contain popular beach resorts. Ancona province had a 12% share of hotel overnight stays, followed by Pesaro and Urbino (35%), Macerta (13%) and Fermo (9%). Domestic visitors account for over 70% of arrivals. Foreign visitors predominately come from Germany (19%), Russia (5%), France (4%), United Kingdom (4%) and Austria (3%).

The local economy and communities benefit from the tourism industry. As well as income from accommodation and hospitality, visitors support traditional craftspeople, food producers, and cultural events.

Map of Marche Region of Italy 

Map of Marche Region italy

What are the Geographical Features of Marche Region? 

The Marche region covers an area of 9,694 square kilometers, making it one of the smaller regions of Italy. Despite its size, there is geographical diversity across the region.  

Inland is dominated by the Apennine Mountains, including Mount Vettore, which, at 2,476 meters, is the highest peak in the Marche. Many towns and villages are scenic hilltop settlements surrounded by rolling farmland. Some mountain communities live in almost total isolation. 

The coastal plain along the Adriatic Sea stretches over 115 miles in length but is only 10-15 miles wide. It features long sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, and some hilly green terrain. 

The Conero promontory near Ancona has scenic and woodland scenery with fishing harbors and coves beneath the towering limestone cliffs.

So the Marche has a rugged mountain landscape blending into hilly coastal plains along the clear waters of the Adriatic – a variety that enhances its attraction for tourism.

The region is also known for its agricultural output, especially olive oil, wine, and fruits. Artisan crafts remain important to local culture and economy, too.

What is Marche Known For?

As well as Adriatic beaches and beautiful mountainous scenery, here are some of the main things the Marche region is renowned for:

  • Food & Wine – Specialities like olive all’ascolana, vincigrassi pasta, brodetto fish stew  
  • Fairs & Festivals – Events like Macerate Opera, Rossini Festival 
  • Shoes & Leathergoods – High-quality handmade shoes from cities like Fermo
  • Paper & Printing – Papermaking since 1300s; specialist ledger printers  
  • Furniture Design – High-end contemporary furnishings using artisanal techniques
  • Violins & Musical Instruments – Hand-crafted string instruments, especially in Pesaro
  • Pottery & Ceramics – Traditional designs and glazes still produced by artisans
  • Lace Making – Needle lace such as Renaissance-style reticella, still woven by hand

So, tourism experiences available include gastronomic indulgence, cultural events, artisan shopping opportunities, and museums dedicated to these historic local industries.

What are the Most Famous Cities to Visit in Marche? 

Some of the most popular cities in Marche Italy  for visitors include Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Urbino, Pesaro, and San Benedetto del Tronto. These Marche cities see the highest number of tourists each year based on attractions, amenities, accessibility, and overnight hotel stays.

The capital Ancona, receives over 1 million visitors annually to explore its historic port, cathedral, and ferry access to Croatia and Greece. Ascoli Piceno sees around 500,000 tourists for its ancient ruins, medieval structures like the Gothic church of San Francesco, and its location close to sandy beaches. Urbino attracts 300,000 people to its Renaissance-era palaces and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The coastal cities of Pesaro and San Benedetto del Tronto combined welcome over 1 million beachgoers and families enjoying resort town activities and things to do in the Marche region.

With charming hilltowns, sophistication, history, food, and seaside relaxation, these Marche cities offer the top things for tourists looking to experience the beautiful region and culture of central Italy along the Adriatic Sea coast.

The Marche region has many wonderful cities and towns to explore. Those listed below are among the most popular destinations based on visitor numbers, range of attractions, and architectural heritage.


Ancona is the capital city of the Marche region and its largest urban area. It has a population of around 100,000, making it one of the main ferry ports in Italy for trade and travel to Croatia and Greece.

The old town lies on a promontory with the iconic Cathedral of San Ciriaco, built in the 11th-13th centuries, high above the harbor. Below lies the bustling port filled with seafood restaurants and bars.

Ancona has museums housing Roman archaeological remains as well as paintings by artists like Titian and Carlo Crivelli. Other sites include churches with Byzantine-style frescos, the marble Arch of Trajan built in 115 AD, and its defensive walls and citadel.   

It is also a gateway to the beaches along the Conero Riviera, like Portonovo Bay, famed for its clear waters and seafood cuisine. Excursion boats run to Conero Regional Park with walks to scenic coastal cliffs.


Pesaro is a coastal city most famous as the birthplace of the composer Gioacchino Rossini. Tourists can visit Rossini’s house museum and the annual Rossini Opera Festival held in August.

Other cultural highlights include Roman remains like the mosaic floors of Villa Imperiale, ceramics in the Oliveriana Museum, and paintings from the Middle Ages to Renaissance in the Civic Museum. 

Pesaro’s long sandy beaches mean peak tourism is in summer. Beach resorts like Baia Flaminia and Levante attract Italian families to their parks, hotels and entertainment facilities, while the old town offers boutique shopping and cafés.   

Nature walks are available in the San Bartolo Regional Park, stretching behind Pesaro. The Furlo Pass through the mountains is also a scenic drive into Tuscany.


Fano is an ancient seaside town situated at the mouth of the River Metauro, just south of Marche’s best-known resorts. It boasts over two millennia of history. 

Sights include the 1st-century Arch of Augustus, Pincio Gardens with views over the town, medieval defensive walls, and an impressive 16th-century fortress.

The old townhouses were Roman and Renaissance buildings like the Cathedral, Temple of Fortuna, and Palazzo del Podesta. Local cuisine makes good use of fresh Adriatic fish and seafood.

Seven miles of sandy beaches allow swimming, sailing and water sports. Fano holds an annual BrodettoFest seafood festival in July alongside a lively cultural program of music and entertainment throughout the summer.

San Benedetto del Tronto 

San Benedetto del Tronto is the second largest city in the Marche region, with an urban population of around 50,000. Its economy centers around fishing boat building and the largest fishing fleet in Italy in its bustling modern harbor.   

Long sandy beaches dotted with beach clubs and cafes mean summer tourism is popular with Italians. Sights include the Tower of St Benedict, a fishing harbor, local museums, and an archaeological park showcasing finds from a Roman villa inhabited in the 6th century BC.  

Modern hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs keep the city lively year-round, while festivals add a summer cultural buzz. Beach sports like sailing, windsurfing, and beach volleyball are popular.

Ascoli Piceno 

Ascoli Piceno is the main city inland in the Marche and one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval towns. Its architecture incorporates Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance elements, with buildings made using white travertine marble.

The central Piazza del Popolo is renowned as one of the country’s most perfect and photogenic Renaissance squares. Other highlights include a Cathedral with an unusual domed Gothic belfry, museums housed in former palaces, and views across olive groves to the Sibillini Mountains – now a National Park with trails to hike.

Local delicacies to try include olives stuffed with minced veal, fried crepes stuffed with cheese and herbs, and baccala-dried codfish prepared in tomato sauce.


Senigallia is an extremely popular seaside resort on the Marche coastline, often referred to as “Velvet Beach” due to its smooth, sandy beaches. It sits on a plain at the mouth of the River Misa.

It has over 25km of award-winning Blue Flag golden beaches that attract many visitors in summer to enjoy the fervid social scene. Beach resort facilities cater to families, while bars and clubs appeal to young Italians.  

The town also holds a prestigious annual Summer Jamboree festival celebrating Rock and Roll, swing dance, and music from the 1940s and 50s. Other sights include the imposing Rocca Roverasca fortress that now houses art exhibitions & the little Rotonda church atop slabs of Roman road.

Civitanova Marche 

Civitanova Marche is located immediately south of the better-known Porto Recanti resort. It is a commercial and entertainment hub based around the long sandy beaches running down to the marina.

Many hotels, restaurants, and lively nightclubs provide the atmosphere of a summer party destination that keeps the city active year-round. Budget lodgings and eateries cater to young travelers and groups.  

Remnants of history remain amongst the modernity, including the 14th-century Castle built by Emperor Sigismondo and the Albani Palace, which houses the Civic Museum displaying paintings and archaeological artifacts.


Macerata is inland, surrounded by hills dotted with villages and medieval abbey towns. Its historic center showcases Renaissance palaces, churches, and museums, including one dedicated to carriages with an excellent restaurant incorporating the stables and riding school.

One of Italy’s finest examples of an outdoor theater is the Sferisterio Opera House, which hosts an annual Opera festival during July and August when the town fills with music lovers and events.  

Other top attractions include the Cathedral, University, Astronomical Clock, and some Roman archaeological remains. Jazz, opera, and ballet performances accompany summer cultural festivals that attract visitors from across Italy and overseas.  

Regional food and wine specialty shops provide the chance to taste and purchase local delights like stuffed olives, salami, cheeses, pasta, honey, and visciolata cherry and almond cake.


Jesi is a small but historically important town located just 11km southwest of Ancona province. Narrow cobblestone streets run off the main Piazza della Repubblica, featuring picturesque medieval architecture housing cafés, restaurants, and shops.  Its Palazzo dei Consoli was one of the earliest town halls established in Italy.  

Jesi’s most famous son is composer Gaspare Spontini. Theatres and a school of music provide a strong cultural heritage alongside museums and churches within its old defensive walls. 

Food and agriculture remain important to modern-day Jesi, which holds an annual Verdicchio wine festival each September, celebrating the grapes grown locally. Accommodation caters to wine tourists with agriturism farm stays available.


Fermo is a scenic hilltop town located in the southern Marche province of Ascoli Piceno. Historic sights include the elegant Piazza del Popolo lined by medieval Palazzi with arched loggias, the 12th century gothic Cattedrale dei Santi Martino e Marco with elaborate frescos, and panoramic views over the surrounding countryside.

Narrow lanes hide craft workshops specializing in gold filigree jewelry, ceramics, embroidery, wrought iron, and wood carving – skills practiced locally since medieval times. The annual crafts fair in August transforms the town.  

Local vineyards produce quality DOC-designated wines from Passerina, Pecorino, and Lacrima grapes, which visitors can taste. Just five miles away, the beaches of the Adriatic coastline offer an easily accessible seaside escape.  

What are the Safest Cities in Marche Region? 

Statistics measuring crime rates and safety perceptions done by offical website suggest some of the safest cities to live in within the Marche region are its smaller rural inland towns.

  • Ascoli Piceno: Ascoli Piceno is a small city with a population of around 50,000 people. It has a very low crime rate, with only 2.33 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. The city is also known for its beautiful historic center and its friendly residents. 
  • Macerata: Macerata is a university city with around 42,000 people. It has a slightly higher crime rate than Ascoli Piceno, with 3.22 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. However, the city is still considered to be very safe, and it is a popular choice for students and families. 
  • Fermo: Fermo is a small city with around 35,000 people. It has a very low crime rate, with only 2.11 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. The city is also known for its beautiful beaches and its proximity to the Sibillini Mountains. 
  • San Benedetto del Tronto: San Benedetto del Tronto is a seaside resort town with a population of around 47,000. It has a slightly higher crime rate than Ascoli Piceno and Fermo, with 2.59 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. However, the city is still considered to be very safe, and it is a popular tourist destination. 
  • Pesaro: Pesaro is a city with a population of around 94,000 people. It has a slightly higher crime rate than the other cities, with 3.45 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. However, the city is still considered relatively safe, and it is known for its beautiful beaches and cultural attractions. 

The Marche is generally one of Italy’s safest regions, especially in comparison to larger metropolises like Rome or Naples, which score poorly for safety. Female travelers need not feel intimidated visiting any Marche town.   

What are the Most Dangerous Cities in Marche? 

While the Marche is considered among Italy’s safest regions, official statistics do highlight some cities with elevated crime rates:

  • Ancona: Ancona is the capital of the Marche region and has a population of around 100,000 people. It has a crime rate of 4.29 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, which is higher than the regional average. The city is also known for its port, which can be a source of crime. 
  • Senigallia: Senigallia is a seaside resort town with around 44,000 people. It has a rate of 4.09 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, slightly higher than the regional average. The city is a popular tourist destination, and the crime rate is higher during summer. 
  • Fano: Fano is a seaside town with around 64,000 people. It has a crime rate of 3.91 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, which is slightly higher than the regional average. The city is a popular tourist destination, and the crime rate is higher during summer. 
  • Civitanova Marche: Civitanova Marche is a seaside town with around 40,000 people. It has a crime rate of 3.82 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, which is slightly higher than the regional average. The city is a popular tourist destination, and the crime rate is higher during summer. 
  • Porto Sant’Elpidio: Porto Sant’Elpidio is a seaside town with around 24,000 people. It has a crime rate of 3.73 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, which is slightly higher than the regional average. The city is a popular tourist destination, and the crime rate is higher during summer. 

Overall, visitors should not feel dissuaded. Incidents involving tourists are rare, but petty crimes like pickpocketing, bag snatching, or vehicle break-ins do require awareness – especially in cities and at night.   

What is the Best Time to Visit Marche Region in Italy?

The best time to visit the Marche region in Italy is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April–June) and autumn (September–October). These periods offer pleasant weather with warm temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower prices.

  • Spring is a great time to enjoy the region’s blooming landscapes, explore its charming hill towns, and indulge in outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. The average temperature in spring ranges from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).
  • Autumn is another ideal time to visit, offering a mild climate, fewer crowds, and vibrant fall foliage. The average temperature in autumn ranges from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
  • Summer (July–August) is the peak tourist season in the Marche region, with hot weather, crowded beaches, and higher prices. If you plan to visit during the summer, booking your accommodations well in advance is best.
  • Winter (November-March) is the least popular time to visit the Marche region, as the weather is cold and rainy. However, the region’s ski resorts offer opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.

What are the Traditional Foods of Marche? 

Boasting seafood from the Adriatic, produce from fertile valleys, foraged mushrooms and truffles, cured meats, and cheeses – all flavored with acclaimed le marche olive oil – the Marche region has a delicious culinary tradition every visitor should experience.

Seafood features prominently in Marche’s cooking. Local specialties at Marche Italian restaurants include spaghetti alle vongole – thin strands coated in olive oil, garlic, parsley, and fresh clams. 

There’s also moscioli – mussels prepared in a garlic broth or tomato sauce; brodetto – a hearty fish stew with squid, shellfish, and whitefish simmering in wine; and fritto misto – lightly fried shrimp, calamari and small fish. These seafood dishes can be found in coastal cities like San Benedetto del Tronto, along with casual bars serving freshly shucked oysters and clams.

Inland, Ascoli Piceno provides the perfect stop for olive ascolane – plump olives stuffed with minced veal or pork, breaded and fried until crispy, then served with chilled prosecco. Other specialties brought inland from the sea include pickled anchovies and dried salt cod that flavors pasta dishes. Truffles and mushrooms foraged from forests appear in omelets or intricately sauced fillings for ravioli and tortellini at some of the best restaurants Marche italy.

The influence of le marche olive oil can be tasted everywhere – drizzled over bread, emulsifying tomato sauces, or paired with balsamic from Modena to dip bread before a meal. Local olive groves pressing Sant’Agata, Ascolana Tenera and other cultivars supply oil to restaurants and families.

Cheeses like aged cacio and stretched mozzarella called casciotta top pizzas found in the region’s wood-fired ovens. Wines lean towards crisp whites like Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and the light red Lacrima di Morro d’Alba to complement the cuisine.

Visitors can experience Marche flavors during festivals like Ancona’s seafood festival or the truffle fair in Sant’Angelo in Vado. Food tours and agriturismo farm stays offer cooking classes and family-style meals. With dishes crafted from coastline to mountains using generations-old recipes and local le marke olive oil, Marche cuisine delivers authentic central Italian flavors.

What are the Most Famous Marche Wine Brands? 

As a region boasting over 3000 years of winemaking tradition along the Adriatic coast and inland hillsides, the Marche has several world-renowned Italian wine brands and varieties for visitors to experience.

The most acclaimed wine is Verdicchio, a crisp, medium-bodied white that comes in various styles, from dry to sweet dessert wines. The best vineyards in marche italy for Verdicchio include La Monacesca, Villa Bucci, and Umani Ronchi. These wineries and their tiered vineyards benefit from excellent sun exposure and breezes that develop Verdicchio’s vibrant fruit flavors.

For reds, the Marche’s signature indigenous grape is Montepulciano, which yields a smooth, low-tannin wine in styles ranging from young vino novello to the structured Riserva aged at least two years in oak. Top producers to visit include Moroder, Velenosi Villa Angela, and Moncaro – one of the largest wine cooperatives in Italy.

Another unique red is Lacrima di Morro, an ancient grape making a resurgence in the Marche hills near the port town of Ancona. Its aromas of violets and roses pair beautifully with meat and game dishes. Brands carrying on the Lacrima legacy include La Calcinara and the marche region Italy wine producer Luca Guerrieri.

Through cellar tours, tastings, food pairings, and stunning vineyard scenery, visitors can immerse themselves in the quality yet underrated wines the Marche does best. Local vintners proudly share their family traditions while pouring iconic Verdicchio, Montepulciano, and Lacrima.