The Marche (Italian "Le Markέ") can hold its own with Tuscany, even if this region in the north is not as well known (yet). The Italians refer to this province as the "real Italy" because a lot of the original landscape is untouched, and there has been no question of mass tourism. The landscape of the Marche is very varied. In the east the region borders on the Adriatic Sea with its endless bathing beaches, in the west it is bounded by the imposing Apennines. Between the mountains and the sea there is a lovely hilly countryside, where the fields, olive groves and vineyards provide a breathtakingly beautiful patchwork of colour during each season, whilst on the crest of the hills there are medieval castles and small towns "where time stood still."
The locals are friendly and open towards foreigners and it is easy to strike up a conversation, should you wish to do so. The Italian proverb "Rather a dead person in the house than a Marchigiano in front of the door," dating from the time that they were feared throughout Italy as the papal tax collectors, is now outdated. The countrymen in Le Marche are mostly honest and hard working people.
The authentic regional cuisine is tempting with a large number of excellent restaurants where all the dishes are still prepared from fresh ingredients and are offered at unbeatable prices. A tip: you usually order twice as much as you can eat. Tipping is not (yet) expected in the Marche!
Extensive information about the Marche may be found on the following websites:
- Ellen Grady: Blue guide the Marche and San Marino (paperback June 2006)
- Julius Honnor: Umbria and Marche (Footprint Italia) (paperback May 2009)
- Ed. Caitlyn Slivinski: Andiamo Le Marche: American Odyssey through Authentic Italy (paperback)