Take a stroll...
The towns of Le Marche are truly a sight to behold
Towns and villages
Perched on the rolling hills of le Marche, hidden in the Sibillini mountains and close to the shoreline of the Adriatic, there are numerous lovely towns waiting to be explored. Surrounded by defensive walls and accessed through old gateways, their bustling piazzas and tranquil side streets call upon the traveller to explore them.
Le Marche has more beautiful towns than any other region of Italy (i borghi più belli d’Italia) and so it is impossible to name them all. However, below you will find a selection of our favourites, all within easy reach of Villa Rosa Bianca.
Situated some 400m above the Aso valley, Montefiore enjoys commanding views of the surrounding countryside. From the south facing Belvedere terrace the Adriatic emerges, wedged between a never ending sky and the lush Marche fields, and the sweep of the horizon continues to the mountains of the Gran Sasso and Sibillini National Parks.
It is a beautiful town – recognised as such with the accolade `Uno dei Borghi più belli d’Italia’. It has a rich history, possibly being a sacred site to the pre Roman goddess Flora from which the town gets its name. The powerful towns of Fermo and Ascoli Piceno fought over it many times, and in the 19th century it was one of the first towns in Le Marche to have an electricity supply and as a consequence a reliable water supply which was pumped from the river – you can visit the many springs that surround the town on which the townspeople used to have to rely on for water. Today the water comes for the Sibillini mountains and is excellent to drink.
The town has an exciting cultural calendar which spans the year, some highlights are:
- Carnevale – immediately prior to Lent
- Infiorata – Corpus Domini
- Montefiore con Gusto – July
- Sagra della fruta – August
- Maialata in piazza – mid August, organised by and in support of the Croce Verde
- La castagnata – October
Montefiore is just 3 miles (5km) from Villa Rosa Bianca, a five minute drive.
You can discover more about Montefiore at www.montefioredellaso.com the website of Friends of Montefiore
Often referred to as the jewel in the crown of Marche, this ancient city is full of surprises and is easy to visit from Villa Rosa Bianca.
The main square, Piazza del Popolo, is considered to be one of the most beautiful piazzas in all of Italy, and here you can stop and taste the famous Anisetta Meletti in the Caffe Meletti whilst watching the world go by. Anisetta has been made in Ascoli since 1870, and benefits from the high quality aniseed that grows locally.
The first Sunday in August is when the local palio is held (it is not only Siena that has a famous palio!), when knights from the towns districts try to strike the effigy of an Arab warrior.
The ancient Roman town of Fermo, and now the provincial town of this district, is always worth a visit and is one of our favourite places. You can meander through the steep (very steep!) narrow medieval streets of the old town which all seem to lead the delightful Piazza del Popolo. A short pause having a coffee whilst watching the activity in the square will recharge you for the final climb to the top of town where the beautiful cathedral, set in a tranquil park, dominates the surroundings – the views from here are simply stunning.
The old town with its steep streets which lead to the castle remains and the top of the cliffs offer stunning views along the coast; whilst in the old town we suggest that you visit the museum which houses a collection of works by the celebrated local artist Giacomo Pomili.
Down in the modern new town graceful Art Nouveau villas line the seafront, and the sandy beach with safe bathing ensures a good time for all the family.
This prehistoric town still boasts fine walls as well as some of the most wonderful views in Marche from its strategic location between the two valleys of Menocchia and Tesino. The cathedral houses many works by local painter Michelangelo Bedini. The town also has the narrowest street in Italy, only 43cm wide!
On the way to the town you can see good examples of calanchi, a natural phenomenon caused by rain erosion exposing the rock on the steep slopes.
No journey to Le Marche would be complete without a visit to Loreto.
This small town with its massive walls is an important place of pilgrimage. The centre of the town is the beautiful Piazza della Madonna, the main square with its magnificent basilica. Within the basilica is the house of Mary, mother of Jesus, brought to Italy from Palestine by the Crusaders (according to legend it was flown to Italy by angels). It is truly a wonder to be seen and the basilica dominates the small town and surrounding countryside.
Loreto is easily accessible from the motorway and is just 40 minutes from Villa Rosa Bianca.