LE MARCHE, ITALY
The Le Marche region is located in central Italy and has a long Adriatic coastline to the east and is bordered by the Apennine mountains to the west, its immediate regional neighbours are Abruzzo to the south, Umbria to the east and Emilia Romagna to the north. The region is known as Marche to most Italians and is still relatively unspoilt, having been bypassed by mass tourism and boasts a coastline with long sandy beaches, numerous small hilltop villages and towns and the breathtaking Sibillini mountains. Until quite recently most visitors and tourists visited the other more well known regions of central Italy, Umbria and Tuscany, but the arrival of Ryanair and other the low cost airlines opened up the region to visitors and tourists from the UK and other parts of northern Europe.
Le Marche has five provinces, in the north Pesaro and Urbino, then Ancona, followed by Macerata, then Fermo and finally Ascoli Piceno in the south, Fermo is the most recent province only being formed as a separate entity just five years ago. Ancona is the capital of the region also lending it's name to the province in which it sits, it has an large port which has been used for thousands of years and today ferries leave from here to many other parts of the Meditteranean including Greece, Croatia, Sicily and southern Italy. Le Marche is increasingly popular with tourists from other parts of Italy and also from abroad with the resorts along the Adriatic coast being full during the months of June, July and August, but once September comes tourism levels drop dramatically so a good time to visit is always after the first week of September and before November when the weather becomes more unsettled.
There are many world famous historic towns, museums, galleries and archeological sites in the region, including the beautiful towns and cities of Ancona, Urbino, Macerata, Pesaro, Ascoli Piceno and Loreto. The Sibillini mountains in the west of the region offer many spectacular panoramas and include the highest mountain in this part of Italy, Monte Vettore at 2,476 metres. The National park covers over 40 sq kilometres of mountains, valleys and plains, and this area is a home for some of Italy's most rare and fascinating wildlife, including golden eagles, oeregrine falcons and eagle owls. The scenery and landscape of this part of Marche is as spectacular as anywhere else to be found in Italy, with its rocky ledges, crags and deep valleys and it also holds the famous Frasassi caves which are believed to be up to 35 kilometres in length but only over 15 kilometres have been explored so far.
The region has a large agricultural base and also produces many fine wines, cheeses, salami and olive oils which are also still unknown in many other parts of the world and even in rare to find in other parts of Italy. The world famous white wine produced in Le Marche is the excellent Verdicchio, other white wines include the Passerina, Pecorino and Falerio, reds include the Rosso Piceno, Rosso Conero and Lacrima di Moro D'alba. The extra virgin olive oils produced in the region are more delicate than oils from the south of Italy and are in many cases as good as the famous olive oils from Umbria and Tuscany.Manufacturing is also an important part of the economy of the Marche region with white goods such as fridges and washing machines produced by Ariston, high end furniture and kitchens, shoes from Todds, Kickers and Church's and even motorbikes produced by Benelli.
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