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Marche - Things to Do - Tourism

The Marches are generally renowned for their famous seaside resorts. From north to south, the most important are: Gabicce Mare, Fano, Marotta, Senigallia (the famous `Velvet Beach'), Sirolo (situated in the rocky Riviera del Conero), Numana, Porto Recanati, Civitanova Marche, Porto S. Elpidio, Porto S. Giorgio, Cupra Marittima, Grottammare and S. Benedetto del Tronto.

The presence of so many seaside resorts, often rich in artistic attractions, leads one to forget the countless other interesting places in the region.

However, towards the hilly inland, lie various little towns as yet undiscovered by mass tourism, in spite of their historical artistic and cultural importance; indeed, they are well worth including in delightful tours through gentle relaxing scenery.

Picturesque ancient villages are often found on hilltops, frequently dominated by an old castle or tower or surrounded by thick walls.

From north to south, the first is S. Leo in Montefeltro, with its imposing 14th century fortress and the Romanesque parish church; to the south stands Sassocorvaro with the Fortress of Ubaldini, masterpiece of 14th century military architecture; further south Urbania, with its interesting 14th-15th century centre, and Fossombrone, with Renaissance buildings.

Passing through the suggestive Furlo Gorge (Galleria Romana) one reaches Cagli, a little town of great environmental interest with its 13th-14th century Town Hall; from here one can take a short trip to the lonely Camaldolese Monastery of Fonte Avellana at the foot of Mount Catria (1,701 m.).

In the province of Ancona the first town one comes to is Sassoferrato, with its interesting medieval centre and Gothic church of St. Francis (in the surrounding area the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Sentinum).

On the way back to the coast from Sassoferrato, one passes through Cingoli, with its wonderful landscape and interesting urban structure; Recanati, Leopardi's hometown, Osimo and its beautiful brass font (17th century) inside the Baptistry; Iesi, surrounded by 13th century walls, with the Renaissance Palazzo della Signoria.

Further south, lies Fabriano (Tapestry Museum), then Camerino, seat of an ancient University, Tolentino, with St. Nicholas's Basilica (13th-15th century) and outstanding frescoes, and S. Ginesio (Romanesque-Gothic Collegiate Church).

In the province of Ascoli, one can visit Amandola at the foot of Sibillini Mountains; then heading towards the sea, reach Offida, with the Church of Santa Maria della Rocca (14th century); the little medieval town of Ripatransone, with the narrowest lane in Italy (38-43 cm. wide) and Fermo, near the Adriatic Sea, with an imposing Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and the wonderful Piazza del Popolo.

Beautiful natural scenery is another attraction of the region; and the Conero headland and Caves of Frasassi, already mentioned in the Introduction, are outstanding.

But the Marches is also a mountainous region (the Sibillini Mountains range) with good skiing resorts, such as Forca Canapine, Ussita, Sarnano and Piobbico. There are also several health spas with good hotel facilities: Acquasanta Terme with sodium bromide waters used in the treatment of arthritis and respiratory disorders; Sarnano with bicarbonate alkaline waters for illnesses of the urinary tract; Aspio Terme, where four springs with different properties enable a wide range of treatment to be made available; Carignano Terme, near Fano, with sodium bromide waters for metabolic and gastric disorders.

Loreto has a special role in tourism in the Marches; the Sanctuary Church of the Holy House, rich in works of art, has been the destination of millions of pilgrims for centuries.

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