Le Marche is one of Italy's best kept secrets. Prior to the unification of Italy, Le Marche was one of the Papal States governed directly by the Pope, “the Marches” meaning a border province of the Holy Roman Empire. The inland area is almost tourist-free and the local people tend to be kind and helpful to strangers.
On Italy's East coast, between the Adriatic and Apennines, the Marches are relatively undiscovered, yet surprisingly accessible. A mosaic of ancient cities, rolling hills, dramatic mountains, hidden valleys and long, sandy beaches, Le Marche is an outstanding holiday destination.
The landscape of Le Marche ranges from undulating agricultural fields and vine clad slopes to snow-capped mountains and dramatic gorges. Villa Rocca is situated in an area of natural beauty, close to the majestic Sibillini mountain range and the Sibillini National Park which provides the most breathtaking scenery in central Italy. The mountains are calcareous in origin, producing the magnificent Frassasi limestone caves. There are 20 peaks over 2000m and several ski resorts in the area. The whole area is a walker's paradise with many mountain paths, guided walks if you require, and a stunning array of wild flowers to be seen. Le Marche is rich in historical-artistic and cultural heritage which has been preserved and unlike its neighbours Umbria and Tuscany, is relatively undiscovered and still unspoiled by tourism. Little English is spoken but the local Italians are very friendly and helpful, especially if you try to speak a few words of Italian.
Every small hilltop village in this region has a beautiful church and a welcoming bar, but more than that, throughout summer and autumn each village has its local festa or sagra. This is a time to celebrate the year’s hard work and is usually based on produce from mushrooms, sausages, fruit, wine or chestnuts depending on the season. It is a time for eating and drinking, processions, music and dancing.