A massive advertising campaign touts Le Marche as “a new Tuscany” due to its verdant green hills and medieval towns, but Italians have been flocking to the region’s 112 miles of beaches for decades. Protected areas retain their sweeping vistas, but most of the region’s beaches are lined with umbrellas and snack shacks. If you avoid the Italian holiday season, you can enjoy the regions environmentally-certified beaches in peace.
When to Go
Though the beaches of Le Marche are relatively unknown to foreign tourists, Italian flock by the thousands to this coastline in the summer. By far, the most sardine-can-packed conditions occurs around the mid-August Ferragosto holiday, when the cities empty out and Italians flee to the beach. Avoid any time between mid-July to late August, though popular locations on the coast may still be packed throughout the mid-May to mid-September season, due to events like the International Festival of New Cinema in June in Pesaro. Outside this four month period, the beach towns retire for the off-season and many establishments close or run limited hours.
Getting There and Getting Around
Many guides tell you that you need a car to get around Le Marche, but if you are staying on the coast, public transportation is a viable option. The Italian state rail network operates high-speed frecciabianca trains between Milan and Lecce, in southern Abruzzo, passing through Ancona, the main coastal city in Le Marche. From Ancona, regional trains and buses connect to other cities along the coast. If you choose to rent a car when you arrive in Italy, the main coastal highway, Autostada 14, runs along the coast slightly inland, with minor roads connecting to the beaches. A little rougher, though more scenic, Strada Statale 16 runs directly along the coast, just darting inland around the elevated area south of Ancona.
Eleven of Le Marche’s beach towns have Blue Flag beaches: Civitanova Marche, Fano, Gabicce Mare, Grottammare, Numana, Pesaro, Porto Recanati, Porto San Giorgio, San Benedetto del Tronto, Senigallia and Sirolo. An international non-profit awards this designation to beaches based on their environmental management and education, safety services and superior water quality. If you prefer a beach that is both well-kept and relatively un-crowded, avoid the major resort towns: Gabicce Mare, Pesaro, San Benedetto del Tronto and Senigallia.
After tourist developments encroached on the natural beauty of Le Marche in the 1980s and 1990s, the government responded swiftly, creating twelve parks and reserves in the region. The Parco Regionale di Monte Conero (parcodelconero.com) near Ancona, the only coastal regional park, includes three towns: Portonovo, Numana and Sirolo. Within the park, undeveloped beaches and their surrounding green hills lure in hikers and beachgoers who prefer seclusion, personal space and stunning vistas. The other portion of protected coastline, the Riserva Naturale Regionale Sentina, covers the entire municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto.