Unknown Marche: 11 hidden gems

The adjective “touristic” is often used with a negative and derogatory connotation, as if visiting well-known and therefore highly frequented locations is wrong. The Riviera del Conero is geared towards hospitality, and places like Numana, Marcelli, and Sirolo – to name just a few – are distinctly touristic. Despite being vibrant cities year-round, they come alive with a different kind of vitality during the summer months with the arrival of vacationers. But in the Marche, in addition to award-winning Blue Flag beaches and crystal-clear sea, there is much more. Hidden places and unknown spots, even to those who live in the “plural” region. Off the beaten paths and frequented routes, at least 11 unusual treasures are concealed, between sea and hills, between secret natural spots and ancient villages to visit:

1. Gola del Furlo and Marmitte dei Giganti
These are the Metauro Canyons. The Gola del Furlo Nature Reserve is located between the municipalities of Fermignano and Aqualagna, in the province of Pesaro Urbino. The canyons were formed by the erosive power of the Candigliano River, a tributary of the Metauro, and can be admired while walking along the ancient Via Flaminia or from the Ponte dei Saltelli in Fossombrone. For the more adventurous, a canoe excursion among the Marmitte dei Giganti is a must.

2. Natural Arch of Fondarca
Hidden and protected by towering walls, there is a rock arch over 30 meters high. It is a majestic natural amphitheater hidden from those who do not venture on a hike to Monte Nerone.

3. Valadier Temple and Frasassi Caves
An octagonal sanctuary built by architect Giuseppe Valadier on commission from Pope Leo XII, located inside the mountain and overlooking a breathtaking natural setting.
Karst caves, stalactites, and stalagmites created by nature so perfectly that they seem like the work of an artist. This is what you will find at the Frasassi Caves: pure wonder.

4. Elcito
The Tibet of the Marche. A village lost among the hills of Macerata, where time has stopped and perched at an altitude of 821 meters. A place to find silence.

5. Canfaito Forest
Here you will find a beech tree that is 500 years old, the oldest in the Marche.

6. Li Vurgacci Trail
In Pioraco, there is a nature trail that winds for 500 meters through the gorge carved by the Potenza River. Little bridges, stone staircases, waterfalls, and the suggestive Fossa dei Mostri, a natural clearing where the rocks are sculpted to form faces.

7. Lame Rosse
The Grand Canyon also exists in the Marche. The Lame Rosse can be reached from Lake Fiastra in just an hour and a half. Rock formations that range from reddish to ochre, depending on the sunlight.

8. Gola dell’Infernaccio
In the province of Fermo, there is a deep gorge with vertical walls (the ravine) formed by the Tenna River, one of the most picturesque in the Umbrian-Marchigiano Apennines.

9. Sulfureous Springs of Lu Vurghe
Silence and relaxation. Thermal pools and sulfurous waters, a completely natural and free spa. In the province of Ascoli Piceno, the water springs from the ground at a temperature ranging from 27 to 30 degrees at the Sulfureous Springs of Lu Vurghe in Acquasanta Terme.

10. Church of San Francesco
A church without a roof, like the better-known San Galgano in Tuscany. A complex dating back to the 13th century that, with the 1930 earthquake, suffered such damage that it was necessary to remove the roof. It is located in Fano, in the province of Pesaro Urbino.

11. Underground Cities of Camerano and Osimo
Complex systems of caves and labyrinths beneath our feet. In the province of Ancona, there are 88 caves hidden at various depths underground, and for 9 km, one encounters crypts, early Christian lodgings, or mysteries of the Knights Templar. Be sure to book a visit.


In short, the Marche is not just any tourist destination.

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