One of the most surprising features to new visitors is the vivid colour of the region, especially the amount of verdant green countryside. Compare this to parts of rural Spain where the appearance is arid and dusty. There are so many areas in Le Marche with excellent water supplies (from the mountains and local springs) which results in a fantastic array of colour, most of the year round. It is perfectly safe to drink from most fountains in towns and villages and you will frequently have to wait in a queue as the villagers top up their supplies!
The Le Marche region is one of Italy's hidden jewels, nestling between the Adriatic Sea and the eastern side of Italy's backbone, the Appenines. The regional capital city is Ancona,(Roman ampitheatre, right) an important and ancient trading post, port and gateway to many eastern and southern European destinations. Other notable cities include Macerata (home of the Sfisterio opera), Civitanove Marche (stylish shopping city and costal resort)and Ascoli Piceno (southern-most city of the region and an ancient place, including Roman bridges and many medieval churches).
Towards the northern section of the county are the cities of Jesi, Urbana, and Fossombrone. The former is largely industrial although has a pleasant town centre and good out-of-town shopping. Urbana is an historic city while Fossombrone is a quaint town, not too far from the sea and a former trading post on the road from Rome. All of these lands were formerly ruled by the Romans or, in more recent times, the Austrians.