One of the most characteristic aspects of this region is the coast that extends for 150 km from Gabicce Mare to San Benedetto del Tronto, awarded numerous European blue flags, confirming the quality of the sea water and the effort taken to protect the marine environment. The coastline varies between beautiful pebbled beaches, rocks and sand, thus meeting everyone's needs and maintaining the ancient traditions of the historical maritime port of Ancona and the nine tourist ports. The coast consists of long, narrow beaches, here and there interrupted by a promontory or estuary.
To the south of Monte Conero, the coast becomes vast flat stretches of sand, with the green pines in Porto Recanati, Porto Potenza Piceno, to Civitanova Marche with its fishing and tourist ports.
Completing the coastal panorama, there is the "Verde(Green) Riviera Picena" which extends from Porto Sant'Elpidio, Lido di Fermo, Porto San Giorgio and Pedaso, not to mention the exotic "Riviera delle Palme" between Cupra Marittima, Grottammare and San Benedetto del Tronto with its palm trees that grow on and by the white sandy beach.
The Marche region is ideal for snow-sports enthusiasts.
Numerous different sports activities may be practised in these extraordinary surroundings in the "Parco dei Sibillini".
In winter you can ski, thanks to the modern ski lifts which transport you to the various ski slopes. It takes just 50 minutes by car to reach "Forca Canapine" (1500 m above sea level); and Monte Vettore (2800 m above sea level) is not much further. It is also possible to go cross-country skiing, ski-touring and to practise alpine skiing.
When the winter season is over there are many other activities, such as excursions either on foot or by mountain bike; there are some of the most famous places in Europe for gliding; and extreme water sports in the mountain torrents. Sports lovers will find plenty to do in summer as well as in winter.
The Marche region is perfect for a holiday full of rich and precious discoveries. Cities of art, fortresses, strongholds, Roman churches, sanctuaries, historical theatres and archaeological sites can be found in a serene and patriarchal countryside. You can visit castles, mansions, villas and palaces, some of which are still inhabited thanks to the cultural tourist association "le Marche Segrete" which includes 20 dwelling places and historical parks. There are various suggestive itineraries through these dwelling places and parks; places where antiquity still reigns together with current, everyday life. In every province in the Marche there are many treasures making it a widespread museum. A journey for anyone who wishes to know more about the heart of this part of Italy.
The protected areas occupy 86.630,54 hectares of the territory and consist of two national parks: Monti Sibillini, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga; four regional parks: Monte Conero, Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park, Monte San Bartolo, Gola della Rossa and Frasassi; two natural reserves: Naturale Montagna di Torricchio and Abbazia di Fiastra. Amongst these protected areas are two WWF oases: Ripa Bianca di Jesi and Bosco di Frasassi. Other areas of conservation are 80 Bioitaly sites, the protected flora areas, the ZPS (individually protected areas based on European Policy for the protection of birds), the Oasis for the Protection of Fauna, established by the province of the hunting fauna. The main objectives of these natural parks and reserves are to safeguard species of exceptional scientific, naturalistic and cultural value; the maintenance of the environment essential for the upkeep of fundamental ecological systems; experimentation of a growing process in which the conservation of the environment may interact.
"Porchetta" (spit-roasted pork) is a typical Roman dish invented between Macerata and Ascoli Piceno in the Marche region. Pork is used to make many cured hams and salami. Grilled meat and kebabs are a noteworthy speciality. The cooks use lard which is melted and spread over the meat being roasted on the spit. There is another speciality "alla ghiotta" or "leccarda", where a dripping pan is placed under the spit to catch the fat which drops off the meat while it's being cooked, the dripping pan contains wine, vinegar, slices of lemon, sage leaves and black olives, as the fat drips into the pan this mixture emits an aroma which flavours the meat. But fish reigns in the Marche region; San Benedetto is one of the most important fishing ports. A typical dish is "brodetto", a wonderful example of Italian fish soups. Other specialities are stuffed fried olives from Ascoli Piceno and an array of fried meats and vegetables.