Situated in the heart of central Italy, Le Marche beckons with its timeless allure—a region renowned for its fine wines, picturesque stone hill villages, and an ambiance that captures the essence of the Renaissance era. Beyond its well-known charms, this enchanting destination holds a trove of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered, even by the most seasoned locals. In the following recommendations, we unveil the cherished secrets of Le Marche, leading you to discover the tucked-away treasures that add an extra layer of enchantment to this Renaissance hideaway. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Grotte di Frasassi
Coined as the centre of the Earth, these caves are some of the the largest and most famous underground caverns in Italy. It may be cold but this crystalline wonderland is completely worth it. The factions from the theatrical lighting light up the beams and walkways which lead to displays showcasing the most extravagant stalagmites and stalactites.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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Abazzia di Fiastra
The Abbazia di Chiaravalle di Fiastra can be found between Tolentino and Urbisaglia. Surrounded by art, culture and history, there is nowhere else better to get lost in that the centre of the Abbazia di Fiastra. One of the best preserved Cistercian abbeys in Italy, it happens to be enclosed by a large nature reserve. The church is dedicated to Santa Maria di Chiaravalle di Fiastra.
Castello di Gradara
The Gradara Castle is a medieval fortress that is located in the town of Gradara. The Gradara Castle dates back to the period between the 11th and 15th centuries. Dante turned the castle into a symbol of love by making it the central location for his characters Paolo and Francesca. The castle is one of the most visited monuments in the region which is no surprise; it is particularly striking at night when the underlying village is lit up.
Bordering two national parks and mountains on three sides, Ascoli Piceno is a charming town whose Piazza del Popolo is considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares of the BelPaese. However, it could be its Christmas market and ice skating rink which sets it apart from the other local towns. With fake snow scattered around the town, markets with hot chocolate and the fairy lights twinkling and lighting up the bell tower in the centre, there is nowhere else to feel more Christmassy in true Italian style.
Giacomo Leopardi was born in this exact house the 29th June 1798 where his heirs still live. He has been referred to as a desperate academic, a lost traveller and a poetic maniac. Despite this though, he will always be remembered as one of the most radical thinkers of the 19th century. At 19 he embarked on his own literary evolution and become a central figure in international literature. It is easy to imagine the infamous Silvia from his balcony or the country folk still working the markets of Reccanati.
Verona may be the city which inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and which is renowned for its opera but the Sferisterio in Macerata stands as one of Europe’s most stunning theatres in its own right. Built between 1820 and 1829, it remains the backdrop to the Opera Festival. It’s a formidable amphitheatre which regularly hosts the experts in the operatic world.
Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini
Monti Sibillini Park offers the opportunity to visit Le Marche throughout the centuries. You can see the various wonders which have been curated by man throughout this time. Its highest peak, Monte Vettore, reaches 8,132 ft above sea level; it is Italy at its most authentic, which is not only an cultural experience but an intently engaging environment.
Basilica di San Nicola
St. Nicholas was a 13th century saint known for the miracles he performed each day. Tolentino is well worth a trip to visit this little treasure which the locals use for their morning mass service. The basilica consists of the main altarpiece which was created by Machisiano , the main church and then the wall paintings which were created shortly after the saint’s death.
Lago di Fiasta
Whether you are going to tan, swim or even canoe, this lake offers everything. It takes on a beautiful aquamarine colour during the summer and if you wish to have a break from the heat, there is the bridge at San Lorenzo which leads you to the castle and tower on the hill which overlooks the amazing lake itself.
Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle
Located in Sirolo, it could be considered a trek to find it (which is why we recommend the shuttle bus) but a view of the crystal blue ocean awaits you. The beach itself is dominated by two magnificent white rocks which emerge from the sea, meaning that it is a secluded paradise from masses of tourists.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.