The Coast

A 180 km long coastline, beautiful beaches, 26 seaside resorts on the Adriatic See where you can spend quiet holidays, the sea port of Ancona and 9 marinas. The shores of the Marches stretch from the promontory of Gabicce to the mouth of the River Tronto. It is divided in two parts each facing a different direction starting from the promontory of Mount Conero which is the most peculiar feature of the entire Adriatic shore north of the Gargano. The coastline is one of the many examples of the great variety of landscapes which nature has so richly bestowed upon every tiny bit of the Marches territory. Promontories, creeks, and small coves mark the northern coast like jewels underlining natures wild beauty creating a strong visual impact. The shores of the Province of Pesaro go from the mouth of the River Tavollo to the mouth of the Cesano offering 40 km of beaches stretching along rolling landscapes which justify its name "Rivera of the hills".

The vast sandy beaches from Gabicce to Marotta slope down gently towards the sea offering safe playgrounds to children and to people who do not have great familiarity with swimming. To the north we find Gabicce Mare, a fine sea resort on two levels: the sea level laying on a small bay surrounded by a vast sandy beach enclosed by many hotels and gardens, the ideal setting for the sunny hours of the day, while Gabicce Monte, perched on top of a scenic cliff covered by a rich vegetation, offers many evening and night time attractions with its restaurants, pizzerias, and night clubs. Pesaro the sparkling city where the echoes of Gioacchino Rossini's music still linger on, offers 8 km of vast and sandy of beaches - opened towards the sea or sheltered by cliffs - and a quiet sea resort life. A 20 km long attractive scenic road unwinds itself between Gabicce Mare and Pesaro, crossing picturesque fishermen's towns perched high on steep cliffs plunging vertically into the deep blue of the Adriatic See: Casteldimezzo, Fiorenzuola di Focara, Santa Marine Alta, the whole area is part of the Regional Park of Mount San Bartolo, founded in 1996 having much in common with Mount Conero Park. Even if the cliffs here are not as steep they still maintain features of this region's natural wild beauty. The flowering ginesta add a suggestive touch of incomparable smells and colours blending into the crystal clear blue coast waters.

Another scenic road unwinds on the Ardizio hill top, between Pesaro and Fano, where the seashore flattens up in linear and sandy beaches interrupted by short shingle ones. Openly cordial and friendly are the two resort areas of Fano: the short and sandy Lido to the north and the long and shinghly Sassonia to the south, laying in between a picturesque fishing port. With its very ancient origins, Fanun Fortunae maintains clear and evident signs of its history offering its guests an opportunity to discover its artistic historical and cultural assets. Two other friendly sea resorts are situated between the Rivers Metauro and Cesano:Torrette di Fano and Marotta di Mondolfo with its old fishermen's village featuring a peculiar beach shinghly in parts only.
Senigallia, with its 12 km of white and sandy beach is the perfect setting for a bathing holiday but its ancient origins (it was known in ancient times as Sena Gallica, ancient capital city of the Senone Gauls) offers sites of historical interest as well. By 1850's the coaches of the aristocratic Romans and Austrians already strolled on its avenues.
This tidy city has kept alive its old warm and welcoming attitude which together with its "velvet beach" has made it famous throughout Europe. Nearby almost a natural follow up to the sandy beach is Marzocca. Moving on towards Ancona we can find other characteristic sea resorts. Only a few kilometres from Montemarciano, originally the ancient city of Marziano, is Marina with its fine beach plus the ruins of a fifteenth-century fortress; next to it is Falconara Marittima very conveniently located near Ancona a perfect junction point of the road, train, and airport networks. Close by is the beautiful beach of Palombina, modemly equipped it is the ideal setting for a quiet family oriented tourism. In Ancona, we can certainly recommend a scenic promenade to the Passetto, one of the most suggestive areas of the city offering a fully equipped park and a double stairway from which it is possible to reach the sea below. The flat and levelled seashore is abruptly interrupted south of Ancona by the green vegetation of Mount Conero (the first regional Park to be founded in the Marches in 1987) peremptorily merging within the deep blue of the Adriatic sea offering a view of rare and suggestive impact. This is the starting point of one of the most beautiful seashore area of the entire Adriatic coast: the "Conero Riviera", with its changing landscapes where white and sandy sheltered beaches are abruptly interrupted by steep rocky cliffs diving into the sea and sometimes can be reached only by boats or along small paths. A scenic road unwinds through all this area, often losing itself deeply into thick woods of pine oak and bay oak trees.

But the crown jewel of the coast is certainly the Portonovo Bay, an uncontaminated wonder of nature. Among the many beaches omating the cliff of the Conero is the "Two Sisters Beach" , walled in by steep rock cliffs, it is surely one of the most outstanding spots of the Adriatic, two grand rock spurs arising from the sea, which here take on unusual delicate chromatic hues. The best known seaside resorts of Ancona's coast are all here, enclosed within a few kilometres, Sirolo (which was given the "Queen of the Italian beaches Legambiente Award in 1996), Numana and Marcelli. Sirolo is in a picturesque location perched high above the sea. Once a fortified castle it still holds traces of the ancient medieval structures. Headquarters to the Regional Park the visitor must pass through a small forest to reach its small but enchanting beaches. Numana, the Roman "Humana" with its a well equipped marina, clean waters and brilliant colours, has known a constant increase in tourism; Marcelli is the most modern area of the Rivera, it features many tourists resorts, residences and accommodation offering every comfort. South of Mount Conero, lays Porto Recanati, the elegant "drawing-room on the sea" immediately imposing its dominion on the 8 km long sandy beach separating the town from the sea. The beach and the woods run alongside as often do along shores of the Marches with hills creating a perfect crown to the sea. This is true for Porto Potenza Picena, south of Porto Recanati, where the hills favour a mild and temperate weather. Next we immediately find Civitanova Marche with its long beach divided by the fishing and tourist ports, the latter one a great contribution to the development of seaside tourism. Many sport and art events are held here during the summer season. The geographical location of the city together with the convenient links to the road network make it the ideal starting point for inland excursions as well as a perfect junction from which to reach the principal locations of this region.
To the south we can find Porto Sant'Elpidio, an old sailor's village, now an important industrial centre and a well equipped seaside resort. With its typical sandy beaches it marks the beginning of the "Green Picena Riviera" enclosing many warm and welcoming seaside resorts, lapped by the crystal clear water of the sea and surrounded by gentle hills enlightened by the vivid Mediterranean flora.

Only a few kilometres away there are; Lido di Fermo and Porto San Giorgio, an important industrial, fishing and bathing centre (with a marina able to house 1,000 boats). Its ancient medieval core is now surrounded by the modern town with its avenues, blooming gardens, and well equipped with all the facilities for every kind of tourism. Further south, we meet Marina Palmense and Marina di Altidona, which have encountered considerable expansion in recent years, while located on the alluvial mouth of the River Aso, lays Pedaso, a bathing and farming centre where the sandy seashore is interrupted by the Cliff.
After Pedaso, the climate assumes Mediterranean characteristic thus favouring a varied flora with large thickets of shrubbery and evergreens of all kinds. The first location you reach is Cupra Marittima, featuring of a medieval core on a hill dominating the modern town that has developed after 1890. From Grottammare to San Benedetto del Tronto and on up to Porto d'Ascoli, marking the southern boundary of the Marches, there are still more vast and sandy beaches framed by an amazing background of palms and oleanders which are a characterising feature of the so-called "Palm Riviera" with its typically Mediterranean vegetation, sub-tropical and tropical vegetation, exotically scented by flavours coming from overseas

The urban layout of Grottammare features a medieval core (Monte Castello) high ona steep and picturesque hill towards the sea still surrounded by ancient walls and of a modern seaside town with villas hotels and bathing establishments merging into the lush vegetation of paths and gardens.

San Benedetto del Tronto the major sea resort of the Piceno and one of the most important in Italy can boast a selective clientele even at an international level, the main attraction being the vast and beautiful sandy beach, along with the luxurious and relaxing green of the palms, oleanders and pine woods. Modern and elegant, San Benedetto del Tronto develops around the old town centre where the medieval origins appear in the steep and narrow alleys radiating from the Belvedere dominated by the fourteenth century hexagonal Gualtieri Tower. The Marches are characterised by lots of small towns perched on the high hills crowning the shores within easy reach from the sea. These strategically located scenic balconies are the ancient cores of the antiques centres from which later on the seaside towns have developed. Sometimes their origins go as far back as the Picenes era and here we can often admire the remains of ancient watchtowers built to defend the populations from the Saracens.
This is true for Gabicce Monte, the Roman Castellum Ligabiti, Fiorenzuola di Focara (which owes its name to the lingering memories of the fire signals made to the sailors); for Pesaro's castles such as Trebbiantico, Novilara (one of the most important settlements of the Picenes era) and Candelara (still surrounded by ancient walls). In the province of Ancona too there are many locations worthy of interest such as Falconara Alta, defensive castle for Falconara Marittima, the castle of Montemarciano, and Numana, ancient Picenes port. One of the best examples of the relationship between the seaside towns and high hill centres is Civitanova Marche and Civitanova Alta. Further south, Porto S. Giorgio, the roman Navale Firmanorum, features two distinctive areas, one towards the hills (the Castle District and the fortress which we can admire in Carlo Crivelli's polyptych of Porto S. Giorgio), and on the other side of the main road, the seaside town. Few kilometres away is Torre di Palme, a castle perched high on a cliff plunging vertically into the sea, owing its name to the watchtower function it once had. The dialogue between the ancient high hill districts and the sea is well maintained in the three southern settlements of the Marches shores:

Cupra Marittima with Marano, Grottammare with Grottammare Alta and San Benedetto del Tronto. In ancient times, ships sailed from the Marches to distant destinations justifying the definition given to it by famous medievalist J. Le Goff, "a real bridge to the East". During the seventeenth century, as the importance of deep-sea fishing increased, an important economical and urban change took place along the shores of the Marches when the populations started to come down from the hill settlements towards the vast and sandy beaches. The fleets of fishing boats of San Benedetto del Tronto, Civitanova Marche, Ancona, Senigallia and Fano still supply Italian markets with fish. They even reach ocean to practice deep-sea fishing along the African shores.

The Marches are fully equipped to offer the visitor more than just a bathing holiday, they give the opportunity to enjoy the beauties of the nearby higher inland areas along with the marine landscapes linked together in a perfect cocktail (as in the Regional Park of Mount San Bartolo and Mount Conero) with suggestive itineraries leading up to the high hills and inland towns to discover the many artistic cultural historical gems of this region.

The great variety of landscapes is the secret of the attractions offered to the tourist in the Marches. Here family oriented tourism mingles perfectly with youth tourism owing to the many structures catering to everyone's wishes with every possible type of facilities. The Marches are not one of mass tourism's favourite destinations and this is certainly one of this region's greater qualities, since it enables it to offer an enriching human scale experience within the surrounding of its well maintained natural environment.