KATHRIN DI LAURO TRAVEL BLOG

Daydreaming About My Trip to The Marches, Italy

This time last year, I was fortunate to embark on another one of my lucky-duck travel adventures. I was busy searching for the perfect Italian beach property. My goal was to pick something close enough to reach by car from Munich but far enough south where I knew the Mediterranean Sea would be clear and pristine. That’s when I landed on The Marches! Not only had I found the ideal spot, but we also found the ideal place to stay when my husband’s buddy invited us to use his former apartment in the area that was currently up for sale.

Daydreaming About The Marches

The Marches do play a romantic role in my marriage. In Southern Italy in 1998, I met a guy who asked me to marry him and join him at a convention in The Marches within 48 hours. I joined! Our second date was out of a movie. We witnessed The Opera of Turandot by Puccini at the open-air theater of Macerata, the Sferisterio di Macerata. That was a truly romantic and unforgettable second date. I’ll never forget that summer night under a sky full of stars and fine dining at the Piazza della Liberta`di Macerata.

So, getting back to the present! My husband and I drove eight hours together from Munich. The Marches, also known as the Pearl of Central Italy, has many beautiful spots to explore. 

While my hubby took the opportunity to head out on business trips during the week, I used that quality me-time to master two things: finding the best beaches and hunting for lovely dinner locations!

The views in The Marches are absolutely breathtaking!

My Favorite Spots in The Marches

The Marches is a truly picturesque destination. The beautiful doors throughout the city make the perfect backgrounds for photos. 

Porto di Pesaro harbor is one of the best places to grab a drink and watch the sunset. There are many cozy bars along the harbor. Piazza del Popolo is the main square in Pesaro, and I really enjoyed strolling through it in the evenings.

For those chasing sunsets or seeking out delicious dinners, Baia Flaminia is your place. This quaint bay is next to the city and is known for its beach service and sunbeds. You may also want to head a bit further south to my favorite beach in this area called the Chalet a Mare.

During my extended beach walks from Chalet a Mare, I loved heading south towards Fano. The further away you walk from the beach service and sunbeds, the more likely you are to find your own private, natural pool or bay. A peaceful oasis awaits!

Panoramic views everywhere you turn in Portonovo.

The Best Restaurants in The Marches

Ristorante Al Ciri has the best tagliata di manzo with porcini mushrooms (beef steak) ever. The restaurant has no views, and its outdoor sitting area is next to a parking lot. However, as my dad taught me, with great panoramic views, a chef does not need to do magic; guests will come anyway. Here the chef makes pure magic!

If you’re in the mood for the freshest, most delectable seafood, visit Ristorante Calata 15 in Pesaro harbor. This restaurant serves up local fresh fish from the Mediterranean Sea and an abundance of homemade pasta and sweet desserts. The presentations are creative, and the quality is excellent. Ristorante Calata 15 sits on a historic street next to the harbor and features a colorful interior design with high ceilings. You will recognize it right away by its Scandinavian flower boxes. The entrance is also an eye-catcher at the historic street next to the harbor. 

If you want a light bite, Prima Riva tapas bar has delicious small plates. I personally loved the octopus and calamari starter!

(P.S. If you’re a cheese lover, do not miss shopping for cheeses in the giant Italian supermarket. Each one looks more amazing than the next; it’s almost overwhelming!)

Another great spot is Osteria Passeri. This wine bar has a Scandinavian-influenced interior with stone walls and cozy corners for chill get-togethers.

Amazing fresh seafood from Calata 15 in Pesaro Harbor, The Marches.

The Surrounding Area

If you’re looking to explore The Marches, there are a few places you’ll want to add to your list! 

  • Monte Conero: a nearby state park with marvelous views
  • The beach at Spiaggia Urbani: a calm and absolutely breathtaking spot
  • Riviera del Conero e Colli dell’ Infinito features pristine water and magnificent colors
  • Sirolo: a lovely little medieval town with a 6th century Roman Fortress and main square with beautiful views over the sea (I first passed by this amazing town 15 years ago)
  • Urbino: a hill-side UNESCO world heritage site town, home to the University of Urbino (don’t miss dining at Antica Osteria de la Stella!)
Paradise on a pebble beach in Fano.

Beautiful Fano in The Marches

Fano is located just south of Pesaro and has a beautiful Old Town with charming narrow streets. It is such a lovely spot that it deserves its own section in this post! While in Fano, there are quite a few must-sees. Start your day on Spiaggia della Sassonia beach and end your day jogging or strolling along the shore at Porto Turistico. 

You’ll also want to set aside some time to explore The Fortress of Fano. This ancient castle’s roots date back to the XIV century. Other historic spots include the Arco d’Augusto, or city gate, that was built in the Roman period of AD 9 on the Via Flaminia. 

For cuisine in Fano, my two favorites are Osteria della Peppa and Levante-Ristorante sul mare. Osteria della Peppa has excellent cold cuts and cheeses. Two must-try vegetarian dishes include the Parmigiana di Melanzane and Ciocoria.

At Levante-Ristorante sul Mare, you will undoubtedly love the oceanside views and bright, airy design. It has perhaps a more Atlantic Ocean vibe in North Europe than a typical Mediterranean ambiance, which totally swept me off my feet.

Levante-Ristorante sul Mare ocean front seafood restaurant in Fano.

From Le Marche to Gabicce Monte in Emilia-Romagna

Though you may have heard about Rimini in the nearby Emilia-Romagna region, it is unfortunately just too crowded for me to recommend. Instead, I recommend heading to beautiful Gabicce Monte. Be sure to stay for dinner at Grottino right at the Piazzetta (main square). I can still close my eyes and remember the incredible flavors of the baby calamari with artichokes. 

Your Visit to The Marches Awaits

I know I may say this often, but I always mean it. If you haven’t visited The Marches in Italy, it’s definitely a trip worth planning. The stunning landscapes, exquisite cuisine, and rich history are guaranteed to take your breath away. What do you want to know about visiting The Marches? Drop a comment below or ask away on my Instagram!

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