The Apennine mountains which form the region’s western border provide the visitor to Le Marche with a constantly evolving backdrop, they are also home to some of the regions most stunning scenery and some of Italy’s most fascinating wildlife. If you travel East from the mountains you cross rugged farmland with its medieval legacy of fortified hilltop towns, arable pasture and cereals are grown alongside livestock; which includes the marchigiana cattle that are indigenous to this region and sheep whose milk is processed for pecorino cheese. The nearer you get to the coast, the terrain becomes more gentle and is covered in vines and olive groves until you reach the Adriatic Riviera.
The Sibillini National Park, Le Marche Italy
The Parco Naturale dei Monti Sibillini, in the southwest corner of Le Marche, is the region’s largest park, spreading over 40 km of mountain peaks and continuing westwards into Umbria. Monte Vettore (2476 mts), at the centre of the park, is the highest mountain in the Region. The huge rocky walls and crags in its eastern side, with such eerie names as Pizzo del Diavolo (Devil’s Beard) and Gola dell’Infernaccio (Hell’s Gorge), are every bit as dramatic as the landscape of the Dolomites.
The most unusual feature of the area, however, is the vast upland plain called the Piano Grande to the west. In May and June is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers. Among the poppies you’ll find wild tulips and exotic alpine flowers such as carex buxbaumii.
The Sibillini mountains are also full of amazing botany that includes the Alpine Edelweiss (Leontopodion nivale), martagon lily, bear berry, Apennine cinquefoil, wild strawberries, wild raspberries and alpine buckthorn are just some of the species here. The park is also rich in bird life with buzzards, kestrels, sparrow hawks, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, rock partridge, eagle owl and chough.
Monte Conero, just south of Ancona is the only rugged coastline in the Marche, with cliffs towering 500 metre above the sea. It is a habitat famed for many species of northern and southern European maritime flora that includes rare plants such as Bellevalia dubia, Fumana arabica and Aspodeline liburnica. The park boasts over a thousand species of wild plants and many rare birds. The sea views from the cliffs at Sirolo are breathtaking, the areas temperate climate also favours the Montepulciano grape and the DOCG wine Rosso Conero is a soft but robust mouthfiller.
Other National Parks & areas of beauty in Le Marche
There is another nature reserve inland, near the Cistercian abbey of Fiastra. Here the wildlife includes deer, beech-marten, sparrow-hawk, tawny owl, hoopoe and green woodpecker.
The Gola della Rossa-Frasassi regional park, in the Western area of Genga, is dominated by dramatic limestone gorges which are the rocky habitat for golden eagles as well as peregrine falcons and eagle owls. The Frasassi caves, in the heart of this area, are amongst the most impressive in Europe with a 240 m high central chamber which is large enough to comfortably hold Milan cathedral.
The Golla dell’Infernaccio in the Sibillini National Park is an 18km pass that follows the Tenna river that dissects the mountains through sheer limestone cliffs, it has a wonderful array of butterflies and is home to a Cappucian monk Padre Pietro who has been living as a hermit and building a Priory single handedly since 1970, the building sits on the original medieval foundations that sit alongside a Roman mountain path.
In the northern Marche, the beech woods of Pianacquadio, in the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Regional Park, protect several species of wildlife including deer, fox, badger, beech-marten, heron and Montagu’s harrier.
Le Marche- Natures larder
Italian Slow food in Le Marche starts with in the hills, woodlands and out in the wild where you will often come across hunters and foragers who take the best that nature can offer and incorporate it into the Marche recipes that have changed little over the centuries. Hunting is mainly for Wild Boar, hare and, pheasant, dogs are also trained for truffle hunting and Le Marche is famous for its white and black varieties, the fields and hills are also home to wild chicory, radicchio, asparagus, raspberries, strawberries, garlic, chesnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and beechnuts
Agriturismo Fontechiara is located in Treia in the province of Macerata in the region of Le Marche in central Italy. We offer B&B or bed and breakfast holidays or for lovers of slow food there are half board or all inclusive holidays. A vacation at Fontechiara allows you to sample ecotourism, locally grown food, our own organic produce, home cooking and great Le Marche wines in a restored farmhouse with stylishly furnished rooms and excellent facilities including a swimming pool. We offer yoga retreats, horse riding holidays, fishing holidays, Italian lessons, olive oil holidays, we offer a dog sitting service and are ideally located for sports and outlet shopping. Le Marche has fantastic beaches, mountains, nature, history, art, activities and more. Please check out our reasonable prices or contact us for more information or to book.