THE MARCHES REGION
The Marche is a wonderful region located in central Italy, situated between Tuscany and Umbria to the west, Emilia-Romagna to the north and Abruzzo to the south. In the west of Le Marche the land rises to the peaks of the Appennines forming a natural boundary, while the eastern boundary consists of 180 km of coastline. Inland, the countryside, specially the mountainous areas, is sparsely inhabited. The majority of the territory towards the west is limestone, dotted with rushing torrents, beautiful gorges, marvellous natural parks and fantastic caves. In contrast, the land descending towards the coast, with rounded hills topped by ancient fortified towns, is very fertile and populated.
The north of the region is an ancient beautiful land where time seems to have stopped, where nature, culture, architecture, history and food still conserve their flavour.
Le Marche consists of four provinces: Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata and Pesaro e Urbino, the last province being Marche Country Property’s specialty. The economy of the region is mostly based on small and medium scale productive industries, often family run that produce shoes, clothing and furniture manufacture. Agriculture now plays a minor role because much of the countryside was abandoned after the Second World War, when people moved to the cities. But there are still some famous wonderful agricultural and certified products in the region such as the Verdicchio DOC, the Marche's famous white wine of the central areas, many typical cheeses such as Casciotta di Urbino DOP, and oils such as the Olio di Cartoceto DOP. The area is also renowned for the truffle, the tuber that with its inebriating fragrance is a typical traditional ingredient of local cooking. The Marche is an extraordinary land rich in natural formations and cultural heritage, dotted with fortified hamlets and small towns that still, today, preserve a long forgotten atmosphere. A paradise for who love the culture, naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts, but also an exciting opportunity for those who love living the true Italian way.
THE PROVINCE OF PESARO E URBINO
Marche Country Property focuses its attention in the North of the region, in the territory of the province of Pesaro e Urbino, “the Beautiful Province”. The north of this area is well known as the Montefeltro, a land that gently descends towards the coast, slipping from the harsh, rocky passes of the Apennines until it touches the sea in a jubilee of colours. Its ancient roads, framed by rolling hills dotted with castles and palace strongholds, are rich in history - faraway battles and wars, struggles between courts and rulers, legends and mysteries hidden in secluded, wooded valleys.
With the reunification of the territories, thanks to the victory of Duke Federico da Montefeltro - Enlightened Lord of the Duchy of Urbino who called to his court important Renaissance architects like Francesco Di Giorgio Martini and Luciano Laurana – the castles and fortifications of The Montefeltro took on the forms which are still preserved today. The perfectly preserved fortresses at San Leo, Sassocorvaro, Cagli and Mondavio are a marvellous testimony to the genius of the Sienese architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Travelling along solitary roads that wind through the panoramic ridges, we encounter the ancient hamlets which, today, are still full of life and which retain the vestiges of a rich, noble past.
The best known and most famous fortress of the Montefeltro is in San Leo: a turreted reminder of past glory, built in an impregnable position atop a rocky cliff. Once the famous prison of the enigmatic Count Cagliostro, it dominates the Valle del Marecchia. Also towering above this valley are the impervious Fregosa Fortress of Sant'Agata Feltria and the imposing Ubaldinesca Fortress of Sassocorvaro. The work of Francesco di Giorgio Martini is also perfectly preserved in the ellipsoidal tower of Cagli (held to be one of Martini's most beautiful military fortifications) and in the Fortress of Mondavio with its characteristic, sharp corners and sinuous, yet imposing form. Another jewel of the Ancient Duchy is the lovely Renaissance Court of Urbino, famous for its slender, pointed "Torricini" that rise up over the valley below. The Renaissance Ducal Palace, an extraordinary and perfectly preserved example of Italian architecture of the humanism period, the houses in marble and brick, the narrow streets and steep alleyways, the fascinating hidden squares still tell the story of an "ideal city". Few miles from Urbino there is the city of Fossombrone, half of which is built on a hill dominated by the beautiful Fortress of the Citadel, the other half extends over the Metauro valley. First the Montefeltro and, later, the Della Rovere, chose this city for their summer residences.