Le Marche Italy: 10 reasons to take a family holiday

Le Marche Italy: 10 reasons to take a family holiday

Le Marche Italy: 10 reasons to take a family holiday

We spent a fantastic week in the region of Le Marche, Italy with our children this summer, staying in a villa in the countryside not far from the beach resort of Grottammare. I love Le Marche, it is such a stunning region of huge contrasts from dramatic mountain scenery to rolling farmland and mile upon mile of sandy coastline. So, why spend your family holiday in Le Marche, Italy? Let me tell you…

Grottamare, Le Marche Italy

Grottamare, Le Marche Italy

The beaches of Le Marche, Italy

The Adriatic coast has miles of sandy beaches. The water is calm, clean, warm and shallow making it perfect for toddlers. Resorts such as Grottamare and San Benedetto del Tronto are ideal destinations if you’re travelling with small children; there are sunbeds and umbrellas for hire and toilets, ice cream, pizza and coffee are all readily available in the countless bars and restaurants which line the seafront.

Grottamare, Le Marche Italy

The shallow waters of the Adriatic in Le Marche, Italy

Families with older children will enjoy the beaches of the Parco del Conero in the north of the region where the coastline is more rugged and many of the beaches are accessible only by boat or on foot.

Conero Le Marche Italy family holiday

Secluded beaches can be found in the Parco del Conero, Le Marche Italy

The mountains of Le Marche, Italy

Whether you fancy a gentle ramble or a proper hike, the Sibillini Mountains National Park has something for all abilities, there’s even snow if you fancy visiting Le Marche for a spot of skiing come wintertime. The meadows are carpeted with wild flowers in late spring and early summer (May half term is perfect), an ideal time for families to visit before the summer sun becomes a barrier to serious hikes. If you’re interested in a mountain retreat, Tenuta le Piane is a lovely collection of apartments including 3-bedroomed Ciliegio. Located close to Amandola, the apartments share a pool, bikes and plenty of green space.

mountains in Le Marche Italy

Mountains of Le Marche Italy

Accommodation in Le Marche Italy

In Le Marche you can have the best of both worlds. Make the most of the stunning rural scenery by staying in a self-contained villa or in an apartment at an agriturismo (where there’s often a shared swimming pool) but still be within day trip distance of the coast. If you prefer to stay at a beach resort, there are plenty of hotels, apartments and campsites right on the coast which offer pretty good value for money. The campsite in the image below is Camping Village Internazionale which looked really tempting when I saw it several years ago.

camping in Le Marche Italy

Le Marche with kids: beachfront camping

The cuisine in Le Marche, Italy

Obviously this is Italy where pizza, pasta and ice cream are the staples of any holiday with kids. As with all Italian regions, Le Marche has its local specialities: you’ll find plenty of meat, particularly pork; lentils; truffles; fish stews and also the famed (in Italy anyway) stuffed fried olives of Ascoli Piceno. There are plenty of vineyards in Le Marche, I particularly enjoyed the mineral flavours of the pecorino white wines.

Vines growing on the hills in Le Marche Italy

Vines growing on the hills in Le Marche

Child-friendly towns to explore in Le Marche Italy

There is a multitude of charming towns to explore in Le Marche and they are all manageable size-wise for sightseeing with small children.

Learning about the lace makers of Offida Le Marche italy

Learning about the lace makers of Offida

Narrow medieval streets perfect for little explorers and car-free piazzas for energetic toddlers abound in Le Marche. For older children, you’ll find agreeable levels of nightlife to expose your teens to and maybe you can all enjoy a civilised passeggiata with other families along the seafronts.

Festivals in Le Marche, Italy

There are more food and cultural festivals than you could possibly fit into a lifetime in Le Marche, let alone a summer holiday. There is jousting in Ascoli Piceno, open air opera at Macerata, jazz by the sea in Fano. And then there are the “sagre”, pretty much every town or village in Le Marche has a gastronomic celebration of something during the summer months so you’re bound to be able join in somewhere; Sassoferato celebrates wild boar; Corinaldo celebrates polenta; Fermo celebrates shellfish and come harvest time (if you can escape in the autumn with pre-school kids) everyone celebrates wine. Expect to eat and drink a lot.

Tamburini Comune Aascoli Piceno Quintana attributed Infinitispazi

Tamburini Comune Ascoli Piceno Quintana attributed Infinitispazi

Getting to Le Marche in Italy

Apart from the region’s own airport, Ancona, (currently only accessible by bad-guy Ryanair from Stansted), you can also reach Le Marche from Rome in three very scenic hours through the mountains on good roads which flew by for our kids. You can combine Le Marche with a quick break in or near Rome (as we did) or indeed other cities such as Pisa, Florence or Bologna, all of which are three or four hours’ drive away. One of my favourite drives in Italy is through the Sibillini Mountains from Norcia in Umbria to Ascoli Piceno. Le Marche also works really well when combined with a road trip through Tuscany and Umbria.

The mountain roads in Le Marche Italy are stunning.

The mountain roads in Le Marche are stunning.

Low key tourism in Le Marche, Italy

Le Marche is where a lot of Italians take their holidays. If you’re a bit of a travel snob and don’t like hearing an English accent in your holiday destination, this is the place to come. By being off the tourist radar this also means lower prices and a more authentic experience.

Low-key tourism: farm stays are perfect for enjoying Le Marche Italy holiday

Low-key tourism: farm stays are perfect for enjoying Le Marche with kids

Outdoor pursuits in Le Marche Italy

Aside from the obvious attractions of the sea, there are lakes and rivers for kayaking, rafting or wild swimming; caves to explore; mountains to walk or bike down (or up) and adventure play parks and water parks to expend energy in.

History, art and architecture in Le Marche Italy

If you enjoy big-hitters like Florence and Siena, try Urbino: a hilltop beauty  in the north of the region packed with Renaissance art and architecture but overlooked by most tourists.

Urbino, Le Marche Italy

Urbino, Le Marche Italy

In the south is Ascoli Piceno with its delightful Piazza del Popolo where a long and lazy lunch is essential if you want to fully appreciate its elegant palazzos and the town’s cathedral.

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche Italy

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche Italy

As with all Italian regions, you’ll find castles to explore, bell towers to climb and other architectural wonders which allow you to slip a bit of culture into your unsuspecting offspring.

Accommodation ideas in Le Marche

From many years working in the travel industry, with a focus on Italy, I have come across some lovely holiday properties. Here are a few of my suggestions (some of these may be affiliate links which, if clicked on and booked, will provide me with a small commission at no cost to you, this helps with the running of this site):

Villa Cicchi near Ascoli Piceno

This is a small charming and characterful hotel just outside Ascoli Piceno. Expect delicious food and wine, informal service and a lovely pool to relax by after a day of sightseeing. I stayed here pre-kids, I’d probably wait until my children are a bit older before returning as it has quite an intimate vibe.

Villa Ulissi near Montedinove

We spent a wonderful week in this villa with some friends. It has incredible views of the hills and mountains but it’s close enough to the coast for days at the beach. I highly recommend this property!

Camping Village Internazionale near Sirolo

I’ll admit that I’ve only seen this campsite from a distance but it is in such a brilliant position close to so many great beaches in the northern part of Le Marche that I am confident it would be a great option.

Tenuta le Piane, near Amandola

This is a collection of proper rustic apartments hidden away from the modern world. It is incredibly peaceful at Tenuta le Piane: there are no busy roads near by, just mountains and meadows. The accommodation is traditional: don’t expect anything luxurious as it is a very authentic place to stay. Children love it: there’s a pool and bikes to borrow and lots of space to run around including plenty of shady areas.

Hotel Emilia, near Ancona

If you’re after something a bit different and you have a bit of money to spend, the Emilia is an art hotel on a clifftop with incredible views of the turquoise Portonovo Bay below. It’s family friendly too and there’s a big swimming pool.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, it is at no additional cost to you, although I receive a small commission that goes towards the running of this blog.

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35 Comments

  1. Anda
    14th October 2017 / 2:50 am

    Le Marche looks like the perfect place to bring your family. I would like to visit it too. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  2. 14th October 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Oooh this looks like a town I would love love love!! Beaches, rolling flower fields and men in costume!? Count me in! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  3. 15th October 2017 / 7:08 pm

    I had to just google to see where this is…unfortunately a bit too far of a drive for us, but it looks FAB! And those fried stuffed olives sound amazing. What a great find! #theweeklypostcard

    • 17th October 2017 / 7:25 pm

      It is an amazing place, I really want to go back!

  4. 18th October 2017 / 12:54 am

    I was completely sold by point #2!! Those wildflowers in the mountains… wow. It’s like something out of a movie. I haven’t visited northern Italy (only Naples/Pompeii in the south) but this really looks like a dream destination. Thanks for sharing!

    • 18th October 2017 / 6:29 am

      It’s totally amazing, I can’t wait to go back!

  5. Ruth
    19th October 2017 / 4:18 am

    Well, there are tons of lovely panoramas and towns in this region of Italy. I am all about escaping the crowds and I think this region would be perfect for that (plus, it has beaches and mountains, win-win in my book). #WanderfulWednesday

    • 19th October 2017 / 6:28 am

      Yes, sea and mountains is the perfect combination!

  6. 19th October 2017 / 11:29 am

    La Marche looks like a beautiful area with lots of history. I can see why you love it. #FarawayFiles

  7. 19th October 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Don’t have any kids but would love to visit and explore Italy one day! Can’t decide between wanting to see the beaches, mountains or cities though…

  8. 19th October 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Wow! totally saving this one for next spring or summer when we need to get away from the super hot Florence! It looks like a perfect place to relax with a toddler, too!

    • 19th October 2017 / 9:04 pm

      It’s definitely perfect for toddlers but if you’re in Florence, there are some sandy beaches in Tuscany too but my money is definitely on Le Marche!

  9. Clare Thomson
    20th October 2017 / 12:42 pm

    So many great reasons why we should all head to Le Marche, Annabel! I love the sound of all those festivals and low-key tourist attractions are always my favourites. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • 20th October 2017 / 12:54 pm

      I’d love to go to some of the food festivals, my kids couldn’t quite stay awake late enough on this trip, so we’ll have to return!

  10. 21st October 2017 / 10:09 am

    Stunning Annabel. You know how much I love Italy – the east coast is yet to be explored but Le Marche is now on the list. Those beaches look amazing. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • 21st October 2017 / 9:25 pm

      Hope you get to visit the region some day!

  11. 22nd October 2017 / 11:13 pm

    I love everything about Italy and would go back year after year if I could. Le Marche looks beautiful and love that it’s relatively untapped by tourists. Definitely making a note of this. #farawayfiles

    • 24th October 2017 / 4:54 pm

      It’s a fab region and so easy to combine with lots of other places due to its location in central Italy.

  12. 1st November 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I think Italy is fab with kids but not explored la marche. Want to now #fearlessfamtrav

    • 1st November 2017 / 6:09 pm

      Definitely go! There’s so much to see.

  13. 1st November 2017 / 9:43 pm

    What a fantastic list of reasons! I love how there is so much packed in to a relatively small area. We love Italy. We used to live there. But never made to to Le Marche! I need to change that. Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav

  14. 1st November 2017 / 9:53 pm

    This sounds like exactly the type of place we like to visit. I love the idea of being close to both the sea and the mountains #fearlessfamtrav

    • 1st November 2017 / 9:57 pm

      Yes, sea and mountains are the perfect combo!

  15. 1st November 2017 / 11:17 pm

    This looks incredible! We will be visiting Italy in April so might need to make a stop here! #fearlessfamtrav

    • 2nd November 2017 / 7:30 am

      It should be lovely then, lots of snow in the mountains. The coast won’t be great as it tends to feel very “off season” (in a bad way) but the interior of the region will be great!

  16. babycantravel
    2nd November 2017 / 5:58 pm

    We just spend a month in Italy this past year, but didn’t make it here. This really does look amazing! I love when you can combine the beaches and mountains! I’m saving this for a future trip! #fearlessfamtrav

  17. 9th November 2017 / 10:11 pm

    It’s so picturesque! I love the architecture and the history behind. Just the whole pace of life. With sea and mountains and so much to do- it really looks like a gem of a place #familytraveltips

    • 10th November 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Yes, it’s definitely one of my fav parts of Italy.

  18. 10th November 2017 / 11:04 am

    Woo hoo, hooray for a mention for wild swimming! The most overlooked holiday activity in my opinion! What a gorgeous place, definitely somewhere we’ll visit in the future. All the activities are just our sort of thing and it’s a stunning region with plenty to do. Thanks for linking up to #familytraveltips
    Nat.x

    • 10th November 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Yes, wild swimming is amazing. I loved the post about wild swimming in France on the Four Acorns blog.

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