10 reasons to visit Le Marche in Italy with kids

10 reasons to visit Le Marche in Italy with kids

We spent a fantastic week in the Italian region of Le Marche this summer staying in a villa with friends in the countryside not far from the beach resort of Grottamare. 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.

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Grottamare, Le Marche

So here are my reasons (in no particular order) why Le Marche is the perfect place for a family holiday:

  1. The beaches
    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.

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    The shallow waters of the Adriatic, Le Marche

    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. Teenagers meanwhile might enjoy the bright lights of Rimini, even if their parents might not…

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

  2. The mountains
    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.
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  3. Accommodation
    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.

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    Beachfront camping in Le Marche

  4. The cuisine
    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.

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    Vines growing on the hills in Le Marche

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

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    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.

  6. Festivals
    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

  7. Getting there
    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 to Ascoli Piceno.

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    The mountain roads in Le Marche are stunning.

  8. Low key tourism
    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.

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    Low-key tourism: farm stays in Le Marche

  9. Outdoor pursuits
    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.
  10. History, art and architecture
    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.

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    Urbino, Le Marche

    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.

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    Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche

    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.

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35 Comments

  1. Anda
    10/14/2017 / 2:50 am

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

  2. 10/14/2017 / 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. 10/15/2017 / 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

    • 10/17/2017 / 7:25 pm

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

  4. 10/18/2017 / 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!

    • 10/18/2017 / 6:29 am

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

  5. Ruth
    10/19/2017 / 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

    • 10/19/2017 / 6:28 am

      Yes, sea and mountains is the perfect combination!

  6. 10/19/2017 / 11:29 am

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

  7. 10/19/2017 / 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. 10/19/2017 / 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!

    • 10/19/2017 / 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
    10/20/2017 / 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

    • 10/20/2017 / 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. 10/21/2017 / 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

    • 10/21/2017 / 9:25 pm

      Hope you get to visit the region some day!

  11. 10/22/2017 / 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

    • 10/24/2017 / 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. 11/01/2017 / 3:17 pm

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

    • 11/01/2017 / 6:09 pm

      Definitely go! There’s so much to see.

  13. 11/01/2017 / 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. 11/01/2017 / 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

    • 11/01/2017 / 9:57 pm

      Yes, sea and mountains are the perfect combo!

  15. 11/01/2017 / 11:17 pm

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

    • 11/02/2017 / 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
    11/02/2017 / 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. 11/09/2017 / 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

    • 11/10/2017 / 12:51 pm

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

  18. 11/10/2017 / 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

    • 11/10/2017 / 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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