History of Le Marche

Le Marche in Italy

Le Marche is a region in central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Emilia-Romagna and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany and Umbria to the west, Lazio to the southwest and Abruzzo to the south.

The area of the region occupies about one thirty-first of the national territory, or 3.21%. In terms of size, the region ranks fourteenth. Out of 1,000 Italians, 25 live in Marche, 2.5% of the total national population. Marche promotes “agritourism” (agriturismo), where visitors stay on farms.


Before the arrival of the Romans, the region was inhabited by the Piceni, one of the Italic peoples who had settled in the hill country in the late second millennium BC, and the Senonian Gauls. The Roman emperor Augustus retained the name of the original inhabitants and called it Picenum. The Marche region includes not only Roman Picenum, but also the southern part of the Ager Gallicus. The Ager Gallicus, north of Picenum, had been conquered by the Romans from the Senones.

Ten centuries later, around the year 1000, the name Marche arose, derived from the Germanic word Mark which meant marker, border: region on the border. The plural Marches indicates a merger of margraves, such as Margrave Ancona, Margrave Camerino-Macerata and Margrave Fermo.

In the 19th century, a railway line was built from Bologna to Brindisi, connecting Marche to the rest of the country via the coastline; an improvement over the situation before, when the region was only accessible via difficult roads over mountain passes.


The western part of the region is occupied by the mountain range of the Apennines. The region’s highest peak is Monte Vettore (2,476 m) in the province of Ascoli Piceno. This mountain is part of the Monti Sibillini massif, which has been declared a national park. The landscape between the high mountains and the coast is strongly hilly. This part of Marche is an important agricultural area, producing a lot of wine, olives and fruit, among other things. Marche’s coastline is about 170 kilometres long. The sandy and pebble beaches are interrupted in two places by a rugged rocky coast; south of the regional capital Ancona (Monte Conero) and north of Pesaro (Monte San Bartolo). Ancona is Marche’s only major port.

Provinces and major cities

Province > Abbreviation > Capital > Important places
Ancona > AN > Ancona Jesi > Senigallia, Fabriano
Ascoli Piceno > AP > Ascoli Piceno > San Benedetto del Tronto
Fermo > FM > Fermo > Porto San Giorgio
Macerata > MC > Macerata > Recanati, Civitanova Marche
Pesaro e Urbino > PU > Pesaro > Urbino Fano


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