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Last updated : Nov 2009
Marche, Abruzzo and Molise
Marche, Abruzzo and Molise - TravelPuppy.com
Marche

A mountainous agricultural region located on the central Adriatic coast, south of San Marino. The regional capital is Ancona, an important naval and commercial port, with daily ferry services to Albania, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro. The city is also home to several well-preserved Roman remains such as the Arco di Traiano and the Anfiteatro Romano. The majestic hilltop Basilica di San Ciriaco, built in the 11th century, combines Romanesque style with Byzantine elements. Out of town, along the coast, lie several highly organised beach resorts, with sunbeds and umbrellas laid out in neat lines. A more informal beach is found below the spectacular Costa Conero cliffs, a few miles south of Ancona.

Urbino was once Italy’s greatest seat of learning and is now a pleasant Renaissance hilltown, its skyline a soaring vista of domes and towers. Also the birthplace of Raphael, several of his works may be viewed in the art gallery at the Ducal Palace, along with works by Piero della Francesca and Titian. Raphael’s childhood home is also open for viewing. Loreto, said to be the site of the house of the Virgin Mary, attracts many pilgrims from throughout the world. According to legend, the house was carrried here from Nazareth by angels, and is now enclosed in the elaborate Gothic Santuario della Santa Casa. The Madonna of Loreto was elected patron saint of airmen in 1920.

Abruzzo

The Abruzzo region encompasses the highest parts of the great Apennine chain. The northern mountains are generally too desolate for agriculture and most of the land is sparsely populated. The southern uplands are covered with a great forest of beech, which has been designated the National Park of Abruzzo. Marsican brown bears which are unique to Italy, wolves, chamois and eagles may be seen here. L’Aquila, the principal city, contains an imposing castle, other noteworthy monuments include the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle, a fountain with 99 spouts (one for each of the villages that founded the city) and the pink and white marble Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio. Pescara is, primarily a fishing port.

Molise

Located in one of the poorest parts of mainland Italy, this area is mountainous with poor soil and a scattered population. It does, however, possess its own rugged beauty. The Matese mountain range is still the haven of wolves and various birds of prey. It also offers some great skiing resorts and tends not to be too crowded. The region’s capital, Campobasso, is home to Castello Monforte and the Romanesque churches of San Bartolomeo and San Giorgino.