GRADARA - DAY 1
In the early afternoon we will reach the village of Gradara.
The town has been included among the Most beautiful villages in Italy and is mainly known for its historic Malatesta Fortress , which together with its fortified village and its walls is a characteristic example of medieval architecture.
Free walk through the center of Gradara with the possibility of a guided tour of the castle, one of the best preserved in Italy.
In addition, the two walls that protect the fortress, the outermost extending for almost 800 meters, contribute to making it one of the most impressive in the peninsula. The Castle stands on a hill 142 meters above sea level.
The keep - the so called “mastio” main tower, rises as high as 30 meters, dominating the entire valley.
In the evening arrival at our Urbino hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
URBINO, ACQUALAGNA AND THE CASTLE OF FRONTONE - DAY 2
After breakfest visit of Urbino, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, one of the most important centers of the Italian Renaissance, of which it fully preserves the architectural heritage . Guided tour of the most important sites of the city includin :
- the Palazzo Ducale - a small fortified city commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro and built from 1444;
- the National Gallery of the Marche: about 80 rooms of the Duke’s Palace transformed into a museum. The collection includes works of art created between the14th and the 17th century , and features mainly paintings but also furniture, sculptures, tapestries and drawings;
- the Oratory of San Giovanni and the birth house of the famous painter Raffaello Sanzio.
At the end of the tour, transfer to the nearby village of Acqualagna and lunch in a typical restaurant with a menu based on truffles.
In the early afternoon, guided tour of the Truffle Museum, at the discovery of the truffle universe on a path divided into three sections, each associated with an experimental key to understanding. Next we will reach the small village of Frontone and visit the Castle, a border fortification guarding the territory that the Romans used to cross to reach the Adriatic , which was later , between the 15th and 16th centuries, the last fortress of the Duchy of Montefeltro . Frontone is surrounded
by a magnificent natural setting from the top of which your view reaches as far as Monte Nerone , San Marino and the Adriatic sea .
In the evening transfer to our hotel in the village of Genga, dinner and overnight stay.
THE FRASASSI CAVES AND JESI - DAY 3
After breakfast, we will reach the Frasassi Caves. One of Marche jewels, the Frasassi Caves are an underground karst cave system; the complex is made up of an immense set of underground chambers the first of which , the Ancona Abyss , can be easily visited by the public.
It is a huge cavity with an extension of 180 x 120 m and a height of 200 m, so large that it could easily contain the Cathedral of Milan.
Our guided tour of the complex (tourist route) lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Free lunch.
In the early afternoon we will reach Jesi, meet our local guide and visit the town, which is surrounded by a 15th century wall belt , and was the birthplace of Frederick II of Swabia and of the composer Giovanni Pergolesi.
On our way back to the regional capital of Ancona, stop at a wine cellar for a tasting of local products, where you cannot miss the Verdicchio, a local white wine with a dry, harmonious flavor and a pleasant bitterish aftertaste and the Lacrima (Teardrop), a native red wine whose production is restricted to a specific small area.
In the evening, arrival at the hotel in the Ancona area, dinner and overnight stay.
ANCONA AND THE RIVIERA DEL CONERO - DAY 4
After breakfast guided tour of the city of Ancona, settled by the Greeks who named it “Ankon” (elbow); the ancient Ancona in fact stands on a promontory
shaped like a bent elbow, offering a perfect natural protection to the port.
The visit will begin from the millenary Cathedral of San Ciriaco which rises in a spectacular location at the top of the Guasco hill , then you will go down to the Lazzaretto (Lazaret hospital) of Ancona, also known as Mole Vanvitelliana from the name of its famous architect Luigi Vanvitelli (van Wittel) .
The Mole stands on an artificial pentagonal island located in the port; inside it we will visit the Homer Museum , one of the few tactile museums in the world.
In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to stroll through the streets of the center of Ancona and then continue along the Conero Riviera; the panoramic
road will take you from Ancona to Numana, passing through Sirolo and Portonovo and admiring the beautiful landscapes of Mount Conero.
Back to our hotel , dinner and overnight stay.
THE CAVES OF CAMERANO, LORETO AND RECANATI - DAY 5
After breakfast, we will reach the nearby Camerano for a guided tour of the caves.The caves of Camerano or rather, the underground city of Camerano is a complex excavated in the sandstone and running with a labyrinthine pattern under the old town . For a long time the many tunnels were believed to be but the remains of ancient sandstone quarries or places to store wine. The explorations and the studies carried out, however, revealed the presence in almost all areas of architectural embellishments (carvings, vaults, decorated columns) not suitable for quarries or simple cellars . Free lunch. Afternoon wholly dedicated
to a guided tour of two “gems” of region Marche : Loreto and Recanati.
In Loreto we will visit the outstanding Renaissance architectural complex of the Basilica of the Holy House, one of the main places of Marian worship and
one of the most important and most visited Marian shrines in the Catholic world . Afterwards we will reach Recanati, birthplace to the famous poet Giacomo Leopardi ; we will visit his noble residence , with its library, the reception rooms, the garden, the poet’s apartments and the Leopardi museum.
At the end of the visit we will take a walk through a Leopardian place par excellence: the garden on the “lonely hill” of the ‘Infinity” poem.
In the evening we will reach our hotel in Macerata; dinner and overnight stay.
MACERATA, URBISAGLIA AND THE ABBEY OF FIASTRA - DAY 6
After breakfast, the morning will be dedicated to a guided tour of Macerata.
Enclosed in a natural setting of multifaceted beauty , thanks to its mountains, woods and valleys, Macerata is a crossroads of art and culture. It is no coincidence
that it boasts one of the oldest universities in the world , established at the end of the 13th century. The historic center is rich in Renaissance, Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. We will visit the Sferisterio (sphaeristerium or open-air stadium), Palazzo Buonaccorsi with its Civic Museum, the Cathedral of San Giuliano, the Rossi Theater, the Clock Tower and the Loggia dei Mercanti (Merchants’ Lodge).
In the early afternoon we will reach the nearby Urbisaglia, meet our local guide and visit “Urbs Salvia”, an archaeological park of 40 hectares that includes a Roman Theater, a Reservoir collecting the waters from the Roman Aqueduct, a Temple, the Walls, an Amphitheater and an Archaeological Museum. Afterwards, we will move just a few kilometers away to visit the Abbey of Fiastra, built by the Cistercian monks and, located within a natural reserve of the same name.
In the evening, arrival at the hotel in Fermo, dinner and overnight stay.
FERMO, TORRE DI PALME AND MORESCO - DAY 7
After breakfast, meeting with our guide and visit of the historic center of Fermo, which has remained almost intact over the centuries with its splendid medieval
appearance. The heart of the city is the stunning Renaissance square named Piazza del Popolo, where you can find the sixteenth-century Palazzo dei Priori, housing
the Civic Art Gallery and the Sala del Mappamondo, the Globe Room.
The visit will continue with the Roman Cisterns which represent an archaeological complex of 2,200 square meters, unique in the Marche.
Their construction, dating back to the first century. A.D. it is attributed to Caesar Octavian Augustus. It will then be the turn of the Teatro dell’Aquila which, with a capacity of about 1000 seats, ranks among the most impressive theaters of the eighteenth century in central Italy. The stage of about 350 square meters and its acoustics make it one of the most prestigious historical halls in Italy.
The last stop will be at the Piazzale del Girfalco for a glimpse at the Cathedral of Fermo with its crypt full of relics of saints and works of art. Lunch in a typical
inn and in the early afternoon we will reach the nearby Torre di Palme, a splendid village belonging to the circuit of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.
First we will walk through the protected area called Bosco del Cugnolo to the Grotta degli Amanti (Lovers’ Cave) to discover the essences of a still intact patch of Mediterranean scrub , then we will admire the many architectural jewels and charming glimpses of the village.
Subsequently it will be the turn of another village that is part of the circuit of The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy, Moresco.
From its ancient 25 meters high heptagonal watchtower you can enjoy an extraordinary view on the surrounding landscape and the village itself.
In the evening, arrival at the hotel in Ascoli Piceno, dinner and overnight stay.
ASCOLI PICENO, OFFIDA E GROTTAMMARE - DAY 8
In the early afternoon we shall take a stroll through the medieval center of Ascoli Piceno, birthplace of the “olive all’ascolana”(meat-stuffed fried olives).
The “white city of a hundred towers” is rich in architectural treasures including squares paved with travertine marble, Romanesque churches and noble palaces.
Guided tour of the historic center, with its splendid squares Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Arringo, the church of Santa Maria della Carità also known as “la Scopa”
(the Broom) - a wonderful example of Baroque - the Malatesta fortress with its museum that houses the Treasure of the Lombards, and the Archeological Museum. Then, transfer to Offida , where you will enjoy a lunch at the Ciù Ciù winery, for the tasting of the wines that have made these lands famous : higher Rosso Piceno , Passerina and Pecorino.
In the afternoon we will discover the glimpses and architectural jewels of the historic center of Offida: from the touch of Libert style in the Serpente Aureo Course , to the medieval and renaissance atmosphere of Piazza del Popolo.
You cannot miss a visit to Santa Maria della Rocca, a Romanesque-Gothic masterpiece that will leave you speechless for the beauty of its crypt and the elegance
of the upper church.We will then reach the coast and the village of Grottammare, and walk in the alleys of its medieval historic bourg. End of services.