Nature and Le Marche: the winning combination for a true explorer journey. With trekking and Indiana Jones-style trails.
These routes would have pleased Indiana Jones. You won't even need a hat and whip to explore Le Marche and its sparkling territory. All you require is a spirit of adventure and a lot of curiosity. Adrenalin and amazement are guaranteed at every turn.
One thing is for sure. Apart from the art cities and small jewel villages, the region of Raphael and Leopardi has much of its charm in its eclectic landscape. Gentle and 'reassuring' panoramas are juxtaposed with wilder and almost impervious areas.
Here we tell you some of the most exciting activities to experience in Le Marche's nature.
Le Marche Nature: trekking and itineraries
A nature holiday discovering the greener, wilder face of Le Marche. A region that so casually embraces almost tropical seascapes and Romagna Riviera vibes, lunar vistas and storybook woods cannot fail to be an irresistible lure for outdoor enthusiasts.
The space concept leaves you amazed when you come here for the first time. Sometimes you'll struggle to believe your eyes, to reconcile actual dimensions and perceived proportions.
That's exactly what happens when you visit the Frasassi Caves or look up as you walk through a canyon sculpted to perfection by Mother Nature. Passing through the San Bartolo Park, then, you'll be filled with hiking in a disruptive landscape.
Such places seem to belong to nowhere, to be out of this world. And although you're there, you feel like you are dreaming so much they seem unrealistic.
Some waterfalls are awe-inspiring and make you feel like a child again (we'll tell you why in a bit). Some legends are worth discovering, perhaps by asking a local to tell you about them. Some destinations are a bit challenging, but the effort is always rewarded by beauty.
And so, whether you climb high up to admire the flight of the golden eagles or descend to the bowels of the earth, the result will always be the same. Which one? Well, as always, the burden and pleasure of discovery are up to you. But here it is a small foretaste of what awaits you.
Le Marche nature: feel like Indiana Jones through canyons and gorges
Towards new adventures surrounded by spectacular canyons and deep, very deep gorges! Even without the same frown as Harrison Ford. The red thread is as blue as water, like the rivers, streams and brooks that point the way to a series of wild trails amid Le Marche's nature.
Wild, indeed. It's the most suitable adjective to describe the Rio Garrafo Gorge in Acquasanta Terme. You step through them with the help of ropes attached to the rock walls because the walkable surface in some sections is minimal. And you'll necessarily have to cross the stream and thus get wet.
In the Monti Sibillini National Park, Le Gole dell'Infernaccio, gorges carved by the Tenna river, are vertiginous. You'll also bump into Le Pisciarelle (small but hypnotically beautiful waterfalls) and ancient ruins. You'll arrive as far as a solitary monastery wedged in the mountains, the Hermitage of San Leonardo.
La Gola del Furlo (find more in the next paragraph) offers unparalleled scenery for goose-bump trekking.
From Braccano, a village famous for its artistic murals in the province of Macerata, starts the path to La Gola di Jana. Here you climb over a waterfall with the help of ropes to reach another hidden cascade that flows into a pretty natural pool.
The route to La Gola di Pioraco is nothing but 'monstrous'. Along the way, you'll notice a series of sculptures with terrifying features: they are all creations by a local artist.
La Gola del Furlo, an exciting destination in Le Marche's nature
When passing through la Galleria del Furlo, an ancient galley in the rock ordered by Emperor Vespasian, you find yourself before such a spectacle to feel a chill down your spine.
The Furlo Gorge, La Gola del Furlo, is protected by a nature reserve that preserves its precious ecosystem—a vibrant nature where golden eagles, herons, hawks, fallow deer and wolves proliferate.
The Candigliano river has patiently carved out a magnificent canyon that you can explore by following paths and trails. An easy excursion suitable for everyone (even if you are travelling with prams or pushchairs) crosses the Via Flaminia and takes you to admire, with your nose in the air, vertiginous rock walls climbing hundreds of metres into the sky.
If you are wondering what to see at the Furlo Gorge, know there is a unique viewpoint called Terrazza del Furlo. Reaching it is challenging but not prohibitive, and the panorama - once again - will give you chills.
The most spectacular waterfalls in Le Marche
Some places in Le Marche bring to mind certain tropical landscapes that your eyes will find hard to associate with central Italy. The comparison seems a bit of a stretch, but it's easy to be startled when confronted with such views. At least at first impact. Waterfalls, for example, are a triumph of living nature, with the thunderous roar of the water interrupting the never-monotonous symphony of ferns and rock.
La Via delle Cascate Perdute (the way of the lost waterfalls) is an excellent example of what we're saying. With its evocative name, this beautiful path through the woods of the Macerata province teleports you into a world that seems to have come straight out of Steven Spielberg's mind. The way unravels along 6 km around Sarnano, a small medieval village not far from Macerata, and intercepts three waterfalls hidden in the vegetation. The little ones will love it!
From Jurassic Park to the Brothers Grimm, the step is shorter than you might think in the Marche region. Le Cascate del Fosso di Teria, waterfalls in the Valle del Bosso, convey precisely the atmosphere of a childhood book.
The region is full of waterfalls that are always beautiful, wild and fairytale-like: finding them here and there, even better if unexpectedly, will be a precious little souvenir to treasure.
Excursion to the Frasassi Caves
The Frasassi Caves are undoubtedly one of the region's most famous natural attractions. Discovered by chance in 1971, these enormous rock cavities are among the largest in Europe. Visiting them is an incredible experience: you enter the heart of the earth, and the concept of proportion becomes completely abstract. Everything here is 'giant-sized', yet you will struggle to guess the actual measurements of the gigantic rock sculptures all around.
The caves are part of the Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi Natural Park, a 10,026-hectare oasis of natural beauty and medieval villages featuring a wide range of outdoor activities. There are 35 marked trails perfect for horse riding, canoeing, rafting and climbing. You can even try your hand at caving exploration.
The perfect Instagrammable photo? Around Il Tempietto del Valadier; the most unusual experience? In Fabriano (you can make your own watermarked sheet at the Paper Museum); a poignant legend? In Pierosara; the romantic view you shouldn't miss? Under Le Copertelle in Serra San Quirico; the most 'chivalrous' atmosphere? Amidst the castles of Arcevia.
Eagles, rock and beer on Monte Nerone: an adventurous trek in Le Marche
Speleologists and hikers love it for its karstic cavities, gorges and caves (la Grotta delle Tassare is the deepest grotto in the Marche region). We are in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, 1525 metres above sea level.
On Monte Nerone, a mysterious name that recalls stories and anecdotes, we encounter a series of rocky ravines full of history and fascination. Therefore, it's an excursion that goes beyond the naturalistic aspect: every crevice in the rock hides a curiosity, a detail, a legend.
If you are lucky enough, you might even catch a majestic (and rare) golden eagle, which finds its ideal habitat among the high cliffs of Monte Nerone.
What to see: L'Arco di Fondarca, a scenic natural archway, and La Balza Forata, in Val d'Abisso. The latter formation is also called Il Foro della Madonna because a legend attributes its creation to the Virgin.
Furthermore, the area is famous for its craft breweries. Take a stop in Apecchio, the 'city of beer': it hosts a tasty festival dedicated to the relationship between craft beer and local specialities.
Looking for giants' pots in Le Marche's nature
A small but enchanting rocky canyon carved by the Metauro River is just a short distance from the historic centre of Fossombrone, a pretty town full of romantic views that we recommend you visit.
The best spot to admire the glorious beauty of Le Marmitte dei Giganti (giants' pots) is the Diocletian Bridge (also known as Ponte dei Saltelli). It offers a splendid view of the gorge, which is about 500 m long and bordered by 30 m high walls.
The name, 'marmitte', refers to the large round pools shaped by the river current. They almost look like containers from which giants could drink!
The most exciting excursion is by canoe or kayak. Otherwise, an alternative route, admittedly a relatively impervious one, crosses the rocky walls along the river and reaches lovely little waterfalls.
Staying with the 'Le Marche nature' theme, from Fossombrone, you can also set off on an excursion to Monte delle Cesane or opt for a bicycle tour to the Furlo Gorge.
Trekking around Monti Sibillini: Lame Rosse and Lago di Pilato
Two of the most exciting treks in the Sibillini mountains cross Le Lame Rosse and Lake Pilato. Let's go in order.
The routes to Le Lame Rosse take you to explore a canyon designed with pinnacles and towers with fanciful shapes in the colour of passion. The quickest and easiest path starts from the dam on Lake Fiastra and crosses mule tracks, woods and predictably breathtaking views that taste somewhat between California and a moonscape. Once at your destination, you can continue to Le Grotte dei Frati, once a refuge for hermit monks, and descend to the Fiastrone Gorge.
The hike to Lake Pilato will make you sweat, but the vision of the Ray-Ban-shaped sheet of water shimmering amid barren, unspoilt nature will not be just a mirage. Start from the village of Foce di Montemonaco, preferably early in the morning. You walk along a dirt road on the crags of Monte Argentella and continue through climbs and hairpin bends to the lake valley.
Things you absolutely must know: to avoid damage to the particular and fragile ecosystem, it's forbidden to bathe in the lake or go near the shore.
Destination Le Marche: a stroll through Conero Park
The natural oasis around Mount Conero (have a look at our dedicated article here) embraces Ancona, Camerano, Numana, Sirolo and Portonovo. Visitors are welcomed with plenty of suggestions for a holiday amid nature in the Marche region, with treks and sports activities that suit all tastes.
The Conero park is a treasure chest of biodiversity. Whether you explore it on foot, on horseback or on a mountain bike, we are sure that among the 18 marked trails, you'll spot one that will steal your heart and test your legs.
We cannot but mention the hike to Passo del Lupo among the unmissable Conero trails. Retracing the local miners' steps, you reach a privileged vantage point to admire the bright icons of the Conero area, Le Due Sorelle.
Continue further for Il Belvedere Sud, where the view of the two white rocks emerging from the almost Caraibic sea is even more spectacular and dizzying.