Even today Marche remains a largely undiscovered gem in the heart of Italy, sandwiched between the stunning Apennine mountains on its western fringes and the beautiful Adriatic coast to the east.
Perhaps because Marche has historically been an isolated region, sheltered as it is from intrusion by its natural mountain borders to the north, south and west and by the Adriatic Sea, it is only slowly gaining rightful recognition.
The region gets comparatively little mention in the travel media, deferring to the wider fame of neighbouring Tuscany and Umbria. Yet it can justifiably claim to be Italy's very own Garden of Eden.
It boasts lush greenery (often a surprise to visitors) and an enchanting mixture of sunflower fields, abundant woodland, many rivers which wind their way down to a beautiful coastline, and stunning mountain scenery.
Bordering both Umbria and Tuscany, as well as Abruzzo, Lazio and Emilia-Romagna, the region has an identity all of its own.
Walkers, trekkers and nature lovers can also find their feet here, with regional and national parks offering an abundance of outdoor activities, including trekking, mountain biking, paragliding, nature trails, hunting and fishing and ski-ing.
Marche has two national parks, the Monti Sibillini National Park and the Gran Sasso Monti Della Laga National Park.
The Monti Sibillini National Park actively promotes and protects wildlife habitats and has played a key role in building a stable population of wolves and other creatures such as the golden eagle. Wild boar abound and with the help of active re-introduction programmes there are also now signs of the return of the Marsicana brown bear from its stronghold in neighbouring Abruzzo. There are even signs of the return of the secretive and shy lynx.
Rising 572m from the sea near Ancona, Monte Conero is one of Marche's best known landmarks. It is home to a regional park and is an excellent place to see birds such as the marsh harrier and long-legged buzzard, while its coastal waters offer beautiful coved beaches and are ideal for organised boat trips.
The other regional park by the sea is the Colle San Bartolo Regional Park near Gabicce, home to wetlands of national importance.
A myriad of fascinating caves form the central attraction of the inland park, Gola della Rossa Frasassi Regional Park, recognised as the most interesting limestone caves in Italy. Special tours lead you through a series of caves complete with small lakes, stalactites, huge stalagmites and onto the truly cavernous Abisso Ancona, a cave from ground to ceiling fully 240m high.
In general, Marche has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot dry summers. Summer temperatures average between 20-30 degrees but can reach the mid 40s.