The region's medieval hilltop towns are awash with museums and art. The Marche town of Recanati was home to one of Italy's most celebrated poets, Giacomo Leopardi and Marche was also the birthplace of great masters such as Raphael and Bramante, giving lineage to its modern-day artistic vibrancy, with a number of outstanding twentieth century artists coming from the area.
Divided into four provinces, Marche's regional capital is Ancona, a port which came to prominence in the sixteenth century and is second in importance only to Venice on the Adriatic.
Other historically important places include the university towns of Urbino, Camerino and Macerata. Urbino boasts the Galleria nazionale delle Marche, probably the most important of Marche's 234 museums.
Macerata is home to the Sferisterio, which along with the Arena in Verona is one of Italy's most important outdoor opera venues, where in July and August people flock from around the globe to see performances of opera and classical music. The town also has fine examples of Renaissance, Baroque and eighteenth century architecture.
Camerino is a beautiful town in the heart of the Appenines. The historic university was extensively damaged by an earthquake in 1997 but has now been almost completely restored.
The town of Loreto is home to one of the most important shrines to the Virgin Mary in the world. Its owes its existence largely due to the thousands of pilgrims that come to see the house of the Madonna, which is said to have been transported there from Nazareth by celestial angels during the Crusades. More likely it was dismantled brick by brick and brought over by ship.
Uniquely, Ascoli Piceno, a town important since Etruscan times, has a beautiful central piazza made entirely of travertine marble, testimony to the town's rich and glorious past.
And the region is dotted with castles and fortresses, has at least eight spa towns specialised in the treatment of various ailments and is home to many different traditional crafts, notably in the town of Offida, where even today the ladies of the town can be seen making finely detailed traditional lace garments in the town's cobbled streets.
In fact many traditional crafts are still practised throughout the region and provide an important mainstay to the economy. They include production of handmade paper at Fabriano (the first of its kind in Europe), terracotta vases and pots, copper, iron and wool products, hat-making and the manufacture of musical instruments, notably violins in Ascoli Piceno.