Our Top 7 Ways to Enjoy Spring in the Marche

Photo by Heather von Bargen

Spring in the Marche brings an air of joy and rejuvenation. Wildflowers bloom, fireflies sparkle, food festivals relaunch in earnest, organized hikes and bicycle excursions abound, and it seems everyone relishes time spent outdoors. The weather is generally good, what few tourists we get have not yet arrived, and our shoulder season offers an excellent value for your stay. Here are our Top 7 ways to enjoy the spring in the Marche.

Photo by Heather von Bargen

1. Admire the Wildflowers

First the Mimosa trees explode almost overnight with their yellow blossoms. Then the poppies, everywhere. Some dot the roadways, others cover entire fields of red. Wild orchids of every shape and color adorn the plains. Wildflowers grow everywhere. One of the best places to admire them is the Piani di Ragnolo in the Sibillini mountains where 51 varieties of wild orchids grow.

You can choose to hike independently with our advice or take advantage of the many organized hikes led by licensed and knowledgable tour guides who can identify the plants and explain the local topography.

    2. Cycling

    The Marche has significantly improved their cycling facilities in the past few years, adding new cycling routes, repair facilities, and e-bike charging stations. Our hilly area in between the mountains and the sea is perfect for any type of bicycle, and in the spring, it’s less hot and busy. Cycling the ring route around the Sibillini Mountain National park was “the best day on a bike” one guest has ever had. Numerous bike paths nearby offer something for everyone, and we can arrange bicycle rentals and guides.

    Urbisaglia Festival
    Photo by Heather von Bargen

    3. Partake in a Festival

    Sagra is the Italian word for a food festival and you’ll see signs advertising, for example, the Sagra dei Carciofi, a food festival to celebrate the prized artichokes in Montelupone. Or the Festa dell’Europa that Macerata throws every May that celebrates foods and drinks from all over Europe. Cessapalombo hosts a Sagra del Fungo, a mushroom festival!

    Food Festivals usually have tents with a variety of food items available to choose from and communal tables to eat at, so it’s a great way to meet locals. Every festival has live music or a DJ and many have kids activities.

      Photo by Heather von Bargen

      4. Try our Local Wines

      Spring is a great time to visit our many local award-winning wineries. Winemakers are pruning and getting ready for the new season. During the Cantine Aperte weekend in May, local winemakers open their doors for tours and tastings. It’s a fun casual event with many wineries offering food and an opportunity to picnic in the vines.

      We are near the special region of Serrapetrona, which only has a handful of producers who make Vernaccia di Serrapetrona wines in three different styles with the native grape found only here. We are in the Rosso Piceno DOC region and the area winemakers usually blend Montepulciano and Sangiovese to make Rosso Piceno. We are also in the special area of Ribona DOC, another native grape, this one white, that is very typical and has a long local heritage. Additionally, we are near the two Verdicchio regions that use the same grapes but due to the climates, the wines have two different tastes.

      We can recommend our favorites and make appointments for you to visit independently, or we have an excellent Wine and Food guide who will create an unforgettable day based on your tastes. If you prefer not to drive, our local winery, Saputi, offers a Private Wine Tasting experience poolside, at the house, paired with local foods.

      Photo by Heather von Bargen

      5. Go on a Hike

      Spring is a great time to hike, especially in the Sibillini mountains. The snowmelt makes for great waterfalls and, as mentioned above, fabulous wildflowers. The nearby Abbadia di Fiastra Natural Park often hosts concerts outside and is a very tranquil place to walk. Many ancient hermitages scattered around the area also have lovely walking trails.

      Photo courtesy of Palio di San Ginesio

      6. Attend a Medieval Festival

      Spring marks the beginning of our medieval festivals- reenactments in traditional costume with competitions, tournaments, races, and more. Each district of a village flies their flag and they compete for the victory. Chances are you’ll find music, parades, performances, street food, fire shows, and much more fun!

      Camerino’s Corso Alla Spada e Palio is in May and the Palio di San Ginesio starts events in June.

      Photo by Heather von Bargen

      7. Hit the Beach

      Spend a day by the Adriatic Sea under an umbrella! Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch along the coast without crowds. This year, we were on the beach in April! Our nearest beaches in Civitanova Marche are awarded Blue-Flag status for their environmental quality, and are an easy 30 minute drive away. The north beach is sandier and more shallow and the south is rockier and has deeper water.

      Book your spring holiday at Casa Pace e Gioia now to ensure your preferred dates, and if you would like, we would be delighted to help plan an unforgettable vacation.

      The 10 Best Hikes in the Marche

      The Marche, with our mountains, hills, valleys, canyons, caves, rivers, and the sea, offer memorable trails for everyone. Our list of favorite places to hike gets longer every season but these picks offer the best opportunity to enjoy our spectacular nature in unforgettable settings.

      Walking path at the Abbadia di Fiastra
      One of many paths at the Abbadia di Fiastra

      Riserva Naturale Abbadia di Fiastra
      The Fiastra Abbey was founded in 1142 and it is one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in Italy. The monks drained the marshy land, grew grapes for wine and established a still-flourishing farmland. It has since become a large natural park with mostly flat paths that traverse along the Fiastra river and through a variety of woodland areas. A large lawn is perfect for picnics and letting the kids run around. Several excellent restaurants in the park offer a chance to take a break and enjoy the quiet nature. It’s a serene and relaxing place that is well loved by locals.

      Roman Theater in the Parco Archeologico in Urbisaglia
      Roman Theater in the Parco Archeologico

      Parco Archeologico Urbs Salvia
      First-century ruins of a Roman city were preserved by a landslide and are being excavated among the 40 hectare archeological park. A one kilometer walking path from the Amphitheater and Temple travels along the ancient city walls and up to the theater and gives you an idea of how large the city once was. It’s another place popular with locals and very accessible with ample parking and public bathrooms.

      Lame Rosse
      Lame Rosse

      Lame Rosse
      The “red blades” or Lame Rosse is often called the Grand Canyon of the Sibillini mountains. It’s a very popular destination and several guides offer sunset and evening hikes to the incredible towering rock formations created by centuries of erosion. A 7-kilometer round trip trail starts at the Fiastra Lake dam, with great views of the lake, and proceeds through the shaded woods until the end, where an uphill trek on sand and gravel leads to the Lame Rosse. Bring water and wear sturdy shoes.

      Gole dell'Infernaccio
      Behind a waterfall at the Gole dell’Infernaccio

      Gole dell’Infernaccio
      The “Gorge of Hell” in the Sibillini Mountains was formed over the centuries by the Tenna River. It’s a spectacular hike in the summer or fall to enjoy the shade, the cooling waterfalls, and the autumn color change in the beech trees that line this ancient path that connects two valleys. Footbridges that crisscross the river make this a much easier trek nowadays. Two deviations off the path lead to the source of the Tenna River and the Hermitage of San Leonardo. It’s about 9.5 kilometers round trip taking the Hermitage route.

      View of Lotignano
      View of Lotignano

      Santa Lucia to Lontignano
      Park by the church of the tiny village of Santa Lucia and continue for about 700 meters on the unpaved road with beautiful open views of the Sibillini mountains. When you reach the sign for Lontignano, follow it right and it becomes more forest with shade trees. After going mildly downhill and then slightly uphill for 2 kilometers, you reach the mostly abandoned hamlet of Lontignano, which sits on the side of a hill in a very serene setting that’s like going back in time. It’s an easy beautiful hike year round.

      One of the hidden waterfalls in Sarnano
      One of the Hidden Waterfalls in Sarnano

      The Cascate Perdute in Sarnano
      Three hidden waterfalls were uncovered in 2020 near Sarnano’s beautiful historic center and they are easily reached on well maintained paths. It’s an easy 6 kilometer round-trip walk on mostly flat terrain except just before the Ancient Mill Waterfall. Suitable for all ages, and enjoyable year round. Plus you can enjoy a gelato in Sarnano afterwards!

      The Percorso Kneipp
      The Percorso Kneipp

      Sentiero delle Acque and the Percorso Kneipp in Pieve Torina
      The Path of the Waters follows a river and is mostly flat and shaded. The Percorso Kneipp at the beginning of the path offers you an opportunity to walk barefoot through the water, over sand, stones, wood, and other sensory environments. In the winter, it is decorated with holiday lights and a Christmas tree. Continuing along the river, the path leads past an ancient Roman bridge where a deviation leads up the road to the Hermitage of the Saints. Depending on the season, you might find several waterfalls on the route. At the end of the path, you reach a tiny village, and continuing through it, you find the ancient mill and a cave. It’s about 4 kilometers to reach the mill without the Hermitage deviation. The path is well maintained with mild elevation change.

      Cow in Confaito
      Cow in Confaito

      Natural Reserve of Monte San Vicino and Monte Canfaito
      Popular year-round, Monte Canfaito shines particularly during the autumn foliage. This large regional park is a popular destination for the old beech tree forest that glows golden when the colors change and provides welcome shade in the summer. Easy paths reveal splendid views of the landscape and pass large cows idling nearby. It’s a fantastic place to relax and picnic.

      View of the Adriatic coast from a path on Monte Conero
      View of the coast from a path on Monte Conero

      Parco del Conero
      The park at the top of the Conero Mountain has a variety of well-marked hikes of varying lengths and skill level, some with amazing views of the coastline below. Fantastic foliage, a variety of trees, and a lot of birds offer something for everyone. There are bars, restaurants and facilities to rest and replenish.

      The Lovers Cave in Torre di Palme
      The Lovers Cave

      Sentiero nel Bosco del Cugnolo in Torre di Palme
      The Path of the Cugnolo Forest is outside the city walls of Torre di Palme, a village considered one of the most beautiful in Italy, and worth a visit itself. The path leads through the shaded woods and a lot of wild plants, as the views and sounds of the city fade away. The main attraction along the route is the Lovers Cave, where a young couple hid for a few nights as they evaded his enlistment orders to fight in Libya. They threw themselves off the cliff rather than be separated. The cave is reachable with the help of a provided rope. The rest of the path is an easy walk.

      These are just a small handful of memorable hikes in our area. We personalize our advice for our guests and are always happy to suggest others.

      The 10 Best Things to do in the Winter in the Marche

      The Marche are full of treasures to be discovered, and in the winter those treasures are even easier to find. In winter you’ll find more private tours and guided hikes, personal wine tastings, opportunities to meet local artisans, and a great time to enjoy some of our best regional cuisine.

      Marche winters are usually mild, driven by the Adriatic sea and the Sibillini Mountains. Temperatures range from overnight lows of 0° C (32°F) to highs of 18°C (65°). We eat lunch outside regularly in the winter! It may snow, but it does not last long at our elevation. Often morning fog rolls in the valley and clears to blue skies with fabulous views of the snow-covered mountains in the distance.

      Winter Food Specialties!

      Winter Food Festivals feature seasonal dishes in a fun atmosphere with roasted chestnuts, new harvest wine, polenta, wild boar, winter truffles, tortellini in brodo, and many more winter specialties. Dine in the warmth of large tents and communal tables for an unforgettable authentic and immersive meal.

      Likewise, we have some area restaurants that we prefer to go to in the winter for their welcoming ambiance and hearty food. Something about a fireplace in the corner and a steaming plate of pasta or soup warms the soul. If you follow us on social media you know that to me, winter means Cappelletti in Brodo. Really, Cappelletti in Brodo is reason enough to come visit in the winter. As a special treat for our winter guests, Cappelletti in Brodo is on us at any of the restaurants that we recommend in our guest app.

      Enjoy the Outdoors!

      Admire the holiday decorations in every village. Festive lights adorn the piazze, as do nativity scenes—some of them with live characters! Buy handcrafted gifts or local specialties at the many Christmas markets. On Epiphany, (6 January) watch the witch Befana descend the clock tower to deliver stockings to good girls and boys.

      Winter is still a great time to hike the area’s many natural parks. Fall colors still abound into December. And in the winter, you’re treated to waterfalls along your route. Local guides lead organized walks or you can set out on your own with our many suggestions in our guest app.

      For winter sports, head to the nearby Sibillini mountains to snowshoe, downhill or cross-country ski, snowboard, or sled. Webcams display conditions and rentals are available at the ski centers. Sarnano and Macerata have outdoor rinks for ice skating.

      Winter sales!

      If you like to shop, the winter sales (saldi) start around the 5-6 of January every year. Our area in the Marche is full of outlet shops with high-quality goods made in the Marche. In fact, one-third of the shoes made in Italy are made in the Marche. The winter saldi are an incredible opportunity to save even further! We have a map of outlet shops in our guest app and I can recommend several trusted shops nearby.

      Food and Wine Tastings!

      Our Marche winemakers produce spectacular, under the radar wines. We have a collaboration with the best food and wine tour guide in the Marche, Marco of Marco’s Way, and winter is a fabulous opportunity to take a tour with him to meet small, family-run producers who make wines with soul. Marco will design a tour to your tastes and also introduce you to local food artisans.

      Guided Tours!

      Winter is a fantastic time to take a guided tour. They are usually €5-15 per person, and are more readily available in the winter. A hiking guide will explain why the tree you’re passing is special. On you own, you would likely walk past it without understanding the significance. The guide at the Abbadia di Fiastra tells you why there are two address placards on the Abbey door. The guide in Urbisaglia points out that the Romans washed blood from Gladiator fights out of an innocuous hole to drain towards the river. We have a list of recommended guides in our guest app.

      Enjoy cultural events at the many museums, churches, theaters, and monuments that are open in the winter. It’s opera, exhibition, and concert season, and you’ll be amazed at the wide variety of performances available. From “Sister Act” to gospel choirs, to classical music to pop, there’s something for everyone.

      Frasassi Caves
      Frasassi Caves

      The Frasassi Caves!

      Winter is a great time to see the amazing Frasassi Caves, the largest cave system in Europe and the most-visited destination in the Marche. The temperature in the caves is constant at 14°C or 57°F, and without summer crowds, there’s no need for advanced reservations or to wait in long lines to buy tickets.

      If you’d like to truly discover a hidden Italy, to feel like a local, then winter is the best time to come stay at Casa Pace e Gioia.