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.

How to Shop Like a Local in Colmurano 

Alessandro, Ivana, and Eleonora
Eleonora, Ivana, and Alessandro

We found the butcher in Colmurano by accident, having parked in front of his shop to use the ATM across the street. Viale de Amicis is the only road that bisects our village, so naturally it is where most of our shops are services are. But there was no “Macelleria” sign on the building. Indeed, there was no sign on the storefront at all. I just happened to see a small placard with opening hours, and peeking through the window, meat in a display case.

Ever since, we visit Alessandro, his mother Ivana, and his wife Eleonora for more than just meat. It’s amazing what they fit into their small store. One of our early favorite discoveries is a “rotolo,” a chicken breast with meatball stuffing, wrapped in guanciale, rolled up and tied. Their mortadella, porchetta, and turkey alla porchetta has fed us sandwich lunches countless times, and they sell delicious local breads too! We also have fun learning what things are in Italian. They make a wonderful “cannoli,” but rather than a sweet dessert from Sicily, this is a roll of prosciutto cotto with mozzarella stuffed with olives. 

When we order meat, Alessandro always asks what we’re using it for, to make sure we get the right cut. Matt has been making a fantastic pork or chicken stir-fry and we told him it was like Chinese food, not knowing the Italian word for stir-fry. Their steaks for grilling are beyond delicious. I was never a big steak eater, but the meat here tastes better. I really appreciate their pre-formed meatballs and their pre-breaded cutlets. It makes kitchen preparation so much faster, especially for my Prosciutto and Fontina cutlets recipe

Most of all, their homemade sausages have become a staple. Matt uses them to make American breakfast, and crumbled on pizza. I use them in an easy and delicious sausage and cream sauce with pasta, in risotto with sausage, in lentil soup, or on skewers with vegetables. We will have many more recipes for you that feature their local meats. 

Macelleria storefront
Macelleria storefront

There still isn’t a “Macelleria” sign. Look for a cream building on the corner across from the bank. The door has beads in it and when you walk through those beads, Alessandro, Ivana, or Eleonora (or all three) will greet you with a smile, a “Ciao” and then “dimmi,” which means, tell me (what you would like). In addition to their extensive selection of meats, they also sell a wide variety of pantry goods, fresh and dried pastas, sauces, beer and wines, excellent local cheeses, and much more. 

Frutta e Verdure
Fruit and Vegetable Store

Francesco and his mother Lorena run the fruit and vegetable store, and they also ask what we’re making with our produce. A tomato for a salad is different than one for a sauce. Of the 3 different types of Radicchio they had, one is better with grilled mortadella and balsamic. Their shop is just down the block on the other side of the street. A “Mercatino della Frutta” sign makes it easy to find. Everything is fresh, almost everything is local, and it’s always reasonably priced. In addition to fruits and vegetables they also sell home-made marinated olives with garlic and orange peel, and farm-fresh eggs. Often they have stuffed and/or breaded vegetables ready to cook. 

Isa's Alimentari
Isa’s Alimentari

Heading back up the street a half-block, Isabella’s Alimentari is on the same side of the street in a green building with a small sign and beads in the doorway. With an impressive selection of items packed in a small space, she’s also a good source for pantry staples, cheeses, and eggs. Matt gets his breakfast cookies here. She is super friendly and often has pre-made meals of lasagna, porchetta, or fish ready to re-heat. 

Down the street below the city walls, I Sette Artigiani is our local bakery, famous throughout the region. They make the best baked goods and also sell pantry staples and local specialties. Their tarts and cookies are amazing. Really, everything is! They are also super friendly and welcoming and can suggest the perfect type of bread for whatever we’re looking for. 

Saputi wines on display

Further down the road is our favorite local winery, Saputi. For everyday drinking, we buy their 5 liter “Bag in Box.” Our favorite is the Rosso Piceno for red and Passerina for white, although they have a variety of wines available in the box. An organic winery, their award-winning bottled wines are impressive. They are famous for their Ribona, a white wine made from a local native grape that is very typical of this area. It’s the wine we selected to gift to our summer guests. It’s local, unique, delicious, and chilled in the refrigerator upon arrival. So when you run out, now you’ll know where to get more!