More Italian Adventures
Loreto - c.65 mins drive
You visit this town because of the Santa Casa della Vergine Maria (the Shrine of the Holy House of the Virgin Mary). The town only really grew and prospered because of its presence. It is a holy place defined by Pope John Paul II as “the true Marian heart of Christianity” and is still perfectly preserved and venerated as one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites in the whole of Italy. The Santa Casa is the said to be the house from Nazareth where the Virgin Mary was born, educated, and where she received the Annunciation. The house was composed of one room in masonry, with three walls in stone placed so as to enclose a rock cavern. This cavern is worshipped by pilgrims who flock to Nazareth, the Basilica of the Annunciation, while the three stone walls that originally adjoined this cavern in Nazareth, as legend has it, were brought to Italy (first passing through Illyria) by crusaders expelled from Palestine in 1291. These stone walls were transported to Loreto in 1294 in an initiative undertaken by the Angeli Family, nobles who ruled over the port of Epirus at the time. Believers or non-believers its worth a visit for the art and the stories.
Take a look at Places We Like To Eat
Gradara - c.105 minutes drive.
Gloriously well-preserved medieval town and voted one of the prettiest in Italy. Its fortress started by brothers Pietro and Rudolfo del Grifo in the twelfth century but it passed through many noble families until the Papal state took ownership. It is home to a real Romeo and Juliet story (Paolo and Francesca) that, along with, much of the town’s history is re-enacted at a range of events through the course of the year.
Take a look at Places We Like To Eat
Frasassi Caves - c.45mins drive
One of Europe's largest karst cave systems near the village of Genga. Hosted many classic and contemporary concerts in some of the gigantic chambers whilst huge bat colonies quietly roost in other parts of the system. Whilst in the area visit the Temple of Valadier - an octagonal church built inside a cave.
Riviera del Conero - c.70-80 mins drive
Awesome beaches adjoining turquoise sea just south of Ancona and Monte Conero. Bright white sand and pebbles at the base of limestone cliffs, surrounded by woodland; there are few better places to watch a sunrise or sunset. Many of the beaches are only reachable by boat, kayak or paddle board, or reached via narrow tracks.
The main towns and villages along this part of the Adriatic coast are now all popular holiday resorts and get very busy in peak summer not least because of the proximity to the city of Ancona.
The small medieval town of Sirolo is perched on cliffs above the sea with Numana further south are worth a visit and where you would head for in order to find parking and get within walking distances of the beach. In this small gem of a town, Sirolo, visit the 13th century church of San Nicola of Bari which dominates the main piazza or the Picene necropolis.
For a boat trip along the coast and access to many of the hidden coves and beaches - Conero Fun Boat
This site is also useful as it gives you recommendations on the best parking and routes to some of the less accessible beaches.
Conero DOCG wine region - c.60-70mins drive
This relatively small wine region rings Monte Conero like an amphitheatre running from Falconara Maritime in the north to Osimo in the west and south to Numana. Best small town to visit in the area and to enjoy this deep ruby red wine made from Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes is Offagna. Offagna is another of Marche’s representatives in the list of Italy’s top 100 prettiest town and villages. Like Gradara the town is dominated by its medieval fortress and just as in Gradara it plays host to medieval festivals and historical events throughout the year.
Some of the best Conero wine is found at Silvana Strolongo near Camerano and you can visit Silvano taste the wine and tour the winery. Or visit Malacari near Offagna itself but do email a few days ahead.
Verdicchio Wine Region - c.15 - 40mins drive
Unlike Conero DOCG there are two distinct DOC zones for Verdicchio wine in Marche. One, the more famous, is centred on the town of Jesi (Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi) and the other on the town of Matelica (only 15mins drive from Magari Domani). Experts claim that the main difference between the wines from the two zones is reflected in their locations. Jesi is more influenced by its proximity to the sea and its thicker clay soil whilst Matelica is influenced by the mountains and its more thinner more mineral-rich soil.
Vineyards worth visiting for Verdicchio di Matelica DOC (Closer to Magari Domani)
For Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC:
Serrapetrona - c. 20-25 mins drive
On the other side of Monte d’Aria (the large hill that stares down onto Magari Domani) you will find the ancient village of Serrapetrona. We recommend calling in because its so close by and produces a really rare sparking DOCG wine - Vernaccia di Serrapetrona - which is unlike any Vernaccia you might get from elsewhere in Italy whether Sardinia or Tuscany. We also use this mountain pass road to cut down through Savignano to the dual carriageway junction at Caldarola.
Tandem Paragliding over Assisi - c.60 mins drive
Obviously entirely weather-dependent but if you want to see the wonder of Assis from a unique vantage point then this is it. Meeting point is on Via del Passaggio where a shuttle bus takes up Monte Subasio and they return you to the same point on completion of your flight.
Hot Air Balloon over Marche - c.45-50 mins drive
If the weather is generous there are few better ways to see the glorious countryside that is Marche. Typically take off is from Ripe San Ginesio for early morning and early evening flights. You can request specific take-off places should you wish but they will need to inspect and review for suitability beforehand.
Lago di Fastra - c.40mins drive
A large 86 metre deep lake created when the Fiastrone river was damned to generate hydro-electric power in the 1950s. This is now a really great place to swim, paddle board, windsurf etc. or to simply walk and bike the hillside trails that surround the lake up to the Lame Rosso.
Mountain / Road Biking - c.0 - 75mins drive
There are opportunities all over the region from outside the front door of Magari Domani up the paths to Monte d’Aria through to the popular trails and competition courses across the Sibillini National Park - particularly up above the plains of Castelluccio.
For the more capable and competitive cyclist there is of course the Terre dei Varano road race through the spectacular national park in June each year.
These sites, there are many others too, show specific trails in the Le Marche region:
Bike rental - high-end road bikes to top-spec MTB and everything in between: