The most interesting sights
of the Marches

In addition to the variety of landscapes, the Marche region in eastern Italy offers cities full of art and culture and extraordinary sights! Read more about the most interesting sights of the region.

The most interesting sights of the region

The Fortress of San Leo and the “Holy House” of Loreto

Right on the border with the small state of San Marino lies the famous fortress of San Leo, which offers a wonderful view of the landscapes of the Montefeltro to San Marino. The Renaissance architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini designed the “Fortezza” in 1479. With its elegance, the imposing fortification with two huge watchtowers has always served as a model of military architecture.
The place of pilgrimage Loreto in the province of Ancona is one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in Europe! Every year, around one million pilgrims make their way to the famous “Santa Casa”. The imposing basilica towers over the city skyline with its large dome. The two city gates “Porta Mare” on the east side and “Porta Romana” on the southwest side were built in the 16th century to protect it from raids.
According to legend, the basilica once stood in Nazareth and was the birthplace of Saint Mary. After Nazareth fell into Islamic hands in 1291, angels carried the “Holy House” to Loreto, according to legend. On behalf of the Church, scientists have even proved that the stones of the basilica are even identical to those of the rock grotto of Nazareth. However, it is assumed that the church walls were brought to Italy by ship.

The “Grotte di Frasassi” and the Osimo Caves

The Frasassi Caves in the “Gola di Frasassi” are the largest accessible cave system in Italy. The enormous entrance hall is rightly called the “Abisso Ancona,” which means “the abyss of Ancona.” With a length of 180 m, a width of 120 m and a height of around 200 m, it almost boggles the mind! At the highest point, there would even be room for the Eiffel Tower.

Inside the caves, a wonderland of giant stalactites and stalagmites awaits the visitor. Some of them are over 20 m high and up to 5 m in diameter. Passing the huge, solidified waterfall “Niagara”, you enter the “Grotto 200” with bizarre sculptures such as the “Dromedary” and other mythical creatures, monsters and stalactite forests. A climber discovered the cave system by chance in 1971. It is assumed that its formation began about one and a half million years ago.

In the hinterland of Monte Conero, one also encounters a huge, man-made underground cave system. Most of the caves date back to the Middle Ages, some even to Roman or pre-Roman times, and they mainly served military purposes as escape routes and defence, but also ritual and religious purposes, and economic purposes as living and storage spaces. In Osimo alone, about a hundred grottos and 162 chimneys and shafts were counted in 1988, running on five levels and all interconnected.
In the Middle Ages, monks used the grottos as living quarters. During the Second World War, the largest grotto, the “Grotta del Cantinone,” was used as an air raid shelter due to its depth of 12 m below ground. The cave system can be partially visited today.

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