Sightseeing - make sure you make time to visit the wonderfully preserved medieval villages that decorate this bucolic region. Here are some highlights in and around the Macerata province;
Sibillini Mountains - if you travel to the South West, the landscape a stones throw away from the villa becomes far more dramatic as the hills are dominated by the Sibillini Mountains. This area, which is protected by the Sibillini National Park, is accessed via some great roads and paths which allow the visitor to discover lakes, rivers, some amazing gorges, wildlife and get in touch with the eco side of their character.
Theatres - Le Marche is also the land of a thousand theatres including the grand 'Sferisterio' amphitheatre in Macerata, which holds 7,000 people and is second only to Verona in Italy's summer open-air opera calendar and a venue for the Macerata festival.
Abbadia-di-fiastra - The Cistercian monastery of Fiastra was founded in 1142, the building material was taken from the near Roman city 'Urbs Salvia' whose farmland stretched 30km to the coast in medieval times. Today the surrounding parkland is still cultivated by the monks and wines and other produce is on sale to the public, there are two very good well priced restaurants, and the medieval monastery, an archeological museum and beautiful nature reserve are open to the public.
Urbisaglia - Adjacent to Abbadia di Fiastra, the impressive Roman site of Urbisaglia provides free tours of its frescoes, theatre and amphitheatre, which was water filled and battles were fought on boats
Sarnano - The bustling and perfectly preserved medieval town of Sarnano, named one of the most beautiful in Italy, has a wealth of character in the ancient, cobbled streets that wind up through carefully restored centro storico and the impressive towers of the centro Storico that dominate the amazing local landscape. It has a famous Terme or Spa which offers pampering and health treatments. Its is a focal point for walkers and cyclists and lovers of the great outdoors and even has its own ski resort which was completely restored in 2008.
Ascoli Piceno - The city of Ascoli Piceno is dominated by numerous medieval towers and the Piazza del Popolo which is tiled with travertine and undoubtedly one of the most elegant squares of Italy. An amazing array of gothic architecture, great riverside walks, shopping and art galleries, plus some wonderful bars to sample the local Piceni wines. Oh, make sure you do some people watching in the Art Nouveaux Bar Meletti in the main Piazza.
Caldarola - Caldarola is dominated by the well preserved Pallotta castle, where building started in the 9th Century and which was transformed in the 16th by the Pallotta family, who still own the castle and now open it to the public, there are also 3 other castles in the surrounding Marche countryside.
Camerino - The panoramic university hill town of Camerino has a history that goes back to Neolithic times. It has remained unchanged since its Renaissance heyday, when the local Da Varanno family governed much of surrounding Le Marche. Imposing churches, palaces and art plus lovely gardens, museums, outdoor cafes and some great shops.
Amandola - This touring centre for the Sibillini national park has a wonderful gothic piazza, sit in one of Amandola's bars there and watch the world go by, or try getting up and sampling the museum of rural history.
Macerata - Macerata has a number of central piazzas with stunning architecture, a beautiful theatre, Duomo, art gallery and museum of carriages and the unification of Italy/ wartime resistance. There are also a variety of tempting shops and some lovely bars and ristorante. Macerata is also home to the Sferisterio, a grand open air opera house that hosts a fantastic "season" of themed opera performances each Summer
Tolentino - Tolentino is a vibrant medieval city home to the shrine of St Nicola, and some amazing architecture including an ancient roman bridge and a bizarre clock tower in the main square and the nearby 12th century Castello della Rancia. Wander round the museum of caricature and humour in art, or simply enjoy the shopping, cafes and trattorie.
Montemonaco - A pretty walled town with an information centre for the Sibillini National Park. From here you can walk in a couple of hours to the 'Cave of the Sibyl' the lair of Tannhauser's Venus, or more striking, follow the River Tenna up the amazing limestone Gola dell'Infernaccio, 'Little Hell Gorge', a three-hour walk from the road.
Frasassi - Frasassi has an awesome network of underground limestone caves that is the largest in Europe and a must see for any visitor. Tours every hour in most languages
Library of Casa Leopardi, Recanati - The library comprises more than 20,000 volumes, most of which were collected and arranged by Monaldo Leopardi, the father of Giacomo, in the second half of the XVII century and includes rare volumes such as the first edition of the Encyclopedie by Diderot and Dalambert.
Roman temple of Monterinaldo, 2nd Century A.C. - The temple is an impressive and unique example of a well preserved roman architecture in le Marche.
Lorenzo Lotto Tour
(http://www.lorenzo-lotto.it) It is possible to buy a single ticket which gives you access to several museums dotted around the centre of Le Marche displaying the works of Lorenzo Lotto, one of the finest painters of the Renaissance.