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Towns and cities near Villa il Melo in Le Marche, Italy

What to do

Nearby are many pretty little towns in this part of Le Marche with interesting churches, shops, cafes and historic buildings; slightly farther afield are beautiful cities. It's always a pleasure just to roam the streets and soak up the atmosphere. Here are a few of our favourites (in rough order of distance):

Penna San Giovanni: the next nearest town to the villa Il Melo with an attractive piazza and one of Italy's smallest opera houses. In August it hosts several sagre or food festivals. This photo was taken from Il Melo.

Servigliano: unlike most of the towns mentioned, Servigliano is not on a hilltop but in the valley of the Tenna (if you take the ford it's only five minutes drive). Easy to miss if you stick to the main road, just turn in at the entrance gate and you are in a huge Piazza with wonderful food and craft shops as well as cafes and pizzerias. Sometimes in winter there is an outdoor ice rink too.

Smerillo: one of the highest towns (over 800m) it has fantastic views.

photo by pizzodisevo

Falerone: has a broad main street and interesting art shops and gallery but its most interesting feature is down in the valley of the Tenna where there are the Roman ruins of Falerio (which also gives its name to a delicious Marche white wine). Local folklore activities are heavily influenced by this Roman history, as in the Passion celebrations:

Amandola: The nearest sizeable town with large (by Le Marche standards) supermarkets and a wide range of shops. Caffe Belli is a must-visit for ice cream on the terrace and a walk through the old town takes you to the tiny Fenice theatre and park.

Photo courtesy of Norma Joseph

: The main centre for skiing in the southern Le Marche region and also a spa town.

: Largely a modern town but go on Saturday and enjoy the bustling market.

Farther afield are some gorgeous larger cities:

Ascoli Piceno: Capital of the southernmost province of Le Marche that bears its name, Ascoli is about an hour away and you can easily spend a day exploring the museums and cathedral and wandering the streets. Try the anisette liqueur at Caffe Meletti too.

Fermo: as soon as you cross the river from Il Melo you are in Fermo province. Its capital stands atop a broad hill with wondeful views of the Adriatic.

Macerata: our own provincial capital is worth a visit too, especially for Sferisterio the open air opera theatre which is the second biggest in Italy. (Tip: you need to book well in advance if you want to see a performance.)

Urbino: It's a good distance away in the north of the Le Marche but is the most important historic city, the home of Raphael and the Dukes of Urbino - well worth the trip. Take a whole day and combine it with San Marino or the Frasassi caves.

San Marino: not strictly in Le Marche, or indeed Italy, San Marino is a tiny republic in the north of the region. It's quite touristy but worth a vist for the views, the castle (and to say you've been) - also has tax free shopping. It's near Urbino so you can combine the two in one (longish) day.

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