The Marche is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The Italian name Le Marche is the plural of marca, and literally means "the Marches", originally referring to the medieval March of Ancona and nearby marches of Camerino and Fermo.
The Marche are located in the Central area of the country, bordering Emilia-Romagna and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Except for river valleys and the often very narrow coastal strip, the land is hilly. In the nineteenth century, a railway from Bologna to Brindisi linked the Marche along the coastline of the entire territory. Inland, the mountainous nature of the region, even today, allows little travel north and south, except by rough roads over the passes.