Would you recommend the Marche region for a family holiday and what are the must-sees?
Tim Jepson, Italy expert, writes
The Marche is very pretty and has fewer visitors than Umbria, though its not exactly undiscovered these days. While it doesn't have quite the range of cultural highlights and quaint towns as Umbria, a town like Urbino (and nearby Urbania) is the equal of any in Italy for art, charm and history.
I also like Ascoli Piceno, which is also within striking distance of the region's finest scenery, the Monte Sibillini National Park.
For the most part, the Marche's landscape is one of high, rolling hills: high, but not quite mountains. The Sibillini are the exception - in Monte Vettore, they touch 2,476m.
It's a great country to tour by car (head to the Piano Grande, across the border in Umbria; and drive the SS78 road from Ascoli to Sarnano for the views), but the hiking is also excellent - obvious trails, decent maps (Kompass 666 Monti Sibillini) - with everything from easy strolls suitable for children to full-on backpacking.
If you're visiting in summer, virtually the entire coast is lined with small seaside resorts frequented by Italian families. If you want a classic, small-town, Italian seaside holiday, these are perfect. The beaches and sea are safe and good, without ever being spectacular, and while the hotels and towns are mostly modern, many have a small historic core. There's also all the usual ice cream shops, pizzerias, and spots for an evening passeggiata that make up the Italian summer.