Frozen in time, the region of Marche is littered with Medieval castles and artifacts that stand still along the lush, rolling hills of their gorgeous landscape. Surrounded by Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo, Tuscany and Lazio, the region was in a constant tug-of-war with surrounding invaders looking to establish a stronghold on the Adriatic coastline of Central Italy. The only geographical boarder that kept invaders at bay was the Apennine Mountain chain that covers the internal boarders of the region. Whether it was surrounding Italian nobles like Malatesta of Rimini or Germanic tribes like the Gauls and the Goths, Marche was the pearl of many surrounding civilizations that sought to invade and rule the land. Even the Romans wanted a piece of the action for a slight period of time along with Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne. In the late 1800’s, Napoleon set his signs east on Marche. He invaded and held the land for nearly a decade before it was returned to a papal state and eventually merged with the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
The region isn’t known as one that is very affluent or a heavy producer in the world of agriculture. Olives, grapes and cereal products are the main agriculture sources and relies heavily on its marine and fishing output from Ancona, San Benedetto del Tronto, Fano and Civitanova Marche. Marche is a region of small-businesses and entrepreneurs. This economic structural design has given birth to an artisan form of craftsmanship that has given birth to such giants as Indesit (major appliance manufacturer), Tod’s (fine leather goods and luxury items) and Guizzini (modern luxury furniture).
The food in Marche is very similar to Emilia-Romagna that includes a lot of Egg pastas and oven-baked pasta dishes. Vincisgrassi is a regional favorite and is a type of baked-lasagna stuffed with chicken livers. In and around the city of Ancona, you will find a variety of soups and broths. Minestra di lumachelle is a local favorite and is based on lumachelle, a type of pasta made with egg, cheese and bread crumbs, similar to passatelli. Along the coast, fish or brodetto is prepared with all types of fish and varying other ingredients like vinegar, flour, garlic and saffron. The people from Marche also are heavy carnivores that love all forms of meat. They will eat anything from lamb to pigeon. Piolotto is a way to prepare meat by wrapping it in paper with a piece of lard, which melts into the meat during cooking. Another local favorite is Porchetta, a spit-roasted whole, boneless pig that has been stuffed with herbs and spices.