The tourist cultural route called ‘Le Marche Segrete’ (Italian for ‘The Secret Marches’) provides an extra chance to visit castles, villas and palaces that are still inhabited. This extraordinary artistic heritage is a remarkable testament to the traditions and lifestyles of the past, where guests are granted unique opportunities of becoming acquainted with the most concealed historical parts of the region. The itineraries also offer the possibility to travel among the ‘flavours’ of Marches cuisine and wines. The main actors to this ‘journey’ among the ‘secrets’ of the Marches are unquestionably its ancient homes, plunged in gardens which are artistic monuments in themselves, still preserving their original historical-artistic features. The historic homes and gardens – the proper stops along the route – are not museums but places that are still alive and where ancient, unique and precious elements merge with modernity and daily chores; where art and history are entwined with the present times, thus contributing to enhance the surrounding landscape, the historical-artistic wealth, the craft trades and the wine and food products of an entire territory. The owners of the homes are exquisite hosts, the caretakers of traditions, great connoisseurs of the artistic and landscape beauties in the immediate surroundings of their homes, indispensable guides to discover sites, ‘legends’, and folk elements that are still so little known. The journey commences by carefully opening the gate to an unknown garden and being plunged into lush and varied vegetation. Located at the end of tree-lined avenues, overlooking lawns and flowerbeds, are the homes themselves, the actual ‘souls of the place’: you are entering ‘Le Marche Segrete’. The following is an outline of a route which, through several itineraries, points out the ‘way’ for those wishing to discover the ‘heart’ of this part of Italy. Many other routes could be outlined – as each province has a host of treasures of its own, making this land a proper ‘widespread museum’.
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