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  1. #1
    Hello everyone,
    This site has already been an incredible help as I plan my trip to Italy. Thanks to all for your great posts!
    I will be in Italy for 2.5 weeks late May early June. After 3 nights in Genoa (where I'll be at a conference for work), I and my partner will be moving on to Rome for 6 nights. From there, we are planning to take the train to Perugia, rent a car, and drive to Urbino. The plan is to stay there for 2 nights, then continue on to Ascoli Piceno, where thanks to Valerie on this forum we have located a great little apartment, Tra le Torri, where we will stay for 4 nights.
    My question is, what is the best route to take from Urbino to Ascoli? I know it's pretty far and that the roads in Marche are circuitous. From google maps it looks like the fastest way is to take the coastal highway, but I wouldn't mind something that took longer if it meant we could see some cool little hill towns along the way. I'm really more of a mountain person than a beach person... Although I am also open to any recommendations on cool Marche beach towns that anyone may have (I've heard they're mostly rather tacky).
    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Also, any thoughts on where to stay in Urbino would be fantastic.
    Thank you,
    Justin

  2. #2
    Hello everyone,
    This site has already been an incredible help as I plan my trip to Italy. Thanks to all for your great posts!
    I will be in Italy for 2.5 weeks late May early June. After 3 nights in Genoa (where I'll be at a conference for work), I and my partner will be moving on to Rome for 6 nights. From there, we are planning to take the train to Perugia, rent a car, and drive to Urbino. The plan is to stay there for 2 nights, then continue on to Ascoli Piceno, where thanks to Valerie on this forum we have located a great little apartment, Tra le Torri, where we will stay for 4 nights.
    My question is, what is the best route to take from Urbino to Ascoli? I know it's pretty far and that the roads in Marche are circuitous. From google maps it looks like the fastest way is to take the coastal highway, but I wouldn't mind something that took longer if it meant we could see some cool little hill towns along the way. I'm really more of a mountain person than a beach person... Although I am also open to any recommendations on cool Marche beach towns that anyone may have (I've heard they're mostly rather tacky).
    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Also, any thoughts on where to stay in Urbino would be fantastic.
    Thank you,
    Justin

  3. #3

    Traveler

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    Hi Justin,

    A nice little circle, and gracefully timed; you're not rushing around in a mad panic.

    We did a similar trip in 2008; starting from near Perugia and then to Ascoli Piceno. We went south through the mountains, and then back north along the coast. Our day to Ascoli Piceno was a one-day drive. I'll just offer a couple of en route suggestions. I'm sure you will get many others shortly.

    From Perugia, taking there are many towns visible or accessible from the SS75 (E45?) heading towards Foligno; Spello, Spoleto, Trevi, or Montefalco and Bevagna a bit to the west.

    But if you like mountains, and want something possibly more remote, I would definitely suggest going directly towards Spoleto on the main road, and then onto the small roads to Norcia. That is a neat town, well visited, but an easy visit for an afternoon walk. Castellucio, on Monti Sibillini, above Norcia, is really an unusual place, and the high valley it sits in is quite etherial; high, cool, and quiet. Ascoli Piceno is an easy drive from there.

    This suggestion is based on the idea that you want an interesting one-day drive, that wont' be a mad car chase, and that you want to get out and wander around, even briefly, a couple of times on the way.

    The coast is also interesting, but it is often quite developed, and not always nicely, as so many coastal areas are. From Ascoli Piceno, you can drive to San Benedetto del Tronto and get an easy beach experience.

    BTW Ascoli Piceno is a wonderful town. It has two of my favorite piazza's: Piazza Arringo (sp?) off the Duomo, and Piazza del Popolo.

    Enough from me. Have a great trip!
    Damon
    'The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.' Oscar Wilde

  4. #4

    Slow Traveler

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    I would second the recommendation to go to the Piano Grande where Castellucio is located. This is one of the most amazing places. You might be lucky and find flowers in bloom but you may be a little early for that. Anyway, do some research and you'll see photos and know what I mean, but nothing is like coming into that plain after climbing, climbing up these mountain roads and see the vast flat fields of flowers and sheep and then looking up and seeing Castellucio perched on a high spot.

    We have been there twice, in 2005 and in 2008. The first time we stayed at a great little hotel, with a wonderful restaurant, called the Regina Giovanna at the base of the road that goes up to the Piano Grande from the Ascoli side (by Arquata del Tronto). The second time we were staying in Ascoli and took a day trip to the the PG and stopped at the restaurant at the Regina Giovanna at the end of the day on our way back to AP.

    I wrote a review after our stay in 2005 and it is in the SlowTravel Hotel reviews for Marche (can't seem to make the link be active here so you should check it out and will also see other reviews for Urbino places)

    We stayed a week in AP in 2008 and were lucky enough to meet Valerie and Bryan then, and avail ourselves of some of their wonderful tours, as well as get some good day trip advice.

  5. #5

    Slow Traveler

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    Jun 2005
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    Lake Tahoe
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    158
    Hi Blinker,
    Welcome to Slow Travel.
    " I'm really more of a mountain person than a beach person..."
    With this in mind I heartily recommend taking an inland route from Urbino to Ascoli. The countryside is spectacular with lots of small towns along the way. The drive will be on good roads but not fast. It should be very green and lush in May/June and off the regular tourist routes. The section along the Sibillini on the final push to Ascoli is especially beautiful. Though I haven't driven it all, the sections of the coast route that I have seen were rather uninspiring. Camerino, Sarnano, San Ginesio, Urbisaglia, Monteglallo....all are worthy.
    Lots of good info here:
    http://www.le-marche.com/
    Buon Viaggio Brad

  6. #6

    Slow Traveler

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    Jul 2004
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    Hotel reviews for Marche

    Website for Albergo Regina Giovanna, Arquata del Tronto This is the website for the hotel and restaurant, and they indicate that you can have it come up in English but all I could get was the Italian version. But they do have information, rates, location, etc. in Italian, plus photos.

  7. #7


    Slow Traveler

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    Oct 2005
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    Urbino, Le Marche, Italy
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    2,329
    Welcome to Slow Trav Justin!
    The Sibillini area is definitely worth the drive (from Perugia to Ascoli, that is, or the other way round).
    From Urbino to Ascoli, if you prefer to skip the coast, in my opinion the best road goes south through Acqualagna and Cagli, south-east through Frontone, Serra Sant'Abbondio, Sassoferrato, Fabriano, Matelica, Camerino, and along the eastern side of the Sibillini, approx like this
    It's about 4.30 hours drive, through scenic roads with very little traffic.

  8. #8


    Slow Traveler

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    Oct 2005
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    I forgot to mention, along the road Cagli, Frontone and Fabriano are very nice little towns (along with the already mentioned ones nearer the Sibillini).
    As per the beach towns, consider that almost everywhere in Le Marche, the center of the old town is not directly near the seaside, this left a wide space between the center and the beach that in most cases was filled by hotels and new buildings during the 50s and the 60s. The little hilltop villages north of Pesaro in the San Bartolo Park or South of Anconain the Conero Park make a very interesting exception.
    Yet my personal favourite along the coast is Senigallia not much as a beach resort but since it's a very nice and lively town.

  9. #9
    Wow - thank you for these great thoughts. I will spend some time digesting these. The inland route does sound spectacular.

  10. #10
    Some great ideas here! I would support Giulia's route, especially Fabriano. While it looks somewhat industrial (large and ancient paper making here), the medieval centre is quite charming and walkable. There is a very interesting paper museum here if you want some culture.

    Another diversion along this route is to visit Lago di Fiastra in the Sibillini. In May/June the water in the lake will probably be warm enough for a swim, so bring your swimming costumes! You can also head off Giulia's more direct route and head to Visso, then Castellucio, already recommended by Umbrianissimo and LynK (have also seen the wild flowers - absolutely stunning).

    Of course Ascoli itself is a little treasure.

    You have chosen wisely! Enjoy...

  11. #11

    Slow Traveler

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    While you are staying in Ascoli Piceno you may want to consider a day trip to Civitella del Tronto, which we did based on advice from Valerie and Bryan. This is south of AP in Abruzzo and there is a fort at the top which is one of the most interesting places we visited.

    We walked up but found out later there is an elevator, so you might want to consider that. It is quite a walk up, but interesting and may be worth it if you are feeling fit (though you could ride up and walk down). Also you can get to an initial part of the fort at no cost, but pay the nominal fee and go inside. Definitely worth it. There is a lot more inside to see.

    Check out the museum, which has lots of artifacts including some from, as I recall, Confederate soldiers who went to Italy to fight. This fort was a Bourbon stronghold and the last place to fall in Victor Emmanuel II's fight for a unified Italy. Lots of history and the views are stunning.

    Civitella del Tronto Fortezza

  12. #12


    Slow Traveler

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    Very good advice from Giulia. Another alternative is skirting the coast on the A-3 for a while, then turning inland and doing a shorter circuitous drive. You won't have a problem finding beautiful hill towns, Le Marche is awash in them! Some of our favorites in central Marche are Jesi, Recanati, Tolentino and Sarnano. Urbisaglia has some important Roman ruins. As for beach towns, the Conero is the most beautiful coastal area in the region (Numana and Sirolo). Closer to Ascoli Grottammare is the cutest of the beach resorts; north a little is a pretty hilltop hamlet, Torre di Palme. We're more mountain people, too, so would definitely recommend the Sibillini and/or a foray into the mountains of Abruzzo.

    I think you're going to really like Sandra and Tra le Torri. It's a cute apartment in a really neat part of town.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Of course Ascoli itself is a little treasure. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Couldn't agree more!

    As Lyn mentioned, Civitella del Tronto is a very impressive fortress that occupies the entire ridgetop above the town. It was the last hold-out in the war of unification, and is in amazing condition. You can wander all through it, really worth the trip. The local specialty pasta, le ceppe, is an extra bonus! The escalator is the easiest way up, but only runs one way; you have to walk back down.

    Lyn - the Confederate flag was on display because entire regiments of soldiers from the Kingdom of Naples came to fight on the side of the Confederacy after they lost in the Risorgimento. The display said that Lincoln had offered a commission to Garibaldi, which he turned down. Little known chapter of American civil war history that we learned at that fortress!

  13. #13

    Slow Traveler

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    Ah, so I got it backwards...I remembered the flag and some Confederate money on display. All the display notes are in Italian so I guess I only got part of the story.

    Also, if you go to this fort, be careful about parking. We almost got a ticket on our rental car for parking too long, but were saved by an American girl visiting relatives there who spoke fluent Italian with the officer, who then let us off with a warning. But we were told that they are very vigilant about the parking times there.

  14. #14
    How long does it take to get from one to the other? I will be staying near Ascoli Piceno, but am hoping to take a day trip to Urbino. Is that too far for a day trip? If ti isn't, any lunch suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Maria

  15. #15


    Slow Traveler

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    Oct 2005
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    Urbino, Le Marche, Italy
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    Maria, the "fast" road along the Adriatic is approx 2.15 hours drive... I'd say it's a bit too much for a daytrip... it would for me, at least.

  16. #16
    Thank you. That is about how far my family is, so we often drive that far to get together for family event. But there is a difference between walking around all day and hanging out by the pool before the drive home. This at least gives me the information to share with the rest of the group.

    Maria

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