Marvellous beaches and enchanting little towns, a magical land waiting to be discovered.
Conero is the name of the mountain which, from the height of its 572 meters, overlooks Ancona, but also the name of a magnificent Riviera, an enchanting nature reserve, and a highly acclaimed red wine, all of which can be discovered on this one fascinating journey.
Heading towards Montacuto on the SP1 road, otherwise known as the Panoramica del Conero, after a few kilometers we spy the beach of Mezzavalle below us, a bay protected by a narrow strip of rock known as the "Trave" stack.
So as to access the beach we have to clamber down the cliffs on foot. The twenty minute descent is amply rewarded by a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters.
Three kilometers further and we reach another fabulous beach, that of Portonovo, guarded over by the 19th century Napoleonic Fort and the Watch Tower built in 1716. In the immediate vicinity, lie the charming chapels of Santa Maria and Santa Lucia.
Our journey along the Conero coast concludes at Sirolo, a small fortified town perched on a high plain from where it enjoys a view of Conero's most beautiful beaches: Sassi Neri, Due Sorelle, Numana, San Michele and Spiaggiola.
Travelling inland, the first town we meet is that of Loreto, which greets the visitor with its imposing Renaissance Basilica.
Thousands of pilgrims come to Loreto each year, so as to worship the Black Madonna and visit the Sacred House of Nazareth, which, legend has it, is the room in which Mary received the annunciation
Whilst in Loreto, we make time for a tour of the Art Museum where to admire an impressive collection of 16th century ceramics, tapestries, and paintings by Lorenzo Lotto, the artist who spent the last few years of his life in the town.
At home, with Leopardi
From the cult of the Madonna we pass to that of poetry. In fact, just a few kilometers from Loreto, lies the town of Recanati where Giacomo Leopardi was born and lived his decidedly tormented existence.
In the Palazzo Leopardi, where descendents of the bard still live to this very day, visitors have the opportunity to admire the Library where the poet composed his verses and look out of the window from where Giacomo spied his beloved Silvia, who lived in the opposite palazzo.
The headless city
Our journey continues towards Osimo, otherwise known as the "city of the headless" due to the presence of a series of acephalous statues from the Roman era conserved in the town hall. A stroll through the streets of this picturesque town leads us past the magnificent façades of ancient patrician palazzo as far as the Romanesque cathedral.
Fancy exploring underground Osimo underground? Make your way to the Grotte del Cantinone caves
Castles, art and ancient weapons
Filottrano merits a visit so as to admire its charming villas and aristocratic palazzi, as does Offagna for its impressive Medieval castle.
Those with an interest for sacred art should head to the Church of the Santissimo Sacramento and the Church of Santa Lucia.
There are four museums in the town of Offagna including the Museum of Ancient Weapons and the Paolucci Museum of Natural History, in which some 15000 exhibits are displayed.