Sarnano guide to Le Marche region
What to do in Le Marche region, where to shop in Le Marche, what to visit in Le Marche, kids activities in Le Marche and more….
This guide has been put together to help you get the most from your holidays in this part of Le Marche. If you are on holiday in Sarnano, San Ginesio, Gualdo, Amandola, Caldarola and want to tour the Macerata province and the province of Ascoli Piceno then read on.
Sarnano, Macerata province, Marche region
The History of Sarnano
Prior to medieval times Sarnano was occupied by the Longobards, however in the XIIIth century Sarnano became temporarily free until Varano from nearby Camerino conquered it. The Papal State and its armies then governed the province until in 1860 Le Marche joined a united Italy.
Sarnano Spa or Terme
The Sarnano Terme waters; which are bottled locally, are claimed to be beneficial for many complaints and the Spa or “Terme” itself offers visitors health and beauty treatments in historic surroundings. Take the right turn for Gualdo 200m below the town towards Amandola; the Terme is about 1km on the right.
Sarnano Children’s Park, Crazy golf & Tennis court
At the main Piazza turn left towards Sassotetto, after 150m, opposite the parade of shops you will find the park and crazy golf on the left (down the hill). If you wish to play tennis, then please call 0733657092
Sarnano Indoor Swimming Pool/ Jacuzzi and Steam Room
Situated behind the black dome (Palazetto), this has been recently refurbished to a high standard. There is a large pool and a small children’s pool, jacuzzi and steam room.
On the road to Sarnano, take the left after the petrol station, go straight ahead to a cross roads, the gym is opposite and is bright yellow and orange. This is a fully equipped gym with a competitive day rate (€6)
Sarnano Tourist Office
This is 100m beyond the main Piazza on the left of the main road towards Macerata and has all the literature and information that you will ever need.
There are a number of specialist shops in Sarnano, including 3 Enotheche where you can buy local foods and wines, 4 bakers, 8 butchers (most of which stock only local meat where the provenance is known) and the stall in the square; which Fabrizio runs and sells his own great Porchetta (suckling pig stuffed with garlic and wild fennel), stuffed turkey roll or stuffed rabbit roll, crudo ham and a variety of other salamis.
For Sarnano supermarkets, there are two in town with deli counters, at the piazza go left towards Sassotetto and COAL and Si are situated opposite the park, but for your staples, pasta, beer and wine, the prices are far better at Eurospin which is out of Sarnano towards Macerata 300m on the left. All the supermarkets are open 8.30am-12.30/1pm and 5pm-7.30/8pm Mon – Sun (closed Thurs pm and Sun pm).
If you fancy a late drink and some music, then Carlo’s your man at Sticky Fingers pub opposite the park or try Memphis Belle bar in the Centro Storico where Simone and Beatrice will help you relax with great music and drinks till very late!
For mellow tunes, ridiculously priced draft wines and craft beers why not try Nicola at Decantautore Bar below the Centro Storico.. Nicola has installed our dart board at the back!
Sarnano Festas and events
The social calendar is full to overflowing in the Summer months. Check out our events page and particularly look out for gigs at Sticky Fingers, Memphis Belle and for the wonderful Castrum Sarnani festival.
The Sibillini Mountains
The Sibillini National Park:
Sarnano lies 1 kilometre from the Sibillini national park that has preserved 40km2 of wildlife and historicl villages in this beautiful stretch of the Apennine Mountains. There are wild rivers, waterfalls, caves, gorges and fresh mountain lakes a short drive from Sarnano and maps that will help you find the tracks and trails, the abbeys and monasteries.
The park tourist site and the park tourist offices in Amandola and San Ginesio have a wealth of information on the area and the main events and places of interest http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.monti.sibillini/Eindex.html
The Sibiliini National Park’s Info centres will advise you on where to spot local flora, fauna and wildlife including deer, boar, wildcats, wolves, porcupine, peregrine falcons and golden eagles. Alternatively, we can hire you a professional guide.
Sibillini Mountain Activities:
The dramatic appenine landscape, with a highest peak of 2500metres, flower filled plateaux and the rolling hills below, offers an ideal location for walking, cycling, photography, drawing and painting. The Sibillini National Park has organised tours and treks throughout the spring, summer and autumn months and have numerous predefined itineries available http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.monti.sibillini/Eman.html
Good local wineries
Il Pollenza. Cantina at Tolentino it from (take the Zona industriale / final Tolentino exit from the SS77 road, turn right, right again and left after 500 metres, follow the signs up the white road for 1km, enter through the first gates, past the big statue and over to the far corner of the piazza where you will find a door open (this is the badly advertised shop!) .A superb blend of traditional Italian grapes with Merlot and Cabernet and others for €1.70/Litre, aged bottles from €3.00/Litre, including a sweet Sauvignon Blanc.
Saputi Cantina MC Marche italy: Take the main road from the villa towards Macerata and after 20 minutes turn left towards Colmurano, the Cantina is on the right before the village Great sfuso or draft Rose, good reds, whites and handmade olive oil at only €7 a litre. Good rates on shipping.
Sarnano itself is well served by numerous ristorante and pizzerias, our favourites are listed below plus a few selected others.
Please note that it is worth booking in advance (I would like to book a table for 4/6 at 8 tomorrow- “Vorrei prenotare una tavola per domani sera alle otto per quattro/sei persone”) as they will often prepare extra dishes.
( 393 715 5161 – email@example.com) On the road to Sassotetto on the left opposite Scherzi a Parte 4-5km out of Sarnano is this gem of a restaurant. Great hospitality and menu.. Andrea and his wife go that little bit further when it comes to sourcing wine and ingredients: the flagons of house red and white are superb, the cheese is sourced from a local Farm who use Raw milk and ancient recipes. The antipasti and pastas will always include a few surprises, there are great options for vegitarians and quite a bit of game and unusually the range of dolce is excellent. Great great value and not to be missed.
Osteria Scherzi a Parte/ Sarnano
(0733 651244); Superb views from the terrace and a very convivial atmosphere created by the owner Gabrielle, who speaks English and will translate the many lovely dishes. Food is seasonal and includes superb antipasto misto, great pastas, game that includes venison, wild boar (often caught by the owner) and quail. Take the right turning for Sassotetto at the main Piazza and drive for about 4-5 km up towards the mountains- its on the right just before a big right hand bend. Closed Wednesday.
Le Clarisse/ Sarnano- Centro Storico
VIA MAZZINI 240 Sarnano (MC) Phone 345.4959389 email firstname.lastname@example.org Go through the arch into the Centro storico, turn right and bear left and then right and you will find a wonderful old ristorante in an ancient building with vaulted ceilings.
Much of the food is organic, and is selected with care and cooked with passion. Great handmade pastas with robust sauces and succulent dishes using locally reared meats. Good selection of beers, choose your house wine from the barrels at the rear of the restaurant.
Il Pincio/ Sarnano
0733 657246 – Just out of Sarnano (200 m) towards Macerata, excellent wood baked pizzas, meats that include tagliata (wonderful steak strips in sauces), good pastas and excellent deserts. Closed Monday.
Il Colle/ Gabella Nuova/ Sarnano
0733 657257 – Lovely restaurant 3km from Sarnano (drive through Sarnano towards Macerata at Gabella Nuova turn left and left and left again). Good Pizzas, steaks, grilled meats, pasta in a restored farm with outdoor seating. Closed Wednesday.
La Marchigiana/ Sarnano
0733 657314 – Impressive ristorante with varied antipasti, good first courses and meats cooked alla braccia/ flame grilled. Try the Cinghiale in Salmi (wild boar and olives in a robust sauce. Drive through Sarnano and out the other side toward Macerata, it’s about 1km out on the right. Closed Friday
MOMA country House
0733 694253 – 5km towards Macerata from Sarnano, on the right just after the left turn for Tolentino. A restored country house that is open for a limited selection of lovely lunches. Despite only being open since 2011 the word has spread and this ristorante is full almost every lunchtime (not open evenings). Great fish dishes on Friday.
Hotel Terme http://www.hoteltermesarnano.it/index-en.php
0733 657166 – Set in one of the oldest buildings outside the medieval Centro Storico of Sarnano, the hotel, positioned in a prime position in the main square, has been lovingly restored with an art Nouveaux frontage and lavishly styled bar and ristorante. Food ranges from superb pizzas to homemade egg pasta and superb fish on Friday, accompanied by a fine wine list and a very naughty gelateria. Prices for a pasta or pizza dish are a very reasonable €7.
Ai Pini / Sarnano
0733 657183 – good little trattoria in the centre, excellent pastas and meats and very well priced. If you enter Sarnano from Amandola, take the left turn just before the main Piazza, head down the hill and turn right by the bakers, go through the arch and it’s on your left.
Da Marino / Sarnano
0733657416 – Buzzing bar with pool table, juke box and video games, serves up a mean pizza and is very reasonable. Take aways available. Turn left into the piazza, then turn right and it’s on your left. Closed Wed.
Il Porvero, Sarnano
Take the road to the road to the Centro Storico and take the first left- the ristorante is on the right. Very rustic trattoria serving robust food from locally sourced ingredients.
Bar Sassotetto / Sarnano
Excellent pizza with very fresh ingredients. Try the Bresaola (cured beef, with fresh rocket and Parmesan). Take aways available. The green building opposite the park. Closed Wed.
Out of Sarnano
If you are willing to drive or take the local taxi, then Picciolo di Rame at Vestignano with its €30 12 course tasting menu is not to be missed, nor is the wonderful Da Rosa at Macerata
Le Marche Sport & Activities
Le Marche Football: Ascoli are the nearest members of Serie C and it’s quite easy and cheap to buy tickets. The city and its stadium are 45 minutes away. Tickets are available at the local tabacchi in Sarnano or in Ascoli on Matchday (don’t to forget to take ID)
Golf in Le Marche Italy:
The only Le Marche golf course is at Sirolo; Conero Golf Club (071/7360613) it is 6766 yards long and nestles in the hills of the Conero national park overlooking the sea. Weekday green fees of €40 – golf clubs can be hired. This is also a great wine producing area- so a trip to a Cantina for the 19th hole should be considered http://www.conerogolfclub.it/ita/conero/campo_piantina.asp
Le Marche Water sports:
Within easy reach are the yacht club at Porto San Giorgio, Windsurfing at Civitanova and Porto San Elpidio, Sailing at Civitanova, diving at Pedaso, canoeing at lake Fiastra
Le Marche Hang-gliding/Para-gliding:
Fifteen minutes from the villa you will find a Hang gliding school and accompanied tourist flights are available from May to October. http://www.limanhouse.com/home.htm
Le Marche Skiing & Snowboarding:
20 minutes from the Sarnano is Sassotetto is Le Marche’s main ski resort and is ideal for beginners, or for those who need a weekend ski-fix. There are 10 drag/chairlifts, 9 pistes plus off piste action available. At the ski resort are a couple of restaurants, ski & boot hire plus ski pass sales. There is also a regular bus service from the town.
Walking in Le Marche:
There are 10 marked circular routes from Sarnano for walkers of all abilities (you should find a little fold out map in the villa or on the desk in the tourist office) and the local tourist board organises guided hikes throughout the summer. The Sibillini National Park also organises tours and treks throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn months and have numerous predefined itineries available http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.monti.sibillini/Eman.html.
Also available at the tabacchi is the detailed map of the network of paths and tracks through the Sibillini mountain national park, you can drive to the top of the mountains and walk the ridges across to a number of refuges that have bars and restaurants.
Le Marche Horse Riding:
Guided or solo horse-riding from 1 to 4 hours or itineries of up to 3 days are available at the local le querce agriturismo phone 0733.658211 and Horse Riding also available at Serpanera 0.5km from the villa
Le Marche Horse Racing:
Visit Montegiorgio, half an hour from the villa if you fancy a day or night of watching and betting on horse racing Italian style (with riders in traps) http://www.sanpaolo.ippodromo.it/main.php
Flat racing is also held at Corridonia from June to September is half an hour away
Le Marche Waterparks:
Verde Azzurro waterpark is an hour away at Cingoli and offers families a day filled with pools, rides and slides. NB the rides are closed for lunch.
Onda Blu at Tortoreto (1 hr 45 mins) which offers more of the same but has more extreme slides on offer and is open all day.
Cingoli Adventure Park:
Right next to the lake at Cingoli, a beautiful town known as the balcony of Le Marche there is an adventure park with kids climbing wall, tightropes and zip wires, which include a 250m beast that is 70m in the air
About 50 minutes away is Quercus Park which is an adventure playground with high wires, climbing frames and zip wires. Set in a lovely location 15 minutes from the sea and in amongst many of the Wine makers of the area Mum and Dad can have some fun too. Open 10-1900 during July and August and weekends before and after that
What’s on in Le Marche
Look for posters as you pass through villages, better still go to the tabacchi and buy “Corriere Proposte”- this is Le Marche’s Time Out guide.
Local Le Marche markets usually closed by 1pm
- Monday at Loro Piceno
- Tuesday at Mogliano, San Benedetto del Tronto,Tolentino
- Wednesday at Amandola, Macerata, Ascoli Piceno
- Thursday at Sarnano
- Friday at Caldarola
Saturday at Civitanova Marche – Le Marche’s centre for leather ware, shoes and handbags
- Sunday at San Ginesio
The best Le Marche Beaches
The Adriatic Coast of Le Marche consists of a long stretch of beautiful, clean, safe beaches. Within easy reach of Sarnano are seaside resorts with sandy or pebbly beaches, private or free beaches, pine clad hills rolling down to secluded coves, wonderful seafront restaurants and bars, markets, designer outlets, sophisticated shopping and buzzing nightlife and some delicious gelati.
Particular favourites include:
The beach at Sirolo & Numana, Ancona:
The Conero National Park includes the riviera’s two chief resorts. Sirolo is the most attractive, with a historic centre high on cliffs with views of the coast below. Go through the town and take a left to carparking by one of the coves. A couple of kilometres south is Numana with its marina and long sandy beach the south.
The beach at Porto San Giorgio,Fermo:
What was once the ancient port for the Roman town of Fermo is now stylish beach resort with a port. There are some funky shops and the place buzzes in Summer with regular markets and music and festas.
San Benedetto del Tronto, Ascoli Piceno:
A popular palm tree lined resort which has 8km of wide sandy beach and stylish old-world elegance, especially in the older part of the town above the main resort with its castle and narrow streets, however, in Summer it comes alive and is a vibrant place with great shopping, top restaurants and nightlife.
In our opinion its better than the coast, cooler and with wonderful turquoise fresh water. The drive up to Lake Fiastra is really worthwhile, the views are awesome and there’s a great little beach plus a Pizzeria, bar and Trattoria nearby. You can also hire boats and quad bikes locally.
See http://www.le-marche.com/Marche/html/beaches.htm for more information on the main beaches
Le Marche Museums and art galleries
Abbadia di Fiastra Archaeology Museum, Macerata: Roman artefacts found at nearby Urbisaglia; Open 10-12.30 e 15-18.30 every day (from 20/06 al 15/09); 10-12.30 e 15-17.30 feast days (dal 16/09 al 19/06) There is also a farm museum of rural life at the same place (0733202122)
Basilica of Saint Nicola of Tolentino: open 9-12 and 15-19. Works of art, the crib museum, ceramics and architecture.
Macerata Palazzo Ricci: Via Domenico Ricci open 10-13 and 16-20 Saturdays and Sundays, and every day in July and August. Sculpture and art works.
San Severino Archaeology museum– from prehistoric onwards. At the castle on the hill. Open 10-12 and 17-19 Fri/ Sat/Sun.
Urbisaglia Roman museum: At Traversa Piccinini in the town on the hill. Roman finds from the Amphitheatre and the nearby site. Open 8.30-13.30 Monday & Tues; from Wed- Sat 8.30-19.30; 8.30-13.30 Sundays and feast days. Also an exhibition of armies and uniforms at Via del Sacrario 20, open 10-13 and 15-19 every day in Summer; 15-18 Saturdays and 10-13 and 15-18 on Sundays in the Winter.
Camerino museum with local finds including bronzes, art and ceramics. Open 10-13 and 16-19 (from April to Sept); 10-13 and 15-18 (from Oct- Mar) – closed Mondays. Camerino Museum of Natural Science at Camerino University (Piazza Cavour, Palazzo Ducale). Plantlife, fossils and bottled animals (to go with your pasta). Open 8-14 from Mon-Fri, 14.30-17.30 Tuesday and Thursday. Camerino University Orto/vegetable garden at Viale Veneziano and Oberdan. Down some stairs near the University is a garden founded in 1828 with plants and trees from the local hills and mountains, ranging from Orchids to 250 plants researched by the university and used in medications.
Sarnano Museum of local wildlife, armourments and arms, art and the worlds largest hammer museum Open 9-12.30 e 16-18.30 from Monday to Thursday and 9-12.30 Friday; also 9-12.30 e 16-19 Saturday & Sunday (from15/07 to15/09 and national holidays)
Castello della Rancia/Tolentino: Archaeological museum: Open 10-13 and 15-19, closed Monday (from 15/3 to 15/10); 10-13 and 15-18; Saturdays, Sundays and feast days (from 16/10 to 14/3)
Le Marche Sightseeing (journey times in minutes from Sarnano)
Macerata (30mins) Macerata is a beautiful town and boasts a number of piazzas with stunning architecture, a beautiful theatre, the Macerata Sferisterio or opera house, the Duomo, art gallery and museums of carriages and the unification of Italy/ wartime resistance. There are also a variety of tempting shops and some lovely bars and ristorante.
Tolentino(20mins) This vibrant medieval city is home to the shrine of St Nicola, and some lovely architecture including an ancient medieval bridge and a unique clock tower in the main square. The nearby 12th century Castello della Rancia. Wander has an armourment display, and on the central piazza you will find the the museum of caricature and art humorism, or simply enjoy the shopping, cafes and trattorie.
Montemonaco (30mins) A pretty walled town with an information centre for the Sibillini national park. From here you can walk in a couple of hours to the ‘cave of the Sibyl’ (the lair of Tannhauser’s Venus), or more striking, follow the Tenna up the amazing limestone Golla dell’Infernaccio, / “Little Hell Gorge”
Hells Gorge & the Hermit (40mins to the start) Visit Padre Pietro a Cappuccian monk and hermit, who has lived alone for almost 40 years in one of Italy’s most stunning Gorges, He has devoted his time to construction of an amazing church on the foundations of the first Capuccian priory.
Drive through Amandola, down the hill and turn right towards Montefortino, you will see a brown sign on the right for “golla dell’Infernaccio” follow this and you will reach about 3 km of white gravel road, avoiding the potholes you will eventually reach two gateposts and need to park. Stop at the spring on route to top up your water bottles and park up at the end of the road, (there is a grassy area above for resting or picnicking) walk down hill, past the water cascade and then uphill for about 400m, after that its plain sailing, with 16km of pathway following the river Tenna through dramatic limestone cliffs. If you turn right after about an hour, following the sign for San Leonardo it leads uphill to Pedre Pietro and his chuch or hermitage
Abbadia di Fiastra (20mins-take the SS78 towards Macerata) A Cistercian monastery founded in 1142, built using stones from the nearby Roman town of “Urbs Salvia” In medieval times this abbey owned farmland that reached 30km to the coast in medieval times. Today the surrounding parkland is still cultivated by the monks and wines and other produce is on sale to the public, there are two very good well priced restaurants, and the monastery, an archaeological museum and beautiful nature reserve is open to the public.
Urbisaglia (20mins-take the SS78 towards Macerata)- A couple of miles from Abbadia di Fiastra, this impressive Roman site provides tours of its frescoes, theatre, forum and amphitheatre, which held gladiatorial battles on boats, there is also an impressive roman cistern, medieval castle and museum.
Ascoli Piceno (40mins) The stylish city has greatwalks along the river and the Piazza del Popolo with its tiled with travertine and undoubtedly one of the most elegant squares of Italy. An amazing array of gothic architecture, shopping and art galleries, plus some wonderful bars to sample the local Rosso Piceno, Pecorino and Passerina wines.
Caldarola (15 mins) is dominated by the Pallotta castle, Built in the 9th Century and redeveloped in medieval times by the Pallotta family, who still own the castle and now open it to the public, there are also 3 other castles and some great ristorante in the surrounding countryside
Camerino (30mins) This panoramic university hill town has a history that dates back to Neolithic times. It remains as it was in Renaissance times, when the local warmongering Da Varanno family gained the upper hand over much of surrounding Le Marche . Camerino has impressive churches, palaces and art plus lovely gardens, outdoor cafes and a few great shops
Amandola (15 mins) This touring centre for the national park has a picturesque cobbled piazza, sit in one of the bars there and watch the world go by, or try strolling up the hill to the museum of rural history.
Frasassi (90mins) these stunning underground limestone caves are the largest in Europe and well worth a visit.
Lake Fiastra (20 mins) Swim in lovely lake set in the heart of the mountains. In the summer light the lake takes on a wonderful aquamarine colour and you can rent pedaloes and canoes, swim and sunbathe on the beach, have lunch at the pizzeria or osteria and then cross the lake via the bridge at San Lorenzo al Lago and park at Fiastra 2km up the hill, walk to the castle and tower on the hill which command amazing views of the length of the lake. Try Il Tribbio a great agriturismo at Fiastra village for lunch with great views. There are various signposted walks on the lakes banks.
Le Marche World War POW camp (25mins): Visit the camp at Servigliano that held thousands of Allied POWs during WW2. Hear stories including the mass escape following the Italian Armistice and the Italian farmers hiding Allied Servicemen until the liberation of Italy. An article in the UK Daily Telegraph describes the break out and there is even a web site dedicated to the Servigliano POW Camp and its prisoners
Lake San Ruffino (25mins): A co-operative down at the lake run a number of not for profit ventures here during peak season, there are massages and therapies, a great horse riding, a kayaking school, deer park, a picnic area, tourist office, small museum and a lovely osteria. You can swim if you dive off the jetty near the osteria.
Loreto & the Conero National Park (1 hour): Visit historic Loreto, its art gallery and the amazing basilica (where Mary mother of Jesus’ house from Nazareth is now located), the gentrified town of Recanati (home to Gigli and Le Marche’s most famous writer and poet Giacomo Leopardi) then move on to the Conero National Park, stopping at a few cantinas to sample and purchase some wonderful Rosso Conero wines (try Garofoli at Loreto for great wines, free tastings and good prices). Then move on to the picturesque coves of Sirolo or PortoNovo for lunch and swimming and then down to the marina at Numana for more swimming, strolling and a bit of go-karting or trampolining.