Self drive package

8 Days / 7 Nights

DAY 1: Rome – Pesaro: Pick up your car rental and drive to Pesaro, on the Adriatic Coast. Reach your elegant villa/farmhouse in Pesaro countryside, and after checking in have some free time to relax in the swimming pool before enjoying a fabulous Welcome Dinner prepared by the Relais’ master chef. Overnight.

DAY 2: Urbino: Today after breakfast we explore the land once ruled by the lords of Montefeltro. The day is devoted to visiting Urbino, one of Italy’s most fascinating towns of the Renaissance, seat of an ancient university and perfect destination for art history lovers. It is also the birthplace of Raphael site of the Unesco world heritage.  Have a guided tour of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, one of the most interesting architectural and artistic examples of the Italian Renaissance; it is a wonderful and mysterious place, which houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche with its precious paintings by Piero della Francesca, Tiziano, Paolo Uccello and Raphael. Among the many rooms of the building there’s a private one where the Duke Federico used to spend his time: the study room. It preserves valuable stuccos on the vaulted ceiling and a lower section paneled with engraved wood. Lunch will be independent, and your local expert tour manager will be happy to give you some advices to choose the best spots. In the afternoon you will go to a local farm and observe the farmer in the casciotta cheese making; of course, you will have the chance to taste this delicious typical product with crescia bread, and some cold cuts form the area, Prosciutto di Carpegna (ham) and Salame di Montefeltro (salami). Return to the Relais, dinner and overnight.

DAY 3: Gradara – Fano: Breakfast at the Relais.  A trip to Le Marche should include a visit to one of the most beautiful and famous castles in Italy. Then, you need to schedule a day exploring the historical beauties of Gradara. You will see this lovely town even before getting there, as the beautiful medieval castle stands out among the woods and hills. Just a few steps and you will be immersed in an atmosphere of old times that recalls a thirteenth century tranquility. The Castle of Gradara was the first military fortress on a border land which was turned into a majestic noble residence by powerful families. Tradition in this medieval village certainly contributed to making this fortress famous as the background of the unfortunate love between Paolo and Francesca, sung by Dante. But what really makes the Castle of Gradara unforgettable is the architectural beauty of an extraordinarily well-preserved complex, that has retained the appearance and atmosphere of an ancient medieval settlement. Independent lunch and in the afternoon, you will move southern towards Fano, known as the city of fortune, because of the Temple Fortuna around which the entire city has developed. The historic walls of Fano stretch for over half a kilometer, interspersed with cylindrical towers offering a wonderful example of Roman architecture that dates back to the period of the Emperor Augustus. You will have a walking tour of the city center, including a visit to the mysterious underground Fano, a fascinating itinerary through tunnels and galleries, taking you to truly unique places. Before dinner enjoy a walk by the seaside, you can perceive the long seafaring tradition of this city in the characteristic fishermen’s houses, along its beaches and in the many excellent restaurants. Your local expert tour manager will show you the Walk of Lisippo, on a fixed dock protected by the rocks, overlooking the sea. After all these beautiful walks to discover Fano that will never cease to amaze you, it’s finally time to sit at the table and try the two local specialties: Brodetto and Moretta. The Brodetto of Fano (fish soup) is a typical dish of the Adriatic Sea cooking tradition, while Moretta is a hot drink mixed with a liquor born among sailors and fishermen in the port of Fano to get warm before going out to sea. Return to the Relais for overnight.

DAY 4: Ancona – Conero – Loreto: After a breakfast, you will board your minivan and transfer to Ancona. Overlooking the sea, with one of the largest ports in Italy, Ancona is a city full of monuments and beautiful landscapes; it is also known as “City Dorica”, a name which refers to its Greek origins. The Cathedral which dominates the city from above and from which you can enjoy a special view, the picturesque arch of Trajan and Mole Vanvitelliana on the side of the harbor, the War Memorial overlooking the sea in one of the most unique areas of the coast. Don’t stop at the most famous monuments! Walking through the alleys and historical streets, you can discover hidden spots and panoramic views. After lunch at a local winery tasting Rosso Conero, one of the best red wines of the region, you will have a panoramic tour of the Conero Riviera: the stretch of coast on the slopes of Monte Conero, rich of beaches, bays and coves of exceptional beauty. Last stop of the day but not the least as per importance, will be in Loreto, a beautiful hill town second only to Assisi and Rome as a place of religious pilgrimage. The town is a showcase of some of Italy’s greatest artists and architects. People come here from all over the world to visit the Basilica della Santa Casa, known for enshrining the house in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed by some to have lived. Pious devotees believe that the same house was flown over by Angelic beings from Jerusalem to Tersatto (Trsat in Croatia) then to Recanati before arriving at the current site. At the end of the day you will arrive the beautiful resort in the Southern Marche countryside; after checking in you will have a tasteful dinner with products from the territory. Overnight.

DAY 5: Fabriano – Frasassi Caves: Breakfast at the Resort/hotel. This morning you will visit the Paper and Watermark Museum of Fabriano and see how paper and watermarks have evolved over the years into high-tech security mechanisms embedded in paper checks and banknotes. Take a guided tour through the medieval paper factory, where the making of paper is demonstrated on 13th-century devices. In a historic town famous for paper-making, see a collection of watermarks dating as far back as the 13th century, and view a film about the history of paper in Fabriano. Independent lunch. Proceed next to Genga, where you will admire the masterpieces created by the Nature itself; walk in the magnificent limestone caves for a lifetime experience. Frasassi Caves are a spectacular example of the force of nature. Accompanied by your guide, you will reach this spectacular limestone caves in Europe, discovered in 1971 and opened on 1974. The caves, a product of karstic phenomena, offer evocative stenographic effects and the walkways are smooth. Admire the impressive composition of stalagmites, fairy lake, labyrinths, windings with low ceiling and rich of different concretions. The different caves have been given fairy-tale like names such as Abyss Ancona, one of the biggest hollow in the world, Two Hundred Hall, the Grand Canyon, the White Hall, the Candles’ Hall the Ursa Hall, the Never-Ending Hall. Remember to cover yourself well because inside the cave you will find a temperature of 14°C!! Return to the Resort/hotel, dinner and overnight.

DAY 6: Recanati – Macerata – Morro D’Alba: Breakfast at the Resort/hotel.  This morning you will go to Recanati, the small town that gave birth to the famous poet and essayist Giacomo Leopardi, one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century. The poet’s memory is kept alive throughout the town, in fact you can admire Casa Leopardi, the home of the poet, which houses his valuable library, as well as visit his mother’s house: the Antici Mattei Palace. Recanati also honored Beniamino Gigli, one of the greatest Italian tenors. After independent lunch board the minivan and proceed to Macerata, birthplace of the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, this historical town is bordered by ramparts dating back to the XVI century. It is crossed by many roads that lead up to Piazza della Libertà, the heart of the old town, which is surrounded by the most important monuments and churches and the entrance to the University Palace. Nearby, you will find the Civic Museums of the Buonaccorsi Palace, known for its XVIII century paintings depicting the Stories of the Aeneid. Macerata houses also the famous Sferisterio Opera Festival, in the homonymous outdoor arena, with shows of international importance. On the way back to Pesaro you will stop at a local winery in Morro d’Alba, where you will taste the town’s real attraction: the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba an unmistakable aromatic red wine which is soft and full-boiled, produced in very limited quantities. Morro d’Alba is also known for its delightful walk around the Scarpa, a covered walkway around the town’s XV century walls. Return to the Resort/hotel, dinner and overnight.

DAY 7: Ascoli Piceno: After breakfast you will leave the Resort/hotel for a half day tour of Ascoli Piceno, a small town in the southern part of Le Marche region, which lies at the confluence of the Tronto and Castellano rivers. Called the “City of Travertine” for the milk and honey piazze and facades, Ascoli’s historic center is an architectural gem. Once home to over 200 spindly towers, almost 50 remain. Sculptures, roads and towers: since the Middle Ages travertine has been more than a simple rock for the Piceni, but rather a valuable resource. As an appetizer, before lunch, you will have the chance to visit one of the most historical producers of “olive all’ascolana” (stuffed fried olives filled with a mixture of braised pork, chicken and vegetables), and taste some of this local specialty. Free time in the afternoon to stroll around the city center and discover more of this small town. Return to the Resort/hotel and relax some time before enjoying an unforgettable Farewell Dinner. Overnight.

DAY 8: Arrivederci Italia: After breakfast drive back  to Rome airport for your return flight. 

Accommodations or similar

  • Pesaro Area:  Villa Giulia Relias
  • Riviera Area: Pamperduto Country Resort

**Please ask for all our alternative accommodations or experiences

*Package descriptions and pricing are subject to change without notice.