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The salt air and a thousand shades of blue sea along the Marche coastline, the myriad colours of lush inland plant life - the region's heartland has so much to offer - the Frasassi Caves, natural parks, the geological formations of the Furlo Gorge and the Apennine mountain wolves.


Casa Archilei

Casa Archilei, just outside the city of Fano, is an environmental education and teaching centre created by a group of Fano naturalist associations. It was opened in 1989 by the Fano City Council in what was once a farm house in 1.3 hectares of land. The aim of Casa Archilei is to create a centre for volunteers in the environmental sector whose energies and expertise are channelled into projects and action plans for the benefit of the community.
The various activities carried out at Casa Archilei - environmental education for schools, its specialist library, creation of a database covering the Metauro basin, weather observation, reconstruction of natural environments, assisting animals in difficulty, growing organic vegetables etc. - are based on learning through practice and therefore encouraging active participation and interest in nature and the world of science.
Casa Archilei is managed by a committee made up by public organisations and naturalist associations such as Argonauta, Kronos and ENPA. It has been involved in a project entitled "Fano, city for children" and in 1996 became recognised by the Marche Regional Government as a Territorial Laboratory.

Casa Archilei, via Ugo Bassi, 6 - tel. and fax +39.0721.80521;
e-mail: - web site:

Furlo gorge - Acqualagna

Travelling along the Flaminian Way from Fano towards Rome, we arrive at the Furlo Tunnel, at the foot of the Furlo Gorge. The Gorge cuts through what was once a single mass of rock. 

Over millions of years the River Candigliano has driven a path through it, leaving a deep fissure in the rock. This is but one reason why the mountains of this area offer so many interesting things to see.
Above all is the richness of its nature. 

Furlo is the home of many wild animals of great ecological importance, including the wolf, golden eagle, Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), peregrine falcon, sparrow hawk (Accipiter nisus), Cornish chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and wall creeper (Tichodroma muraria) as well as plants of botanical interest (including the Moehringa papulosa and Salix apenninica). In addition, there are 2500 hectares of state owned forest and two plant protection areas where natural habitats are in the process of development. 


Against this magnificent natural background it is possible to trace back the natural history of the area which is plainly visible in the limestone cliffs of the gorge.
Among many other interesting aspects of the area are the ancient farming traditions out of which the more recent culinary culture of the truffle has grown. The mountains of Furlo and nearby Acqualagna are among the main areas in central Italy for growing the black truffle (tartufo nero) and white truffle (tartufo bianco pregiato).

Parco del San Bartolo - Parco Simone e Simoncello

The Parco naturale del San Bartolo is a natural park covering more than 1600 hectares of land in the Pesaro and Gabicce Mare districts, rising from the beaches along the Romagna and Marche border up to a series of hilly spurs and valleys and punctuated with sheer cliff faces of great beauty. The two main peaks, Monte Castellaro and Monte Brisighella, reach a height of 200 metres, giving grandstand views along the coastline and out over the sea, while the rugged cliffs provide an unusual feature in this stretch of flat sandy coastline.

Its cliffs contain fossilised fish and rare chalk crystals of great geological interest. Below them are narrow pebble beaches created from the erosion of the cliff walls above. 


The Parco del San Bartolo also has interesting rare examples of flowers, vegetation and animal life. In May the hill slopes overlooking the sea are covered in yellow broom (Spartium iunceum). Most of the vegetation is relatively sparse but there are also small woodland areas of Adriatic oak. The bird-life here is another important feature, particularly in winter time, with various marine species including the red-throated diver, members of the merganser family, the crested cormorant, wild goose, long-tailed duck, common scoter and many others.

Continuing on inland from Pesaro there is another natural park which is rich in natural delights both for those who are interested in nature as well as for those who are rarely able to discover its attractions. The Parco naturale regionale del Simone e Simoncello lies in the heart of the Lands of Montefeltro, in an area which is rich in history and of particular natural interest.
It covers an area which includes the towns of Carpegna, Frontino, Montecopiolo, Pian di Meleto, Pennabilli and Pietrarubbia. 

The park, established in 1996, has a modern visitors centre with a science laboratory and learning centre for children. The park has a great variety of wildlife, including birds of prey, wolves, deer and wild boar. It also provides a thriving habitat for flowers and vegetation, with specimens that are hard to find elsewhere.


Genga - Frasassi caves and Parco della Gola della Rossa

A journey to admire the extraordinary beauty of the Parco Naturale di Frasassi and the Parco della Gola Rossa is certainly worthwhile. To reach Genga, take the A14 motorway as far as the 'Ancona Nord' exit and then head inland along the Ancona-Rome dual carriageway as far as the Genga- Sassoferrato turn.
Here, in the spectacular Frasassi Gorge, are the Frasassi Caves, a place which attracts more visitors than anywhere else. 

This series of underground caves has been described as among the most beautiful in the world. It was discover in 1971 by the CAI Speleological Association from Ancona. Realising that this was a place of rare outstanding beauty it was decided within a space of three years to open the caves to the public. Over the years the tourist route through the caves has been extended and improved in order to highlight the colours and form of the stalactites and stalagmites as well as the natural presence of water and its majestic rock vaults. The caves are open throughout the year (except for 1st January, 24th and 25th December).

In 1997, Frasassi became part of the Parco Naturale Regionale della Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi, the largest protected area in the region. A journey around the park reveals a rich historical and artistic heritage concealed in a fascinating, peaceful landscape which is still healthy and unspoiled. This natural scenery stands in the even larger Esino-Frasassi mountain area, which comprises the towns of Arcevia, Fabriano, Genga and Serra San Quirico, places of great historical, archaeological and artistic interest.