The sequence of low and sandy coasts which stretch along the Adriatic coastine from Trieste to the Gargano area stops in this place, giving way to a breathtaking scenario. We’re in the province of Ancona, in the coastline that runs for about 20 km from the region capital to the town of Numana. The promontory of the Conero Mount, covered with lush vegetation, plunges into a crystal clear sea. The whole territory is safeguarded by the Conero Regional Park, which covers 5,800 hectares of protected area and is home to plants and animals of great natural interest. The high and rocky coastline interrupts to embrace countless enchanting beaches, suspended between the green land and the blue water for unique holidays, with lots of events and sports to experience. For those who are going to spend a holiday in Le Marche and don’t want to miss out on the natural and cultural wonders that only this region is able to offer, it is essential to know what to see in the Conero Riviera.
Mezzavalle is a bay of sand and rocks completely surrounded by nature, located between Ancona and Portonovo, north of the Conero Riviera. You can reach the beach by a 15-minute walk down a steep path, really quite adventurous! There are no beach resorts, just a small bar & restaurant. If you continue following the left path, you will reach the Trave, a rocky strip that stretches into the sea. If you want to have beautiful skin, before bathing rub on your body the clay that you find in this quarry: results are guaranteed! In the last stretch of the north coast there is a beach of rocks and stones completely wild and definitely charming, it is called Spiaggia della Vedova and it’s known for its typical caves. It’s a free beach but quite difficult to reach; actually, you will need to walk a long path through the Conero Park before getting to the sea. It has no beach resorts or bars so organise yourself before departure! For your evening stroll, do not miss the caves of the Passetto, hidden between the main streets of Ancona – one of most beautiful and charming city beach of Italy. Here the coast is dotted with coloured grottoes carved into the rock, once used by fishermen as a refuge for boats. Today swimming is not allowed in this area.
Also known as the Green Bay (Baia Verde), Portonovo is surrounded by nature and characterized by stone or grit beaches, suitable for everyone and easily accessible both by car and public transport. For decades this wonderful location has been awarded with the Blue Flag. Free or equipped beaches surrounded by woods offering amazing paths and marked itineraries among the lakes, the beautiful Romanesque church of St Mary of Portonovo (also mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy), the eighteenth-century Clementina Tower and the Napoleonic blockhouse.
This picturesque medieval village overlooking the sea provides a breathtaking view of the Conero Riviera and for over twenty years it has been awarded with the European Blue Flag and the 4 Sails of Legambiente (an environmental organization). Start your visit from one of its most famous beaches: Urbani. Easily reachable both with car or on foot, this beach of gravel and sand is mainly private but has some stretches of free beach as well. The bay boasts a beautiful natural cave and a characteristic cliff called I Lavi, which offers an amazing panoramic view! On foot or by shuttle bus (during summertime) from the village you can also reach the beach of San Michele – surrounded by greenery and crystal clear waters, or the nearby beach of Sassi Neri – characterised by a seabed of dark rocks. How could I forget to mention the beach of Le Due Sorelle (two sisters), which are actually the two white rocks rising from the water and the large bay at the foot of the Conero Mount. It is only reachable by sea, so you should rent a boat or take one of the ferries leaving from the port of Numana. In summer it is a very crowded beach, but a visit is a must if you’re nearby! Next to the beach of Le Due Sorelle there is the beach of the Gabbiani (seagulls) – a corner of absolute peace only reachable by sea. Among its white rocks hide the remains of the cave Grotta degli Schiavi.
Since 2001 Numana has always won the Blue Flag award and in 2015 it was also awarded with the Green Flag for its kid-friendly beaches.
Beach resorts, restaurants, bars, playgrounds make the beaches of Numana Bassa and of Numana Alta particularly suitable for families with kids or for those who want to enjoy a few more comforts than they could in the wilder corners of the Riviera, hence always within easy reach from this point.
The two areas are connected by the so-called Costarella, a steep street with steps that takes you from the port to the highest part of town.
From 2013 the European project IPA Adriatic NetCet for the safeguard of protected species has chosen the beach of Numana Alta to resettle the Caretta Caretta sea turtles. Take part with the whole family at the various summer events including the exciting return of the turtles to the sea. Next to Numana Alta you find the particularly fascinating beach Dei Frati (Friars), a fine gravel bay with beach resorts. Another place to visit in this area is Marcelli, a small hamlet of Numana with beach resorts equipped with every service, from bars and cafes to sport facilities. Absolutely perfect for an evening stroll, a morning run or a nice bike ride. On the main street there are many shops and entertainment options.
The Regional Park of Conero: not just for trekking
The Regional Park of Conero is a protected natural reserve established in 1987: 572 metres of Mediterranean scrubland overlooking the sea divided into 18 paths that will surprise you with breathtaking sceneries. Besides walking freely among these amazing tracks, you could join guided tours, educational programs, events and specific activities for kids and adults.
You can receive all information about suggested itineraries at the Vist Centre (Sirolo, Via Peschiera 30/A).
Sports in the Conero Riviera
Throughout the area of Conero the climate is perfect for practicing lots of water sports: diving, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and kite surfing, the latest fad among wave surfers that are pulled by a kite. Within the premises of the Conero Park, among the green hills of Sirolo, you’ll find the Conero Golf Club – about 70 hectares of field counting 18 holes and characterized by a high quality standard of services.
From the Sea to the table
And when hunger strikes, there’s nothing better than a good lunch based on fish, choosing from a thousand different dishes, from the traditional brodetto – fish soup, traditionally made with thirteen varieties of fish, to the Stoccafisso all’anconetana – dried cod, cooked according to a recipe typical of the Ancona area. A delicious speciality is the moscioli – a particular species of wild mussels from the bay of Portonovo that Slow Food has added to its protection. Not to mention the bombetti – sea snails “in porchetta” dipped in a delicious sauce flavoured with wild fennel. And now, what to drink? Definitely a good glass of Rosso Conero or Verdicchio of the nearby Castelli di Jesi.
Now that you know my suggestions on what to see in the Conero Riviera, you just have to organize your trip to visit the natural wonders and enjoy the food&wine specialties of this stretch of coast.
To enjoy your stay in Le Marche and experience local habits and traditions of this territory, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Giorgia – Senigallia (AN)
Casale Francesca – Morrovalle (MC)
Villa Mami – Fabriano (AN)