Italy // Le Marche //

Pesaro and around

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The vast majority of tourists come to PESARO, an agreeably tranquil backwater, much of which dates from the 1920s and 1930s, for a lazy bake on the long stretch of sandy beach and little else. Though popular with Brits and Germans on cheap package holidays and Italian families on annual getaways, this sometimes overlooked resort has gone slightly more upmarket in recent years with the bog-standard seasonal three-star hotels up against stiff competition from some world-class luxury establishments. Away from the bronzing masses, Pesaro’s old town has an enjoyably off-the-beaten-track feel and makes for half a day’s exploration. With regular transport connections to lesser-known towns like Gradara and Fano, it also makes a feasible base from which to explore northern Le Marche.

The centre of town is the dignified Piazza del Popolo, in which the rituals of the pavement café scene are played out against the sharp lines of Fascist-period buildings and the Renaissance restraint of the Palazzo Ducale. All of the main attractions are within a five-minute walk of here. Although the town has a clutch of museums, the main attraction is undoubtedly its beach. A tree-lined grid of rather bland and boxy looking apartments marks the long sandy beachfront, enlivened here and there by some rather marvellous Art Nouveau villas, including one on Piazzale della Libertà whose eaves are supported by white plaster lobsters.

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