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.Read More
FANO is no longer quite the haven it was when Robert Browning washed up here in 1848, seeking respite from the heat and crowds of Florence. A large swathe of the seafront is dominated by an ugly industrial port, and although its beaches remain splendid, they now attract thousands of package tourists every year. Nevertheless, Fano is a pleasant enough place if a little humdrum, and comfortably combines its role as resort with that of small fishing port and minor historical town, the latter well worth the effort of leaving sand and sizzle for half a day’s wander.
Fano’s Roman precursor, named Fanum Fortunae after its Temple of Fortune, lay at the eastern terminus of the Via Flaminia, which traversed the Apennines to Rome. The town is still built around a Roman crossroads plan: Via Arco di Augusto and Corso Matteotti follow the routes of the cardus and decumanus, and their junction is marked with a copy of a Roman milestone stating its distance from the capital (195.4 Roman miles).