In the hinterland there are fine, ancient medieval boroughs, whereas the centers along the coast are mostly modern, and suited to summer tourism, thanks to the low waters and fine sandy beaches, apart from one high, rocky cliff at Monte Conero, with, just below, the city of Ancona, the main port of the region.
The "marchigiani" like to live in the small centers, and they are hard-working, orderly people who established a network of small industries of high quality merchandise in the textile and leather sectors, or in very special niches like high quality paper at Fabriano and musical instruments at Castelfidardo. Agriculture relies mostly on vegetables, olive trees and vineyards, and fishing is also an important resource, since the region is the fourth in Italy for fishing. Tourism, especially to the seaside resorts, has been growing in recent times.
Before the Roman conquest (3rd century BC) the region was inhabited by the Piceni along the coast and the Gauls in the mountains, then under the Romans it was important for trade, which developed along the Via Flaminia and Via Salaria.
At the time of the barbarians' invasions, it was split in two, with the Southern part under the Lombards and the Northern under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. The name of the region comes from the establishment by the Franks of "Marche", that is Marquisdoms, such as Camerino, Fermo and Ancona.
Little by little the towns and cities got more and more independent from the feudal lords, and in the 14th century the region was divided into a number of small states with the Malatesta in Fano, and the Montefeltro and later the Della Rovere in Urbino. Then the State of the Church gradually widened its influence in the region, until in the 17th century all the territory was under the rule of the Popes. In the Napoleonic period Marche was a republic, then after the Congress of Vienna returned under the State of the Church, to be finally annexed to Italy in 1860, during the Second War of Italian Independence.