Marche is a region of two diverse parts: a long Adriatic coast, and an inland dominated by the foothills and peaks of the Appennine mountains. As you'd expect, this mari e monti landscape has had a strong influence on the food.
A local speciality all along the coast is brodetti, a rich fish stew served as a main course, usually with a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of the bowl. Up to 12 different kinds of seafood are present in a typical brodetto, although few cooks can agree on exactly which combination is correct.
The seafood theme continues with clams and mussels in the Pesaro area, which are considered to be among the best in Italy. Further inland, it is the pig that is the undisputed culinary king. The famous dish of porchetta was said to be invented here - a single suckling pig, boned and rolled with offal, herbs and garlic, and then spit-roasted as a centrepiece for the saint's day festivals of local villages.
The mountains also produce a wide range of cured pork products from salami to prosciutto. Other meat is eaten from time to time, including lamb, fowl and horse meat, often cooked with sweet spices such as cinnamon - unusual for Italy, and a clear hint of the influence of Greece over the sea.
Wild mushrooms are also a much-prized delicacy, often finding their way into stews with meat and wine as Cacciatora or hunter-style dishes. Olives and grapes are widespread, producing delicate oils and vibrant wines using Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Verdicchio grapes, of which Rosso Piceno and Verdicchio Castello di Jesi are perhaps the best known outside of the area.