The Marche are Tuscany's counterpart on the Eastern side of the Italian boot. (We really only speak of this region in the plural. The English word for it would be "the marches", which refers to a sort of border land.) Having roughly the same latitude as Tuscany, the two regions have a lot in common, like very similar landscapes and climate patterns, and also their cultural traditions. Like Tuscany, the Marche also have a long coastline, located on Italy's Adriatic shore. The region's population is about 1.5 million, hence roughly half that of Tuscany, but in fact the two regions have a very similar population density. The obvious difference is that the Marche do not enjoy the same kind of fame as does Tuscany - and therefor its amount of tourism is much smaller. Its real estate sector is healthy, but not as well-developed as that of Tuscany.
The port city of Ancona is the region's capital. It pleases the eye with a typically Italian combination of the sea, beaches, and hills. With a population of just over 100 thousand, it is just on the border between a small town and a city. It has a large old town with a great number of monuments worth sightseeing, including its magnificent St. Ciriaco Cathedral, completed in 1189, and the Roman Arch of Trajan, erected in 115. Ancona is also the regional business center.
Historically, the Marches have always had a clearly agriculture-based economy. While this is still true, the region has, however, managed to modernize it economy significantly within the last 30 years.