One of Italy's most beautiful coastlines is also one its least known. The Conero coast, also known as the "Riviera del Conero" is a beautifully wild promontory near Ancona, in the Marche region. It is a favorite with stars and politicos looking for solitude and privacy in a beautiful setting. The Monte Conero is the only promontory on the Adriatic between Trieste and the Gargano in Puglia, making it a unique spot and a gorgeous place to swim.

There are private coves reachable only by foot or boat, but the easiest places are the hamlets that sit below the limestone cliffs - Portonovo, Sirolo and Numana. Here you'll find sandy beaches in the shadow of the promontory for a beautiful background. Numana is a fishing village that retains its charm with pastel buildings among stepped streets and characteristic lanes. It has the Blue Flag for the clean beaches and is a friendly town. There is also an archeology museum worth a visit. Sirolo is called the "terrazza sul mare" for its panoramic position above the sea, and you'll want to sit in the piazza for a spell just to take in the views. It is a quaint medieval village, and the crescent-shaped beach offers views to Croatia on a clear day. You'll be able to swim, scuba, and fish to your heart's content on the Conero coast. There are rocky reefs and outcroppings along the coastline, too.

But there's more to the Conero that just beaches. It is also a regional park that encompasses the mountain, Monte Conero, with a peak of 572 meters above sea level. Wooded trails offer biking and hiking opportunities with views inland and over the sea. The area is also renowned for the production of wine, Rosso Conero DOC, and you'll pass the vineyards staked out inland on the promontory. Camerano is the hub of the wine-making, with a network of tunnels and grottoes underground that interesting to visit. They host an annual wine festival every September and an annual arts festival every summer called Caleidoscopio.

If you want something more interesting that the flat, wide palm-lined beaches of the Adriatic, come to the Conero for its unique atmosphere. You'll be able to enjoy birding, boating and biking with the beaches!

Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!

Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Conero Coast? Ask them here!

Browse carefully selected vacation home rentals in Marche.