Ancona, Italy

While Puglia, Amalfi and Sicily might be swarming with holidaymakers on the hunt for beaches and burrata, the capital of the Marche region on the Adriatic Coast is an untapped source for those scouting out summer days all'italiana.

While it may be a bit rough around the edges, Ancona offers a truly Italian experience. Much like some of the country's southernmost cities, it's a traditional port town where you'll see Italian mammas hanging out their laundry each morning, days are spent exploring treasure-trove churches or lounging on the beach, and evenings are about hearty meals washed down with rich local reds.

Don't miss

The burnt-orange facades in Piazza del Plebiscito - linger over a cappuccino here before exploring one of the city's many gothic palazzos. Next, spend the afternoon flipping through Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend on the shore at Numana beach.

The tiny republic of San Marino is also located just an hour and a half's drive away from Ancona's city centre, so travellers hoping to check another state off their list can make the pilgrimage to this pocket-sized mountain nation.

Who to bring with you

A friend who's up for a little more grit than glamour.

When to go

August through September - you won't want to miss the Marche's powdery beaches.

Most likely to bump into

Nonnas gossiping at the market.

Essentials to bring with you

Marni and Joie midi-skirts so you can wander in and out of the city's churches worry-free.

How to get there

Fly direct from London Stansted to Marche Airport (12km outside of Ancona's city centre) for ultra-low fares. Snag them before this becomes the new Naples.

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