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.
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
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.