Emilia Romagna & Le Marche
This area of Italy can be reached by air to Bologna and/or Ancona. It is not heavily traveled by Americans but instead it is where the Italians and other Europeans will go, especially in the summer, on the shores of the Adriatic. The shore side town of Cattolica is similar to our vacation spots in Florida etc.
The history of this area is very interesting and goes back to the Byzantine era and beyond. The town of Rimini is chock full of Roman history and a recent discovery (when a tree got uprooted) was of a Roman doctor's home complete with his instruments that had many doctors and museum workers intrigued as to what they may have been used for. They (the town of Rimini) built a museum right over the site so that it can be further preserved and enjoyed by all.
We traveled up into the mountains to the separate country of San Marino and had a wonderful time at the Ferrari museum there. Our guide spoke better English than most Americans and did she know her cars! The men especially enjoyed this stop. We then went to a castle where they believe Dante's "Inferno" was partially based.
We then went further south, beyond Ancona to the areas of Pesaro & Urbino , and stayed in a wonderful medieval castle "Castello de Montegridolfo". All the rooms were different and very charming. During the day we went off sightseeing in the area and all during these days we ate the most wonderful food.
Further south still in an area around Ascoli Piceno, we stayed the last two nights in a Palace still owned by the Princess Panichi, the "Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi". She even had dinner with us and actually got up and got more food for our table. We had a magnificent suite with two beds in the sitting area and then into our bedroom that was huge! We also visited another Palace in the area.
These castles and palaces would be great for small groups or families. There are all kinds of sports in the area depending on the season. I would imagine that most Americans if they were to go, would want to go in the late spring or fall. I got the idea that the summer is very busy and with all the beautiful beaches here in America, there is no need to go to Europe.
I have a great deal of literature on the area.