Fano is a charming seaside town on the Adriatic coast in the Marche region of central Italy. Marche – located between Emilia-Romagna to the north and Abruzzo to the south – is renown for its picturesque, hilly countryside and beautiful 180 km-long coastline. Fano is the third largest city in the region by population, after Ancona and Pesaro, and the closest airport is the Marche Airport outside Ancona, which RyanAir flies to out of London Stansted.
Fano is a lovely place to visit, especially in the summertime when the beaches are set up with rows of umbrellas and people socialize over drinks at the bars along the beach promenade. In this Marche Travel Guide post, I’ll be sharing tips for things to do in Fano, Italy with kids and the top places to eat in Fano.
Fano Centro Città
During our visits we’re often in the town center, running errands, shopping or stopping at one of our favourite cafés or bars for an aperitivo before dinner along the main street, Corso Matteotti, or at the town square, Piazza XX Settembre.
I love to browse the side streets too and admire the characteristic buildings and doors, bright colors and beautifully dressed windowsills.
Piazza XX Settembre
Palazzo di Malatesta
At the end of Piazza XX Settembre is the Palazzo di Malatesta. The palace was the family residence of the Malatesta family that was in power from the end of the 12th century to about the mid-1400s, and today houses the Civic Museum and Art Gallery and numerous ancient artefacts in the Corte Malatestiana.
Porta della Mandria
During Ancient Roman times, Fano was a colony named Fanum Fortunae, after a temple to the goddess of Fortune that once stood there, as well as an important port and crossroads.
About 2/3 of the Roman walls still partially surround Fano’s town center. One day we took a walk along the perimeter on our way into town, passing by the Porta della Mandria, or Gate of the Herd, which was where livestock were brought through to graze nearby.
Arco di Augusto
Further along is the Arco di Augusto, a triumphal arch that was built in 2 AD under Roman Emperor Augustus and served as a gateway to the town, marking the arrival of the Via Flaminia on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
One of the main beaches in Fano is Lido Beach, where you’ll find several bagni along the coast. Lido Beach is protected by two jetties on either side which create a calm beach environment, that coupled with the shallow waters make it ideal for families. The beach playgrounds and evening funfair along Lido’s promenade are always busy with local families.
Bagni Lido Uno
Port of Fano
The fishing port of Fano sits between the Lido and Sassonia beaches and nearby there’s a private marina. My father-in-law often comes to the port first thing to buy seafood when the fishermen are just returning with their catch.
The neighbourhood near the port features many quaint, typical houses still marked with maritime flags.
Further along is Sassonia, named after its pebble beach. The beaches of Lido and Sassonia are lined with brightly painted beach huts, and over the summer, the big umbrellas are set up along Fano’s shore.
Sassonia beach also has several sports facilities, i.e. tennis and volleyball courts and outdoor swimming pools that are typically busy between May and September. For now, the beach was quiet as we kicked a ball around then tossed pebbles into the water.
The countryside of the Marche is very beautiful – rolling green hills, picturesque villages and farms and patches of colour in the spring and summer, like this bright yellow rapeseed field on the outskirts of Fano.
On Easter Monday, we headed into the countryside to nearby Mondolfo for lunch at Ristorante I 7 Archi, enjoying beautiful views overlooking the seaside along the way.
Where to Shop in Fano, Italy
Il Buongusto, a specialty food and wine shop (drogheria-enoteca) at the end of the main street. Every season, the shop has lovely displays and over Easter, Christmas and the Epiphany, it’s especially delightful to browse the selection of gifts and chocolates.
It’s where we go to buy wine – they have a great selection – and whenever we need a special gift basket prepared. And we always end up with a little bag of small chocolates – too tempting to resist!
Il Buongusto also sells local specialty foods, including products such as biscuits and chocolate made with moretta, a coffee that is particular to Fano.
Top Restaurants in Fano, Italy
As it was the holidays, we mostly ate at home but now and then we headed out for dinner at some of our favourite restaurants.
Osteria dalla Peppa
Osteria dalla Peppa is a quaint restaurant in Fano’s city centre that serves authentic specialties local to the Marche region, using only ingredients grown or bred in the area, with everything handmade and representing the local gastronomy.
One of my favourite dishes at Osteria dalla Peppa is the cresc’tajat, a rustic handmade pasta dish made with polenta, flour and water, and served with beans.
Little T’s favourite dish is the handmade cappalletti, small meat and cheese filled “little hat” shaped pasta which are typically served in broth.
Located near the Porto della Mandria in Fano’s town centre, Ristorante Pizzeria La Mandria serves mainly wood oven-baked pizza, grilled steak and pasta dishes. I ordered the gnocchi with meat ragu the first time we visited and then grilled filet mignon the second time, both of which were very good, while Little T had a margherita pizza.
Ristorante Pizzeria Yankee
Ristorante Pizzeria Yankee is a beachfront restaurant located right across a small road from Sassonia Beach. I, as usual, ordered gnocchi with ragu and we ordered a simple margherita pizza
Ristorante I 7 Archi
A short drive from Fano, Italy in the town of Mondolfo, you’ll find I 7 Archi, a restaurant serving local Marche regional specialties. This lovely, family-friendly restaurant with a playground and beautiful gardens. I had the passatelli with mushrooms which were delicious. Mr. G ordered grilled tuna and vegetables, while Little T enjoyed a simple dish of spaghetti with tomato sauce.
I hope you found this travel guide to Fano, Italy helpful! Fano is my husband’s hometown and we visit regularly to see his side of the family. I’ll keep this post updated with our most up-to-date recommendations for the top things to do in Fano, Italy with kids and the best Fano restaurants and shops.