Macerata is located in the south of the Le Marche region of Italy, in attractive countryside to the south-west of Loreto and just a few kilometres from the Adriatic Sea on a location that it has occupied for at least 3,000 years.
It is a lively town, if slightly off the main 'tourist trail' for the region, with plenty to distract you if you are passing your visit on the nearby coast or enjoying the countryside of the Marches.
Macerata has an interesting and attractive medieval centre, compact and easy to explore that is in a walled town on a small hill, and a pleasant place to visit and explore.
The town can either be entered by a lift from the new town below or by climbibg the steep staircases that exist between the two parts of Macerata.
At the heart of Macerata, and where you will soon find yourself, is the Piazza della Liberta with its impressive merchants hall - the 16th century arcaded Loggia dei Mercanti.
The 18th century Rossi Theatre is just across the same square - be sure to check if anything is playing during your visit.
The surrounding streets also contain a number of impressive small palaces and buildings - stroll especially along the streets of Corso Matteotti and Corso della Repubblica.
One particular highlight is Macerata cathedral, a late 18th century cathedral (built on the site of a much older church) that faces a cobbled courtyard area (the belltower to the left of the facade dates from the 15th century). Various reputed art works can be seen in the chapels inside the cathedral
You can also see several palaces in the central streets of Macerata (for example, Palazzo Compagnoni Marefoschi, Palazzo dei Diamanti and Palazzo Buonaccors) and the Palazzo Ricci which is now home to the town Modern Art Gallery.
See also the Sferisterio Arena, a 200 year old building in the neo-classical style that is now best known as the setting for a popular opera festival held in Macerata each summer and highly reputed for its acoustics. It is an unusual esign, essentially a stage overlooked by ranks of galleries, but without a roof - origianlly designed as a games arena.
Another important religious monument is the Basilica of the Madonna of Mercy, while those with ahead for heights will appreciate the views from the clocktower.
There is a cluster of interesting museums in the Pinacoteca Civica in the Piazza Vittorio Veneto at the south-west of Macerata, including some fine art works, both Renaissance and modern.
The region around the foot of the hill has rather given way to new developments and industry in the (quite separate) new town, and is of less interest to visitors.
A few kilometres north of Macerata is the archaological dig and Roman ruins of Helvia Recina, the Roman town that originally stood nearby.