Marche (pronounced [ˈmarke]) is one of the 20 regions of Italy. In English, this region is also known as the Marches. The name of the region derives from the plural name of marca, originally referring to the medieval March of Ancona and nearby marches of Camerino and Fermo.
The region is located in the Central area of the country, bordered by Emilia-Romagna and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Except for river valleys and the often very narrow coastal strip, the land is hilly. In the nineteenth century, a railway from Bologna to Brindisi ran along the coastline of the entire territory. Inland, the mountainous nature of the region, even today, allows little travel north and south, except by rough roads over the passes.
In general, a rural area is a geographic area that is located outside the cities and towns. The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the word "rural" as encompassing "...all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. Whatever is not urban is considered rural."
Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agricultural areas are commonly rural, though so are others such as forests. Different countries have varying definitions of "rural" for statistical and administrative purposes.