Focus on… Le Marche – Italy’s best kept secret

“The best of Italy all wrapped up in one place.”


This is how local estate agent Jane Smith, of Magic Marche, sums up Italy’s stunning Le Marche region, and it’s easy to see why. With everything from snow-capped mountains to Blue Flag beaches, interspersed with rolling hills dotted with medieval towns and scattered with olive trees, grapevines and fragrant lavender bushes, the area cannot help but charm upon sight. The cuisine blends fine dining with a farm to table countryside ethos that existed long before the concept began to trend. The organic wine is soft on the palate and gentle on the head.

While wild horses roam the region’s two national parks, the descendants of ancient Italian families still promenade through the narrow, picturesque streets of hilltop towns, making their way between charming churches and tiny delis over which foodies the world over would be green with envy.

The town of Petritoli is typical of the unspoilt, essential ‘Italian-ness’ of the region. Out of its 2,500 permanent residents, only six full time families are from the UK – testament to the undiscovered nature of Le Marche. Those who know the area feel privileged to have experienced it.

Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs owner of fractional ownership company Appassionata and Petritoli resident explains,

“Le Marche is one of those little pockets of the world that you want to both shout about to everyone you know and keep secret at the same time, so that it remains so perfectly unspoilt.”

Dawn and her family moved to the region in 2007, setting up a business that has managed to do just that, thanks to the fractional nature of the luxury holiday homes that Appassionata painstakingly renovates. The arrangement allows families to own their own slice of Le Marche (at a fraction of the usual cost of buying a second home), with each owner using their property for five weeks of the year. Le Marche avoids being overrun with holiday home owners, yet a few lucky families from around the world get to experience the area’s delights (at the same time as making a property investment that they can pass down through their family).

Owners of Appassionata’s luxury properties hail from around the globe, including South African, Swiss, Italian, Scottish, Irish, English, American and French nationals. Magic Marche’s Jane Smith has experienced a similar level of international interest. The company’s direct enquiries were up 300% during H1 2014 and though 70% of enquirers were from the UK, others ranged from as far afield as the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, the US, Switzerland and the UAE. Le Marche is also a popular area for domestic holidaymakers, with many Italians retreating from the heat and overcrowding of summer in Italy’s cities to revel in its glorious countryside and coastline.

With property prices some 35% lower than in neighbouring Tuscany, according to Magic Marche, and fractional ownership providing holiday home owners with far more luxury than they could individually afford, it is perhaps unsurprising that Appassionata’s latest offering, the three bedroom, three bathroom Casa Tre Archi, has already sold three fractions, despite the renovation work on the property having only just been completed.

With plentiful outside space, including a roof terrace with views of the rolling countryside, and a curved, turret feature wall in the living room that is actually part of Petritoli’s ancient fortifications, the property is certainly packed with delights. Fractions are available from £65,000.

For more information on fractional ownership and the wonders of life in Le Marche, contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225 or visit

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