Sea and ski – why Italy is the perfect destination this winter

Travellers looking to escape the grey skies of the UK this winter are currently eyeing up southern Europe and, as ever, Italy is one of the top destinations for those looking for some winter sun.


“Italy is incredibly popular as a winter holiday destination,” comments Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of fractional ownership company Appassionata, who moved to Italy with her family in 2004. “Here in Le Marche there is so much to do during the winter months. The coastline offers some stunning scenery and extends for over 100 miles, making it perfect for walking, hiking and cycling holidays.

“The slopes of the Sibillini Mountains are also extremely popular, with everyone from amateurs to wannabe pros donning their snow boots and grabbing their skis or snowboards. We find that, for many of our owners, the combination of sea and ski provides the ultimate winter holiday experience.”

The owners Dawn refers to are those who have purchased shares in Appassionata’s luxury fractional ownership properties, which include stunning rural houses such as Casa Leopardi, complete with a roaring fire that is perfect for snuggling in front of with a book and a glass of wine from grapes grown on the estate as twilight falls on a winter evening.

Appassionata’s latest fractional ownership property – the three bedrooms, three bathroom Casa Tre Archi – is ideal for those looking to head south for some winter sunshine. The spacious property boasts outdoor space on three levels, allowing owners to maximise their time in the sun. In the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli, the townhouse is perfectly located for local shops and restaurants while also providing easy access to the Sibillini Mountains and the coastal town of Pedaso, which is famous for its fabulous seafood restaurants, large fish market and some of the best mussels in Italy. A one tenth fraction in Casa Tre Archi, which entitles the owner to five weeks’ exclusive use per year, costs from £65,000. Just one share remains available at this special offer price.

Overall, Italy attracted 47.7 million visitors in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization. While big cities such as Rome and Milan and well-known areas such as Tuscany attracted their fair share of tourists, those seeking out the ‘real Italy’ are increasingly heading to Le Marche and many of them are looking to ski during the winter months.

In fact, for Brits looking to ski overseas, the 2012/13 season marked a turnaround in the market, with a 1% increase year on year in the number of skiers travelling abroad. It is the first time the sector has seen an increase since its 2007/08 peak, according to the Crystal Ski Report, but with countries such as Italy doing all they can to court tourists over the winter months, it seems that the 2013/14 season might be an even better one.

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

Italy’s boasts 269 Blue Flag beaches but it’s not just the golden sand and turquoise waters that keep visitors coming back for more

The number of Italian beaches to be awarded the prestigious Blue Flag accolade for clean water and pristine sands has increased again this year, according to the international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).


Italy now boasts 269 Blue Flag beaches in a total of 140 municipalities nationwide, compared to the 248 beaches in 135 municipalities recorded last year.

Liguria in northwest Italy retained its title as the region with the cleanest beaches (20) closely followed by Tuscany and the central Marche region (17).

Indeed, Le Marche boasts 180km of Adriatic coastline, lined with a stretch of spectacular Blue Flag beaches however it’s not just beaches that attract the intrepid explorer to this hidden gem of Italy.

The region is also bordered in the west by the Apennine mountain range with ski resorts and hiking trails. Between the Apennines and the Adriatic coast is a glorious hilly landscape with traditional farmland, vineyards, olive groves and sunflowers. Every few kilometres you come across pretty hilltop villages, fields of gold, sparkling rivers and lakes, castles, fortresses and medieval walled towns.

Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of family-run fractional property company Appassionata based in Le Marche, comments,

“Italy has so much to offer. My family and I have settled in Le Marche since 2007, nestled between the Sibillini Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, and have never looked back. The landscape of this region is so varied; we have the benefits of world class skiing one day to sun worshipping on gorgeous beaches the next. The beaches near us are incredible – within just 10 km we have Pedaso, Cupra Marittima and Grottamare, all of which are Blue Flag beaches, absolutely perfect for soaking up the Italian sunshine. Here at Appassionata we have built this traditional Italian lifestyle into the design of our properties, enabling our owners to get the most out of their holidays here.”


Dawn continues,

“With a location as truly beautiful as Le Marche, we wanted to ensure that the homes were on par with their environment with traditional architectural features and indulgent décor. We offer people from all over the world the chance to own a luxury property and share in the wonderful lifestyle ventures made possible by the breadth of the estate.”

A one tenth share of Casa Leopardi is currently available for just £195,000. For this, buyers can enjoy exclusive use of the property for five weeks per year, including the estate’s landscaped gardens, swimming pool, all weather tennis court and spectacular panoramic views. Within the house, spacious, light-filled rooms combine with outside terraces and unique touches to create an elegant, relaxed vibe.

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The continual rise of Italy as a luxury holiday destination combined with the benefits of fractional ownership make Appassionata’s Casa Leopardi an exceptional lifestyle investment for buyers seeking to indulge their passion for Italy and possess their own slice of ‘La Dolce Vita’. For more information contact Appassionata today on 0039 073 465 8775 or visit

A coastal view

Le Marche offers 180 kilometres of coastline, 26 seaside resorts facing the Adriatic Sea defined by beautiful beaches, picturesque bays, 9 marinas and 16 Blue Flag beaches.


The varied landscape allows those who decide to take a vacation by the sea to choose between different types of beaches and to visit the natural beauty of the inland; a large number of itineraries in the villages above the sea or in the cities are available so as to discover their rich historical and cultural heritage. The seaside resorts offer services that can meet the requirements both of the families and of the young: they are designed to respect the territory and can be the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation.

The coastal landscape of The Marche, so varied in shapes and colours, offers a journey full of emotions: you can choose among wide fine sandy beaches, small rocky creeks, with rocks and palm trees, and white cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea, which is framed between the green countryside and the very long ochre strands.

The Northern coast, the so-called “Riviera delle Colline”, features cliffs, coves and inlets creating an amazing landscape. The beaches are sandy and white, in particular the long one in Gabicce Mare. From here you can start a tour , enjoying breathtaking views in the heart of the Regional Park of Monte San Bartolo, for approximately 20 km, and reach other amazing beaches, such as Pesaro and picturesque fishing villages, such as Casteldimezzo, Fiorenzuola di Focara and Santa Marina Alta.


Heading to the South, there is the coast of Ancona: we find Senigallia, a town boasting ancient origins and famous for its velvet beach: 12 km of fine sand. It’s an ideal seaside resort, thanks to the many accommodation facilities, the bathing establishments and the renowned restaurants. Driving South we arrive at Ancona, the capital city, having a longstanding maritime tradition, situated in one of the most beautiful stretches of the Adriatic coastline, the Riviera del Conero, located in the homonimous regional park. This protected area features a series of bays, steep cliffs and hidden beaches. A must see site is the so-called Due Sorelle (Two Sisters) beach, named after two large rocks emerging from the water.

The particular shape of the territory allows enjoying a marvelous sunrise and sunset by the sea. The grassy cliff of Monte Conero, plunging into the sea, offers a spectacular scenery: it interrupts the flat shore and creates a nice stretch of pebbled beaches, rocks and steep cliffs that plunge into the sea.

Down south, along the coast of Macerata, lies with Porto Recanati, also known as the “Salotto della Riviera”, a modern seaside resort boasting 8 km. of sandy and pebbled beach, comfortable accommodation facilities and lovely corners of the old maritime village, built around the fifteenth century Castello Svevo. Nearby is Civitanova Marche, with a long sandy beach to the North, rocky to the South, divided by the fishing port and the marina. The town gives the chance to practice different sports, to go to trendy places and enjoy shopping in the many outlets in the area bearing the prestigious Made in Italy brands. Porto Sant’Elpidio, an amazing old maritime village, now a lively seaside resort, marks the beginning of the so called “Verde Riviera Picena”: pebbled and sandy beaches and clear water , surrounded by green hills. This Riviera boasts authentic maritime villages and seaside resorts such as Porto San Giorgio, Lido di Fermo and Pedaso to the South.

In the very South of the coastline there is the well-known “Riviera delle Palme”, between Cupra Marittima, Grottammare and San Benedetto del Tronto. Popular for its large beaches, its approximate 7,000 green palms, and the old Medieval villages, real balconies overlooking the sea, the Riviera delle Palme is a perfect destination for families, thanks to the beauty of the pine wood, the fine sand and the quiet atmosphere.

A few miles  to the South, the landscape shows typically Mediterranean notes: evergreen shrubs, palm trees, bougainvilleas and oleanders and such a rich vegetation evoke exotic essences and overseas scents. A bicycle path leads to Grottammare, the Pearl, known as the town of oranges, with its 5 km of fine and sandy beach. The long and wide beach is one of the main attractions of San Benedetto del Tronto, a well-known seaside resort surrounded by the countless green palm trees. San Benedetto del Tronto is also known as The Queen of the Sea; its history is well witnessed by the many museums scattered throughout the city, like the Maritime Culture Museum. Wide sandy beaches can also be found in Porto d’Ascoli, in the very South of the region.

Porto d’Ascoli

Along the coast different sports can be practiced: windsurf, water skiing, sailing, scuba diving, kitesurfing, swimming and beach volley. The sea, with its rich fish wildlife, is the ideal place for scuba diving; there are qualified scuba diving schools and diving centers with recharging stations, that can guarantee quality material and assistance at any level of immersion.

The Marche boasts 16 blue flags, certifying criteria of sustainability and respect for the environment, in terms of tourism. The standards also include: modern purification systems, sorted waste collection, limited traffic, large pedestrian areas, bicycle paths, environmental education and information, nice street furniture.

Along the 180 kilometers of the coast it is possible to dock in 9 marinas. In the province of Pesaro and Urbino the marinas are in Gabicce Mare, Pesaro and Fano; in the province of Ancona in Senigallia, Ancona and Numana; in the province of Macerata in Civitanova Marche; in the province of Fermo in Porto San Giorgio, the best equipped marina of the Adriatic Sea, with 900 moorings; in the province of Ascoli Piceno the marina is in San Benedetto del Tronto. The overall capacity is for approximately 5,000 berths.


Published in DestionazioneMarche