Hertfordshire-based Carole and David Montrose own a three-bedroom country house a few miles from Ascoli Piceno in southern Le Marche.
They try to spend all of the school holidays there with their daughters Mandy and Jessica (pictured above),and rent the house to visitors at other times of the year.
What drew them to Le Marche?
“David and I love rural Italy, and had taken our honeymoon in Tuscany,” Carole explains. “When I received a small inheritance six years ago, the most sensible thing seemed to be to invest it in a property, and that’s when we started dreaming of a place of our own in Italy. Our first choice was Tuscany, but we soon discovered the prices there were a little high for us. A friend recommended Le Marche.
It became clear that we could get quite a bit more for our money there, and we loved what we saw of the region.
“The house is in a great location for us. Ascoli Piceno is only ten minutes away, and it’s a beautiful, thriving town with excellent restaurants. Then we’ve got the Adriatic twelve miles in the other direction, lots of soft sand beaches and all the fun of the seaside. In the Easter holidays, we often feel like hiking in the Sibillini Mountains and seeing the spring flowers up there. The views are magnificent. Our daughters Mandy and Jessica have such a great time when we’re out here. There’s so much for them to do, and of course the local people make such a big fuss of ‘the two little English girls’. They love it.
“The house was in good condition when we bought it. The people who’d owned it before us had restored it from a neglected old ruin, I think. They’d done a beautiful job. The stonework and wooden window frames are especially neat and attractive, in a very traditional style. The house sits on the edge of fields, halfway up a small hill. There are a few other houses dotted around, but the sense of space and tranquillity is fantastic. I think it’s really good for all four of us to be totally immersed in nature like this several times a year. It’s got to be good for our physical and mental health.
“Le Marche doesn’t have any super-famous tourist towns like Tuscany has. There is no Florence or Siena or San Gimignano here. And I would say that that counts in its favour. Le Marche is arguably even more ‘unspoilt’ than Tuscany. And it seems less crowded in the height of summer. I’m so glad that we bought here rather than Tuscany, which was our original first choice. We’ve all come to love Le Marche very much indeed.”