Leicestershire-based Debora and Chris Everard own a one-tenth share of a large, luxurious farmhouse in Le Marche. They have the run of the whole property for five weeks a year, and have no complaints about their experience of fractional ownership…
“We’d never heard of fractional ownership before we read an article in a lifestyle magazine,” Debora explains. “When we heard how it worked, we saw that it made a lot of sense. It was straightforward, there were no catches. It wasn’t like timeshare; you actually own your share. You get access to a beautiful property that you wouldn’t have been able to afford outright. Chris is a business consultant and he goes through contracts with a fine-toothed comb. He saw that this was a very safe and solid thing for us to get involved with.”
Why did the couple choose Italy? “Our son is a professional rugby player,” Debora says, “and in 2011 he was playing for the World Cup in Treviso in northern Italy. We were going to be out there for nearly four weeks watching him play and enjoying his time off with him. We decided that during
a four-day break between games we would drive down to Le Marche to view a property being sold by Appassionata – and we bought a share of it.
It sits on a hill 20 minutes from the sea, with fabulous views: the Sibillini Mountains on one side, the Adriatic on the other, and Le Marche’s exquisitely tended rural landscape in between – a tapestry of beautifully manicured ploughed and planted fields. Our estate has a vineyard, a lavender plantation and a truffle-tree grove. It’s so beautiful and tranquil. Every owner gets two peak holiday weeks and three off-peak weeks, with the exact weeks changing each year.
It suits us perfectly because we can be flexible, we’re not dependent on school holidays. But also, the other owners are always willing to swap, so we tend to work it out between us.”
Why not just rent different properties in different parts of Italy for five different weeks of the year?
“There are several advantages,” Debora says. “Becoming familiar with one area is a big one. The people in the village know and remember us. We’ve also become friends with the lovely English family who run Appassionata. It’s great knowing our way around the area. Often at the start of a holiday in a new place you don’t know where anything is. There’s so much to see in our area, we couldn’t possibly exhaust it all. There are always personal objects at the house that we don’t have to pack. And when we arrive the fridge is stocked and the cupboards full of provisions. It’s wonderful.”