Ann and Dale Egerton from Somerset own a three-bedroom farmhouse in southern Le Marche, near the medieval hilltop village of Gualdo. The house, called ‘Il Querceto’ in honour of nearby oak trees, sits high in a rural valley with spectacular views onto the Sibillini Mountains.
“We bought it in 2001,” Ann explains. “We had been considering different parts of Italy for about a month when we heard about Le Marche, a region we knew nothing of until then. We went out to Le Marche to explore for a week, and absolutely loved it. It’s so peaceful, beautiful and timeless.
“The farmhouse gazes south over our field, which is used by the local farmer, across the valley and into the mountains. The Sibillini are snow-covered through the winter and awash with wildflowers in spring. We’re 45 minutes from the beach, and 45 minutes from ski resorts, which is fantastic. One of the best things about our location is the intense quiet. When friends of ours recently came to stay and they arrived in the evening, they were thrilled that the only thing they could hear in the whole valley was a nightingale singing.
“Il Querceto was partially restored when we bought it. I was learning Italian, and I spent a month out there working with our geometra, finishing the internal work, putting in a swimming pool and making a garden. Luckily he was also fluent in English. Working alongside local workmen my Italian vastly improved, albeit with a Marchigiani accent!
“Local people have been extremely welcoming and helpful. We now have many friends in the area. After ten years my housekeeper Ivana has become a very special friend. She speaks no English, which is good for my Italian as she loves to bring me up to date with the local gossip when I arrive. We have spent many fun-filled hours in the farmhouse kitchen with her, learning how to make pasta and meals the Le Marche way. Last September we went to her son’s wedding, which was our first experience of an Italian wedding, and wonderful. Ivana lives just down the lane and drives past Il Querceto every day, keeping an eye on it for us.
“Every year we spend as much time out there as we can. We love Le Marche’s relaxed lifestyle. The weekly markets are overflowing with fresh local produce and there is no better way to pass a summer’s day than sitting in the garden, relaxing over local food and wine, with fresh figs from our tree, and the best view in the world. After much soul-searching we’ve finally decided to put Il Querceto on the market, because in our retirement we want to spend more time travelling further afield.” www.italianfarmhouse.info seen on www
See on www.italianfarmhouse.info