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FOR SALE: Renovated stone house in Le Marche, Italy, with stunning views of the Monti Sibillini mountains, one hour from Ancona airport. Tuscany, Umbria plus! Not via real estate agents
Our renovated stone house, in a stunning position with views of the Monti Sibillini mountains near the sea and shops, is for sale direct from us, not via a real estate agent.
This honey-coloured stone farmhouse is in a superb location with spectacular mountain views from the house and garden, near the mediaeval village of Gualdo in Le Marche, one hour from Ancona international airport. It has magnificent views from all the beautifully finished rooms, which are extremely light and spacious. A ruin when we found it, the house was sympathetically restored by local artisans to an exceptionally high standard, since it was to be our permanent home, not just a holiday house. Character features were retained, such as vaulted, beamed and terracotta ceilings, niches and alcoves, with terracotta window cills except in the bathrooms, where they are granite, complementing the top-of-the-range fittings.
Designed to take maximum advantage of the panoramic mountain views, the well-proportioned dining room, sitting room and kitchen are all on the first floor, together with one of the bathrooms. From the spacious kitchen with beech cupboards and granite surfaces it is only four paces to a large terracotta paved terrace, perfect for al fresco dining, and from there you step directly into the sunny landscaped garden.
There are two huge bedrooms on the third floor with fantastic views of the mountains and gently rolling countryside. Plumbing for another bathroom is in situ. Three large double bedrooms with traditional ceilings are on the ground floor, plus a large bathroom, heated drying room and a separate utility room. The lobby leads into a paved double garage (35 sq. metres).
The house has gas central heating and is double glazed throughout. Mains water, electricity and telephone are all connected and there is a dual-feed digital TV satellite dish. Like nearly all country houses in the area, waste water runs to a septic tank.
Overall, the house extends to 335 sq. metres (excluding the garage) and could easily accommodate 12 people if it were used for a holiday rental. In this much sought-after location, the rental income achievable for a house of this size would be around Euro 2,500 per week. Spacious houses are unusual and much in demand; if they are fully heated, they are also popular at Christmas, when there is ski-ing and mulled wine!
Why pay commission to estate agents when there are alternative ways to buy a property? In Italy real estate agents charge commission to both parties. When selling through an estate agent, vendors often increase the price of the house to cover the commission charged to them by the agent. So if you buy direct from us, the English owners, you effectively save not just one commission but two, making a total saving on this house of Euro 36,000, including VAT. This may be why it is no longer unusual to buy direct from the owner, rather than through a real estate agent. Seldom have we lived in any one country for more than ten years, so for us it's now time to move on to other adventures.
The local area click here for map
The village of Gualdo, pictured above, is only two kilometres away. You will encounter fewer tourists here than in Tuscany or Umbria, and the local people are friendly. The village has two supermarkets and other shops, a bank, post office, doctor, dentist, chemist, dry-cleaner, restaurant, school and petrol station. There are also tennis courts and a football pitch. Tuesday is market day, with stalls selling everything from clothes, shoes, pots and pans to fresh fish.
The spa town of Sarnano is eight kilometres away. It has an attractive and well-preserved old centre, complete with an exquisite little theatre and an art gallery boasting several important paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries. Being larger than Gualdo, it has more of everything, with a popular market held on Thursdays. San Ginesio, across the valley from Gualdo, is another of the mediaeval hilltop villages dotted amongst the gently rolling countryside. The area between Sarnano, Gualdo and San Ginesio has been described in the media as the golden triangle.
Walking trails abound in the area and within the Sibillini National Park, though we are usually the only ones on them! Lake Fiastra, about half an hour away by car, is a pleasant area for walking and swimming in summer, while in winter there is ski-ing at Sassotetto and Bolognola above Sarnano, about a forty-minute drive from the house. Other leisure activities in the area include horse riding, para-gliding, sailing and golf. In the villages and countryside around, there are many small family-run restaurants offering local specialities, and vineyards, not on the scale of Tuscany or Umbria, but still producing quality wines.
Macerata, the capital of the province, is only forty minutes away by car; opera is performed here throughout the summer in the 19th century open-air amphitheatre. Each village offers attractions during the summer, ranging from street performers' festivals to shoe and truffle fairs and colourful pageants in medieval costume. It is a forty minute drive to the extensive sandy coastline with many excellent open-air fish restaurants overlooking the sea, like Monaco. Of a summer's evening, the coastal resorts have live concerts and dancing. The area also has factory outlets for designer clothes and leather goods by Gucci, Prada and Armani. Florence, Siena, Assisi, Todi, Spoleto, Urbino and Ascoli Piceno are all exciting places for a day trip, and an aperitivo!
Ancona airport, served by Ryanair, is just over an hour from home. It’s so convenient that friends fly in for a weekend. The low-cost airline also flies to Pescara, under two hours away, and Perugia, a little over. From Ancona there are cheap flights to France, Germany and Spain as well. Rome is easily accessible by train or car, and there is also a regular bus service.