Is Americans’ enduring romantic notion of Italy fact or fantasy?

Is Americans’ enduring romantic notion of Italy fact or fantasy?

  • US visitors make up 17.8% of tourist accommodation bookings in Europe (Eurostat)
  • Property enquiries in Le Marche, Italy, up 45% (
  • Le Marche offers the romance of traditional Italian life and values (Appassionata)

It’s a classic image – the sprawling, multi-generational Italian family all gathering around the dinner table outdoors in the sunshine to break bread together, with nothing but birdsong, olive trees and blue sky in the background. But is it the real deal in this day and age?

“Yes, absolutely!” laughs Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership business Appassionata. “Particularly in largely rural areas like Le Marche, where family life is still a core part of society’s values. Here, life is about good food and good company under the warmth of the sun.”

This is one reason that Italy is so enduringly popular with visitors from the US. According to Travelzoo, the country is the friendliest destination in Europe to visit. Meanwhile the Globus Time to Tour survey highlights how keen Americans are to find out if the real Italy is equal to their romantic notions, finding that 93% of people take holidays in order to experience the places they’ve only read about, including the culture and the food.

Indeed, the whole of Europe benefits from US visitors. According to Eurostat, visitors from the US make up 17.8% of tourist accommodation nights within the EU, the largest of any national group from outside Europe.

Nor is it just hotel accommodation that Americans are interested in today. According to Italian property portal, when it comes to the Le Marche region of Italy, buyers from the US account for 12.79% of requests for property, second only to those from the UK (20.83%). The figures are set against a backdrop of growing interest in Le Marche from all angles – January to September 2015 saw a 45% increase in the number of enquiries for property in the region from international home buyers, compared to the same period the year before.

“Le Marche is definitely becoming better known,” continues Appassionata’s Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs. “But it’s growing in popularity at a sustainable pace. Visitors are keen to share the secrets of this wonderful region, but are selective about doing so. It’s as though all those who arrive here are determined to keep it to themselves, avoiding the kind of mass tourism that has descended on parts of neighbouring Tuscany.”

Part of Le Marche’s charm is its blending of romantic landscapes with fresh, seasonal cuisine and the kind of charm that is hard to put into words but that speaks to you as you sip a rich, strong expresso while the local church bell tolls and a gaggle of happily chattering Italian children pass the tiny café in which you are sitting.

American romance novelist and TV soap opera writer Leah Laiman has sought to capture the essential spirit of Le Marche in her latest novel, Lingua Terra. The book tells the tale of an American woman who moves to Le Marche for a year after losing her job in New York. The romantic tale is interspersed with recipes from Michelin-starred Le Marche chef Lucio Pompili. It’s an unusual combination – a romance novel and a collection of local recipes – but one that somehow feels entirely right to those who are familiar with the region.

American buyers – and indeed those from elsewhere in the world – looking to own their own slice of Le Marche have been delighted to come across the Appassionata team. Family-run and passionate about Italy, Appassionata restores and renovates tumbledown Italian properties, turning them into stylish fractional ownership holiday homes. Buyers receive a one tenth share, entitling them to five weeks’ use of the property per year. Just like a property that is owned outright, the share can be passed down to the next generation as an inheritance. However, unlike with a fully owned second home, buyers don’t need to worry about cleaning and maintaining the property when they’re not using it as all of that is taken care of by the Appassionata team.

As Le Marche continues to enchant visitors from the US, demand is rising for Appassionata’s properties. Their third luxurious holiday home, Casa Tre Archi, has just three fractions still available, priced from £75,000. The three bedroom property fits perfectly with that enduring romantic image of Italy, from the traditional touches in the spacious interior to the large roof terrace that is perfect for al fresco family meals in the sunshine, against the backdrop of the gently rolling hills.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Italy – it’s cheaper than you think!

Italy – it’s cheaper than you think!

  • Italian cost of living drops from 85% to 58% compared to New York (Numbeo)
  • Three course meal for two now just €50 (Numbeo)
  • Fractional ownership providing luxury property at an affordable price in Le Marche (Appassionata)

Mention that you’ve been on holiday to Italy and within a couple of minutes someone is bound to ask if it was expensive there. Italy has a long-standing reputation as one of Europe’s pricier destinations, but the modern reality is actually very different. According to cost of living figures updated in October 2015 from Numbeo, two people can enjoy a three course meal in a mid-range restaurant for €50, relaxing with a regular cappuccino in a café costs just €1.33 and a mid-range bottle of wine from the supermarket costs €5.00.

Italy’s cost of living is falling. While buying gelato in a touristy area can still result in an eye-watering bill, for those who explore the Italian countryside and embrace the culture of home-cooking with local, seasonal produce, Italy is no longer an expensive place to spend time. The scale of the decrease in prices has been quite dramatic. In mid-2015 the Numbeo Cost of Living Index found that groceries in Italy cost 58.34% of the price paid for the same items bought in New York. Just a year earlier, the Italian groceries came in at 84.75% of the New York price, a significant change.

Just as the cost of living has fallen, so too has the cost of owning a luxury second home in Italy, as Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership business Appassionata, comments,

“We’ve seen a growing rise in interest in fractional ownership here in Le Marche. Buyers want to enjoy the sunshine and the lifestyle, not spend their holiday time taking care of overgrown gardens, cleaning and maintenance issues, as you do with a traditional second home. With fractional ownership, the property is fully managed, so all you have to do is turn up, unpack and start relaxing. Not only this, but such ownership means that the Italian lifestyle that many dream of is made far cheaper. This also means that buyers can afford a far more luxurious holiday home than if they bought outright, the dream can be a reality!”

Dawn is speaking from personal experience. Her family-run business has so far renovated three Italian properties. The third of them, the charming townhouse known as Casa Tre Archi, has just three shares left for sale. Owners are entitled to use the three bedroom property, which comes complete with roof terrace with stunning views over the town of Petritoli and the surrounding countryside, exclusively for five weeks each year. Fractions are priced from £75,000 and can be passed down to future generations, just as a property that is owned outright would be.

Dawn’s love of restoration work and interior design means that the family are already working on their next project: Il Riposo. The four bedroom, four bathroom home is situated in the peaceful hamlet of Patrignone. A delightful bar/restaurant just two minutes walk from the property offers the ideal place to relax over a lengthy meal of organic, locally produced food and wine. The bustling town of Montalto is just five minutes’ drive away, providing Il Riposo’s owners with everything they could wish for.

“We’re working hard to restore Il Riposo,” comments Dawn. “Casa Tre Archi has sold so fast that we only have three shares left and we are racing to transform Il Riposo so as not to disappoint those who want to buy into the wonderful Italian dream. It’s a big project – right now the house doesn’t have a roof, so we’ve got quite a way to go!”

When finished, Il Riposo will offer owners a traditional Italian home, complete with a small, terraced, walled garden. The Appassionata team are firmly committed to using local materials and local craftsmen – their restorations pay homage to the skills and traditions of previous generations. Previous houses have included bespoke, hand-made kitchen cupboards, reclaimed tiles and stunning light fittings made by a local artisan working out of a tiny studio, who learned at his grandmother’s knee.

“But we do like to fit in modern touches as well, where we can make them work,” continues Dawn. “At Il Riposo there is just enough room to include a swimming pool on the lower terrace. It’s a joy to save and restore some of Italy’s fine, tumbledown buildings and to breathe new life into them. Each home that we have worked on has its own quirks and charms that serve to truly delight its owners.”

At Casa Tre Archi, it is the unique blend of convenient town location with plentiful outside space that has so pleased those who have bought fractions. A shady, bijou kitchen terrace provides the ideal spot for a morning coffee. The first floor terrace provides a magnificent view of Petritoli’s ancient walls, including the three historic arches for which the property was named. The spacious roof terrace includes elegant loungers and a canopied gazebo – perfect for lazy days spent eating, drinking and relaxing in the sunshine. And it’s all within strolling distance of shops, restaurants, cafés, pretty churches and more.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Chinese tourists head to Le Marche in search of the real Italy

Chinese tourists head to Le Marche in search of the real Italy

  • Chinese tourist numbers to reach 100 million in 2015 (China Tourist Agency)
  • China to account for 22% of tourism expenditure by 2020 (UNTWO)
  • Luxury fractional ownership holiday home company Appassionata welcomes first Chinese owner

Since the World Expo first opened its doors in Milan in May 2015, visitor numbers to the Italian city have increased by more than 600%, according to the latest data from travel agency eDreams. The impact on the city has been significant, but heightened visitor numbers have not just impacted on Milan in isolation.

On Italy’s eastern coast, in the central Le Marche region, locals have noticed a significant increase in visitor numbers over the summer months. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership holiday home business Appassionata, comments,

“We’ve seen a big increase in tourist numbers this year. In particular Le Marche has enjoyed having visitors from America, Australia, other parts of Europe and China. The restaurants, bars and cafés have all had a bumper summer and the extended heat-wave has certainly helped. We’ve also had a lot of foreigners coming to Le Marche to get married this year – and with a setting this stunning one can easily see why!”

Dawn is referring to the rolling hills, deep blue skies and abundant flowers surrounding the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli, where Appassionata’s luxury townhouse, Casa Tre Archi, is located. The property boasts outdoor space at every turn, with accommodation split across three levels. Three bedrooms and three bathrooms make the fractional ownership property ideal for use as a family holiday home as well as a place to stay on a break with friends. Owners are entitled to five weeks’ exclusive use of the property per year, with prices starting from £75,000.

Many of those visiting Le Marche have also taken in Milan as part of their travels, with just 4.5 hours in the car separating the two. The World Expo there has attracted tourists from across the globe and not least from China, which has the largest pavilion at the event. The number of Chinese visitors ranks third overall, closely following those from the US and France.

With the largest number of outbound tourists of any country (the number should reach 100 million by the end of the year, according to the Chinese Tourist Agency), China is leading the world not only in visitor numbers but also in holiday spending. Chinese tourists currently spend around €75 billion annually, while the UN World Tourism Organization has projected that China will account for 22% of global tourist expenditure by 2020.

According to China National Tourism Administration data, Italy is Chinese tourists’ favourite holiday destination within Europe and the Italian government has been courting the Chinese market for some time. Prior to the expo, the Italian consulate in Shanghai committed to a 36 hour turnaround time for all visa applications for travel to Italy.

“The Italian Government Tourist Board (ENIT) has made the greatest effort to oversee this market,” comments Andrea Babbi, Director General of ENIT, “We have organized educational tours that involved over 70 Chinese tour operators, we met in China around 500 local tour operators, and we organized travel for 150 Chinese journalists to visit Italy.”

Italian companies are also joining the effort, by applying for China Tourism Academy certification. The ‘Chinese Welcome’ certification rates companies and services on how welcoming they are to Chinese tourists, such as the Italo NTV train company, which displays information signs in Chinese as well as Italian.

In Le Marche, the Appassionata team have just welcomed their first Chinese owner to Casa Tre Archi. Roland Marcz advised Dawn and her family team that Chinese visitors now wanted to look beyond cities like Florence and Rome in order to experience the tranquil way of life, climate, culture and cuisine of the ‘real’ Italy. Compared with the fast pace of life in Shanghai, Petritoli offers a haven of peace. Roland comments,

“What becomes clearly apparent after living in this house even for a day is that the location could not be better, with amazing views from every window that are never, even at the back of the house, short of amazing, and to include three terraces on three levels of this manor is an added bonus that brings the outdoors with its blue skies and fragrant Italian air so close to home that we feel complete and satisfied with every sense of our being!”

As Chinese tourist numbers continue to increase, those countries ahead of the curve in welcoming them are set to benefit hugely and within Europe it is Italy that has taken pole position.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Expanding Italian economy means big things for small businesses

Expanding Italian economy means big things for small businesses

  • Italian economy to grow by 0.7% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2016 (Bank of Italy)
  • Knock-on effect of expansion on small businesses being felt across the country
  • Newest luxury holiday home from Appassionata already impacting positively on local businesses

The expanding Italian economy is great news for almost all businesses (with the possible exception of debt collectors!), but it is on smaller businesses that its impact is being felt the most. Micro businesses and artisanal suppliers in rural areas, away from the opportunities created by big cities and mass tourism, have struggled over the past several years. Many of them are run by just one or two family members, with skills passed down to them through the generations.

The Bank of Italy has forecast 0.7% GDP growth for the country this year and 1.5% for 2016 and a fall of unemployment by 1.5% by the end of 2016. But these headline numbers mask the true tale of Italy’s small businesses. It is in areas like Le Marche where the impact of the expanding economy can best be seen at grass roots level.

In the charming Le Marche hilltop town of Petritoli, local resident Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs is an excellent example of the impact that economic changes are having. Dawn runs fractional ownership holiday home company Appassionata with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. The company’s third fractional ownership project, the luxurious Casa Tre Archi, has proven popular with buyers looking for a taste of the ‘real Italy,’ rather than the touristy offerings of more commercialised destinations.

Now, the Appassionata team has just taken on its fourth project – the renovation and transformation of a house in the pretty hamlet of Patrignone. The decision has a knock-on effect for businesses in the local area. Builders and craftsmen have already been engaged to undertake some of the larger elements of the restoration and the scaffolding has already gone up.

As work progresses, Dawn will also commission a number of bespoke pieces to be manufactured by her key supply team – a collection of local craftsmen working from sheds and garages who alone or in pairs are producing some of the finest quality goods imaginable. Custom designed, exquisite chandeliers and slim, elegant wrought iron stair rails are two of the products that will be commissioned for the new holiday home. The lights are made by self-taught artisan Alfio Giuffrida, who spent his childhood playing at the feet of his mother and grandmother while they made lampshades. The stair rails come from the Brinci family, whose tiny blacksmith business has been running for more than 200 years. Other bespoke items will include pottery from brother and sister team Annamaria and Emanule Bozzi, with Grandfather Mario sitting at the pottery wheel to ensure the younger generations keep tradition alive.

Nor does the impact of the economic progress stop there. Appassionata’s fractional model means that owners get five weeks’ exclusive use of the property per year. With ten sets of owners each staying for a week, five times per year, that means 50 sets of flights, hire cars, spending money and so forth. The positive impact is felt by restaurants, cafés, local markets… all those small businesses that serve to give an area its character and its history. While the headlines talk about forecasts and percentages, this is the human way in which Italy is really growing – one tiny business at a time.

Casa Tre Archi has shares are available from £75,000. For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Winter sun away from the crowds – short-haul suntraps for British second homebuyers

Winter sun away from the crowds – short-haul suntraps for British second homebuyers

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  • Wettest August on record sees Brits looking for sunshine overseas
  • Canary Island apartments less than €500 per week (
  • 8 bed Algarve villa almost half price at €540k (Ideal Homes Portugal)

Predictions of a hot August for the UK, made in such a carefree manner in July, didn’t quite come to fruition. Instead, the month ended with bookmaker Ladbrokes simply stopping taking bets on August being the wettest on record. Enough said.

With the UK having endured another soggy summer, many individuals are turning their thoughts to sunshine overseas and checking out short-haul flight prices to see how quickly and cheaply they can transport themselves to the nearest suntrap.

Spain is a popular destination for sun seekers at any time of year. Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, comments,

“The Spanish Costas are a perfect place for enjoying some winter sun. Easy to get to and with a low cost of living, they’re great for those looking for a second home that they can regularly fly to in order to top up their vitamin D levels. The Spanish islands are also fantastic, particularly Mallorca, which has an agreeable climate throughout the winter months.”

Cala Anguila II in Porto Cristo, Mallorca, features two bedroom apartments costing from €230,000. Located next to the idyllic coves of Cala Anguila, Cala Romántica and Cala Mandía, the development includes ample gardens, a large swimming pool and a private sunbathing area.

“The Canaries are another great place to catch some winter sun,” comments Martin Dell, Director of Spanish property portal, which covers sales, long-term rentals and holiday lets. “You can get some really good value rental accommodation there off-season – there are several apartments in great locations for less than €500 per week.”

Spain’s nextdoor neighbour Portugal is also a great place to take in some winter sun. In the southern Algarve region, there are still plentiful bargains to be had when it comes to second homes. A contemporary two bedroom townhouse close to the new Amendoeira Golf Course (Faldo/O’Connor) is available through boutique real estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal for just €185,000, while a magnificent eight bedroom villa on the outskirts of Albufeira is available for €540,000 (reduced from €950,000).

Italy’s Le Marche is another lovely option during the winter months and easily reachable from many UK locations thanks to the region’s busy Ancona airport. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs of luxury fractional ownership holiday home company Appassionata comments,

“Le Marche is a wonderful place during the winter months. There’s plenty of space to relax in peace and with our latest luxury townhouse, Casa Tre Archi, you can also dip in and out of town life at your leisure. For sunny days, the property’s large roof terrace is just perfect for making the most of the good weather. Part of the joy of fractional ownership in this part of Italy is the fact that you get to see how beautiful the area is in every season.”

Fractions in Casa Tre Archi are available from £75,000 for five weeks’ exclusive usage per year. The model has proven popular for the family-run Appassionata team, who have just begun renovation work on their fourth property in the area.

A short boat ride across the Adriatic Sea is Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa in Albania. Another convenient choice for a short-haul winter sun destination, Albania enjoys mild winters, with temperatures averaging a low point of 7°C in January. Lalzit Bay is one of the most attractive stretches of coast along the Adriatic and the resort is privileged to enjoy its own private beach. Properties available include high-end apartments and villas, with a full management service available to all owners.

Those with an extra hour or two to spend in the air can enjoy the sunshine of Turkey this winter. The meeting point between East and West, Istanbul is a fascinating city that captivates all those who visit. The Oceanic Bay View villas there, available through Universal21 from $1,595,000, offer eco-friendly detached homes with swimming pools, exquisite design and the latest in smart home technology.

Whether it’s the beaches of Spain that you crave or the fast-paced city life of Istanbul, it’s time to accept that the UK summer is over and start sorting out some winter sun overseas.

For more information please contact:

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 or Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Ideal Homes Portugal: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434 or

Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 or

Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa: +44 845 125 8600 or

Universal21: 0203 287 8700 or

Cheese and chestnuts in the heart of Italy

Cheese and chestnuts in the heart of Italy

  • Buy the morning’s catch directly from the fishermen at Pedaso beach
  • Savour warm, plump chestnuts for a true taste of autumn
  • Be part of every season with a fractional ownership holiday home from Appassionata

Autumn is a variable concept. In the UK, it means nights drawing in, plunging temperatures and sudden unexpected squalls that leave you cursing your foolishness for leaving the house without an umbrella. In Italy, the nights are also drawing in, but that’s really where the similarity ends.

The autumn months are a wonderful time to enjoy Italy at its best. Not only does it offer the promise of reasonably consistent sunshine, but less touristy areas come alive with a wealth of seasonal local treats that will have foodies desperate to pack up their lives in the UK and head to Italy on a one-way ticket.

That was precisely what Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs and her family did nearly a decade ago. Wanting to be part of the ‘real’ Italy, they eschewed the big cities overrun with tourists in favour of the Le Marche region, the true heart of Italy. Dawn and husband Michael, along with three of their children, two grandchildren, three horses, two dogs and a cat are still delighted that they made the move and are loving living la dolce vita in Le Marche. Interior designer Dawn comments,

“This is such a fabulous time of year. The countryside just comes alive with colour and the scents and sounds seem to soften somehow after the intensity of midsummer. It’s a great time of year to focus on the forthcoming harvest, to start making jams and chutneys, capturing the tastes of summer ready for the winter months.”

As well as a host of regular markets and the ability to buy fresh fish directly from fishermen at the local beach, Le Marche offers a number of food festivals over the autumn months. From the wild fennel festival at the end of August, through the chestnut festival in October to the cheese festival in November, the area is awash with delicious flavours.

Le Marche is also home to some of Italy’s most well respected restaurants. Madonnina del Pescatore, near Ancona, is one of the finest dining establishments in the country, while its nearby offshoot, Il Clandestino, serves Italian sushi from a shack and enjoys an incredible local reputation.

“And don’t forget the cake shops,” adds Dawn. “We are spoiled for choice here in Petritoli – the displays have to be seen to be believed. Oh and then there’s the local wine…”

It is in Petritoli that Dawn’s family business, fractional ownership company Appassionata, has renovated their latest project, Casa Tre Archi. The luxury holiday home is a three bedroom townhouse so entwined in Petritoli’s history that the ancient, curved turret wall of the town’s fortifications is a feature of its living room. With a traditional style kitchen and three outdoor areas, including an expansive roof terrace, the charming home cries out for owners to enjoy preparing and savouring local delicacies.

Owners of Casa Tre Archi are able to use the house exclusively for five weeks every year. Shares are available from £75,000.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Enjoying the great outdoors – making the most of Italy under the autumn sun

Enjoying the great outdoors – making the most of Italy under the autumn sun

  • 85% of people cite playing outside as one of their greatest childhood memories (National Trust)
  • Families turn to Italy to enjoy the great outdoors (Appassionata)
  • From paragliding to snowboarding, Le Marche has it all (Monti Sibillini National Park)

As the seasons turn, rural Italy offers one of Europe’s most attractive holiday destinations. The sunlight loses the ferocity of its mid-summer heat, yet still provides long, warm days that are perfect for enjoying the outdoor lifestyle. Plump grapes swell and sweeten on the vine as the harvest approaches, while olives fatten invitingly ready for the winter months. Eating outside is an almost obligatory pleasure and in areas like the Le Marche region the rolling hills and distant, towering mountains look at their best in the autumn sunlight, inspiring painters to grab the nearest canvas and get to work.

For the McCaffrey family, outdoor pursuits were one of the draws that led to them buying a share in a fractional ownership holiday home in Le Marche. Although they actually intended to buy somewhere on the Norfolk coast! It was only a chance meeting with Michael Hobbs of family-run luxury holiday home company Appassionata that led to them falling in love with Italy in the first place. Michael recalls,

“Nick and I met on an endurance motorcycle ride across India for charity that we were both taking part in. With a shared passion for bikes, we kept in touch after the trip and Nick and his wife Frances came to stay us here in Italy a few weeks after we all got home. They knew we ran fractional ownership holiday homes, but none of us had any inkling that the McCaffreys would become our next set of owners – I don’t know who was more surprised, us or them!”

It was the outdoor lifestyle that Nick and Frances were so delighted with upon their first visit to Le Marche. The region benefits from a huge expanse of Adriatic coastline as well as the Sibillini Mountains and National Park. From late summer swims in the clean coastal waters to rocketing down a mountainside on a snowboard, the area offers something to suit every taste and budget. For the McCaffreys, the hiking trails of the Monti Sibillini National Park offer a wonderful way for them to enjoy the great outdoors with their three grown up children.

New research from the National Trust has revealed just how important that outdoor time is. 85% of those surveyed cited playing outside as one of their greatest childhood memories, yet the survey found that 54% of today’s children (aged 7-12) spend less than an hour outside each day. For 25%, outdoor time totalled less than 30 minutes daily, yet their parents spent an average of two hours 34 minute outside each day during their own childhood.

It was consideration of his children that made the fractional ownership model so appealing for Nick McCaffrey, both for now and for the future. Nick explains,

“When it came down to it buying a fraction of Appassionata it was a no brainer.  We would realistically only ever spend five weeks in a holiday home and this opportunity is for life and will be handed down in time to my children and grandchildren, a wonderful legacy to leave.”

The latest Appassionata holiday home, the three bedroom, three bathroom townhouse Casa Tre Archi, maximises the opportunities for enjoying outdoor space, with a bijou terrace tucked behind the kitchen, a generously sized first floor terrace off one of the bedrooms and a 50 foot roof terrace at the very top. With elegant loungers and a beautifully canopied gazebo, along with views that stretch for miles around, it offers the perfect outdoor living space for the whole family to enjoy. Even when the first autumn rains arrive to finally break the heat of the summer, it is a delightful place to curl up under cover of the gazebo with a blanket and a hot chocolate, to watch the landscape transform as the rains sweep across it.

The arrival of the winter months sees travellers flock to the Monti Sibillini National Park to try their hand at skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports, but autumn in the great outdoors is no less exciting, with horse riding, mountain biking, hang gliding, paragliding and climbing all available to those looking to make the most of their time in the Italian sunshine.

Shares in Casa Tre Archi are available from £75,000 for five weeks’ exclusive use per year.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

The world wants Le Marche! Property enquiries for Italian province surge by 92%

The world wants Le Marche! Property enquiries for Italian province surge by 92%

  • 7% of enquiries from UK and US locations (Gate-Away)
  • 7% of buyers looking to spend less than €100k (Gate-Away)
  • 3 bed, 3 bath Le Marche townhouse with 50 ft roof terrace for £75k (Appassionata)

New data from the Italian property portal has revealed a 92% surge in enquiries for property in the central Le Marche region, the unspoiled Italian location that is a hit with visitors from around the world. The H1 2015 enquiry figure was 92% higher than that of H1 2014 and meant that Le Marche accounted for 6% of overall requests.

“Le Marche has it all,” comments local resident Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of luxury holiday home company Appassionata. “The beaches are just beautiful, the local food and wine are excellent and we have miles upon miles of rolling countryside. It’s a peaceful place. Somewhere that you can lose yourself for hours gazing at the scenery or the shifting light as dusk falls across the hills while you dine on an outdoor roof terrace.”

Dawn is one of a growing number of Brits to have lost her heart to Le Marche. She moved there with her family in 2007 and is now helping others to follow their own Italian dream through her luxury fractional ownership business. Owners buy a one tenth share in a property, which they can use exclusively for five weeks per year. For many owners, it is not just a purchase for themselves, but a legacy for their children.

US buyers are also increasingly enchanted by Le Marche. According to the Gate-Away figures, 18.2% of enquiries into Le Marche homes in H1 2015 came from the UK and 14.5% from the US. Homes between €100,000 and €250,000 accounted for the lion’s share of enquiries, at 30.4%, but homes under €100,000 came a close second, with 29.7%.

The figure adds weight to the fractional ownership model that the Appassionata team is operating. Owners get to enjoy a luxurious holiday home that is far larger than they could afford to buy outright, at an affordable cost. They do so without having to worry about upkeep, maintenance or cleaning – every time they arrive to use their Le Marche home, they simply have to unpack their cases and begin enjoying their holiday.

The three bedroom, three bathroom Casa Tre Archi is the third of Appassionata’s fractional holiday homes and is already proving popular. The townhouse follows on from the success of the two countryside properties that were Appassionata’s original Le Marche project.

Casa Tre Archi is beautifully located for those looking to enjoy authentic Italian small town life, while also affording fantastic views from its multiple outdoor spaces, which include a 50 foot roof terrace. It is just the kind of location that Walter Di Martino, Head of Communications at, has flagged up as being sought-after by buyers from overseas. He comments,

“Non-Italians are particularly enamoured with the countryside of Le Marche region. As a matter of fact its hinterland, only 10-15km from the coastline, is the most sought-after to the point that we received more requests for this area than for properties in sea resorts. Generally speaking, small towns rising along the coast are more alluring than the bigger tourist city centres of the Riviera. The most picturesque hamlets, which dot the region, are among the most coveted overall.”

It is in just such an area as this that Appassionata’s next luxury holiday home will be awaited. Dawn is keeping details firmly under wraps at the moment, though she did reveal that it will be many months before the tumbledown building has been sufficiently nurtured for its details to be shared with the wider world. For those who cannot wait, inspection trips to Casa Tre Archi can be arranged directly with Appassionata, so buyers who want to be part of Le Marche’s rise to international fame can get in ahead of the crowds.

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

The Italian Job – from multi-generational employment to holidays for the whole family

The Italian Job – from multi-generational employment to holidays for the whole family

  • 98% of multi-generational travellers highly satisfied with their trip (AARP)
  • Italy perfect for whole-family holidays (Appassionata)
  • 83% of travellers highlight bringing family together as top benefit of multi-generational holidays (AARP)

Italy is a country synonymous with proud family heritage. Family values and the coming together of generations – particularly over meal times – are seemingly decaying in many countries, but in Italy these traditions are still strong. The country has found a way to embrace the contemporary world without losing its family bonds, to the benefit of future generations.

“Family is so important here,” observes Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of luxury holiday home company Appassionata. “We work with local artisans to source unique products – everything from lamp shades to wrought iron gates – and so many of them are third or fourth generation craftsmen, carrying forward the skills that they learnt at their father or grandfather’s knee.”

Dawn herself runs her business with several of her own family members. Husband Michael, daughter India and son-in-law Charlie all work together to present Appassionata’s luxury fractional ownership holiday homes to a global audience of owners, all of whom share a passion for Italy and the country’s way of life. Even little grandson Lucas likes to pitch in at busy times, like the olive and grape harvests.

With such a strong family focus, Italy makes an ideal location for multi-generational family trips, something that the latest research from AARP Travel has found are satisfying to 98% of travellers. The Le Marche region, where the Appassionata team is based, appeals to the whole family, with plentiful Blue Flag beaches, the Sibillini National Park, friendly towns and fantastic dining options.

The AARP Travel research has found that the top benefits of multi-generational holidays are precisely those that Italy has to offer. 83% of respondents felt that bringing the entire family together was the greatest benefit, 69% felt that it was helping build special memories and 50% felt that it was grandparents being able to spend time with their grandchildren.

Chris Everard, who owns a share in Appassionata’s three bedroom, three bathroom townhouse, Casa Tre Archi (fractions are available from £75,000 for five weeks’ exclusive use per year), took his daughter, son-in-law and brand new granddaughter to stay there recently. He feels that Le Marche makes an ideal holiday spot for multi-generational vacations. Not only are Casa Tre Archi and the local town of Petritoli ideal for a relaxed holiday, but the nearby facilities are fantastic. Chris comments,

“Within an easy 20 minute drive you arrive on the Adriatic coast and have the opportunity to enjoy a true Italian beach experience. Impossible to work out Italian family combinations arrive, make camp, squabble, play Boule, disappear for a three-hour lunch and return to sleep the afternoon away whilst various grandparents take it in turns to look after the bambini’s.”

Appassionata’s India Hobbs-Mauger adds,

“Le Marche is the perfect destination for whole-family trips as it is so welcoming to children. There are loads of activities here to keep everyone entertained and towns like Petritoli are just charming, whatever your age. It’s a wonderful family destination.”

For more information visit or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Med Madness! Perfect properties in Europe’s top tourism hotspot

Med Madness! Perfect properties in Europe’s top tourism hotspot

Albania Cyprus Italy Spain , , , ,
  • 1 in 3 tourists goes to the Med (UNWTO)
  • 90% of UK consumers travel to Europe more than they did 10 years ago (European Consumer Network)
  • Med tourists set to hit 500 million by 2030 (UNWTO)

The soft sands and warm waters of the Mediterranean are known around the world, accounting for one of every three international tourist arrivals globally, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

UNTWO’s research projects that the area will attract more than 500 million visitors annually by 2030, while the European Consumer Network has found that 90% of UK consumers are travelling to Europe more than they did 10 years ago. It makes a holiday home on the Med an attractive investment prospect for those looking to own a second home that can be used for holidays but that also has the potential to generate an income.

The classic Mediterranean destinations are all worthy of consideration when it comes to second home ownership. Italy offers abundant choice, while Spain and Cyprus have large expat communities that make retiring there an easy option for the future. Albania is the rising star of the Med locations, with some excellent properties currently attracting attention.

In Spain, the property market in coastal areas is picking up at a promising pace, as buyers look to take advantage of the bottomed out market before prices rise. Prices on the Mediterranean coast have already risen by 1.5% this year, according to valuation firm Tinsa. Upmarket areas such as Marbella and the surrounding towns are benefitting from the uptick, with new build developments such as Jade Beach, from leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España attracting those looking to own a prestigious property within just 100 meters of the seafront promenade leading to Puerto Banus. Prices start at €450,000.

“Previously owned properties are also selling well along Spain’s lengthy Mediterranean coastline,” confirms Martin Dell, Director of property portal, which offers property sales, holiday rentals and long-term rentals across Spain. “Menorca has some fantastic properties for sale right now, like this four bed, four bath villa with pool for €895,000. It’s the ideal second home for someone looking to own a fabulous holiday property that also has great rental potential.”

Taylor Wimpey España is also keyed in to the potential of the Balearic Islands when it comes to holiday home ownership. Sales and Marketing Director Marc Pritchard comments,

“Mallorca is a great play to buy and has everything from key ready apartments at developments like Cala Magrana III to new build seafront houses like those at Cala Magrana Mar. Mallorca has so much to offer in terms of both land and sea-based activities – it is one of the Med’s most enchanting destinations.”

Over in Italy, the Le Marche region’s coastline has been attracting considerable attention. Le Marche is now the area with the third highest number of Blue Flag beaches in Italy and is becoming increasingly known to international visitors for its clean, safe waters and powder-soft sands. Casa Tre Archi, the latest luxury fractional ownership holiday home from family-run company Appassionata, provides the perfect base for exploring the wonders of the Italian coastline. Fractions are available from £75,000.

Across the Adriatic Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean) from Italy is Albania, which is rapidly becoming one of the Eastern Med’s most exciting holiday home destinations. The five star luxury Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa offers everything from apartments with generous balconies to frontline villas with their own pools, with property reservation available for just €500. As well as the resort’s host of features (landscaped gardens, kids’ club, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, medical centre, shops, library, restaurants and bars), owners can enjoy 300m of prime beach frontage, exclusively for use by Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa residents.

Cyprus is another popular Mediterranean destination for second home ownership, with a wide range of properties to tempt buyers looking for a blend of tasteful style and prime location, whatever their budget. At the higher end of the market, €868,000 is sufficient to purchase a two bedroom, two bathroom semi-detached villa with pool and stunning sea views at the prestigious Aphrodite Hills resort in Pafos. Chris White of Ideal Homes International comments,

“Cyprus is an incredibly popular location on the Med for second home owners. The climate is excellent and the beaches simply fantastic. With several international influences, the island has developed a unique and enticing cuisine and cities such as Pafos have a rich architectural heritage, along with ‘living history’ archaeological sites like the Tombs of the Kings. From quick holidays to longer-term stays, it is a perfect location for those looking to buy property overseas.”

For more information please contact:

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 or Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.


Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 or

Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa: +44 845 125 8600 or

Ideal Homes International: +44 1543 326315 or