As long I can remember, I’m interested in the houses offered by the foreign estate agents. One day I will have the opportunity to buy a holiday home abroad.
A Few years ago friends informed us about the region Le Marche in Italy. They visited Le Marche a few times and were very enthusiastic about this region – especially this part of Italy has not flooded by a lot of foreign tourists yet. We decided to travel to Le Marche for our next holiday. And from then we spend more than eight years our holidays, in different locations in Le Marche – from the north to the south, but especially the southern part between Ancona and Pescara, in the triangle of Grottammare, Offida and Montefiore dell’Aso.
Often we rented our holiday homes by Viva la Case of Anne Klein Severt who emigrated to this part of Italy. In 2015 we also spent our May holiday in Le Marche. And perhaps triggered by some Dutch television programs where people are emigrating to a foreign country and renting out holiday homes, we were even more excited. During our stay in Le Marche, we often saw old houses and ruins in the countryside. Therefor we asked Anne several questions like who the owners are and why they are not renovating those houses – places with endless views and surrounded by a beautiful landscape nearby lovely small towns. The properties are often owned by several persons from a family and therefor have been derelict. The costs to renovate are very expensive, especially the current earthquake regulations. Despite that, our interest was strengthened
Back home we immediately ordered books to get more information about buying and building in Italy. We read about the experiences of people, the difficulties, the cultural differences and the regulations. We also spoke to others who already had taken steps in starting a similar project. They noticed the endless procedures and the unclear regulations. All the information strengthened our interest and in October 2015 we booked flight tickets and made arrangements with estate agents to visit various potential objects. At home we already selected several objects which were sent to us by mail. Next to this we did some research about prices and objects through websites like www.immobiliare.it.
On October 15 2015 we went for a four-day ‘house hunt’ in Le Marche. Because we have an early flight at Weeze airport (D), we spend the evening before in a hotel nearby. We are a bit nervous – how would it be, what can we expect? Because of the autumn holidays it is busy at the airport – there are large queues for the check-in desks and the baggage check. Luckily we are on time, but the plane is unfortunately delayed. After arriving at Ancona airport we walk straight on to the car rental. While waiting we immediately get in touch with a Dutch couple who have already bought a house and are here to discuss the tenders with different builders. We are not the only one…
After an hour drive we arrived in Montefiore dell’Aso at Dorina’s, an authentic ‘pasticceria’ not to be missed in the middle of the center. Anne and the real estate agent are already waiting. After a short introduction we are on our way for our first visit. The first house is in Carassai. A beautiful location far from civilization and unfortunately the views are obstructed by various electricity poles and cables, wherever you look. We quickly agree: this is not an option.
Back to Montefiore dell’Aso to view the second house. After a narrow country road we stopped at a plot of land with the most beautiful views, even with a view to the sea. What a magnificent location! The ruin is small only one hundred square meters. Too small for us but according to the estate agent it can be extended. A number of old olive trees are standing in the countryside. The plot is totally three hectares, the owner wants to sell the whole property and not just a part of it. That’s quite a piece of land, with a forest on it, but still a lot of work to maintain. On the top of the hill, behind the property we see the top of a transmission mast. We are a little bit disappointed, we prefer not to look out onto such a mast, moreover what does this do to your health. There are several stories about it. We have to investigate this further; Anne knows the owner of the holiday home next to this plot. It is a family from Belgium who build this house five years ago. Maybe he can inform us about any negative consequences of the transmission mast. We will call him in the evening.
After having a lunch we visited several other locations in the afternoon, including an old monastery at Offida. Unfortunately this ruin is no longer accessible due to a subsided road. It looked like such a nice place on the pictures we saw online. Especially in combination with the price it could be interesting. And who doesn’t dream of ever owning an old monastery?!
The right location is important, that’s clear – not too remote and preferably accessible via two directions. In this part of Italy, you can be surprised the amount of snow can fall in one day. Only the main roads will be cleared. You can easily been isolated for a few days!
We also visited a location in Ripatransone. The property was in reasonably good condition. However, the location and size of the property were out of proportion to the asking price. By looking at various options online at home, you develop an increasingly better feeling as to whether an asking price is realistic and in line with the market. But we also have heard of a sudden increase in the asking price in case of further interest…That day we visited eight different locations in total. Because of the intensive listening – often in Italian, traveling between the various locations and the impressions, we arrive dead tired at our hotel in Grottammare in the evening. Extensive dining is no longer possible, so we took just a takeaway pizza.
We have plenty to discuss. The location with the transmission mast still seems attractive to us, but after a telephone conversation with the neighbour we decide not to proceed with. For temporary rentals he doesn’t see the problem, but if we want to stay there ourselves for a longer period, the radiation could affect our health. He and his family have moved to another house for that reason.
We were very disappointed and on top of that the estate agent cancelled the appointments due to family circumstances for the following day. But we received the coordinates – but this was quite a puzzle, the degrees of latitude and longitude can be interpreted in different ways. But in the end we managed to find the destination and we decide to go there on our own the next morning.
The next morning, after an early breakfast we immediately get in the car, on our way to Cossignano. From the coast we reach the exit to Cossignano in twenty minutes. We go up the hill, drive through the center and just after the center we see the location to our right. What an amazing view with Carassai and Montefiore dell’Aso in the distance and a view through the vineyards to the mountains with already some snow on the peaks of the Monte Sibillini. Luckily we have a ‘modern’ 4×4 Cinquecento and we can get close to the ruin.
The ruin is a collapsed old farmhouse. The view is free of power wires and other houses. We enjoy the silence but are also shocked by the poor conditions of the property. A number of walls are still standing, but the roof almost collapsed totally and there are several cracks in the walls. Of course you can’t look inside, it is too dangerous. There is a lot of authentic material available for re-use. The old original tiles are on the roof and many bricks are still intact. This can be beneficial for the budget. We like the authentic look and the contours of the ruin and that in combination with the wide view we realize that we have to look through it. We take some pictures and we see that someone is coming across. It is an older woman who is waling to us through the dirty road full of mud. She is very curious, comes towards us and is asking us a few questions – of course in the Italian language. We tried to answer but our language skills aren’t good enough yet. It is hard to understand, but the social control already feels good. After having a short conversation we say goodbye with a lot of ‘ciao ciao’. The beautiful autumn weather and the friendliness of the older women, makes this meeting extra special.
Because we didn’t have more appointments planned, we treat ourselves with a lunch on the beach of Portonovo, just nearby of Ancona. It consists of a beautiful bay with a view over the Adriatic Sea. Outside it is full of Italians for lunch. Despite we didn’t book a table, there is a place for two at Ristorante Marcello. We order a glass of Pecorino and risotto. With our new experiences we discuss ‘our’ potential project in Cossignano. Would this be the place for our future holiday home?