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Destination I Do
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Le Marche: The Undiscovered Italy

Words by Carolyn Steere

South of Venice along the Adriatic coast, the region of Le Marche (pronounced "lay Markay") is known for its rolling hills, charming countryside, seaside towns and villages. It is one of the country’s best-kept secrets where you can experience authentic Italy while avoiding throngs of tourists.

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The best way to discover the region and its many hidden treasures is by car, guided by your GPS. On our journey through this amazing region, our first stop was Villa Olivo, newly constructed and outfitted with all you need for 12 guests. Perfect to host a destination wedding, it comes complete with a spa, fitness room, gourmet kitchen, indoor and outdoor living and eating spaces, pool and a spectacular view of the Adriatic Sea. An additional house on the property provides space for additional family members or bridal parties, and there are numerous charming locations for the rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch. Ceremonies and receptions are generally set up in a tented area on the property with views of the sea, twinkle lights and hanging vines adding to the ambiance. The property concierge, Francesca Romagnoli is at your service from the moment you arrive and throughout your stay to see to all the details, including a personal chef to prepare your meals, if desired.

Another gem we found along our journey was Casa Sant’ Elia, a uber charming villa lovingly restored by Jerry and Irene’ Avis. Casa Sant’ Elia would be ideal for a more intimate, authentic Italian experience in a home-like setting with a very personal touch. The villa can accommodate eight to ten guests with another six in an adjacent home. Nestled among the surrounding vineyards, the views from the villa are amazing providing the perfect backdrop for a destination wedding for up to 120 guests. Jerry and Irene’ and their daughter Chloe see to every detail to make you feel at home so that you can relax, enjoy your wedding and create lasting memories.

Boutique Hotel Leone, in the picturesque hilltop village of Montelparo, is another jewel. Co-owners, Tim and Madeline Jones purchased this 15th-century palazzo and carefully restored it to its former glory. The eight cozy rooms are each artfully decorated with amazing views of the distant vistas. Events can be held in an elegant drawing room, on one of three spacious terraces or in their charming brick restaurant. Not only was the service outstanding, but the food prepared by Tim was Michelin quality.

Stretching for around 100 miles along the Adriatic coast, Le Marche is a place where you can experience authentic Italy with mountaintop villages where time seems to have stood still, a stunning coastline with beautiful beaches, art and culture, vineyards and olive groves. It has been described as Tuscany as it was 20 years ago, both gorgeous and affordable. It truly is undiscovered Italy.

Images courtesy of (in order of appearance): Villa Olivo (2nd, 3rd & 4th); Boutique Hotel Leone (1st & 7th); Carolyn Steere (5th, 6th & 8th)

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