This summer, our community manager Simone Schoene and her family travelled to Italy, where they stayed at La Fenella, a small estate built around a restored water mill. Located in Le Marche, south of Pesaro and San Marino, the area is often described as one of Italy’s best kept secrets, with spectacular mountain scenery and unspoiled beaches – and it's easy to see why. La Fenella is a gloriously pastoral setting, with its own private stream and waterfalls, plus acres of unspoiled countryside.
“We had the most amazing stay,” she tells us. “The renovated water mill shows in every corner the passion and love the owners Jeannette and René have put in to create this gem. Surrounded by lush nature, it is an oasis in a valley, providing a natural pool to cool off in during warm days or after a hike on their own hill.
“The hosts have created such a welcoming atmosphere that you feel instantly at home. The welcome basket with essentials to cook and all the amenities make it really easy to settle and start your vacation right away.”
Each of the apartments on the estate is named after the local landscape or attractions. Simone, her husband and their two young children stayed at the Costa Conero Apartment, which was inspired by a coastal area south of Ancona, with its pebbled beach and turquoise waters (pictured bottom).
“The apartment, with its old floors, huge ceilings and old beams, combined with an industrial look, is impressive,” she says. “You hear the birds chirping in the morning. It is beyond quiet and relaxing.”
The family spent time hiking on the 13-hectare plot, adopted and accompanied by the resident sheep dog. They also drove around the region of Le Marche, through fields of sunflowers and wine grapes, from one hill to the next, exploring historic villages.
One of their favorites was Corinaldo. “It has an amazing wine bar in its center," she says, "where you sit on pillows on large stone stairs, sipping wine from the vineyard you are looking out at.”
They also had beach days at Senigallia and Costa Conero, and spent time vintage shopping and exploring Italian produce markets. “It’s a great location to branch out, and Jeannette and René never get tired of giving recommendations. They really know the best places for regional and local food. They even offer cooking classes that we could not attend this time but will definitely do another time, to learn pasta making!"
It turned out to be a great location for the kids. “They loved the history and design of the property, and being part of the herd of the property shepherd dogs," Simone laughs. "The natural pool was one thing they really loved. It feels like a pond or lake in between nature because there is nothing around you except hills and greenery and a little nearly-abandoned village on top of one hill.
“They were also trying all the delicious food in Le Marche,” she adds, “especially the gelato that they started to order with just a few words of Italian they learned on the go! It was a very inspiring, relaxing and yummy stay – we will be back!”
La Fenella is composed of a main house that can be rented in its entirety or as two apartments, plus one separate apartment. Booked together, this estate in Le Marche can accommodate up to 16 guests. To explore the properties, click here.