Welcome to our expat series!
After our interview to Rachael and Tom from Michigan who bought a house in a picturesque medieval village in Umbria, we’ve received this letter from one of the most active members of our Facebook Community about Italy. That’s the story about how Cathy from USA fell in love with a local, Enrico, and how they both fell in love with the marvellous coastline of Marche region that they choose as their perfect Italian retreat.
My husband Enrico was born and raised in Rome, a true Roman and proud of it! But his father was originally from the Iesi/Ancona area and his grandfather was born in Monte San Vito (right next to Morro D’Alba) and every year since he was a toddler, his parents came to Senigallia for their summer vacation. Enrico had decided when he was 20, tired of the hustle and bustle of the big city, to make a move to live in his favorite beach resort full time. Not long after this move he meets, me, Cathy, on the beach in Senigallia.
I am a 2nd generation American with Italian/Irish heritage. In fact my grandmother was from Senigallia and my grandfather was from the beautifully restored medieval hill town of Mondavio. I too, spent my vacations in Senigallia visiting Italian relatives and going to the beach. Love at first sight? We think so. We were married at the beautiful town hall of Senigallia and the rest is history! 38 years in 2017 and counting!
We started our adventure together by buying an old abandoned farm house in the country just outside of Senigallia that needed to be completely renovated from top to bottom. There was no plumbing, electricity, windows or doors! When the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun ” came out we looked at each other and said, “yeah, been there, done that!!”
In this same time period we had opened a store specializing solely in Italian Handcrafts, “Folli Follie” further down the Adriatic Coast in another popular seaside resort, Peschici on the Gargano coast. After 15 years the house in Senigallia was finally finished and we felt ready for a new adventure. We sold it and took “Folli Follie” to America eventually choosing in 1994 New Hope Pennsylvania to open our new store “Made in Italy” importing only the finest in Italian Handcrafts.
Needless to say we soon found that we had left our hearts in the Marche region and “Made in Italy” became a reference point for anyone coming into the shop for information in general on Italy but specifically a window of promotion for the Marche. We spent literally hours talking with customers about our beloved region and convincing them of the need to visit it! And it makes us very happy to know that many have because of that!
Traveling back and forth every year on our buying trips for the shop, we would spend at least a month if not 2 in our apartment in Ostra and, in between work and visiting family, we roamed the Marchigian countryside searching for our next farmhouse. We found “Solebello” in 2005 one day on a bet after seeing an ad in a local paper for its sale. We both remembered the house, knew it quite well actually, before and during its renovation in the 80’s. Well, to make a long story short, we bought it that day! There was no question, this was it and it was going to be the perfect home base for allowing us to initiate our tours of the Marche Region.
We did manage in the midst of all of this to have and raise our beautiful daughter Jessica who has been back and forth from Italy so many times that she has become quite comfortable living and working both here at Solebello and our store in New Hope and has been a constant help for us in our never ending search for quality and perfection to satisfy our customers. Having grown up in 2 countries we know how hard it is to choose which one you want to settle down in. It can be very confusing and we wish her the best in her decision! Well that’s us in a nutshell and here we are promoting and loving this area with all our heart and soul!
All we can say is that we hope you come to visit the Marche as the perfect place to stay in Italy.