Tenuta San Marcello
We spent a lovely long weekend with 6 other families, at our friends 'agriturismo' ('farm-stay' or guest house which is situated on a farm) in Le Marche, Italy. You would think that a weekend away with 16 kids and 14 adults would be highly stressful - but in fact it was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had! The 6 other families are the ladies from my Italian class, and their families. Its amazing, we all get along so well, as do our husbands and kids. Almost too perfect to be true!?
Le Marche is situated in Central Italy, bordered by Emilia-Romagna, near Tuscany and Umbria. The region has a nice mix of resort towns and beautiful beaches, rugged scenery and quaint hill towns, excellent food and some good art and history as well. It was my first time visiting this region and I was really amazed by it's beauty.
Tenuta San Marcello, the agriturismo which Massimo and Pascale run is beautiful. You wouldn't find 2 more hospitable people! Massimo is so passionate about his wines that you really enjoy listening to him explain the different wines and having a tour of the vineyards with him. His charming French wife Pascale obviously has impeccable taste, as she has thought of every detail within the guest house and everything looks amazing.
As you arrive you immediately feel relaxed.. You can lie by the pool and overlook their vineyards (they produce their own wines). During the day Michele (Massimo's brother and my good friend Melissa's husband) went diving for sea urchin and mussels which we enjoyed by the pool at sunset, along with a nice cold glass of rosé wine.
The beach is nearby so we spent the day there while the kids kept themselves busy all day long, running in and out the water and playing in the sand. We had a great seafood meal on the beach, which was so relaxing as the kids didn't have to sit still, they just ate and ran off to play while us adults could enjoy our meal perfectly in peace!
In the morning Pascale organised a yoga session right outside by the pool. Amazing. We then had breakfast which was a big treat as well - different types of homemade cakes, homemade savoury pies, freshly made yoghurts, breads and jams… In the early evening, as we had lots of kids with us, they also organised for 2 girls to come and entertain the kids, while we had sundowners by the pool.
I would highly recommend anyone wanting to get away, whether you are with kids or not, to visit Massimo & Pascale!
Here is a Q&A with the lovely Pascale:
Q: What were your previous professions, before getting involved in the agriturismo?
A: We were both working in Milano, Massimo was in charge of the Technical Office for a TO called Viaggi del Ventaglio whereas I was in charge for Fila Sport of Footwear Product and Marketing for the EMEA market.
Q: What made you both quit your professions and start a totally new venture?
A: We realized that we just had no more quality time, too involved in meetings, travelling, stressful work, and too many hours in the middle of Milano’s traffic. Sophie and Jordi were very young and someone else was educating and taking care of them. Indeed a very nice young girl, but we had to live with her from Monday to Friday as there were no possibility to plan our personal life. That’s something that made me say at a certain point: STOP. That’s not what I want for my life. We were living in Rho (where we actually have opened a B&B last year for the EXPO), but we have always dreamt about Hospitality so we decided to make this big step!
Q: Did the property already produce wine when you took over, or is this a new thing that you both started?
A: The property was almost abandoned and the “vineyard” was a land of fresh onions. So yes, wine production has been a project started from the very beginning, planting and growing the plants. Massimo since the beginning has been forward looking, determined in making a sustainable wine production, actually in line with the other choices I made in furniture choices and biomaterial used for the reconstruction of the property. This is our identity in any growing step we make.
Q: Have you seen any positive changes in yourself and your children, since starting the agriturismo and spending more time together?
A: Well Miki….you know that there’s nothing perfect; positive change is definitely the context of being immersed in the nature; my wish was to manage to grow the kids in contact with nature and human rhythm, with no building to interfere with their dreams and horizons. I just wanted to dedicate these years in being a Mamma, close to them for the daily routine because I strongly believe that this is what allows one to create good basis. However it has been difficult also for them to be accepted in a small community as San Marcello as they were seen both as “Milanesi” and “French” but… at the end they managed to take their space. Positive is the fact that your dream becomes reality; positive is that you mostly have to welcome people who are in the right mood as they come here on holidays so they are relaxed and usually just want to take the best of it. Positive is the large panel of person you meet, each one with its story, and we got friends in different part of the world ready to welcome us!! Positive is that you need to give always the best of you, sometimes bad to say but “the show must go on” : you need to find resource in you that you didn’t think you could have. The reverse of the medal is that there’s no day off, hard to plan your life (we are opened all year except for few days in Christmas). That means no time with your family when YOU decide, no holidays: we work 7/7 days and because it’s a small family conduction you have to deal and face all kind of situation. Italian state for sure is not helping , nothing new if I talk about bureaucracy and stupid laws. Anyway….we grow, we have to learn from the situation, we had to learn to work together (husband and wife…not easy at all !! ), and in any case, if you ask me would you go back? The answer is no!!!