Why We Founded a Non-Profit Organisation in Italy
We are lucky to know many talented artisans in Le Marche, Italy. They are our go-to tradespeople when we restore and renovate vacation homes for our clients. These amazing creatives can hand-make the most beautiful wooden floors, stunning light fixtures, gorgeous carvings from stone and supply us with decorative antiques that bring life to our clients’ new homes.
Many of these talented people only speak Italian, and are only known locally, so it always gives us huge satisfaction when we can provide them with work or a commission from an overseas buyer. Unfortunately, many of these authentic Italian skills are dying out – young people now favour well-paid and more secure jobs in graphic design, the IT industry, and prefer to live in coastal areas rather than the traditional historical hilltop towns of Le Marche.
The events of the 2016 series of earthquakes that hit central Italy did not help. Many artisans have noticed a downturn in foreign visitors and other Italians since then, so have moved away from the area in order to find work.
The authentic hilltop towns are becoming quieter and more uninhabited by the day, with repairs to damaged properties being very slow in happening. Without any customers, who can continue to run a business, no matter how skilled you may be?
Our non-profit organisation, “Authentic Marche”
This is the main reason that we have founded our non-profit organisation “Authentic Marche”, which aims to bring tourists (and life) back to these beautiful towns, promote the diverse beauty of the region, and let its communities thrive once again.
Authentic Marche will support the arts, culture and tourism of Le Marche, with an emphasis on the earthquake affected areas. These towns still hold their festivals, the museums are open for business, they are rich in architectural heritage, and are home to some of the friendliest people on the planet.
We do not want to see them turned into ghost towns where homes are auctioned off for €1 as has been happening in other areas of the country. Hundreds of years of history, generation after generation of families, the stories, the small-town culture, just gone? We can’t let that happen.
Don’t get me wrong, we want people to buy holiday and vacation homes. We want to showcase Le Marche and show foreign buyers the potential living here holds. This is how we earn our living, and local people love having foreign neighbours, they are welcoming and kind to overseas buyers. When we bought and restored our house in one of the region’s small hilltop towns, our neighbours welcomed us with open arms (and usually huge lunches and food donations!) A good mix of local people and holiday-home owners works very well, keeps the towns alive, and certainly gives everyone something to talk about in a variety of languages!
How to support “Authentic Marche”
But we want tourists to visit too. We want them to visit the mountains, explore the coast, tour the old historical towns that are rich in history and architecture. We want them to meet local artisans, observe their skills and buy their beautiful hand-made products. We want them to take classes, sample the delicious (mainly seasonal and organic) food of the region, to stay in locally owned guest houses, agriturismos (farmhouses) and bed and breakfasts. Everyone should experience Le Marche hospitality at least once in their life! There are no queues or lines, very little traffic (compared to other tourist-heavy regions), a slow paced way of life, diverse scenery, and (I’ll say it again) delicious food and wine! Oh, and it’s cheap too!
As a non profit organisation in Italy, Authentic Marche aims to showcase the region through touristic events, such as our “Italy Design Week”, where visitors can explore artisanal workshops and galleries, see fresco painters at work, take stone carving classes and meet local flooring, lighting and antiques specialists. All profits will be donated to the association, with many more to come.
We have begun restoring a workshop to use as a stone carving studio in our town of Force, kindly donated to us by the town’s mayor. David will provide sculpting classes to local students, adults and tourists, and we can’t wait to begin!
We will keep you updated with our progress, and in the meantime, stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter.