The Avis family bought Sant’ Elia in 2004, a derelict farmhouse close to Filottrano in the Marche region of Italy. A farmhouse, approximately 100 years old, unoccupied for thirty years. The property has just over four hectares, or nine acres, of land currently planted with corn.
The property is south facing and boasts vast grounds and the family planned to completely renovate the property. plant 200 olive trees along with several rows of vines.
The house needed considerable attention. The walls were sound but the roof needed restoring and interiors needed a total ‘make over’.
The house is large; with three floors, and comes complete with its own pigsty, stable and grain silo, to be transformed into garage and storage (for tractors), lounge and swimming pool changing room and utility area.
Where is Sant Elia?
Sant Elia is in Marche. Marche is a region in central Italy enclosed between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea, it is a land rich in poetry, art and history, with a stunningly beautiful landscape.
The Marche province stretches some 120km from Pesaro in the north to Ascoli Pisceno in the south. Inland it stretches about 60km to Umbria and the Apennine Mountains. Within a 90 minutes drive of Sant’ Elia, there are the Sibillini Mountains where it is possible to ski in the winter.
The Marche is generally undeveloped, and this with its rolling hills, its many old fortified towns such as Urbino and Macerata, give it the name of “Tuscany without the tourists”.
Filottrano is roughly in the centre of the Marche region, some 30 minutes from Ancona Airport and the Adriatic beaches and about two and half hours from Bologna in the north and Rome in the south.
Filottrano is a small fortified hill town overlooking the River Musone. It has a long history dating back to the Bronze Age. It was first settled by the Gauls, and then by the Etruscans in 295 BC. There are still remains of a ‘Gaulish necropolis’, or cemetery, together with Bronze Age settlements.
In recent history there was a ‘Battle of Filottrano’ in 1943, when a parachute division of the Italian Liberation Corps seized the town from Germans.
Filottrano is best known for its world renowned Two Wheel Cart Museum; but it also features on the cultural circuit. In 2003 it was on the Italian tour by the University of Southampton Symphony Orchestra.