Italy has a reputation for high quality local crafts, but the country’s artigianos – traditional artisans – have struggled to compete with the increasing commercialisation of their country in recent years. Indeed The Guardian reported that Italian artisans were turning increasingly to the internet and the convenience of supermarkets in order to try and make a living. It seems that the traditional crafts of Italy are in danger of being lost to mass production, with the demise of uniqueness and quality that such a move usually entails.
One local businesswoman is determined to fight for the country’s artigianos, though. From her home in Le Marche, bordering the Adriatic Sea in central Italy, Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of family-run company Appassionata, is supporting and working alongside local artisans. The individuals that Dawn works with are often the third or fourth generation of their family to carry out the specialist local crafts. Their workshops range from tiny warehouses to ramshackle wooden huts.
“I feel privileged to have had the chance to meet and support so many talented individuals in Le Marche. Appassionata’s ethos is to support small local businesses and to help the region’s economy wherever possible. Many of the artisans we work with have tiny facilities at their disposal but what they produce is incredible.”
Dawn is showcasing the items she has bought in the two unique homes that she and husband Michael Hobbs have restored on the beautiful Estate Giacomo Leopardi in Le Marche. Both properties are fractional ownership homes, whereby individuals are able to own these delightful holiday homes for just a fraction of the cost. Four-bedroom Casa Giacomo is already sold out, but shares are still available in the stunning five-bedroom Casa Leopardi for £175,000.
Casa Leopardi is bursting with traditional Italian character. The lamps and light fittings are made by self-taught artisan Alfio Giuffrida, who developed his passion as a child while sitting at his mother and grandmother’s knees while they made lampshades. The Brinci family, who have been running a blacksmith business in their current location since Eugino Brinci set up there over 200 years ago, have worked alongside Dawn to design and manufacture terrace railings and gates, fireplace doors and stair rails. Casa Leopardi also features bespoke pottery created by brother and sister team Annamaria and Emanule Bozzi, who keep traditional craftsmanship alive while Grandfather Mario sits at the pottery wheel teaching his grandchildren to follow in his footsteps.
Not content with just being stunning on the inside, Casa Leopardi sits at the heart of the beautiful estate, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, a truffle orchard and a lavender plantation. The owners share the local gourmet produce from the grounds, as well as five full weeks’ use of the house, its swimming pool, the all-weather tennis court and the carefully landscaped gardens.
With spectacular views over the crystal waters of the Adriatic and the distant Sibillini Mountains, Casa Leopardi is the perfect picture of rural Italian living. Interior designer Dawn has worked hard to ensure that the interior of the house matches its magnificent setting. The unique pieces sourced from the local artisans with whom Dawn works are subtly complemented by her highly individualised antique collection. The result is a house that encapsulates all of the historic charm and local tradition that Italy has to offer. Dawn continues,
“Our passion for Italy has allowed Appassionata to create something truly wonderful in our properties. We are delighted that by offering our fractional properties we are able to share this genuine slice of the Italian dream with more than one lucky individual.”
For more information contact Appassionata on 0039 073 465 8775 or visit www.appassionata.com.