Living the Dream!

by Ashley in Italy /
Ashley in Italy's picture
Mar 03, 2009 / 1 comments

Ashley & Jason Bartner


I thought for my first article i would introduce myself & tell a bit of my story on how my husband & I went from a month-long visit to Italy in the Spring of 2006 to living here & running a business by the end of 2007!

We came to Italy for a little over a month for our honeymoon - we had travelled to many other European countries & for some reason just felt at home here.  For our honeymoon we arrived in Venice (the perfect place to begin a love-affair with Italy) & then rented a car (which we totally recommend, its the best way to have the freedom to travel & hit the open roads!) We visited the Dolomites, went south into Emiglia Romangna and visited Parma, Modena & Bologna - a must stop for any foodie. Then enjoyed Tuscany like all first time travellers to Italy- and then continued east to Le Marche, after that we headed for Napoli & then to the small island of Ischa (totally recommend a stop here)- then spent  a couple days along the Almalfi coast, before working our way back north & finishing in Rome! We ate our way through the country & were amazed at how different the dishes were region to region, town to town- everyone we met was absolutely wonderful!

Once we returned home I kept thinking - how can we move to Italy!! Something there just spoke to us. It's hard to describe....
In NY life is crazy & you run at such a fast pace, we wanted to slow down & enjoy our lives together.  A life of quality not quantity.
We were planning on buying a house, most likely in on the west coast - but we saw what we could get for our money in America & it wasn't much.  We found ourselves at a point in our lives where we were just married (together for 7 years), with no kids, both under 30 with nothing really tieing us down. And we asked ourselves, what do we really want to do? Jason, my husband being a Chef could really work why not Italy?

We were open to change & ready to create a new life - that was different & exciting, more than the grind of commuting to work & "keeping up with the Jones's" If we were ever going to do something crazy, this was the time to do it!

Northern Le marche was a perfect fit for us -  The rollings hills, winding roads  & farmhouses are similar to Tuscany but  more undiscovered - we didn't want to move to Italy to speak English. We were ready for a complete change & cultural education.

The people here are fantastic! Super friendly, patient when we stumble through the language, true neighbors & a real feel of community ( I think that is what we like the most - being party of a community...)

We knew we wanted to run an agriturismo & cooking school.  We had stayed at numerous other agriturismos throughout Italy & enjoyed the atmosphere of staing on a working farm. 

La Tavola Marche Agriturismo
We found our farmhouse surely by luck! We orginally were coming out to buy a beautiful old mill in Mercantino Conca just north of us now.  The deal fell through. We were stuck - our apt. in Brooklyn was totally in boxes, we had already quit our jobs & were ready to move in a couple months. So we drank some wine & regrouped.  On the last day were here for that trip we asked our agent - do you know anyone willing to work with us?! She knew who we should meet- she said he's just crazy enough! 

We jumped in the car & headed towards Piobbico down a coutry road littered with holes, surrounded by farmland & rolling hills.  We came upon this huge stone farmhouse with endless views & thought "this is amazing".  There is no one in sight we sit on over 500 acres (or 250 hectres) with hills, woods, 2 rivers that meet, the only sound is the winds through the trees, the birds chatting & the deers barking at dusk.

We met  the owner, Dominico Fusciani, we knew immidiatly - he had honest eyes, a huge smile, liked to crack jokes which we didn't understand yet couldn't help but join in the laughter.  He said that Jason reminded him of an old friend & we all just hit it off.  After a quick tour of the house, we sat at the kitchen table & sealed the deal with a clink of glasses - only after about 20 minutes, seriously! 

All the preperation, hours of work on the other house was out the door, we couldn't dwell on the time lost, we had to take a chance & move forward!

Driving away we couldn't help but crack up hysterically, that we put all our eggs in this basket in the last half hour. We had to believe that this would work.  We thought, are we crazy?! What the hell, why not!

And we've never looked back!


I am so excited to share stories of daily life living in the Italian countryside, local recipes, Italian day-trips & more!

If any of you have ANY questions at all - from moving & getting a visa, to running a business or where to stay/what to do let me know!



Ashley Bartner is the Living in Italy Editor for Wandering Educators.

La Tavola Marche Agriturismo & Cooking Holiday


Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    15 years 1 day ago

    Ashley - what serendipity! your home is gorgeous. i am looking forward to reading more! thanks.


    Jessie Voigts


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