NEW YORK – John Williams, a 62-year-old chiropractor from Pennsylvania, wanted to retire in Italy and moved into a farmhouse with one and a half hectares of centenary olive grove on the outskirts of Senigallia, where he produces oil and fruit preserves together with his wife and two teen sons. «I arrived in the Marche on holiday and I decided to stay there – says the doctor – today I would not live anywhere else on earth». It could be soon an army of compatriots, after the influential bible of American retirees AARP (35.6 million subscribers) chose the Italian region among the “five earth paradises” where to live after retirement.
The reason: “Le Marche has everything: beautiful beaches, delightful vineyards, art and architecture not to end, some of the best fish dishes of Italian cuisine and even snowy mountains where to practice winter sports”. If all this was not enough, says AARP journalist Barry Golson, author of Retirement without Borders – How to retire overseas, “The Marche have an excellent climate, a good public health system, outdoor operatic festivals and affordable prices”.
For millions of Italian baby-boomers who have seen their savings evaporate with the Wall Street crisis, they are the smart alternative to the expensive Tuscany, “now prohibitive all the year”, and Umbria, ” similarly dear “. It almost seems like a spot for a new Florida.
Dustin Hoffman, testimonial of the region, is not the only one to declare himself “in love with that unequaled land”. The first to “discover” it was the writer John Moretti who in his book of 2004 Living Abroad in Italy dedicated an entire chapter to the Marche, with practical advice on how to open a farm and a list of real estate agents. A year later, the New York Times published a long service called “Is Le Marche the Next Tuscany ?”, which stood for days at the top of the list of the most read parts of its website.
And to ride the new passion of the Americans is also the superchef of Italian origin Lidia Bastianich, who has dedicated numerous episodes of her popular show Lidia’s Italy to the Marche cuisine.
For the chiropractor Williams is above all a question of numbers: “If you exclude the cost of the house, you only need $ 20,000 a year to live there, even if you have a higher income you live better”. It seems almost impossible: $ 40 to dine in two, $ 600 rentals and homes for sale for $ 150,000. The problem, if anything, is to hurry. Before the Marche become “the new Umbria”.