If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ll know that time is the new luxury. After all, this is the country of il dolce far niente, the sweet joy of doing nothing. Italy is a country that embraces taking life nice and slow. From daily life and slow travel to vacations where you can spend luxurious days simply absorbing everything that Il Bel Paese has to offer.
I mean, we’ve all dreamed about renting a villa in the Italian countryside and simply never leaving, right? Living our days wandering in olive groves and picking fresh fruit. Not to mention daydreaming in a sprawling field splattered in shades of terracotta red, sage green, and golden ochre.
When Amanda Jennings, an English entrepreneur with Italian roots, set out to restore the Oliveto Estate, she had this exact vision in mind. Though she grew up in England, Amanda spent a lot of time on her family’s property. Located in the countryside of Le Marche, she dreamed of converting her home into a destination focused on wellbeing.
Today, the Oliveto Estate is just that. A luxurious retreat and wellness center located along the Adriatic Coast, one of Italy’s last untouched areas. Set across 9 acres, the property offers ample privacy with two spacious villas, private swimming pools, a tennis court, and more. Villa Olivo and Villa Oliveto can be rented separately or together to sleep a total of 22 people.
A Magic Oasis
When I first arrived at Oliveto Estate, it was like walking into a magic oasis and I was blown away. The sense of Italian benessere (wellness) swooshed through me as soon as Francesca, the charming property manager, greeted me and my friends at the door. Inside, larger-than-life windows revealed a view over the lush green grounds, the infinity pool, and the turquoise sea. It’s uncommon in Italy, a country that is drenched in history, to find a place that is a fresh canvas. The elegant modernity of the decor is impressive. Yet, it allows you to create your own experience thanks to its impressive list of amenities.
A beautiful private spa and a gym with updated Technogym equipment. A yoga studio with Manduka mats, a Bose sound system, and all the yoga props you could dream of. Not to mention a variety of high-end essential oils and sound bowls to upgrade any healing experience. The studio could easily belong in an upscale villa in Bali or Los Angeles. The difference? It also has a gorgeous outdoor yoga platform nestled underneath (very Italian) olive trees. This is paired with a sweeping view over the glistening turquoise coastline. The property embraces modern luxury and wellness in a way that allows it to be imagined and reimagined in a variety of different ways.
The kitchen has both internal and external dining areas. You can totally imagine a cozy pizza night at the built-in wood-fired pizza oven. Even a gorgeous-curated picnic with plates overflowing with local meats and cheeses and the infamous olive ascolane.
My friends and I had an even bigger treat set up during our stay. Barbara, a talented local chef, cooked Sunday brunch for us during our stay at the villa. She prepared the ultimate plant-based brunch. Sweet and savory treats were sprawled across the large central table, overflowing with gorgeous local ingredients and freshly prepared deliciousness. I actually gasped out loud when I tasted her homemade blackberry and fresh mint jam.
A Talented Team
And that’s exactly what sets the estate apart. The location is gorgeous, and the property is elegant. However, it’s the hand-picked team of passionate locals that truly sets the Oliveto Estate apart from other wellness retreat centers or luxury villas in Italy. The property concierge, Francesca made each unique detail come to life during our stay at the villa. She arrived each morning, bubbling with passion for the estate, the surrounding towns, and the Le Marche region. And she was happy to share her extensive knowledge with all of us.
As she spoke animatedly about the property in different seasons of the year, I could imagine previous guests and the parties and meals they had also shared. I could imagine the yoga retreats that had been hosted there. And the satisfied yogis saluting the sun on the outdoor patio. It was clear that a whole lot of love was infused behind the scenes of the entire property.
Having spoken extensively with Amanda on the phone before our stay, I knew she was the real deal. And meeting her team at Oliveto confirmed my suspicions. Her passion for Italian culture and her own Italian heritage is clearly reflected in the people she works with. She is also fully committed to sustainability. The Oliveto Estate is equipped with solar panels and a water filtration system. They also partner with local artisans and regional food producers.
The Ultimate Escape
And. Then. There. Was. The. Spa. The private on-premise wellness area is fully equipped and is luxurious, warm and inviting. The modern technology allows visitors to flip a few switches and the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi all warm up in less than a half hour. With a spa on premise, what do you think we did? We lounged, we sweated and detoxed, and then we lounged some more.
Oliveto Estates has a special kind of magic. Just when you think you’re somewhere nondescript you find tell-tale signs of Italy. And just when you feel like you’re fully in Italy you are surprised by a modern unexpected feature. Amanda has made sure that her passion for Italy AND her love for wellness both shine through in each and every corner. The crowd that the villa attracts is international. They’ve visited Italy before, they’ll visit again. They are here to enjoy the dream of Italy without the pressure of visiting three museums in one afternoon.
Because let’s remember: the ultimate luxury is giving ourselves a little more time to truly soak in the essence of a place. Spending mostly unplanned time at the Oliveto Estate allowed me to unlock a small place of relaxation inside me that I didn’t know existed. And that, in all its simplicity, is enough.