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Outside Il Melo - 12m pool, shady pergola, patios, lawns, fruit trees, river Tenna

Il Melo

Set in lawned gardens shaded by nut and fruit trees, Il Melo is truly a haven of tranquility. The most important feature outside is the 12 metre pool, with built-in, walled shallow area for toddlers. The pool is fitted with an electrically operated cover. As well as making the pool safe - it will easily support a child's weight (up to 45kg in fact) - it also keeps in the heat and makes sure the pool is lovely and warm.

Beside the pool is a covered pergola with table and chairs for
al fresco dining. This is attached to the magazzino (originally a storage bulding) which has its own fridge so you don't have to go back to the house for the cool drinks and ices that are so important in summer.

Outside the kitchen and running the full width of the house is a gated area where small children can play outside in safety without wandering off. And outside the dining area is another small patio. As this is on the north side of the house, it is in shade form ost of the day and so is a great place if you want to enjoy the fresh air, but not the sun.

Kids love the poolToddlerShady spot for al fresco diningNight swimmingIL Melo glows in the winter evening sunOlivesRipening figsPersimmonCherry orchard in winterIn spring the river is full as the snows of winter meltA picnic by the riverSafe adventure

Our land is bounded by the River Tenna on one side and the cherry orchard of Delio Mancini (whose grandfather built Il Melo) on the other. There is a wonderful variety of trees in the garden so fresh fruit is available through most of the season from late spring to autumn. In order of when they bear fruit, we have cherries, plums, hazelnuts, figs, persimmon, apples, walnuts and olives. Explore the woods nearby and you may find other treats; our best find yet is a tree with tiny plums that are no bigger than large cherries but wonderfully sweet. If you want to try them, you'll have to hunt them out (August is the best time).

The Tenna is one of the major rivers of Le Marche and flows down to the Adriatic sea near Porto San Giorgio. For most of the year, the Tenna is a gentle stream easily forded on foot or by car (if you have the nerve for it, it can save miles of many journeys). However in March and April when the snows on the Sibllini melt it can turn into a torrent 40 metres wide, then subsides again as quickly as it rose. (Water levels are controlled by two dams upstream so the water never comes without warning. ) For the rest of the year it is a marvelous playground for older children who can have the freedom their parents generation enjoyed. They can make mud pies and forts, collect sticks, stones or leaves and really play.

This satellite image shows Il Melo and its surroundings The road originally ran over where the swimming pool now is and between the house and the casetta and, although the satellite image has been updated, the mapping still shows where the road used to go - look under the white line showing the old road and you can see the house and pool.

The river Tenna runs from bottom right towards the top centre; the large white mark is the stony area where you can see boys playing in the photos above. Just above the top of the image it is joined by its tributary the Tennacola which runs from the bottom left of the image. You can walk down to the Tennacola through the cherry orchard.

Following serious floods throughout the region in early 2011, the government has carried out a major improvemtn programme on the rivers an we now have a stable and easy to cross ford which offers a very good saving if you are going to Servigliano or down to the coast. We always tell guests that they cross the ford at their own risk but this photo shows that even something as small as a Fiat Cinquecento can handle it easily.

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