Caserma Carina is an amazing find - if there was a category for "self catered +", this place would be in it. You have the privacy of your own apartment, in a beautiful old building surrounded by countryside, but with the option of delicious food brought to your door, there's an extensive DVD and book library, and Dean is like a concierge - always on hand to provide you with ideas for outings and give you the low down on local restaurants - even what the best dishes are!
It is a really fantastic place to stay with little ones - we spent 3 weeks there with our 8 month old, who learned to crawl in the garden and fell in love with Marley - the owners' very well behaved cocker spaniel (I don't normally like dogs, but he is lovely and used to young children).
We were in the ground floor apartment (Girasole) which has two good sized bedrooms and plenty of space. Dean and Lesley (the owners) were great at understanding the needs of a young family - they provided a cot, bedding, baby towels, toys, play mats, baby bath (there is no bath in the apartment), plastic cups and bowls, a high chair, a paddling pool, and also offered us a steriliser and food blender. The kitchen is well equipped - definitely the best we've had in a self-catered place in Italy (no oven - but everthing else you could want, including a dishwasher!), and there are bbqs you can borrow - great for cooking the fish you can buy from the fish van than comes round each Wednesday.
The pool now has railings around (it doesn't in the pictures on the website) and there is a lovely lawn - so it's a great, safe environment for babies and toddlers. There are very comfortable sunloungers and parasols as well as a few well placed trees - so lots of shade for little ones (as well as plenty of sunny spots for sunbathing).
The owners have a local friend who can babysit, and the same lady can provide fantastic home cooked meals to your apartment. There's also a great local pizza take out place if you don't want to eat out with your little one every night.
For anyone reading this who doesn't want to spend their holiday with little ones... don't worry, the garden is big enough, and very well thought out - with sunloungers and eating areas well positioned for privacy and to ensure guests aren't on top of eachother. There is a particularly nice hidden away terrace for romantic eating away from everyone else.
Dean and Lesley work tirelessly to maintain the place - I've never seen a swimming pool cleaned so frequently!
For anyone wondering about the region - it's great. Similar countryside to Tuscany (perhaps not all of it quite as beautiful), but there is the added bonus of white sandy beaches, with amazing seafood restaurants and also the mountains - and in particular an amazing fresh water lake with turqouise water full of trout and its own little beach. There aren't as many UK tourists as Tuscany, but despite that there are loads of local restaurants which all serve amazing food - we didn't go wrong once in 3 weeks of eating out. A lot of the restaurants don't have menus, so it's a good idea to brush up on basic Italian food vocab - there's a print out of key words in the apartment.
There is nothing I would have changed about Caserma Carina!
I've read the previous reviews on Tripadvisor, and they are spot on. This is a 5 star place. Lesley and Dean have created a really comfortable and beautiful place to stay. This is an off-the-beaten track part of Italy - yet you are only 30 mins from the beach, and 30 mins from the hills! All those little things that make the stay easy - from kitchen bits and bobs (so you don't have to buy them) to the help and support they give you in finding the best places in the local area, make it easy to experience Le Marche. And, if you just spent your week round the pool, the views of the Monte Sibilini are sensational. All in all, they work hard to give you everything you need to find a true break and experience La Dolce Vita!
What a beautiful place, the apartments, grounds and surroundings are just fantastic. We have been before but this time we took our "lads". 23 and 25 and now they want to go again! You just cannot win. This trip was the better than the last with a highly amusing wine tasting hosted by Dean whose interpretations of Italian were funny both to us and the Italian host.
If you want to chill, relax, enjoy Italy, great food, beautiful apartments and surroundings this is for you.
We will (all of us) be back!
We recently enjoyed a weeks stay at Caserma Carina. Lesley and Dean were the perfect hosts, we felt so at home and nothing was too much trouble. The accomodation exceeded our expectations, the photographs do not do it justice. The views from the garden are breathtaking and the spacious apartment was spotlessly clean and tastefully furnished. We had a wonderful time getting to know the area. Dean and Lesley provided maps and gave us a lots of advice on where to visit. We would highly recommend ordering food to be delivered in (cooked by Luisa) as it is delicious - a real taste of Le Marche. We would also recommend the wine tasting which Dean organises, we really enjoyed trying the local wine and getting to know the other guests. All in all we can't recommend Caserma Carina highly enough and will definitely be returning.
My husband and I just spent a week at Caserma Carina and enjoyed every moment of our time there. Since neither of us has a driver's license, we took the train from Bologna to Corridonia and were met at the station by Lesley, one of the proprietors of the country house.
We stayed in Tulipano, a one-bedroom apartment that could sleep 2-4 people. The standard was very high, and the decor was modern and attractive. Truly, it felt like a home-away-from-home, which is exactly what you want when you're on vacation. I have absolutely no complaints about our apartment--everything was in tip-top condition--comfortable bed, digital cable, dvd player, etc.
The country house is in a bucolic yet convenient location--it's a short (15-20-minute walk) though slightly steep walk into the hill town of Mogliano, where there are several good restaurants and cafés as well as other amenities.
We loved the garden, where we spent many lazy days reading, taking a dip in the pool or simply enjoying a glass of wine. The wine tasting arranged at a La Murola vineyard was a popular outing for all of us staying that week. Dean kept the jokes coming and the wine (served with local specialties) was stellar.
I think this was probably the best vacation my husband and I have ever had--we were able to unwind and just drink in the beautiful scenery without feeling like we absolutely had to take excursions every day.
Lesley and Dean were fantastic hosts who really made us feel welcome. You won't be disappointed if you choose to stay in one of their lovely apartments and enjoy their hospitality.
Once again the welcome and ambiance of Caserma Carina surpassed all expectations.
Not only was the weather perfect, but going there in May avoided the holiday season and thus there were few tourists and the roads were empty.
We travelled into the Siblini mountains through unspoilt medieval towns perched on hills untouched by time. Drank coffee in timeless squares and were so relaxed.
Dean and Lesley once again ( this was our 2nd visit) made us feel very welcome and clearly showed the love they have for the area with their local knowledge
If anyone is looking for a quiet, relaxing 'true-Italian-' holiday Caserma Carina can not be bettered.
Our 2nd visit to Le Marche and Caserma Carina this May and it just felt like going home! Everything exudes 'BENVENUTO' from the moment you drive down the lane to step out and gaze at the breathtaking views of the distant snow capped mountains, nearby hill top towns and villages, and surrounding countryside. The beautiful house, apartments and gardens clearly display the loving care, extensive work and creativity that Dean and Lesley have put into developing Caserma Carina as their family home and 'special place' for their guests. All apartments are superbly designed and homely, with lovely touches relating to their names - e.g. Poppy, Sunflower. Key for us is 'the family' - Dean and Lesley (Grace too) provide a wealth of written and spoken information about places to visit, best restaurants and 'Dean's daily weather forecast - always accurate! The friendliness and attention that they provide ensure you have so much more than a 'good holiday'.
We love Macerata - buildings are worth exploring and the Carriage Museum is a must, Della Rosa a superb trattoria. Fiatsra Abbey, and La Selva are both great! Mogliano is charming and not touristy - you are hard pushed to find postcards anywhere to send home! A true scenario of Italian life surrounds you. La Perla - a new find - friendly, family restaurant and lovely food. So .. another fantastic break in May AND we return in September to do more exploring and soak up the Italian culture, sun and warmth of Caserma Carina. It is such a gem - I can't recommend it enough.