The Engineer of Colledimezzo

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The past week was exhausting, but happily productive. My daughter did an amazing job in Italy. She signed the deed on our new home. It took three hours to read the deed in both English and Italian. I was on stand by here in the US, to send any documents they needed, but on the whole, everything went smoothly.

Since then Joanna has worked with a non-english speaking builder to arrange to have the stairs finished in wood and a non-english speaking carpenter to get a quote for the kitchen. She’s driven all over the Chieti province choosing appliances, opening bank accounts, arranging for taxes to be paid and generally making the house a home. When we arrive in March we just have to start buying furniture.

Our realtor Monia, with Abruzzo Rural Property, is amazing. She referred Joanna to amazing folks. Gave contact info for the only English-speaking person in the village (Nino), and introduced her to the Engineer.

I met the Engineer in August, when we were viewing houses. Super nice guy. I understand he’s an engineer, but I’m not sure what that means in Italy. This man is taking care of everything for us. He has a couple of keys to our house. He’s removing some of the building materials that were left. He’s fitting a bigger boiler for us, letting folks into our home to make deliveries and work on the house. I wonder if each village has an engineer that takes care of things. I still have a lot to learn, but one thing is for sure, I’m going to enjoy learning it.

Roll on Retirement!

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The Eve of an Adventure

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My daughter has been in Abruzzo since Thursday. She’s staying in the beautiful seaside town of Vasto. We’ve kept her busy. She’s opened a bank account so we can pay utilities. She met the builder that’s going to finish our stairs, chose the wood and gave him a deposit. Cash of course. She’s explored, enjoyed the local food and wine and totally fallen in love with the place. Our purchasing trip was a whirlwind experience so we barely scratched the surface of the beautiful province of Chieti. Now, with time on her hands, Joanna is telling us what we missed, and what we have to look forward to as you can see by the photos above.

Look at that HUGE smile on her face. She took a selfie on the terrace of our new home, key in hand! Try putting that key on you keychain!!!

It’s Sunday November 5th, the eve of owning our beautiful family home in Colledimezzo, Abruzzo Italy. Exciting times.

The Italian Cure!

Been a bit of a year for me. Started it off turning sixty, that was on January 17th. Less than a week later I drove myself to the emergency room because the pain in my stomach was unbearable. Kept rising higher and higher. I was scared it would stop my heart. Had stomach issues for a while and it all came to a head.

They kept me in, couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Totally out of it. Had a bad reaction to the pain meds they were pumping into me. Finally morphine worked, after X-rays, and tests they figured out my issue, no surgery required, they fixed me up and sent me home! Phew!

Since then I’ve been sluggish, lacking energy, couldn’t motivate myself to exercise…until now.

What changed? I discovered Abruzzo! I found and fell in love with the house in Colledimezzo and it has changed my whole life. Gave me something to work towards. Put a spring in my husband’s step and a smile on my daughter and son-in-laws face too. Now I’m not just working towards retirement, I’m working towards retirement in Italy, to putting together a welcoming home that friends and family will want to visit. We have five years to furnish it, pay off any debts we incur doing so, and then….look to a quieter life, a life in a small village in Abruzzo.

Trabocco Coast – Chieti

Rocca-San-GiovanniNot long now. Wired my deposit to the Realtor in Vasto Italy! In a couple of weeks I’ll pay the balance.
March 2018 seems a long way off, but time flies, especially when you’re old, and I am old so I have to move fast and get some good years in my new home.

Abruzzo will keep me young, soothe my soul and make me happy. Counting down now, getting closer.

One Step Closer to the Italian Dream

abruzzo One step at a time, but the steps are getting bigger and the dream is getting closer. Almost a reality! This week I got the translation back for the Power of Attorney that allows our daughter to sign the deed on our behalf. On Tuesday both the original and the translation were notarized and made official. This morning I discovered we needed to have the document apostiled. Luckily this is something I deal with in my line of work. I’ve built up a relationship with CT/Wolterskluwer over the last 15 years or so. Good reliable people, I consider them friends. Today they showed me just what good people they were by getting my Power of Attorney to the Secretary of State in downtown Denver, and back fully apostiled within a few hours. Thank you Heidi Liesch.

Now all of the preparation is done. On Monday I wire the deposit to the escrow account in Vasto, Abruzzo. On Sunday I hand over documents to my daughter. On November 2nd she flies to Italy and on November 6th, she signs the deed on our behalf.

Crazy with excitement! Thought I’d only ever dream about this!

Butterflies and Miracles

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I’ve had butterflies for over a week now. It worried me a little because I’m sensitive in certain ways, and my butterflies have sometimes been a warning or prediction. In this case I think its just excitement.

Our Italian house purchase is still moving forward. Preliminary agreement signed by all parties. Our Realtor in Italy Monia Di Guilmi is and absolute gem, we seriously couldn’t have found anyone better to guide us through this. She is also saving us money in a way no one else has ever done when we’ve bought a house.

Lanciano is a lovely and very old town less than 20 miles from Colledimezzo. When my husband and I visit in March, its where we’re staying in Lanciano while we shop for furniture and begin to make our new house into a home. I’m so excited I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

Lester has never been to Abruzzo, and I have never been to Lanciano, so its a first for both of us. I want his first visit to be a positive experience. He bought the house having seen only the photos we sent him, and a short video taken on Joanna’s iPhone. Lets hope the real thing meets his expectations. I’m sure it will. It seems fitting that we stay in Lanciano, the first eucharistic miracle is purported to have occurred there in the eighth century. I feel like this whole whirlwind house buying has been a bit of a miracle. I haven’t felt this excited in years. Its a great feeling!

Dinner, Drinks and Quiet Conversation

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At the end of our whirlwind trip to Abruzzo we stayed in Vasto. A beautiful town overlooking the shimmering Adriatic. We arrived mid afternoon after viewing homes in Celezna and San Buono.

Vasto is a beautiful old town, perched on top of a hill and we certainly felt like we’d saved the best until last. Joanna was exhausted from driving, we’d had a mishap that morning and ended up on a road that was virtually impassable…thanks to the useless EVERLOST. When we arrived in Vasto, we dumped our bags in a beautiful town home we rented for the night. Rezidenza Ambling was gorgeous. Check it out at http://www.amblingh.it.com.

We really needed a glass of wine or two, but most of the restaurants with an ocean view were closed for the afternoon and didn’t open again until dinner time. We found somewhere in the town and ordered wine and a sample of local meats and cheeses. I think we were still there after it closed, and the staff were stocking up the shelves for the evening, but no one seemed to care.

We spend the rest of the day Italian style and siesta’s for a couple of hours before setting out again to enjoy our last night in Abruzzo. Vasto in the evening is gorgeous. Lots of restaurants gushing with ambiance, quiet conversations, good food and excellent wine and a view of the Adriatic to die for.

I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to look at Abruzzo for a retirement home. Was it the receptionist in the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome in 2015. She told us proudly it was where she was from, and that the people there were so nice. I’d done research too, but I’d also researched Puglia, Tuscany and Lombardy. Something drew me to Abruzzo and I’m glad it did. We found the sort of realtor I didn’t think existed. Honest, helpful and nice to be with. We met friendly people, and every where we looked, we were surrounded by beauty.

Fate, Destiny and Abruzzo

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Today I got a very welcome email from Monia, our realtor in Italy. It had attachments. One was a power of attorney so my daughter can sign the deed on our behalf. The other was the new legal description and floor plan that will be registered with the authorities in our name.

I knew this house had been lovingly renovated by one very meticulous builder in his spare time. He’d done it as a hobby, a place for his son to live, but then his son decided to live on the coast. What I didn’t know was how long it had taken. The renovation started in 1984, the year my daughter was born. Yea, I know, coincidence, but there have been so many coincidences since we first set eyes on this house. I’m starting to rule out coincidence and think this place was our destiny.

The seller will sign the purchase agreement on Saturday and the following week it will be registered and made official. After that I have to wire the deposit, pay the notary and for the next few weeks I do believe I’ll be bleeding Euros….

Parting with money usually makes me anxious, but not so much this time. All I keep thinking about is a kinder, gentler life in Abruzzo. A place I can invite friends and family. A place I can relax and shed the stress of work and the craziness of American Politics.

I’m relaxed just thinking about it.

Colledimezzo – The Old Olive Mill

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We sat in the little piazza and enjoyed Colledimezzo as we watched the village wake up. The locals weren’t early risers, No one was in a hurry, and everyone chatted cheerfully as they went about their morning. We were visited by a friendly and very loving stray kitty. We watched a puppy playfully tug on a towel with its momma, some one had abandoned the dogs, and now the village was taking care of them. It was a good feeling.

I recognized Monia, our realtor before she even spoke. She was a petite feminine beautifully dressed young lady and approached us with a welcoming smile on her face. Her English was charming and we felt comfortable immediately. She led us through the old streets, down stone steps. No cars drive through the old town. It’s a beautiful old pedestrian area.

The first house we looked at was pretty, but I fear too small and the stairs too narrow for my six-foot two husband. My son-in-law is 6ft 6ins and would NEVER fit. The very nice lady who owned us was from Belgium and introduced us to her neighbors, who were British. They’d bought a house there themselves a year or so ago, same idea as us. Vacation home and then retirement home.

The next place we visited was a beautiful old apartment. It was huge, with massive old windows and frescos on the ceiling. I can only imagine the grand parties that were once held there. It wasn’t quite what we were looking for though.

The third house stole my heart. I was once an Olive Mill, but had been converted into a house on three floors. The top floor was a kitchen with a log fireplace, a huge terrace and a bathroom. The huge oak door was wonderful. The skylight and big french doors made it light and airy. The views were incredible. Down to the second floor. Three more bedrooms, an even bigger terrace and two bathrooms. Gorgeous stone walls, oak beams…was this house restored just for me. Ground floor! Oh my, just a quirky wonderful area with stone, gargoyles, nooks and crannies, a wood burning pizza oven, and the master bedroom with en suite. I spend such a long time walking up and down in this beautiful old place that I’m sure the seller thought I would never leave.

I truly don’t know who was more excited, my daughter, or myself….more to come.

Atessa and Colledimezzo

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Atessa was perched on the top of the hill, quaint, beautiful and ancient. We weren’t too exhausted to appreciate its beauty. Our “Never lost” (ever lost as I call it because its USELESS) couldn’t find our hotel. Kept telling us we were there, even though we couldn’t see it. Joanna parked and I jumped out of the car and walked up a small one-way street (all the streets were small) to see what I could see. Sure enough, the Hotel Al Duca was only a few steps away. I went inside to the small immaculate reception and tried to get directions from a very pleasant young lady who spoke no English. Her 8-year-old son did, but he was too shy to talk to me. Someone else appeared and in broken English/Italian we managed to communicate. She came with me to the car, and jumped into the passenger seat, from which she guided a very tired Joanna through the narrow one way streets so she could park outside the hotel.

After dumping our cases we went to explore the little town. We’d  been sitting in a car all day and needed to stretch our legs. We weren’t disappointed with what we found. There was a live concert in a beautiful area that opened up to the mountains. The cobbled streets were lined with beautiful shops and a scattering of lovely restaurants and bars. Well dressed Italians strolled by, they sure know how to live. Every so often the stone buildings parted and gave us exquisite views of the mountains. It was getting late so we headed back to the hotel for dinner. A liter of house wine, fresh delicious salad and two individual pizzas. I thought they had the price wrong when I saw the bill. It was 12 Euro for two people. I smiled and thought how much my husband would enjoy eating here….he likes cheap, especially when it’s delicious.

I lay in my comfortable bed, and enjoyed the music from the live concert, which floated in through my open window. The next morning I woke up to the sound of church bells. The second day of our adventure was about to begin. After a banquet called breakfast, which was included in the price at Al Duca, we set off for Colledimezzo.

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We parked just outside the village (which is pedestrian only) marvelled at the view then wandered up to a lovely little piazza overlooking the mountains. The village has one bar “Emy Bar” where we ordered Cappuccino’s The locals both amused us and were amused by us…more in my next blog!

 

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