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.

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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!

 

Italian House Purchase

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Our New Front Door

It’s a little over a week since we returned from our house purchase trip. It seems longer somehow, but this whole year has been completely wacky. So much has happened, but that’s another story.

The realtor has our passports now and is applying for our Italian Tax Codes. I think that’s going okay! We’re having a glitch with the seller, nothing serious, but these things are sent to try us. The stairs in the house aren’t yet finished, they’re concrete. The seller said he’d finish them to our taste and include it in the purchase price. The seller is 74 and not in good heath. We didn’t have the agreement for the stairs in writing and he’s decided as we bartered with him on the sale price, and got the house for 10,000 Euro’s less than the asking price, we’ll need to have someone finish the stairs at our expense. It’s not the end of the world. If this is the only thing that goes wrong, I’m okay with it.

My daughter has business in Verona in November, which will coincide with the closing on November 6th. She can get a fast train to Vasto (sounds like a song doesn’t it) and then rent a car and drive to Colledimezzo for the closing. Bumps and glitches happen, but if it’s meant to be, it will be!

 

 

Trabocchi – A worthy place to celebrate!

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This is the happy face of my daughter after our celebratory meal in Abruzzo. We’d just viewed three properties in Colledimezzo. All three were nice, but once just felt like home. It captured our hearts. We had a delicious seafood meal on this Trabocchi restaurant on the Adriatic, only thirty minutes away.

Next steps? The company we’re working with now has a copy of our passports to enable them to get tax codes for us. We can’t do anything without those. This step should take around ten-days. Once it is complete, the purchase can begin. A notary (slightly different to a notary over here), will then scrutinize the documents and check that everything is in order. This takes a little while and costs around one thousand euro. Once this step is complete we put down a 10% deposit. If the seller backs out after this, he has to pay us back 2 x that 10%, so hopefully it won’t happen.

We’re not in a huge rush to purchase because this is a vacation/retirement home. Also I’ve run out of PTO. Back to back trips to Italy will do that. I’m depending heavily on my daughter, who has her own business and able to travel more freely.

Very happy and excited, this home checks every box for me. It’s in Italy. It has a huge kitchen with an open fireplace, big outdoor terraces, beautiful views, exposed stone walls, a small hillside village community, oh and did I mention…ITS IN ITALY!

I feel like a sixty year old kid on Christmas eve. I hope Santa doesn’t disappoint me!

Mission Accomplished

DSC05320Five short days ago I arrived in Rome Airport, met my daughter and headed out to Abruzzo to buy a house. I’d made arrangements with a realtor to view five. The first two were okay, but the third one was outstanding. A quirky old olive mill that has been remodeled into a quirky, but beautiful home. We made an offer which the sellers accepted. Can’t wait to start buying furnitre.

The photo above is Vasto, which is a beautiful seaside town in Abruzzo. I’d forgotten how stunning and soothing the Adriatic is. I’m sure the road to finally exchanging contracts on this home will have its bumps, but it will be worth it. Hang in for the ride.