The Folks of Abruzzo

Villa-Santa-Maria-5Four weeks today, yes I’m still counting. I get weekly emails from my amazing contractors in Abruzzo, showing me the progress of my kitchen, my lovely staircase, and of course my new gas boiler. This may be oh so boring to some folks, but these emails keep me going through the long winter days at work.

I can’t believe how friendly the village folks from Colledimezzo are. I now have an English-speaking contact there. A wonderful gentleman who lives close to our new home. It may be our new home, but the old stone building is probably hundreds of years old. Some things are worth waiting for, and this is one of them. I can’t wait to become “one of the folks of Abruzzo”

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Colledimezzo

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The warmth of the folks in Colledimezzo is amazing. I was sent this photo today in a message on Facebook. It’s from one of the only English-speaking people in the village. I was given his name as a helpful contact, and in his very first message he welcomed me, said how happy he was I’d made contact and sent me this beautiful photo of the village. I wish I were there now.

Vasto – Abruzzo – Italy

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Amblingh Residence – Vasto – Abruzzo

Going over photos from my last visit to Italy, I found this! The view we enjoyed while we ate our last breakfast in Italy after our whirlwind house buying visit. This photo was taken from the breakfast room of the beautiful Amblingh Residence in the gorgeous sea-side town of Vasto. I’ve added it to my list of favorite places. It was the epitome of Italy. Beautiful beaches, restaurants with tables outside, high up on a cliff and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. By day the gentle waves reflected golden sunlight. By night a bejeweled coastline.

Any doubts I had about spending our money on a retirement home in Abruzzo were dispelled as I ate delicious local breakfast breads, washed down with cappuccino and soaked in the view with a background of Italian conversation.

Check the link above to discover the best place to stay in Vasto. Can’t believe I want more people to discover this beautiful old town. Instinct tells me to keep it to myself, but it’s just too good not to share.

My Italian Kitchen

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No, this isn’t my kitchen, but I want the preparation for my first meal to look like this. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that back in August of 2017, I made a trip to Abruzzo with my daughter, to look at a place to buy. I made arrangements to view five houses while we were there. Three in Colledimezzo, one in Celezna and one in San Buono. In November my daughter flew back for the closing and we are now the proud owners of Via Badia No. 1 in Colledimezzo, or lovingly know to me as “The Old Olive Mill”.

The house is a beautiful stone building and has never been lived in because it is in fact a beautifully renovated olive mill. Anyway…since January the contractors, recommended to me by our wonderful Realtor Monia Di Guilmi, have been hard at work. Maurizio, the carpenter, send me photos of the kitchen yesterday. It looks amazing. I was so excited I wanted to immediately jump on a plane and shake his hand. In less than two months we’ll be there.

I’ve been managing contractors long distance, and I have to say I’m incredibly impressed. We’ve had the electricity connected and a gas line run to the house. All with the help of Google Translate and some very helpful people. Vincenzo has been amazing. Not sure exactly what he does, but my realtor refers to him as “The Engineer” and then there is Franco the builder.

When we get to meet up with these folks, we owe them all a drink! I feel like my new home has been built on friendship and love! Can’t wait to call it home.

 

Lanciano 2018

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Getting closer to setting foot in my our home in Colledimezzo. Of course I’ve walked through the front door before, but only as a prospective buyer. Now its ours. It’s the family villa. Our escape from the world. A tiny village in Italy, our dream.

Why is the title of the blog Lanciano 2018? Because we have no furniture yet. I’m too old to sleep on the floor. Our first trip back to Italy in March will be a working vacation to buy furniture and make the place comfortable. We’ll be staying in Lanciano, a place famous for the Eucharistic Miracle. To me the whole of Italy is a miracle and Abruzzo is the icing on the cake. It has everything anyone could ask for. Mountains, beautiful beaches, lush green countryside, olive groves, vineyards, and more to the point, wonderful, welcoming people. I wish I could retire right now, but we’re not rich, much of our savings was used to buy our little piece of paradise so now we need to work a few more years to pay for it. It’s a good carrot to have dangling in front of this old donkey.

Thank you Abruzzo Rural Properties and Monia Di Guilmi. You helped make my dream a reality!

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Il sogno della pensione diventerà realtà!

2017 – The Incredible Journey

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Christmas is almost here and the year almost over. What an incredible year it’s been. I spent last Christmas in England with friends and family. Took a trip down memory lane. The New Years Eve fireworks in London were amazing.

July took me to Naples, Capri and the Amalfi coast. My yearning for a better, slower life in Italy became overwhelming.

August found me in Abruzzo looking at homes and discovering a beautiful area I’d never visited before. The Chieti province of Abruzzo is bursting with beautiful scenery in its perfect position between the mountains and the Adriatic. Sitting on a hilltop is Colledimezzo, my second home.

It’s a long time since I was this excited about anything. My whole family shares that excitement. Now from afar, I’m conducting an orchestra of contractors who are putting the final touches to our new family home. With the help of Monia, our realtor, we’re turning a lifetime of dreams into a future reality.

It may be a while before I retire, but I’m looking forward to it now. The year of 2017  turned out to be an incredible journey.

Happy New Year to everyone. Make your dreams come true!

Decisions!

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I’m not wishing my life away, but I am yearning to be in Abruzzo. I want to sip my morning Cappuccino and think, shall I drive to the mountains today? Or shall I dip my toes in the Adriatic?

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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!

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.

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