The Eve of an Adventure

IMG_0864IMG_0851IMG_0867

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.

Advertisements

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.

Dinner, Drinks and Quiet Conversation

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39af

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

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39a6

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.

Italy’s Trabocchi Coast

fossacesia-2

Beautiful isn’t it! Look at the color of the water. The Adriatic at its best.

Our house purchase has been taken to the next level. Notary checks have been done and the house is free and clear of liens. I’ve sent two original, signed purchase agreements to Monia, our Italian Realtor, which she should receive on Tuesday. Once she receives them, she’ll ask for the deposit, which I’ll send via wire transfer to an escrow account in Italy. When the deposit is received the purchase agreement will be filed with the powers that be and the purchase will be official. If the seller pulls out he’ll have to pay us twice the money we deposited. I’ll be nervous until we sign the deed, but at least we’re making steps in the right direction.

Attached is a picture of Italy’s beautiful Trabocchi Coast. My daughter and I were giddy after we’d looked around the beautiful quirky home in Colledimezzo. Our heads were full of plans for kitchens, how to finish the stairs, where to put the furniture and most of all, the lovely family vacations we’d enjoy there. It was love at first sight. The house was so “us”. Not a cookie cutter villa, but something unique, special.

Joanna drove towards the coast, and in less than 20 minutes the Adriatic filled the horizon. It’s been years since I visited the Adriatic Coast and I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was. I felt as though I’d come home. My first visits to Italy, back in the seventies, took me to the Adriatic Coast. Its magnificence took my breath away. We drove along a gravel road to find a restaurant. A place to celebrate finding a hidden gem in a perfect village in Abruzzo.

We celebrated on a trabocci. The waves visibly splashed on the glass floor beneath us as we ate fresh fish and drank local wine. This was our first day in Abruzzo, but I knew it wouldn’t be our last. Our mission was accomplished. We still has another day of house viewings, but the pressure was off, we’d found the perfect home.

I can’t help but feel that fate somehow had a hand in this, maybe Chieti is where we are meant to be. Whenever I think of the house and the area, it gives me a purpose and a sense of calm. Stay tuned!

Colledimezzo – The Old Olive Mill

DAcVtRNWAAAFZVZ

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

AtessaAA

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.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39e2

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!

 

Abruzzo and Retirement

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39b6UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3989Abruzzo! It’s a hidden treasure. We drove through the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park to get to Colledimezzo a couple of weeks ago. The scenery was majestic and beautifully intimidating. Wild horses roamed the roadside. Signs told us to be on the look out for bears. It the scenic route from Rome to Colledimezzo, but one well worth taking. Gorgeous.

If our home purchase works out, we’ll be sandwiched between these beautiful mountains and the Adriatic. My son-in-law had said that his ambition was to buy a beach home and a mountain home. We may have checked both boxes with one purchase.

I daren’t be complacent, we have a few more hoops to jump through before we can call this home, but it certainly something to work for!

Currently we have our Italian tax codes, the Purchase Proposal is signed and the Italian Notary is checking the documents with the land records. Our house is listed as “under offer” and not being shown to anyone else.

Send good thoughts my way, I want to spend my remaining years in Italy!

Italian House Purchase

IMG_0759

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!

 

 

Previous Older Entries