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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My Italian Kitchen

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http://www.abruzzoruralproperty.com/

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.

 

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 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.

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.

Italy’s Trabocchi Coast

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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!

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