This Crazy Little Thing called Retirement – Crossing Italy (Part 3)

My daughter lived in Dallas at the time, so we took different flights and met at the Marriott Rome Park. A lovely hotel not far from the Airport.  My husband and I stayed there a couple of times on prior visits to Rome. Jo and I met at the bar, giddy with excitement about our trip. After all, it’s not everyday you fly to Italy to buy a house. After a couple of cocktails we sat down to dinner. Our excitement was infectious, we had a lovely evening…unfortunately the wine and food didn’t make for a great night’s sleep! It was worth it though.
The next morning we returned to the airport to pick up or rental car. I wasn’t that confident about driving in Italy back then (that soon changed) so my daughter did the driving. An excellent job she did too. We’d never driven across Italy before, or visited Abruzzo, so we had to rely on the car navigation system, which seemed to be constantly confused. Jo wanted to take the smaller road across the mountains, rather than the highway. Once we got away from the hustle bustle of Rome, we relaxed a little and decided to stop for lunch.
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Luckily, we saw a restaurant right on the road side. This was our first real experience with “non tourist” Italy. We were the only folks who didn’t speak Italian. Tables were pushed together at one side of the restaurant to accommodate a large family gathering of at least 40 people. All talking together, drinking wine, sharing platters of food. Kids laughed, played (and occasionally cried). The menu was in Italian of course.
We ordered salad and meat, a little wine a bottle of Aqua frizzante, to wash it down with.
I looked around me at what would become my everyday life, and I liked what I saw. We couldn’t linger over lunch because there was a very long journey ahead of us. We had to cross the mountains of Central Italy, and find a small village called Colledimezzo.

Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement – The Journey (Part2)

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In August 2017 we spent two glorious weeks on the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. It was a lovely time. A few days in Capri, a couple of days in Naples and a whole week in a beautiful villa in Scala, close to Ravello. Our villa overlooked the town of Amalfi and the deep blue mediterranean. There was a house for sale close to our villa which was in the process of being renovated. We weighed up the pros and cons of buying it. It was very tempting, and just what we were looking for, but the cost of buying and completing the renovation would have been too much for us.

I’d been searching on line, for a home in Italy for a couple of years, but never found the perfect place. The homes I really liked were much too expensive. The cheaper ones needed a lot of work. Then I remembered that several folks we’d talked to in Rome had told us about Abruzzo and how beautiful it was. They’d only moved away to find work, but returned as often as they could. Although I’d never been there, I decided to do some research and was fascinated with what I found. Lots of lovely unspoiled hilltop villages, beautiful mountains, and even more captivating, the Adriatic Coastline.

I immediately began my search in Abruzzo, and stumbled upon Abruzzo Rural Property, run by a helpful young lady called Monia. Thankfully she spoke great English. Three houses took my fancy, and Monia found a couple more. All in the Chieti province, which bordered the Adriatic. I asked if we could go and view them and we set a date at the end of August. She was surprised I wanted to make the trip so soon, but I daren’t leave it any longer in case I chickened out. I had to strike while the iron was hot. Spending large amounts of money make me nervous.

My husband had no more vacation days left, so he couldn’t come with me so called my daughter.
“Hey Jo, I’m going to look at a house in Italy, will you come with me?”
“Sure, when do you want to go?”
I think she expected me to say in the Spring, or next Summer. She probably thought it was another one of our pipe dreams…
“Next Friday, I’ll pay!”

As you can see by the photo, she enjoyed the trip very much. When we hired a rental car in Rome she asked “Do you have an open topped car, doesn’t have to be an Alfa Romeo, or anything fancy.”
The result was a little open topped Fiat, which took us across the mountainous region of central Italy from Lazio to the Chieti province in Abruzzo.

It was a blast!

Tuscany of the South

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Beautiful Abruzzo. I’m sharing my photos from our last trip. This is Roccoscalegna, a beautiful village close to our home in Colledimezzo. The castle is perched on a rock, and climbing to the top is much easier than it looks. Now our house is put together, we have more time to explore the Chieti province. There are three other provinces in Abruzzo, (Aquila, Teramo and Pescara). Once we’ve conquered those, the rest of the beautiful country is on our doorstep.

Let the dream begin.

Home in Abruzzo

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We discovered Abruzzo in August 2017. My husband tasked my daughter and I with finding a house on whirlwind three day trip. (Quite exhausting from the USA). We didn’t really know what to expect.
Abruzzo was introduced to us by hotel staff in various hotels in and around Rome. The comments always went like this:
Abruzzo is beautiful, but there is no work, which is why I move to Rome/Milan/Florence. 
We’d been looking to buy a home in Italy for a while, a place to retire, so work wasn’t important to us. What we wanted was tranquility, beauty, genuine people and a reasonably priced economy. We found it all in the beautiful little hillside village of Colledimezzo.

Bomba (above) is typical of the towns and villages in the area. Unspoiled beauty that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time. Not quite ready to retire yet, but when we do, I think life here will be treat us well.

Marina Piccola – Capri

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2017 took me to Capri for the first time. We stayed at a fabulous B&B Bettola del Re in the lovely little town of Ana Capri. I much prefer Ana Capri to the busy hustle bustle of its big sister.

After Capri we visited the Amalfi coast. It sealed the deal for us regarding retiring to Italy. No we couldn’t afford to buy a home on Capri, or the Amalfi coast, but it pushed me to explore other places, and that’s when we found Abruzzo.

I’m thinking of Capri today because this morning I made a sponge cake, and filled it with cream and jam. Why did this make me think of Capri? During our visit we ate at at a lovely restaurant Le Sirene overlooking the Marina Piccola, which in my opinion, is much more picturesque than Marina Grande. After stuffing ourselves with fish and pasta we thought we could eat no more, but we were wrong. Our waiter twisted our arm and we shared a piece of sponge cake (pronounced spongie cake).
My mamma, she a make it this morning
Maybe she did, it was the best spongie cake I’d ever tasted. I hope to eat there again sometime.

Roccoscalegna – Men in Tights

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Easter in Abruzzo was colorful. After the solemn procession on Good Friday, we enjoyed this amazing display in Roccoscalegna on Easter Monday. This wonderful village is 20 minutes from my new home. Can’t wait to live there full time.

Vasto and Fossacesia

Trabocchi Coast
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Life doesn’t get much better than this. The Chieti coastline.

Abruzzo – The Old Olive Mill

What a difference a year makes. My daughter and I fell in love with this old house when it was empty, dusty and dressed in yellow. I know immediately it was the one.

The Beauty of Abruzzo

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I never tire of the rugged beauty and greenery of Abruzzo. It soothes my soul!

Adriatic Sabato

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And Saturday is here again. Always busy with chores because I work during the week. Not complaining, I have an interesting job among very special folks. If I didn’t work I wouldn’t have things to look forward to, like my upcoming trip to Abruzzo. Feast your eyes on this rugged unspoiled coast. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to call Abruzzo my home, but wait I’ll have to, because it’s not quite time.

In two weeks I’ll be enjoying this beautiful view in person. An Adriatic Saturday!
Good things are worth waiting for!

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