One Step Closer to the Italian Dream

abruzzo One step at a time, but the steps are getting bigger and the dream is getting closer. Almost a reality! This week I got the translation back for the Power of Attorney that allows our daughter to sign the deed on our behalf. On Tuesday both the original and the translation were notarized and made official. This morning I discovered we needed to have the document apostiled. Luckily this is something I deal with in my line of work. I’ve built up a relationship with CT/Wolterskluwer over the last 15 years or so. Good reliable people, I consider them friends. Today they showed me just what good people they were by getting my Power of Attorney to the Secretary of State in downtown Denver, and back fully apostiled within a few hours. Thank you Heidi Liesch.

Now all of the preparation is done. On Monday I wire the deposit to the escrow account in Vasto, Abruzzo. On Sunday I hand over documents to my daughter. On November 2nd she flies to Italy and on November 6th, she signs the deed on our behalf.

Crazy with excitement! Thought I’d only ever dream about this!

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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!

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!

 

The Road to Colledimezzo

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My daughter Joanna and I met in the Marriott between Rome and Fiumicino. Both excited for the trip ahead. We had a fabulous meal and a little too much to drink, but we were on a new adventure, a house buying adventure and I think a celebration was in order. The following morning we picked up our rental car, a cute little Fiat Cabriolet. Yes its small! We had to load my suitcase in through the roof, but we managed it. Then off we went. This photo was taken outside a restaurant we stopped off at on the way. It was our first experience in rural Italy. Not a tourist in sight and no one spoke English. The restaurant was full of arm waving groups of Italian families enjoying a Sunday meal together. Wine was flowing and they were blissfully loud. Our meal was simple, delicious and very cheap.

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It set us up for our journey ahead. Pretty soon we were in an idyllic setting, completely surrounded by trees. It was beautiful. We didn’t know at the time, but we’d entered the Lazio, Molise & Abruzzo National Park. It was gorgeous. Photo may be a bit fuzzy, but it was taken from the car window as we passed by. It was Sunday so groups of folks took shade under the trees, enjoying walks, picnics, playing games and drinking wine. Roadside stalls were set up selling local produce. It was exactly the type of area I was looking for, but it was still a long way from Colledimezzo. We drove on narrow winding roads where there was barely space for two cars to pass. Wild horses roamed freely. We passed through tiny villages with cobbled streets. I could have taken more photos, but I was hypnotized by the scenery.

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For a while I thought we’d never reach the top of the mountain range, but we did, and we began to descend. Joanna did an incredible job of driving. I was exhausted and I was the passenger. By the time we reached Colledimezzo we were weary, but there it was, perched on a hillside. Beautiful and inviting. We drove through the village, but didn’t stop. Instead, we headed to Atessa where we were spending the night. Exploring Colledimezzo would have to wait until morning. We were in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. Would we find our perfect vacation/retirement home? Only time would tell.

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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!

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.

Colledimezzo – San Buono – Celenza

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Colledimezzo, San Buono and Celenza are names I’d never heard until a couple of weeks ago when I started my property search in Abruzzo.

For the last seven or eight years I’ve told folks , we’re going to retire to Italy, but I’d always wondered if it were just a pipe dream. Now, here I am on Friday August 18th 2018, case packed, property viewings booked, trying to make our pipe dream come true. I’m not looking for a big expensive villa, but a nice home, with a beautiful view, and enough room to have friends and family come and stay.

I’m sixty, if I don’t do it now I never will.

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