House Hunting in Italy, Part Six

La Fortezza House Hunting in Italy As of you all know by now, house hunting in Italy has proven quite a long term project for us. Once we narrowed down the area to hunt, we then began our search. Our hunt started in earnest in 2013 in Liguria near the the town we live in now. We have toured countless homes in Liguria, but unfortunately without success. Needless to say, we were really frustrated. Then at the suggestion of my friend Forrest, we started scouring the region of Northern Tuscany known as Lunigiana about an hours drive from Lucca.

We have been looking at houses during the summer, and when I am here in Italy during the spring and fall. Safe to say we have been diligently looking at many many properties over the last three years.

If I documented all the houses we’ve toured, it would be a book. Truth is, I am writing a book about my adventures in house hunting and living in Italy, but more on that next time.

You may remember a house I toured about two years ago here. At the time, I was really impressed with the building. It is a medieval fortress dating to the 1500s. It was used as a fortress, and then was inhabited by a priest and his family in the 1600s (his family being his mother, father and brothers).Then it was abandoned for many years until two brothers acquired it about 10 years ago, and made it their mission to restore it.

la fortezza

One brother is an architect, and the other is a farmer, and they have been restoring it together. But like many partnered projects, this one went sideways and the brothers started to disagree; the farmer grew tired of the physical demands as well as the demands on his time, and they soon argued. About two years ago, they decided to part ways and put the fortress on the market.

la fortezza La fortezza It’s a big project on a huge piece of property that includes a vineyard, an outbuilding, and a barn. Did I mention the incredible view? From the terrace and upper floors, you can get a bird’s eye view of the whole valley from the Apennines to the Alpi Apuane. Out of every window there is a breath taking landscape.

It was one of the first properties I looked at, and of course I loved it, but thought it was too much of a project at the time. When we first looked at it, I had just done my first style + photo workshop. I had no inclination that I would be so passionate about teaching, so the house was not a contender.

Now with a new goal in mind to create the perfect location for my workshops and retreats, this house came back on our radar as a distinct possibility. Frank, Forrest, and I are all excited about the prospect of creating an amazing creative space for our students at the fortress (La Fortezza).

How did we wind up back here?  One day…I was frustrated about not finding what I wanted. My friends and I went for a drive. The winding road took us past the fortress, and I said, “Hey Forrest, should we look at this one again?”  So much history and everyone could stay at the fortress during the workshops. The fortress has 7 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, a huge work studio, and a giant terrace to eat and party on. We made a appointment a couple months ago, and we toured it again.

It has amazing possibilities, and it is the old story of seeing a house, and then thinking it’s great and too good to be true and looking for years while the house just waits for you. In Italy, they have a saying that the house finds you. I think it found me; it just took me a bit to come back to it. Like everything in Italy, it takes time: “piano piano” which means: slowly slowly…

So we’ve made an offer, like all things in Italy the steps to the end is a very long road. I am excited to see what happens, and if this is the one, I will keep you posted. Let’s just say it’s the closest we’ve come. Maybe our house hunting adventures are coming to the end? Again it’s Italy, and anything can happen so maybe not. As with all things Italian time will tell.

Ciao tutti xx



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