Househunting in Italy part four

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As many of you know I have been househunting in Italy this summer. We live on the Italian Riviera and I have been scouring our area for some interesting properties. I have found a few options only to be knocked down by the many perils of buying property in Italy. If you have not read some of the perils I have laid out in past posts please check it out here.

My friends in Lunigiana wanted me to check out their area. It’s a northern Tuscany, near Massa and Carrara. It’s little known by Italians much less Americans. It’s not Tuscany as you know it. Much rougher and more countrified. The people are rugged and the food is simple and homemade, yet rich and laced with great ingredients like truffles and artisan hazelnut honey. Wonderful olive oils come from here, as well. It has a lush landscape, green and wild with tons of wild carrots and wild flowers. As we drove the winding roads I got to view the area in a different way guided by my friends through the medieval towns and villages. The country side is dotted with lots of beautiful castles that in their prime dominated the land.

Okay, house hunting… as you know finding the right property in the best case scenario is daunting, but here in Italy it’s truly like finding a needle in a haystack. They say the property finds you…well I sure hope our property hurries up, because I feel like I am kissing a lot of frogs to find my prince of a house here. Real estate here is very much a “who you know” situation. It’s also a deep, dark mystery.

Even my friends whom I consider very savvy sometimes are in a state of confusion over who owns what. Just know that here everything is connected, and you might be talking to a home owner that owns 3 other properties that are on your list. The key with Italians is you have to ask, they would never offer up any information, and even when they answer your questions, you’re not sure you’re getting the full story. My husband Frank says Italy is like an onion, it has many layers. The key is to have patience and┬áperseverance and a deep understanding of what you’re looking for in a property.

The most important thing is to make sure you fall in love after all the papers are signed, because until that happens it’s all up in the air, you have to be ready for disappointments and there will be many. You can count on that.

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So after driving by this property {pictured above} 4 times, we were actually looking at the property below it thinking that the house below was the one we were going to look at the next morning with the real estate agent. We admired this house {pictured} as we drove by, imagine how surprised we were that it was this house that we were looking at in the end not the one we were looking at in the valley below. We were pleasantly surprised I might add. That’s house hunting in Italy in a nutshell, you mostly have no idea of what’s going on.

This house was a former defensive tower in the 16th century and earlier. It is super tall. The project was taken on by 2 brothers, one an architect and one a builder. It was meant to be a bed and breakfast. The layout was a bit wonky but all in all it was an interesting option. They ran out of money and energy as they were building it all themselves. Great views and 24 acres including a small vineyard. I think I will take Frank back to see it.

The next couple were in a Borgo {village}, attached houses that are cute, sweet and in the heart of village life. They were both a little small and not right for our purposes.

And then I saw this garden!

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We sped by this amazing villa for sale on the way back and we stopped the car to have a peek from the street, in the distance on the top of the stairs we saw a sweet older lady waving us up to have a look. The garden took my breath away, when I saw the vegetable garden right outside the kitchen door, I swooned. The inside of the house was beautiful, the only draw back was the outside of the house, not our style. Too fancy, I would need to rip all the trim and the brick off the house, a complete redo which made Forrest livid as he pointed out that this was a Libertine Florentine design and I simply did not understand it.

He’s right I don’t get it and and I can see that he and I would butt heads if we took on the project, so once Frank confirmed that he did not like it, we had to pass. Although, the garden and the terrace will haunt me for quite sometime. But that’s Italy. There’s always some concession. I have faith we will find the perfect project. It’s out there or should I say it will find us. More to come…the hunt continues. Ciao xx

See more house hunting in Italy here.

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