Our Visas arrived so we can now honestly say we are on our way! Yahoo. After the wave of relief subsided, I began to review the path that led to this unusual decision. But the fun part was to try and recall all the details of our house hunt. I thought I would document what I remember here because it’s starting to fade…
I don’t know if any of you watch HGTV. I found it in the past year (AFTER our house hunt in Italy) because when we moved from the farm, we were finally able to try out cable TV. Mostly it’s junk…and to be honest, if I wasn’t so interested in culture (sociology of) and architecture, I would call HGTV junk too. But it totally fascinates me. They even have a program called “House Hunters International” where they feature mostly tropical climes with Americans looking for vacation homes. I find it intriguing and embarrassing. I’m intrigued because I love to look inside houses, any houses. I find it embarrassing when I compare the American attitude to the European. In short, we are house hogs. We want huge homes with bedrooms containing bathrooms that MUST have double sinks. I had no idea so many people share the bathroom to the point that they would need two sinks. Any items in the house that may hark back to another time are instantly dubbed "outdated" and hopelessly "grandma" and otherwise outre. This makes me shake my head. Not just because I like old stuff but because it's so shamefully not "green". The house hunters on these shows see no connection between their love for the modern and updated with waste. I love to restore old places but not for the sake of making them say "today", "modern", and "ungrandma". What's wrong with history?
In 2007, Doug and I came from the farm, had no cable TV then, and innocently went to Italy to look for a house to spend the rest of our days lovingly fixing up in between our travel adventures. None of those fancy ideas were in our heads. We were thinking small and old.
The trip started on the beach in Tropea (Italian language school...that's Doug in the surf) and on week-ends went back north to meet realtors to look at the small and the old. Our rented house in Tropea was our first initiation to an Italian restoration.
The first stop on the hunt was the centro storico of Scalea. Scalea is an old town but it is also built up around it to accommodate the yearly August onslaught of Italians from Naples looking for the beach. One place was charming and very old. But the ceilings were too short for Doug.
Another was definitely a good option. It had a lovely view, but needed work and was priced too high considering the work needed. The other problem was we were wary of Scalea in August. Crowds are anathema to folks who are used to the outback.
We also went to Santa Maria del Cedro (an adjacent hilltown) to see if we liked some finished apartments there. They all seemed to lack the stupendous view that we were looking for. Nothing seemed to grab us. (much to the frustration of our agent, Tony).
Then we came to Santa Domenica Talao and found our niche. We loved it (as described in our recent posts)
The house was indeed small but we were blown away by the view and by the fact that the terrace was right off the future kitchen, rather than hidden away in an upstairs roof terrace. We had found our Italian home.
Note our hopelessly outre old furniture. If you are interested in the before and after pictures, you can find them on the Scalea Forum.