dinsdag 11 juli 2017


(Happy are those who dream) Dreams!

For some 44 years by now – give or take – I have had, deep in the back of my mind, a wish to “one day” own an old house or farm or something, to restore and enjoy as a holiday place, especially in Winter(s); somewhere pleasantly Sunny of course!

France has always been high on that list, most of Spain is too hot and too dry to be of serious consideration, the Atlantic coast of the Algarve lately has been under serious consideration and investigation… The Balcans: Greece. Macedonia, Croatia etc were looked into in the past as well. Places like Sarangani Province in the Philippines briefly passed my mind. But for some reason somehow Italy never seriously figured into the equation?!

More recently – reluctantly and slowly – I came to the conclusion I was “getting too old for that shit” and restorations would be beyond my physical capacity. Ideas of living abroad (semi-)permanently also are a thing of the past: Anica will need my attention and that will take maybe as many as another 8 or 10 years?! But then, just as I was ready to concede the dream was no longer obtainable things changed, maybe….??!!

Hans has been dreaming the same kind of thing as I did (with one major difference: he never intends to do any of the labor himself!), we even discussed ideas, options, locations etc etc. BUT… Hans has “a thing” for Italy and has always looked at his options there! This spring he has been out, scouting a few objects that might fit the bill for him! Some of the objects even were things I found and passed on to him! :)  But while out there – disappointed with the object he went to inspect – he was one lucky day directed to another place… and quietly fell in love with it!

This being in Italy, and the object being owned by a whole family, negotiations will take time: all members need to agree and the paperwork there…. Well, if you ever read Asterix and Obelix on Roman Bureaucracy, you will know what I’m saying :)  At best it will take “a few” months to complete. 

Unlike all the other objects I found and passed on, and all the other objects Hans has found and considered, *this* one has one very different feature! A separate “ruin” well away from the main buildings; about 150 meters away and 15 meters below, in fact. That building was not included in his plans, he even considered letting it deteriorate “a while longer” and not waste his time and money on it until a (much) later time or – if he needs the cash to conclude the purchase – possibly even split it off and try to sell it. (This last bit I did not know….)

… But still, in my mind my dreams were once more becoming vaguely possible!

Reasoning “it is now or never, Italy or nothing”, I suggested to Hans *I* might be interested, *if* he considered selling the separate building, to buy it. Depending on Italian Bureaucracy, the sellers’ terms etc etc… Hans is willing to do just that!

So 2017 may be the year I "celebrate" my 65th birthday, and become owner of a small Tuscany Ruin all rolled into one!

Then, the real challenges start! Presently it is a farm building used in the past for drying chestnuts. (Interestingly, as an aside: long ago an Aunt of us had an old ruin in the French Ardèche restored, to be a holiday home; and that one also used to be a building to dry chestnuts!) But that means that for instance at present there is no electricity, no water, no sewage system, no showers & toilets, actually no good road access even and another little chestnut: no permission to live there or use it as a (holiday?) home.

I know next to nothing for certain, yet, but guess it is probably built of natural rock, maybe if I’m lucky built of granite blocks? Number of floors I do not know, but by looking closely at Google Earth satellite pictures I can roughly estimate the sides of the building as 8 by 6 meters; maybe 45 M² floor surface inside? If it’s just the one floor that would possibly be big enough for a half-decent sized Studio to be made of it. And if it has more than one floor? Bedrooms, maybe a terrace or loggia? Ideas, creative solutions, I can come up with those!

The hillside the building is on is facing North-East and as it is at nearly 800 meters above Sea Level it may get quite cold there in Winter: even in Spring or Autumn nights will be chilly! Heating of some sort is another challenge to conquer…

… and I just LOVE brooding on the potential, the work, the challenges, the headaches, the possible solutions, every last bit of it!

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