Monthly Archives: June 2019

Real Estate in Italy

Real estate in Italy is a totally different animal than in the US. Reasons why:

  1. it is not a good investment. You will be very lucky to recoup your money from purchase and any renovations you do.
  2. you cannot be in a hurry to sell. We are told allow average of 3-5 years to sell here.
  3. Italians and Americans have very different ideas about houses/apartments. What should be in it. How much you should pay for what’s in it.
  4. Italians inherit property over centuries. They all have multiple houses. They do not have mortgages. They do not buy houses because they do not need to. They are house rich and cash poor.
  5. The market is stagnant. Or actually declining.

I tell you this because we have listed our house. Not because we aren’t happy here. It is my dream house. It is just the way I want it. But, being realistic, we are aging and a house on the fourth floor (American), third floor (European) is not optimal for aging in place. There is no possibility of an elevator.

Today we had a nice, young Italian couple look at the apartment. Normally we get English and Americans looking. We have listed at two agencies, one British/international, and one Italian. The couple seemed to like it. It is interesting because all the Italians we know say an Italian would never buy this place. One, because it is too expensive. And two, because it is not to their taste.

I beg to differ on both points. First, we paid €20,000 more than we are asking (!) and we put another €65,000 into its renovation. So, perhaps we paid too much. But getting it with all the bells and whistles for only €230,000 is a deal. Second, we renovated and furnished it with all Italian finishes and products. Our kitchen is manufactured by Pedini — a well known Italian kitchen designer. Our furniture is all purchased here. It is Italian in every way. But maybe a bit more sophisticated Italian than many Umbrians are willing to embrace.

This all said, I am in no hurry to sell. I will be very, very sad to move away from here. And I am not sure where we will go. It all depends on what is available elsewhere when we sell. I have many new friends here in Umbria. A nice support system, and I would miss them. I am loathe to leave it. Except…and it’s a big except…Umbria is not what I call Stranieri (foreigner) friendly. We cannot get a Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to stay) for more than a year, commonly 2 years elsewhere. We are told we cannot apply for the EU Long Term Residence Permit, supposedly available to all foreigners after 5 years of Residency. Why? It is an arbitrary decision by this region. And no recourse that we know of. So, moving from here could facilitate these things for us. A real conundrum.

Of course, I don’t expect to sell anytime soon. So we aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Rest assured, I will continue to write on NancyGoes from whatever location we land in, in Bella Italia. In case you’re interested here is our listing.

Trip report – Back to the USA

Another trip report so you can ignore. I do these for myself and my friends and family.
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Ah. Just back from a trip to the US of A. It was a busy one. Impressions on my first day…the first day is always a little surreal. Everything is so big! So fast! So tidy (at least in the ‘burbs). So expensive! So expansive! Tooooo many commercials. Toooo many drug ads.

We had done on-line shopping before going, which I had sent to my sister (thanks Cindy!). She brought all my loot to our meet-up in Annapolis. Chili powder, some clothes, kafir lime leaves, lemongrass paste (Thai food here we come!). Lots more hot sauce 😋. Then we did some shopping at the drug store and grocery. Not much this time. Travel sized items, pens and pencils (cheaper there), deodorant, gorilla super glue, binder clips, scotch tape, Saran Wrap, peanut butter, picnic salt and pepper shakers, cheddar cheese… lots of goodies. But now on to a few trip details.

We took the train to Fiumicino near the Rome airport to Pascucci Porticciolo a small hotel with a Michelin one star restaurant of the same name. It’s always fun to have a night with good food before a trip. The trip was uneventful and we arrived at 1:30PM at Washington Dulles airport. It was hot and we are not used to it what with the very cold spring we’ve had in Umbria.

Our first night in the US was not far from the airport at the Hyatt in Reston VA. It’s an OK hotel. The carpets are well worn and a bit dingy in the hallways. The curtains in our room sorely needed attention or replacing. The systems are all old. Bath is very dated, nicer towels would’ve been good — the room was adequate in space and the beds were comfortable and had nice linen. Price was over $300 for the one night we stayed. I didn’t think the cost to value was close at all. We went to dinner at PassionFish. I remember it from before we left. Decent seafood. I had oysters on the half shell and crabcakes. Unseen in Umbria. Miss those!

Next day we were off to the nuptials of our niece Rachel. They were held in Baltimore, a city near my heart as I went to college there. Rachel had asked us, as the couple she knows who’s been married the longest, to speak during the ceremony. I loved the wedding. Not religious, presided over by Uncle Paul, Alex’s Uncle. Alex is Greek and so there were some Greek traditions incorporated. Sarah, the maid of honor, placed crowns connected by a white ribbon while they did their vows. After the vows, and the kiss, they walked out to the music from the Dating Game. So cute and fun. The reception was nice with an 8 piece band called the Bachelor Boys. Great dance band. During the bands off time they played Greek music on the stereo system and all the attendees learned the Greek dances. Men dancing together, women together. It was fun. Anyway, I’m super happy for Rachel and Alex and I’m sure they will have many years, and many adventures together!

Pictures courtesy of  Rachel’s FaceBook photos. The Happy Couple!

Rachel and Sarah, Her Maid of Honor – Lovely sisters.

After three days of Wedding activities we drove the short drive to Annapolis. On our way out of town we stopped at the address where I had lived during my MICA year. John Street on Bolton Hill. It was still unrenovated after 50 years. A big surprise. It was fun walking the old neighborhood.

My old house.

We had a really nice VRBO house rented just half a block from Main Street Annapolis. My sister and her husband drove the furtherest from Central Virginia to join us for a short trip.

From our front porch. Every passerby chatted with us!

Maryland state capital viewed up a narrow street.

We ate and strolled the town. Shopped and one day we did a voyage aboard a beautiful schooner called Woodwind. 72 feet, five sails. We had pretty good wind and sailed the whole time getting up to about 10 knots.

After that nice visit with my sister and Bill we headed back to northern Virginia where I visited our storage. I wanted Cindy to have a key as she’s going to oversee my cousin coming to take some family antiques. My goal is to slowly empty this space. I will probably ship some things to Italy. But I’m giving away a lot. Some old friends, Carlo and Mary, stopped by to pickup one of the German schranks we brought back from Germany where we all lived for a time. It will have a good home with them. And we had a nice dinner together at Vermillion.

The three days in Alexandria were busy. We stayed in the Kimpton Lorien Hotel and Spa. Of all our hotels, this was the best. They get it all right! We had a lovely dinner with Luther’s brother Mike and and his wife Anne at Magnolia. We so seldom see each other, just the four of us, so it was nice to catch up. I had a lovely evening of cocktails with my “Cook” Book Group of friends. We go back more than 20 years. Such fun to be outside on the beautiful deck and the Aperol Spritzes and conversation flowed. Such intelligent and thoughtful women. I love and miss them.

Photo courtesy of Ellie Thayer. Our group! We missed Lynn, Pam and Christine.

And I had a nice tête-à-tête with another old friend and walking buddy of mine, Rosemarie. So nice to see her. It had been a while!

We left from Dulles non-stop to Rome but were delayed when the airport was closed due to lightening strikes. Returned home to our wonderful house/cat sitters from Toronto. They had a lot of rain, unfortunately, but they made the best of it and the end days were fine. I think they had a good time and best of all, they really loved our boyz Rocky and Simba. Mark and Liz, you are always welcome to come back!

Glad to be home in Italy’s Green Heart!