Days 1 through 4 – househunting

Well it’s been three days of whirlwind activity! We arrived in Umbertide (pronounced Um-BERT-teh-day we found out) at 11:30AM on Thursday January 16th. It was slightly overcast but not too cold. Umbertide is a town of about 15,000 souls with a nice compact centro storico (historic center).

Our phone didn’t have enough charge to we resorted to a public pay phone (they still have them!) and called Jim, our contact. He had helped us find our apartment and was going to show us properties. We met up in front of the train station and went to our apartment to off-load our luggage. It is a lovely little apartment on the top floor with a nice view of the Tiber river. The only issues are no internet connectivity or TV.

We headed down the street to Bar Mary which is Jim’s “office”. We had beers. Jim seems to know everyone! He has lived here 30 years and is thoroughly assimilated.

We went to lunch at Il Capponi on a small piazza. We all had pasta and split a jug of the house red. Very nice. After that we went out to see some places.

First we went up the Tiber river into the countryside. The house was in a small town. It comprised a main house and a guesthouse both facing what would be a beautiful courtyard garden in the summer. Jim said it was negotiable in price. The elderly owners have returned to South Africa. Picture of main house below.

We next saw 2 apartments in Umbertide centro. They were both too small for us but quite reasonable in price – one was 120,000 Euro and the other 115,000. Both were also negotiable.
We discussed our likes and dislikes and parted ways with Jim until next Tuesday at which time he will have searched out other properties for us to see.

The next day we drove up the Niccone river valley into and ultimately over the mountains. Coming down the other side the view of Lago Trasemino (largest lake in Italy except for Garda – picture below) was spectacular. It was a gray day. Our appointment was with Mr. & Mrs. Nelson who owned the home we were seeing.
It was a lovely home and they are a lovely oldher couple. They plan to return to England as their health is failing. There was a nice garden overlooking olive trees. The house had two floors separate from each other. Both had 2-ish bedrooms and a bath. The downstairs is the older part with pretty arches. The town of Puccinelli where the house stands is small and you cannot walk to anything like a bar or restaurant which is the downside.

The following day we met two ladies from Bella Umbria agency. They took us to see 3 places. The first in a town, Tavernelle but too far to walk to anything and we didn’t care for it. Then a couple of new build apartments down the hillside beneath the hill town of Panicale. They had obviously stood empty for a long time. They had garages downstairs. They were nice but not notable.

The last house was one we had both looked forward eagerly to seeing. The pictures on the website were great. The house did not disappoint. It was stunning. The view was nothing less than spectacular and it was just above, and within walking distance of Paciano – another hill town. The builder came and met up with us. None of them (including the 2 real estate agents) spoke much English which made it a bit difficult. The apartment was on the top floor of 3 and was brand new.

There are two bedrooms plus a small office or large changing room or even a single bedroom with 2 very nicely done baths. There is an open plan living room with kitchen and dining space. It was the highest rating for energy and had a fireplace in the living room and one in the main bedroom as well as a pellet stove all as additional heating to the gas. The floors were tiled in the living area and wood in the bedrooms. It was completely wired for internet and TV. We drove down to Paciano to park and explore. The town is beautifully restored. There are a couple of restaurants, bar, grocery and wine bar.


We came away entranced with the third house but will wait to see all the others on our lists before we make our decision. We still like the first house with the courtyard and the house with two apartments in Puccianelli. But this last one is more spectacular. Above is the view. Lago Trasimeno is in the distance.
More to come…

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