For as long as I can remember – for most people this would indicate their whole life, but with my crappy memory let’s just call it 25 years – I’ve wanted an Italian property; my Villa, as it will be dubbed. I know these days that’s probably one of the most cliched goals for a girl to have (I’m yet to meet a guy who hankers for their very own slice of the Med) but I was talking about my Italian Villa way before anyone ever sat under the Tuscan sun , had a house in Umbria or told us about their thousand days in Venice. I swear this was once unheard of. .. maybe because the internet wasn’t invented yet.
I don’t quite remember where the inclination came from, why I was so enamored with the country, the way of life, the people, that food. Hmm, the food. Maybe that was it. I didn’t even set foot in the place until I was about 25. I think. Still, I can’t explain it. It just is.
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and until I lived in London, I thought Melbourne was the most culturally diverse city in the world. Isn’t ignorance wonderful? Melbourne has a very large European community. Many of my school friends’ heritages lay in Greece, Malta, and of course Italia, so maybe I learnt of Italy through them. Maybe their culture wafted over me, the same way the aroma from all those exotic meats in their lunch boxes did. Salami… Mortadella… Kabana… mmmmmm. In those days they were ridiculed for their lunches. These days they’d be no more exotic than Vegemite and cheese.
Whatever the reason, numerous visits failed to change the goal. What has changed though is the exact location. My favourite part of Italy (that I’ve seen so far) is of course Tuscany and Florence – shut up,I’m not a cliche – but reality has to hit me over the head at some stage. That reality is my bank balance. So it’s south I go, to Puglia, the boot’s stiletto heel, and apparently one of the last affordable, as-yet-largely-undiscovered-by-masses-of-tourists (except the Italians themselves) parts of Italy.
I’ve been talking about this Italian Villa for so bloody long it’s hard for me to believe it may just become a reality this year… if I’m stupidly lucky in my search. And I know all my friends – who at first maybe thought I was a dreamer, then probably delusional and then possibly just a pain in the arse who never shuts up about her non-existent Italian Villa – might just fall off their collective chairs when my news feed on Stupidface suddenly has a picture of me in my newly acquired Italian
broom closet apartment.
So this blog is going to record the process. And from what I’ve read and heard ‘process’ is putting it mildly. With the labyrinth that is the Italian legal system, the eye watering taxes, the ‘you have to know someone who knows someone’ deals, the small hindrance of me not speaking the language – yet! – and my general ineptitude and ignorance on most things in life, I’m pretty sure it won’t be smooth. But it should be interesting.
I expect the search to take at least a year, and my trips to Puglia will be spaced apart, sometimes by months, so my posts will be sporadic. And obviously a flurry will arrive after each visit. But I will share my experiences bit by bit and maybe they will be of some use to others with a similar dream. If not – maybe they’ll just be an amusing read, with some pretty pictures thrown in now and then.
Expect the first flurry some time in May.
P.S – for those of you who have had a bit of a tour round this blog, yes this post is actually my “About” page too. You’re not going mad, I’m just covering bases.