Helpful Tip Numero Uno: Contacts contacts contacts…

At the end of this blog, apart from having my own slice of Italy to call home for part of the year, I would like to think that I’ve been some kind of help to others who are thinking of buying property in Italy. I don’t have an awful lot of knowledge to impart just yet, and by ‘not an awful lot’, I mean bugger all. But, there is one thing I can tell you; at some stage, you’re going to need to make some contacts.

It’s pretty obvious I suppose. The more people you talk to, the more stories you hear (good and bad), the more opinions you get, the easier it will be to make decisions with the benefit of all that advice to pull from. I know for some people this can be hard. I’m the world’s worst networker. I can be incredibly shy sometimes, but I know I’m not going to get through this by myself (especially since I haven’t learnt Italian – yet). Any bravado that shows from behind a keyboard usually stays right there.

So here’s my helpful tip number one – use the blogosphere. It’s huge. It has everything. And if you’re shy, it’s perfect. There’s that keyboard thing to hide behind.

There are blogs on everything. Go to WordPress reader, put a topic in the search box and Bob’s your uncle. If it’s property in a foreign country you’re after, there’s bound to be a plethora of ex-pats who have made the jump before you.

This is exactly how I found the website of Caroline Edwards; long time Monopoli resident and font of knowledge on all thing Puglia. She has a blog called Personal Puglia, and of course when I found it I went straight to her food section. After I commented on one of her restaurant reviews we got talking, and wouldn’t you now it, among Caroline’s many Puglian hats, she helps people searching for homes in Puglia. Over the next few months, Caroline couldn’t have been more giving of her time and her resources. She organised a fabulous Trulli villa for me for a few days (which I’ll write about later), took me around a couple of towns and even let me tag along to a tasting session at a food supplier (which I’ll also write about later). While we were there we even stuck our noses in their fridge…

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Yum!

It was at the food tasting I also met a lovely couple who have moved to Puglia from America to start an olive oil export business. Even just the brief chat I had with Catherine and Brian about their own property buying experience was full of little tips and ideas.

Both Caroline and Catherine’s blogs are great reads too. On the travel side, Caroline can help you plan a trip, find you accommodation and even organise activities while you’re there. Or if you’re not sure about visiting yet and you just want to know more about Puglia, you can read her blog about daily life in a seriously beautiful part of the world. The food section alone should provide enough inspiration to book a flight. Just click here.

Or have a look around Catherine’s blog Nuovastoria, which chronicles her and Brian’s first year in Martina Franca and their amazing story of setting up their olive oil business, Pascarossa. It really is inspiring to see what two people with a vision can accomplish in a little under a year. Plus – there’s lots of beautiful pictures of food. Sold! For Nuovastoria, click here and prepare to be made jealous.

So that’s my advice right now. Talk to people and soak up their knowledge. Of course it won’t all apply to you and if ask ten people the same question and you’re likely to get ten different opinions, yes. But those ten opinions should make it  easier for you to come up with opinion number eleven down the road – your opinion.

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