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 was 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, Croatia 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…Cevapcici… mmm.

Whatever the reason, numerous visits failed to change the goal.

So the first year of this blog started to record the process of buying property in Italy and shared some of the discoveries (mostly delicious food) I made along the way. But reality smacked me around a lot more in 2014. After more unemployment in my five years living in the UK than I’ve had in my entire life (actually I’ve never been unemployed till I moved here) I’ve come to the conclusion that the dream of the villa is going to have to remain just that for the foreseeable future.


But on the bright side, now De Winter Retreat is not only going to focus on Italy, but will be about all of my travels outside the UK. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the fruition of the dream a little bit further down the track. Oh and except where I’ve indicated, all photos on this blog are my own.

When I’m not writing about my travels I write about Edinburgh on my other blog, Stuff Edinburgh.



    1. Wow. Hadn’t even noticed. Barely write on that one these days. Yes Bridge 3 was super but I do think I’m getting sick of all these elaborate murders. I mean do the psychos all take art design in school? Why can’t people just shoot each other and be done with it? Only finished it this weekend though so will have to add it on once I figure out how to get rid of the Tunisian hackers lol

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