Many have the dream, from all over the world, to live in Tuscany, Italy. Not only holidays, but for months or even all year round. A place for family and friends too. A place to work. A place to live different and healthy. Surrounded by beautiful nature and culture.
But: How is it really to live here?
In this blog we share our experiences and give each other advice and guidance; for those who want to come and for those of us who are already here. Welcome!
More than 50 years ago my family took the long drive from Norway to Rimini, about 2.400 kilometres, each way, to the beaches south of Rimini – tenting! What a long drive for an impatient boy. But staying there, for 2 weeks, by the beautiful beach – “a dream come through”. Fruit, ice cream, soft evenings and spending most of the day in the Adriatic Sea. What an introduction to Italy! (And what a long drive home)!
In the 1980s we took our children tenting all over Europa, travelling by car, also to Italy. And when they “grew out of the house” my wife and I continued. Driving all over Europa and often ended up in Italy. And there was this special feel about Italy. Like being at home. Impossible to pinpoint “what”. And when we got the chance, we terminated our work contracts in Norway and took a year vacation in the hillsides just north of Lucca. Why here? No idea. Must have been that it is close to Florence, Pisa, wine, food, beaches, mountains and the beautiful countryside with alle the farms, small villages and best of all; so nice people.
Understanding a new culture and its people starts by being humble. Coming from Norway we often hear people say “from the best country in the world. Midnight sun, fjords ….”. And we have a well functioning social network and social security. Easy to put yourself on a pedestal. If so, you lose. Do it the other way. Be curious. Be open to other people. Try to understand their way of living and priorities. And to do so you have to do some investment ahead of your move. Learn some basic Italian. That really brings out the smile and the curiosity of every Italian. Makes them proud. Because you do already show that you respect them and want to adapt as much as you can. And invite them for a cup of coffee, in your kitchen or at the local bar.
The most difficult choice you have to do before moving to Italy is to decide WHERE? Some have relatives and some do it because of work. Or want to study. We did it because we wanted new challenges. But not because we wanted to move to Italy permanent, but to have the option during the year.
After having lived here a year (2004-2005) and had come back every year since for holidays we had not only kept friendships but grown our social life over the years. For us it was easy to choose where in Italy we would buy, and what property we wanted to purchase. An old house in a village with a garden, and a house that needed a lot of work. To keep us occupied. To make us grow even closer to the area. I had started on my life as a pensioneer, so I took my drone with me on the plane, rented a car, met with agencies, made videos and posted them to my wife, who was still working. We could start selecting. And this is what we ended up buying in the late summer of 2019. Should be able to present some challenges this one! (The video I sent my wife of the house we now live in, Petrognano, Lucca).
We actually bought 2 houses, one part some 100 years old, the other part 3-500 years old. They were divided into two flats, but wall could be opened and so we did; now its one house. And a garden with an outbuilding too, with the old bread baking oven as the main attraction. But, the rain was pouring in and new roof with insulation was built the first winter. And the rest of the house; rebuilt. Inside. Repaired and painted outside. Beside the roofs all done by us. Because Corona hit, and we could not go anywhere. And no friends visiting. 24/7 was the new routine.
Now, 2 ½ years later, we have done it. 10 rooms and a beautiful garden with a pool. And with such an old building there is always something to maintain and repair. But its up to us when. No stress. In our view we now live the perfect “Dolce Vita” in Italy.
If you want to se photos, videos or info about our project please visit our “private” website. We have learned a lot. And we are willing to share our experiences with you here in this blog.
The drone videos from various prospects helped my wife a lot. And it was easy to bring friends onboard as as well for opinions. A lot of scepticism! But we made our choice, and when coming down to Italy summer of 2018 we could visit the property with the agency so my wife could have a real look at it all herself. But the virtual tour I hade sent her was very effective.
Over the last 5 years I have made lots of property videos, both for summer rentals (mostly villas with pool) but also for agencies both in Norway and in Tuscany. And provided walk-through videos both outside and inside, and also 3D Virtual to view the area surrounding the property.
Now I have decided to provide the service here in Tuscany, for potential buyers, where you as a buyer or your agency deal directly with me. Below my new web site for the service.
Very interesting and inspiring
Helping my neighbour to sell this town house in Petrognano, hillsides just north of lucca. Please visit.