I am excited to announce that over the course of the year, I’ll be running a special series of guest posts on one of my favorite topics – Renovating in Italy. I knew that we couldn’t be the only ones out there dreaming about houses in Italy, so I have enlisted the help of some friends who have also undertaken renovations and would like to share the experience with you .
A beautiful lady and the first to put her hand up when I shared my idea is Sally Ganci….who is based in the Provence of Emilia Romagna. She shares her wonderful Italian farmhouse with a rambling garden overflowing with flowers and lives with her husband Settimo, her Mother Tanina and beloved menagerie of animals. She blogs about it all here.
Don’t let her fool you, despite what she says Sally Ganci is no ordinary woman and this is no ordinary house!
Not only did Sally share with me the story of her house, it’s history and it’s renovations, she also shared a little of her life and this is where I’ll start.
Sally’s family is originally from Sicily, they then moved to America. “My Dad and his family was from Castellamare del Golfo, Trapani, and my Mom’s family was from Palma di Montechiaro Agrigento. So I have PURE Sicilian blood in my veins.”
Sadly her father was just 37 years old when he lost his life in an accident at work. He had only been in America two years and left his wife Tanina, young son Joe and unborn daughter behind.
Years passed and when she was twelve the family returned to Italy and settled in Milan. She was only able to speak a little bit of Sicilian at the time because it was what her Grandparents and Uncles in New York would speak.
“It was really hard, especially going to an Italian school, but I had a great Italian teacher which helped me a lot, and I learned the language without even realising it. It’s faster than you think when you’re so young, really, after about six months I felt great with it!.
I met my husband Settimo and we married and continued to live in Milan before moving to a town near Reggio Emilia.
My interests have always been varied. I have used my native language to teach English for many years and also to translate. I have always loved to teach children and received my certification to teach Kindergarten and subsequently specialized in the Steiner method.
I have a love of art and paint, sculpt, and embroider. I specialized in the unique Ars Canusina style, and am the Vice-President of the Ars Canusina Consortium. This style of the Emilia area is only available to those who are certified in the Ars Canusina style.
With a workshop attached to our home, I am also a partner in Artigiani della Pietra an enterprise that carves designs into stone.
Giuseppe is my co-worker in the stone company and is also a muratore. He has done all the renovations of the old barn that has become my uncle’s vacation home. Also all the renovations in this house where I live with my husband Settimo and where my Uncle was born and grew up. Davide is my other co-worker, he’s a graphic designer and takes care of all the drawings of our works.
I have done my part of course. All the wooden parts he made were finished by me as I worked for a company that renovates old doors, windows, and shutters ect. So I’m great at doing all the sanding and varnishing parts!
My husband and I of course did all the rest, putting in the garden and decorating the interior… it is a work in progress and a labor of love!
In the next post I’ll share with you the beautiful story of the house and it’s history as shared by Uncle Arrigo.