Well we have found our home in a tiny mountain town called Gambasca, we both love it and in the agents car on the way up the mountain we could hardly contain ourselves.
Buying a house in Italy is a curious process, everyone dresses up and meets at the agents office where the whole contract is read out loud before anyone signs. The view is spectacular and I didn’t even see inside the house (Salvatore and the agent had a look with a torch) I just know this is the one! We now own part of an ancient Borgata and Tre Giorni of land (the amount of time it would take two oxen to plow it). Luckily we were given the keys even though we hadn’t settled only paid a large deposit and had no clue what was going on and hoped for the best.
I feel as if we have been adopted. The house was owned by two couples who planned to renovate. One of the couples, Renato and Maria have been really helpful and they sold us everything in the place including some beautiful furniture, beds, tables and chairs, pots, pans etc so we haven’t had to get very much LUCKILY. (Shopping in Italy is a nightmare!) They also left all the tools for Sam and they came out to visit and explained everything to us and showed Sam all the boundaries and how everything works. We scored a toboggan and an ancient chamber pot of some sort that looks a couple of hundred years old.
We have part of the old farmhouse with rock walls and wooden beams, the roof is made of sheets of rock laid over each other in a kind of diamond pattern. The locals tell us that in these rustic farmhouses (ours is called Borgata Nari) usually the animals were kept downstairs. The owners lived up a level and they often had a level of hay above, they also had a room upstairs where they used to cook the castagni (chestnuts).
Most of the walls have the original sand and one doorway is about 5 foot and we have hit our heads so many times.
There is a great taverna downstairs which would have housed the cows, the kitchen is tiny and there is a cellar as well, all the rooms downstairs have vaulted rock ceilings.
Upstairs there are two rooms that we live in, and another two which Sam has been working on – the hay room, and the castagni room (more about this later).
There is not one straight line here but lots of character and history which we are slowly learning from the locals. Things are coming along slowly and the goal is to have the house sealed before winter arrives. Sam is getting the windows ready to have frames and glass put in and trying to work out how to seal the veranda for trips downstairs to the loo on cold winter nights.
Our Italian Rustico farmhouse now has some modern aspects to it a fridge, TV and washing machine. As the TV only plays DVDs we are going crazy on Spirit, Pooh Bear and Beauty and the Beast!!! Even Sam knows the words to all the wiggles songs now. The other night we stayed up late watching “Under a Tuscan Sun” but it will be more like Under a Blanket of Gambasca Snow here. We’ve seen pics of the house in winter and they get plenty of snow. Carina wants ice skates and Sam plans to fly down our hill on the toboggan.
We are close to the Alps on the border with France and have crossed over into France with the camper at 2750 meters which was spectacular. We came back through Mont Blanc after a great weekend for my birthday. At last Sam had to cope with another language and revenge was sweet when he tried to ask for directions.
It’s so peaceful here and the countryside is just beautiful. Sam cut down a few trees and now we have a beautiful view over the valley, there is a stream at the bottom of the hill and our property runs down to it. Last night we saw the valley lit up with fireflies and it looked like the stars had fallen to earth. It doesn’t get dark here till 10pm (Yep that’s right 10PM!) so Carina hasn’t seen our firefly “fairies” in the garden as yet.
Note : can you believe that my first letter home was over 2000 words so I will inflict it upon you in a few segments, ciao for now Lisa