Borgata Malpertus – be part of the project

One big thing I’ve been working on is a new site dedicated to the restoration project here at Borgata Malpertus.

This year we are looking to continue with the restoration here in the Borgata. We’d love you to come and join us either here at the blog, over at facebook or with a visit in person.

It seems like all we did over the Christmas and New Year at Borgata Malpertus is eat, and eat and eat……lot’s of delicious treats we normally wouldn’t have through the year.

Snow has been falling and the Valley looks like something from a movie, Ponte Naploleone is especially beautiful with it’s dusting of snow. When we go for walks the dog and all the cats come along with us, it’s so funny.

borgata malpertus

With our friends from Australia moving into the Valley it’s been all go here, with either us at their house or them at ours. We also had other friends staying with us for a week before they head back down to Naples. OH and then we all got sick in turn, first Luca, then Carina then me, and lastly our guest…..arghhh.

So we’re all back on deck now, the kids have returned to school after a two week break, we are living in the Apartment as it’s so warm and cosy. The Christmas tree is about to come down and it’s time to start planning for the next year.

We will be learning how to prune the apple orchard, planting the ‘orto’ (veggie gardens), raising chickens and rabbits (yep we eat them sorry), and at the end of this month we’ll be making salami the traditional way right here in the Borgata.

If you really want to experience the simple life this is the year to do it and we’d love you to stay with us and be a guest at the Loft Apartment!

We were so excited to be named winner of Italy Magazine ‘Best Living in Italy’ blog for the second year running. I would like to thank everyone that voted for us and know that this year we aim to build on all we have achieved so far.

If you’d like to connect with us and be part of the Borgata Malpertus project visit us at:

Borgata Malpertus Website
Borgata Malpertus on Facebook
Renovating Italy on Facebook
Renovating Italy Group on Facebook

If you’d like to arrange a stay here at Borgata Malpertus visit us at:

Stay with Us- be our guest at Borgata Malpertus

We love to actually ‘meet’ the people who sign up for Renovating Italy, so don’t be a stranger, come and say Ciao!

As you could imagine we get lots of emails and comments on the site and on our social media and I try to reply to everyone, that said if I don’t respond I do actually read every comment and I’m so happy to have such a great group of friends online.

Drop us a line and let us know your plans for 2016, it’s going to be a big year!!


Lisa signature 2and the gang xcomment








The World comes to stay at Borgata Malpertus

loft apartment

stay at borgata malpertus

Come and stay at Borgata Malpertus

….we said, never expecting so many wonderful guests to arrive through the year! Summer has passed us by. It’s felt like one big party with people arriving as guests and departing as dear friends. Apologies for the sporadic posting here, it’s been a big learning curve for us hosting visitors from all over the world.

guests 2015 dbl 2

With visitors from Australia, England, Germany, and America, it feels like the world has come to Borgata Malpertus.

Our dream to create a new life here in Val Pellice has slowly come together over the past three years. Restoring our own home, purchasing Casa Bianca and creating the Loft Apartment happened with sweat, tears and yep tantrums along the way. The world really did come to stay at Borgata Malpertus.

guests 2015 dbl 5

We continue to grow as a family, dysfunctional much of the time yet we still managed to make our dream come true. We now have a lifestyle that gives our children a strong sense of community, a new language, freedom to run about and come home at dusk, and importantly meet and get to know people from all over the world. What a gift it’s been for all of us.

guests 2015 dbl 3

Feeling the wrench when our visitors leave for home just continues to prove we are doing the right thing. Such wonderful, kind, thoughtful, loving people have visited us this year, a million memories shared, laughter and good meals, and many discussions about DINOSAURS.

guests 2015 dbl 6

Seeing our life through the eyes of others has been a huge gift. You remind us why we fell in love with Borgata Malpertus and the people of the Valley.

First Guests Loft Apartment

One family that visited loved it so much they bought a house and plan to move here early in the new year. Sam was able to help another family with a tricky house purchase with just a few phone calls, they were mega happy and we hope to one day be able to visit with them at Lake Como. Now he has created Renovating Italy – Property as a way to help others with a similar dream.

guests dbl 1

Thank you to everyone who has visited us, whether you stayed for a night, a week or just for a meal, we love you all.

A special thank you for all the patient chats with Luca, the girlie times with Carina.

For bringing us all a richness that we never imagined possible way back when we welcomed our first visitors to the Loft Apartment.

guests 2015 dbl 4

So now the party is over until next year, we are enjoying the last of the autumn sunshine before winter arrives.

Next year will be bigger and better, we have many things planned…..stay tuned or better yet come for a visit and Stay at Borgata Malpertus.

We’d love to see you,  why would you love to stay at Borgata Malpertus with us…..?

and the gang x




, ,

Completly Clueless – living like a local in Piedmont


It starts with the locals, with their quality of life, their ability to be happy and their respect for the land they live in. Then the tourists will find a way!” Carlo Petrini ~ Slow Food

Since moving to our Valley in Piedmont we’ve been up close and personal to the local livestock. Flocks of goats come past our door daily, the cows graze just above our house and we’ve even been diverted by a huge white sheep dog guarding his flock when we were out walking. I now dodge various types of pooh on the road, know it’s lunch time by the passing of tractors and returning of the locals for lunch.

I have to admit to initially being scared of the cows roaming the meadows here. Completely clueless I grew up in the suburbs of Australia and apart from the occasional visit to a dairy farm run by friends of my first boyfriend way back in my 20’s I’ve had nothing to do with rural animals apart from taking the kids to the petting zoo at the school fete.

Now I live in a community immersed in the rhythms of nature,  in touch with where their food comes from, a lifestyle less reliant upon the latest device for entertainment. I actually still know very little about this lifestyle, about the role of livestock, the shepherds and their flocks and how it all fits into the Valley I have come to love.

Bobbio Pellice fair

My view of the Fiera is still one of a tourist, although I now know many of the faces and even get to go behind the scenes (this year we saw them putting the mammoth bells on the cows before leaving to join the parade)  I still have a limited understanding of the significance of the celebrations held in May and October when the animals are paraded through our village of Bobbio Pellice.

bobbio pellice fair may

Tradition is alive and well here in the Valley, I see it in the face of a grandfather carrying a young child on his shoulders, a tiny boy with curly hair and traditional shepherds hook (and yes he knows how to use it), the boys strapping on huge cow bells whilst finishing off their second bottle of vino, they happily pour some for us into plastic cups.

Although this way of life is one I may never truly understand it’s one I deeply admire, this community has a right to be proud and to celebrate the seasons. I am as always honored to be a small part of this community and to have been welcomed so beautifully.


at the fair 2015

fair 2015

Living in a medieval Borgata in the Alps means we have goats, sheep, and cows passing our front door, I can literally reach out and touch them. I love watching our neighbors two white dogs round up the straggling cows that feed on the long grass along the road. With a little nip they soon have the herd together and on the move.

Watching the old ladies here hand rake the pasture above our house ready for grazing, I am reminded of all we seem to have lost with large scale farming. They have an understanding of the seasons, the mountains and they can usually tell me what the weather is going to be like with a great degree of certainty. They continue to fascinate me.

marina and the gang

We have a guest staying with us from California, her name is Marina and she is doing workaway which means she helps us with five hours of work and we provide meals and a place to sleep. We took her to see the Fair and she was a big hit with the locals as you can see.

She and Sam have redone the fencing, planted the ‘orto’ and we all spent a day in Turin eating gelato and wandering the city.

She is leaving on Sunday for Florence and I’ll be sorry to see her continue on her journey. As our neighbor Antonio told us, she has a gift from God and a beautiful heart (she is an artist and he asked her to do a painting of his house). She and Carina made apple cakes today, they have been walking the mountains, gathering wildflowers and she has done many sketches and paintings around the Borgata.

I can’t wait to hear how she falls in love with Florence, I spent a week visiting as a young backpacker myself many years ago.

marina antonio

cow at fair 2015

fair 2015 dbl pig

Life here in the Valley is full of surprises, as an outsider looking in everything is new, the ancient traditions passed down through generations are a complete mystery to me, one I hope will remain within the Valley for many years to come.

Now I know the names of the men and women moving the animals from pasture to pasture and to be milked. I can even say I have had a try at milking, but only for a few minutes with no resulting milk.! Our friend made it look easy, he’s been doing it all his life. He invites us to sit down to a simple meal of pasta, cheese and home made vino, an absolutely incredible meal and one I’ll never forget.

A day at the Fair now means so much more to me, it’s a celebration of all the reasons we moved to Italy…..oh and don’t get me started on the local Piedmont food!

If you ever get to Piedmont come for a visit, we’ll show you a side of Italy even I didn’t know existed.

and the gang xcomment




Loft Apartment Renovation

loft apartment

Loft Apartment Opens – discover Bobbio Pellice

stay at borgata malpertus

 Returning to Bobbio Pellice

As soon as I heard the story of this family returning to Bobbio Pellice I was in love with the idea and even happier that they would be spending a night with us here in the Borgata.

They were on a journey to rediscover old friendships and retrace family from the Valley which ended happily when we were able to help Diana, her daughter Elisa and her granddaughters on their quest.

Our very first guests at the Loft Apartment only stayed for a night but it felt like we were long lost friends when they left later the next day. I was totally bewitched by Diana and all her stories of Bobbio Pellice, and the love within this little group staying with us.

Elisa your family are wonderful and it was just a joy to have you here with us.

Autie Mame

We were very lucky to be invited in with them to an old friends house. Her Borgata was on the hill overlooking Bobbio Pellice and had the most spectacular gardens. This lady served us the strongest liquor (home made) that I have ever had. Funnily enough it just happened to be her birthday.

The look on these two faces was priceless, such a joy to see them rediscover each other after all those years.

Of course being our first guests we made a few mistakes, one was not telling them to park on the road above rather than drive down into the Borgata. In the end they abandoned the car, came inside and Sam was able to reverse it out of the old road.

Elisa had been having nightmares about driving into an ever narrowing Italian road and this was it come true.

We are loving having visitors, Sam is in his element and right now we are hosting a lovely couple from America for two weeks.

Oh and we are also hosting a young woman (through a program called Workaway) she is originally from Russia and has grown up in California, the world is coming to Bobbio Pellice.

Elise dbl arch

Elise cafe

As always much love to you from all the gang here at Malpertus.

What would be the one thing you’d love to do if you could come to visit Bobbio Pellice ?

and the gang x







The Simple Life can become Complicated

simple life

Creating a less complicated life has funnily enough become quite complicated (at least in my head).

Ahhh the Simple Life, I have been steering clear of my blog recently, a little hiatus to gather my thoughts and refocus.

A multitude of voices each with an opinion different to my own, do this, write that, less images, less sharing from the heart, in fact just less of me until I felt like I was disappearing.

So I got online in a big way, searching for the right answer, looking for a guru to follow when all along I only needed to listen to my own heart and continue sharing our life.

Life doesn’t need to be so complicated.

I continue to be inspired by our life in the Valley, it feeds the soul on so many levels.

Each day something brand new unfolds, new friendships develop,  relationships deepen and I am drawn out into the sunshine to enjoy nothing more than tending the chickens, or splashing with the kids in the fountain.

Living the Simple Life

We get messages telling us that we are inspiring (I never really believe it ) that the life we are creating for our family is something you aspire to achieve. I hope that we can inspire you to make your own simple changes in lifestyle.

Opening up our home for visitors this year has us thinking outside the box to create a beautiful environment within our very rustic Borgata. One that still feels authentic and rustic yet at the same time comfy.

The Loft Apartment will be playing home to many visitors this year, and we are constantly looking at new ways to share our Simple Life with you.

It feels a little like I need to catch you all up, like I would if we met for a coffee and a long chat.

If you follow us on Facebook you would know that I went to hospital briefly with a suspected transient stroke, all good now and taking aspirin daily until further notice.

Menopause hit in a big way and I felt as if I was going mad, jittery, anxious, depressed and luckily my new doctor prescribed me something and I like to call them my ‘happy pills’ that keep the hormonal imbalance at bay.

It was a very confusing and stressful time for our little family with Mummy loosing the plot over almost everything.

Certainly not the Simple Life

Lots of tears tantrums and yelling followed by crying fits and deep dark moods.

I only share here in case you or someone you know is going through something similar, it was only when I told Sam I felt like jumping off a bridge that he got me straight to the doctors.

On a much happier note, since getting help I have felt my former self returning. The season has changed from a long cold winter to a glorious spring with the mountains just bursting with flowers.

I took the chickens out for a walk today, first time out in the sunshine since we bought them in for winter, they stretched and scratched about, clucking happily to each other.

Oh and it looks like the cat might be pregnant, shhhhhh don’t tell Sam.

We have had a friend staying with us for a little while before his return to Australia. He loved exploring the village and Borgata and took some trips with friends of ours as well.

My Mum is in hospital

She had a fall  and then couldn’t get up until help arrived a few hours later. She does have an emergency pendant but wasn’t wearing it. Yep she has been known to be a bit stubborn.

I wish I could be with her, I wish she lived nearby and we could see her all the time. She has learned to Skype and now we chat daily.

I can’t imagine my life without her in it.

For now it’s time for me to get out in the sunshine

Play with the kids, they are building tents up in the ‘orto’ and I can hear them laughing.

Later I will feed the chickens, gather the eggs,  light the fire so Sam can start cooking, feed the cats and enjoy the evening catching up with our friends adventures

……maybe the Simple Life isn’t so complicated after all

Much love as always, let me know what you’ve been up to won’t you x


, ,

Living Italy – a day at the fair

living italy

What a difference a year can make, now the faces smiling out of the crowd are friends, people I am slowly coming to know. We came to the fair in our village last year and I felt like a tourist, with no real understanding of the lifestyle, heritage and traditions around me.

This year at the fair I felt relaxed, smiling and waving, nodding to the locals and getting a ‘Salve’ in return. We are slowly becoming part of the Valley, Living Italy, Australiani yes but welcomed wholeheartedly.

While Sam and his friend were off photographing the fair together, the kids (well just Luca as Carina took off with her girlfriends) and I were free to just wander.

I even sat and had a coffee with two lovely German men at the bar, they were on a ‘boys weekend’ and they couldn’t believe they found an Australian here in the midst of the celebrations.

The faces in these photos are no longer strangers, they are the ones who come over to ask after Carina, the ones who smile and nod at me, the ones who listen to my halting attempts at Italian, the ones who stop for a chat and a joke with Sam.

These are the people that our children go to school with, the ones who have invited us to their homes, to birthday parties, to become a part of the community and celebrate all that is so special and unique about our Valley.







 Sam has found his mojo and is back behind the camera, we actually met whilst studying photography. He was taking the commercial stream and I was happy in the fine art department. Not a single one of our friends thought we’d last, yet here we are almost 20 years later and still together.

These ‘Live Italy’ posts will be a way to give you an up close and personal view of our life here in the mountains of Northern Italy.

Looking through the photos Sam took at the fair had me laughing at how different our style of photography is. With him being the chef in the family he tends towards the food, and I love the people. I hope you like this little glimpse into Sam’s view of the valley, it’s nice to get a bit of male perspective from time to time.





I’d love to say a huge thank you to our dear friend from Australia who helped Sam find his mojo again. We have big things planned for 2015 and will be filling you in as we progress.

As always I hope you are chasing your own dreams, and if you come to Italy you know where to find us.


Thinking of visiting Italy next year?

and the gang x




, ,

Rustic Italy – Stay with Us – an update

Stay with Us

“Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary”

Robin Williams – Dead Poets Society


It feels like a new phase of our life here in the valley is underway at the moment.

A positive feeling of accomplishment, moving forward and creating new dreams.

Most of our concern to date has been creating an income of some kind. We are living on the funds from the sale of our last renovation in Australia, this won’t last much longer.

Our  aim is to create a way that we can travel and enjoy our life here in the valley using the internet to build an income.

I’d love to build a community of fellow dreamers, those who want to take the dream to reality.

I never thought we’d be able to come so far so fast, and with such little funds.

house hunters international

We finally got to view our episode of House Hunters International.

The DVD arrived last week on Sam’s birthday which was perfect timing.

It’s such a strange experience seeing yourself on TV, we had no idea how they would edit the five days worth of filming into a half hour show. I’m happy to say they did a brilliant job, not missing anything and showing us in a good light.

We all cracked up at the end with Luca’s catch cry, just brilliant.

Yippeeeeee Dooodle………PRICELESS

If you didn’t get to see the episode leave a comment below and we’ll try to work something out.

sam white house

Although it’s been messy it looks fantastic.

Work has progressed on ‘Casa Bianca’ and so much has been happening here in the Borgata. Sam has removed the front of the building on one side. It was an awful job and parts were falling off, just tapping the surface showed how easily it would come down. Now the face of the building looks more authentic. Claudio is going to sandblast the remaining concrete away to expose the original rock.

Our lovely ‘Turin Guy’ who has bought part of the Borgata (including the small house directly opposite our big double gates) plans to take the exterior wall down and have it rebuilt in September. The original road will be closed for a short time while the work is done. At the moment it bows out a bit and needs some TLC.

It seems like the Borgata is coming to life, getting a little facelift and gathering new people.

In the meantime we continue cleaning out the sheds, the house and getting ready for future visitors.

We hope one day you’ll be able to stay with us.


sam white house sam white house

Why did we wait so Long?

Recently we bit the bullet and created a Host Page on Workaway. If you haven’t heard of Workaway it basically links up those wanting to work in exchange for three meals a day and a place to sleep. Our very first work away person arrived last Friday, we picked him up from the train station after having a brief conversation on Skype the night before. He will stay with us until September.

sam in hole

He’s been fantastic, he and Sam have been out each day working in the borgata. Together they have built a wall, and pulled the front render from ‘Casa Bianca’. They have also done some cleaning inside ready for later painting, and done a bit of renovation work in the entrance. I wish we’d done this when we first arrived.

Workaway is a brilliant idea and one I would have used back in my 20’s when I was backpacking if only it were available then. I wonder how many people would like to stay with us here through Winter and experience the snow, celebrate with a white Christmas and really get the full idea of life in the mountains.

Our Workaway chap (I’ll pop his name in once he’s okay with that) helped Sam ‘dispatch’ the rabbits ready to go into the freezer. Funnily enough he adores animals and our cats and the dog just radiate towards him.

It’s been great having someone to chat with in English, and the locals in the Borgata are a bit perplexed by the whole idea. I can envision a whole team of Workaway people coming to stay once the locals cotton on.

We’ve got more done in the past few days than in the last six months.

It just helps to motivate us having someone here, Sam loves the company and I love the conversations at meal times.

sam with rabbit

onion beans

I’ve also continued with my love of ‘personal development’ and I’ve been rethinking how much time I give to the most important aspects of my life. Where I need to spend more time and where my passions are.

Now it’s more time for the kids, we take a walk together most days and I’ve been cutting back my time online. I now try to check in on our Renovating Italy facebook page (my big passion) only a few times through the day. I’d rather be out living life here with my family, creating new projects, and then connecting online again in the evening.

luca cat dbl btch

How about you?

are you heading towards or away from your dreams?

What are they…… Carpe Diem xx

and the gang x