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.

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 in 2016 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 2016.

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




Celebrating my Christmas Blues

Being so far away from family as Christmas approaches is always hard, this is our third since leaving Australia and I’m feeling the Christmas Blues.

I miss my mum, our traditions, family weddings, newborns, my girlfriends, and although mum and I Skype almost daily it’s just not the same. I’d love to get home for Christmas.

Another year is coming to an end, our tree is decorated, the village is lit up with sparkling lights, the air is frosty yet no sign of snow, and we have settled into the apartment for winter. The kids are counting down the sleeps, Luca still has that sweet belief in Santa. It’s them that makes the season magical for me.  A reminder of my own trips to visit Santa with my brothers.

christmas blues

It’s been a while since I’ve written here at the blog, I think like many others I have been engulfed in the surreal events unfolding in the world. We seem to be spinning wildly out of control, everything I once thought I knew for sure has been turned topsy turvy with no one left to trust. Still I am as always an optimist, here in our beautiful valley the world seems far away.

christmas blues

Even my computer is out of sorts, awaiting a new mother board. I am using a borrowed computer, and working on so many projects at once that even I don’t know where I’m heading most days.

Ahhh the Simple Life, I feel it just within my grasp only to look up and find it gone again.

It’s become about so much more than growing our food, selling our belongings and moving to Italy, now it’s our future, our family, our chosen lifestyle, and one that means I won’t see my mum anytime soon.

So here I am celebrating my Christmas Blues with you all and in the morning I’ll be back to my cheery self, I know you won’t mind, I know you’ll understand, and I wish you all much joy, peace and love though the Christmas season. Ho Ho Ho

Signature and the gang x

 dare to dreamcomment

Move to Italy – it is possible

We made the move to Italy looking for a better life for ourselves and our children, we have never seen ourselves within somebody’s timetable.

Today on Valentines Day it seems the perfect time to recommit to all we are creating here in Italy, to each other and to our children who are the inspiration for all we hope to achieve.

We knew we wanted to do something we loved and that would be inspiring to others.

Imagine how it feels to wake up in the morning to softly falling snow outside your bedroom window, to see your world transform into something magical. Or to spend the day throwing snowballs and making snow angels with your kids.

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Imagine finally finding your special place in the world and being able to share it, it is possible to move to Italy and these days easier than ever before. I think I read through every page of Living and Working in Italy: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Italy) before we left Australia and I still have my copy.

I’m sure you’ve heard of other people who’ve made the move to a simpler lifestyle, changing country, having a sea change and just leaving the rat race behind.

So this year I’ll be sharing with you some of the inspiration behind our move to Italy and our quest to change our lives for the better.

I know that if we can do this with limited funds, two young children in a medieval Borgata in the mountains then you can do it as well.

I’ve been putting together a guide that explains exactly how we went from the suburbs of Queensland to the Alps of Italy.

Here I am heading out with Sam and the kids, yes with a hot water bottle, carrot and cup of tea, no wonder the locals look.

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Just recently I had a Skype call with a couple in Australia looking to make a move to Italy with their young children. It had me see just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned along the way.

We chatted for some time about chasing a dream, a better life for our kids, school systems, cost of living and what it’s really like to pack up and move your entire life to the other side of the globe.

After the call all I could think about was how ‘lit up’ I was, how passionate and in love with this life we are making here in Italy even with the highs and lows I wouldn’t change a single day.

This is what I’d love to share with you along with life here in the Borgata.

We have had huge snowfalls and today it started falling again. Over a metre has been forecast for Monday, luckily it is a holiday here in Italy so we don’t have to manage getting children to school.


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We are honored to have been nominated in Italy Magazine’s Blog Awards 2014 for Best Living in Italy blog. If you haven’t done already it would be wonderful if you’d take the time to vote for us by clicking here.

And we are currently in talks with House Hunters International about a ‘where are they now’ episode due to film in late March.

Thanks again for believing in us, and even more importantly , believing in yourself and your dreams.


and the gang x






italian dream

The Italian Dream – a change is gonna come

 ‘Maybe one day we’ll find the place where our dream and reality meet’


Winter is on it’s way with temperatures dropping down to one degree (that’s celsius ) outside. The italian dream is getting cold. Last week we had our first heavy snow, making us realize that the pathetic efforts we have been making just won’t be enough. We need proper snow shoes, more wood and I could really use some fleecy pants instead of jeans.

We are on a big learning curve, and I had to laugh at Claudio pulling me aside and showing me how to actually stack firewood. I thought I was doing very well packing it as tight as I could only to find out that wet wood needs lots of air space to dry out. We stacked three truck loads with more to come so I will be getting plenty of practice.

We moved the kids into the main part of the house last Saturday afternoon, bigger warmer and plenty of room to play without freezing. Heat is a premium here and the size of your stack of wood is all that counts. I feel a bit like Homer Simpson when he obsesses about donuts. Hmmmmmm Wood!

Moving to Italy was always about ‘family’ and regrouping ours, a chance to bring us closer together. Some days I wonder when that will happen other days I get just a little glimpse of this italian dream. We are certainly not the Brady Bunch, a little bit dysfunctional with a good dollop of feisty thrown in mainly by Carina.

Everyday I doubt myself in some way, as a Mum, Wife, writer, blogger, and Aussie woman living in the mountains of Italy. I doubt that I am alone, in fact I know I am not. It’s not just a female thing either it seems to be a life thing.

The best thing is that each day I get to start all over, create from nothing and try to reign in my ‘Bitch Troll from Hell’ side (well that’s what I tell myself). Perhaps it’s a change of life in more ways than one, lucky Sam will get his wife and his daughter spinning heads at the same time  ha!

In the meantime I’m back to passing nails, holding ladders and finding missing power tools. We have to get the house totally sealed before it snows again.

Although it doesn’t look it in these photos it’s almost freezing…..just stepping from the house has the chill factor biting at your nose and sending your fingers and toes to near hypothermia. Today it was so cold I felt as if my fingers were burning, our neighbor Maximo laughing as he walked past tells us we have no idea what we’re in for……

moving to italy

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Winter in Italy means removing the old plastic roof and replacing it with polycarbon sheeting, brown on one half and clear on the other to utilize the light. Just below the small window is a drop of around two meters, I suggest it would be the perfect spot to put the kids.

Removing the chicken wire and actually peering down we found it’s the ideal spot for Carina to throw chocolate wrappers from her window thinking we’ll never find them. Sprung again!

We’ve replaced some of the concrete and cut a step into the entrance to make it easier to come through the doorway. The terracotta bricks are to go just under the roofing to seal the walls and will then be rendered over to match. Apologies no photo of the finished result the weather just got beyond us so we packed up and came inside to thaw out in front of the fire.

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house porch 4

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A few family photos from our week, I especially love the tape measure tights!

So how are things where you are right now, all good or BTFH? x

do you have an italian dream x


Waiting for the Windows – winter is coming

‘A cold wind was blowing from the north,

and it made the trees rustle like living things…’

― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


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The seasons are changing  so rapidly and we are still awaiting the arrival of our windows. We have a local man making them by hand and they are of course made to measure. Double glazed and tilting from the top, who would have thought I would be dreaming of windows…or rather the lack of windows.

As winter fast approaches and the leaves are falling, the fog rolling in, and the days getting crisp I realize just what we might be in for if we don’t get these windows put in.  That car outside our doorway was such a welcome sight, ‘the window man’ arrived to take final measurements and I think he thought us already gone a bit mad with the wildly enthusiastic greeting we gave him, I almost kissed him!

So now we wait….it’s day three of October.

In the evenings we have been watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and the line that resonates the most for me  is ‘Winter is Coming’. Now Sam and I say it to each other like a chant, as if Winter brings a hidden menace, it’s all very dramatic and medieval just like our lives here in the valley.

Each night when I go to bed I imagine I could easily be in one of those ancient looking rooms from Winterfell, the floors creak and the covers are thick heavy quilts given to us by friends. The ancient beams overhead, the bed that could have been lifted right from the set of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the knowledge that we have no real idea of what is coming, adds to the adventure of it all.

I will warn you that this show is very violent, coarse and filled with lots of bare bums and boobs….but I totally  love it.


borgata rock roof

autumn walk

autumn leaf

With the start of Autumn our orto (veggie garden) is looking a bit sad and neglected. Yesterday we collected big bags of peppers, cauliflower and the last of the green beans. Now we just need to wait for a few sunny days before picking all our fagiole beans.

They have climbed high into the trees and remind me of that famous practical joke played on April Fools day with the ‘spaghetti tree’. My Mum took me a few times to the restaurant of the same name in Melbourne and they had a fake tree with spaghetti growing from the branches in the foyer.  It looks like some odd kind of Christmas tree with the ornaments waving gently in the breeze.

I’m looking forward to those few warm days when the kids and I can get out and pick the beans, then shell them all. It’s just like I would do for my Mum when I was a child, it was always my job to shell the peas and most would end up being eaten raw. Perhaps this will be a memory our children will take with them into adulthood.

It’s mushroom season now and Sam has already tried his first ‘wild’ mushrooms which he found down on our land. We let him be guinea pig and his thoughts on deciding if they were safe to eat went like this …” I’ve asked everyone here and they all say these are edible, so I’m going to try them”. My response is we’ll try them after you’ve survived a few days with no dire consequences.

Of course right after he ate them he started having doubts which kept us up most of the night on my internet Italian chat group trying to determine exactly which mushrooms they were. Some of the comments were hysterical but with so many varied opinions he was even more worried. I’m happy to say he made it through the night and is determined to pick the rest of these mushrooms tomorrow. I think we’ll leave him to it.

orto fagiole tree

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orto autumn


winter in italy

First Snow – Winter in Italy

Our first Winter in Italy 

The early hours of the morning when the house is still and sleeping is my favorite time. No sounds of laughter, no calls to solve problems only Mum can solve. A sharp contrast to the relentless pace of the day to come. Checking the kids are warm and sleeping I creep down the stairs like I did as a child Christmas morning.

If I step on certain planks on the landing my peaceful time will end. The temperature has dropped to 6 degrees inside the house and my breath creates a smoke like haze, winter in Italy is just magical.

The valley view has disappeared  and the  world is white on white.

No movement. Not a breath of wind, the world has stilled for a moment and I have caught it out. Close to heaven, spiritual. Every Christmas card and more. It’s as if the clouds decided to come to earth to relax.


Winter in Italy

The kids are awake… let’s start the day.

life’s postcards