Last autumn we traveled to Italy again with the hope of finding a place to purchase. Our first instinct was to buy a ‘city home’ in Firenze or Lucca that could be rented when we were at our home in Coral Gables. However, after looking at several properties in various locations in Tuscany it became evident that city living offered little opportunity for outdoor space (or much space) as well as precious little light. After living in Florida for the past 38 years la luce (the light) is an integral part of my existence and something I cannot do without. So after a disappointing start, we threw our net further afield and ventured into the countryside of Umbria to search for a place to live.
When we found ‘Piero’ an agent with Via dei Colli Realtors through Italy Magazine and we began our correspondence, we had no idea where it would lead. He began putting together a myriad of homes within our price range that my husband and I would visit when we arrived in Italy. Piero organized a trip, ‘in giro’ (around) to visit several properties. As we disembarked the train from Firenze to Chiusi we were met by a very young man. No sign in hand or placard held high indicating that he was looking for ‘la famiglia DeNunzio’ as when a car service or tour group meets you at the airport. Just an unassuming young man, not much older than our son, in an unassuming car ready to lead the expedition. Also in the car, and a source of knowledge, comfort and assurance, was the principal of the company, Stefano.
And so off we went. We drove the back roads of Tuscany weaving into Umbria and visited an apartment in Citta della Pieve. As lovely and scenic as this stone city was, we still felt the need for more light and green space. Then Piero announced that a property that had been under contract had come back on the market. Even though it was larger than we had desired, it was priced well and certainly worth a look.
In Peter Mayle’s evocative memoir, ‘A Year in Provence’, Mr. Mayle writes,
“We saw the house in the afternoon and had mentally moved in by dinner”
That was our reaction when we found Le Crete in Ficulle, Umbria.
So we put in a contract to purchase the home and returned to Florida. Little did we know the length and breadth and difficulties that would ensue.