Everyone has an Italian dream of some kind right? Visions of driving down the Amalfi coast in a vintage convertible with the sparkling blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea below, Cinema Paradiso, or Sofia Loren eating bowls of pasta while looking glamorous seem to conjure up an idyllic life. I guess I could say that the seed was planted the minute we first stepped off the plane in Rome some 6 years ago. The sights, smells, food and people all find their way inside your soul and never leave. Tony and I always knew that we wanted something different and somewhat unconventional for that so-called “second phase” of life. You know the one, where the kids grow up and leave to start their own lives, and you’re ready to start living those dreams that have been slowly percolating over the past 25 years. But just how different, we didn’t know. And, while that first month long trip did leave an indelible mark on us, the dream really began on our little 10’x10’ deck in Ohio with two bottles of wine. I mean, doesn’t every brilliant idea begin with alcohol? So, of course, we took to Google. We typed in the search bar, “house for sale in Italy”. Clicked on the first result and were taken to a beautiful villa in Tuscany with an olive farm. We were sure there was a YouTube video on how to harvest olives and make olive oil. Perfect! Goodness our naive selves just didn’t have a clue!
Once the wine bottles were empty, and we were sober again, the dream of running an olive farm in Tuscany was properly left behind. We quickly realized that while those beautiful villas are the stuff dreams are made of, they also come with a rather large price tag. Time to start searching for what was actually within our budget. Returning to Italy, year after year, and looking at what now seems like hundreds of houses, was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. We took the time to explore the smaller nooks and crannies of the country, and learn more about the beautiful culture, history, food and wine. We fell in love with the slower pace of life in the countryside. The garden to table culture that is almost assumed and so respected. 3 years ago, while looking at properties in Umbria, near Perugia, we instantly felt at home! The mountains, trees, rolling valleys, Lake Trasimeno, short distance to Florence and both coasts made it ideal for us. Right in the center of the boot, the “Green Heart” of Italy was home.
Seems simple enough right? Well, if this journey was that easy, then it would end here. We have met wonderful friends along the way, some have become our adopted Italian family that we cherish. And, unfortunately, we came across some that did not have our best interests at heart. More about that later. In the end, we never gave up on what was important to us, what we wanted, and who we are. We kept going and pushed through all the unimaginable roadblocks, with one gut-wrenching disappointment, and really tough decisions that needed to be made. Was it worth it? Most definitely! And, we wouldn’t change a single part of our journey to get here to our own little slice of La Dolce Vita.