The Low Point
In our search for a suitable property in Abruzzo to develop into a permanent home for us and provide rental villas offering holidays for two, we’ve now seen 36 houses. You’ve seen them too. Actually, we saw loads more. We just took pictures of 36. And we saw one house twice. Worryingly, I didn’t recognise it. More worryingly, it took quite some time before I did – which was a pretty fair indication we’d seen too many houses. But we had genuinely tried to buy three of them.
- the first fell through because it turned out a barn we’d earmarked for conversion into rental villas had been built without planning permission.
- the second bit the dust because the owner could never quite decide how much land to include in the price. Or exactly what the price was.
- and the third was jointly-owned by three cousins. One lived locally; one was in Canada; one was in Switzerland. In retrospect, it could only have ever ended in tears. Four days before we were due in Abruzzo to talk to the agents about finalising a deal, the Canadian cousin decided he didn’t want to sell after all.
Ryanair don’t do refunds. So we went anyway. Good call.
A Site For Sore Eyes
Blogs aren’t the right places for leisurely narrative. So let’s bullet-point through what happened next:
- we had another scroll through Gianmarco’s excellent on-line property site
- we hadn’t noticed the unpromisingly-named ‘B35’ before, but thought…
- ‘Hmm, not bad. Might be worth a look’
Love at first sight ? More like waves of relief that we hadn’t bought any of the three previous choices we’d found during our Abruzzo property search. Here were two substantial houses, built of stone and brick, about 35m apart, on a gentle, south-facing slope. Long-empty, they form part of a tiny borgho – a little clump of five or six similarly forgotten houses, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, just outside the hamlet of Ascigno, about 4 miles from the old hilltop town of Casoli.
Now take a look at the setting. We’re about 1200 feet up and the views are spectacular. To your left, there’s the sea at Fossacesia about 25kms away; to your right – and much nearer – are the mountains of the Maiella National Park; in front of you are hills stretching off into the distance; all around are carefully tended olive trees and grapevines. It’s utterly tranquil and utterly beautiful.
The two houses come with about an acre of land and easy access down a tarmac lane off a quiet back road. The house higher up the slope will become our new home; the lower – with easier access to the planned swimming pool – will become your Abruzzo holiday base. Four rental villas, each for two people only.
And It’s Ours. Almost.
We signed the compromesso – the irrevocable commitment to buy – on Friday 7 December. The sale will be finalised early in the New Year and the rebuilding work will start soon after. The plan is for our new Abruzzo holiday rental villas to be open in the Autumn of 2008.
In the coming weeks, we’ll show you how the work’s coming on and tell you in more detail about our plans to provide you with fantastic holidays in Abruzzo. And you’ll be able to book your stay with us too, with some terrific deals in store for early birds. Bookmark this site; come back often; and stay in touch !
(Click on pictures in text for larger images)