Earlier this month we visited Scalea with the objective of choosing our new Italian home, an exciting time indeed. We left the UK early on a Friday morning from Stansted airport, arrived in Naples and drove for just under 3 hours down to Scalea. We met with Tony virtually as soon as we checked in to our B&B to discuss our plans for the next couple of days. He was in “his office” a place called Lido da Pietro, which is a lovely bar and lido on the beach, run by Carmelo. Tony does have a proper office, but I definitely can’t blame him for using this place instead.
We viewed a couple of homes during the weekend, one of which we liked previously, and this was the one we decided to buy. It was two apartments now knocked into one, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a lovely terrace and small but steep garden, used as a holiday home by a family from Milan. It is on the side of a pretty high hill overlooking the old town of Scalea and mountains, also we can see the sea in the distance, so there is a sea view. John likes to say it is a 5 minute walk to the sea but a 45 minute walk back – it is a steep hill.
Once we made our decision on the Saturday, we went to the bar and Tony dealt with all the price negotiations on our behalf. It was a little like the programme A Place in the Sun. We were in a bar (yes in da Pietro) and Tony was on the phone talking with the seller. There was a bit of toing and froing, so we didn’t find out that our final offer was agreed until a little later, whilst me and John were having lunch in another place nearby. We then of course had a very happy “cheers” moment during lunch.
Later, we had a lovely evening with Tony, Jamie (who lives in Scalea) and other people who have bought places around the area.
We left our B&B on Sunday morning to drive back to Naples and to later fly home. It was all a bit hectic, but exciting. We’ve actually agreed to buy a home in Italy!
We couldn’t just go straight back to the airport as we had plenty of time to spare. So we took the opportunity to visit the nearby town of Maratea, the lovely harbour and went up to the Cristo Redentore (a huge statue of Christ the Redeemer) which is on top of a hill over Maratea. It was pretty high up, 660 metres in fact, according to an app on my mobile. We’d driven as far as we could, to a car park and then walked the rest of the way up a winding road. We could have taken the bus that was provided for 1 euro, but we decided to try and burn off some of the beautiful Italian food and wine we consumed over the previous couple of days. Seeing the quality of the road, we were happy we walked, as it did look a little fragile.
During the walk there were wonderful scents of fennel, thyme and rosemary. The view of the statue and the view from the top were just stunning. Luckily it was a very clear day and we could see for miles.
So, we got back home on the Sunday night and straight back to work on the Monday morning. It felt very surreal, we kept asking ourselves did it actually happen or was it a dream? Luckily reality hit as we were contacted by Tony with the contract to sign, and we had to send a deposit to basically set the offer in stone. In Italy you pay a deposit that you lose if you pull out of the process which is good for the buyer, but another good thing is you get double back if the seller pulls out. It also stops buyers being gazumped. If only we had that security in England.
Another realty check is going through the ups and downs of selling our own house in the UK. Our buyer wants to purchase some of our furniture which is good for us, as the place we are buying is fully furnished and not sure our current stuff will fit. The down side of the process is that trying to get our own solicitors to actually do anything quickly is a pain. Our solicitors seem to do things at a snail’s pace. We received a letter by post from them asking us for some information, instead of calling or even emailing us. So, if they sent us a letter for that, they must be doing that for everything which in my mind basically wastes a day every time. To think we chose them because they SAID they use email!!!
Anyway, we are very happy that things are moving and are looking forward to us relocating to Italy. We are in the process of saying goodbye to family and friends which is sad, but they know they will have access to a welcoming home in Italy. At this moment in time if all goes well, it looks like we will be spending our next Christmas in Italy.
We had better get some heating organised in that new place of ours!!