As Briana had mentioned we had originally planned to live in Bologna. We had done plenty of online research about Bologna. We also spent three weeks in town two months prior to our big move so we were feeling optimistic about living in the city.
We quickly realized that optimism and diligence on our part would not necessarily help produce results unless we broadened our outlook. Anyone who has done long-term travel understands the need to be flexible. If you have a negative stereotypical “life of convenience” mentality and expect the rest of the world to conform to that expectation, you are in for a rough road.
Once we changed gears and searched in Florence opportunities started to open up.We scheduled to view five properties in two days time.One of the most exciting prospects about the listings that we found was that they did not require a bank guarantees.
The first apartment on day one was beautiful and exactly what we were searching for. Unfortunately, the property would not become available for another two months, so it went into the back up list.
On our second day we were very excited about the first home we were set to view, which boasted breathtaking views of Tuscany. When we arrived we found that although the views were beautiful, the listing misrepresented the actual particulars. Slightly disheartened we proceeded to view the next three listing, none of which were going to work.
By the time we were headed to see the final home we were tired and not very enthused because we could not remember the details of the listing prior to our arrival. Everything changed when we saw the place. We walked up and down the street twice trying to locate the address when we stopped in front of a driveway to check our GPS, which was not giving accurate directions. I happened to turn around and see the address posted right behind us and to our amazement, we had found the place and it was a Castle. You would think a detail like “the apartment is in a castle” would have been remembered but in all the chaos we had overlooked it. Castles split into condos may not be that out of the norm in a country littered with castles but as foreigners we couldn’t believe it.
We met the landlord, who in stereotypical fashion turned out to be an Olive Oil producer, and we loved him. He was very kind and gave us a tour of the home and the grounds. We could not believe that we could potentially live in a home 200 years older than the nation we were moving from and that the grounds were the size of a small city park.
By that evening we had decided that this would be our new home so we contacted the landlord to set a meeting for the following day. He asked us when we would like to move in and we replied “immediately”. Keep in mind that in Italy everything is done at a slow pace, so we knew it would still be awhile before the place would be available. He said he could have it ready in two days.
We immediately secured a rental van to transport all of our suitcases and met on Feb. 2nd, two days before my birthday. Even though he went out of his way to accommodate us, the landlord still felt bad that the house had not been properly cleaned. Briana and I were just happy to finally have a home again and in such a beautiful setting. Our landlord in spite of our protest took 200 less Euro than what was agreed upon.
Needless to say we were very grateful and optimistic about our new landlord. We unloaded all of our luggage and searched for a nearby eatery. We found what has become our favorite local spot a mile down the road. The staff was friendly and with our limited Italian and hand gestures managed to order the best Carbonara that we have ever had… to date.
We felt accomplished and so grateful. Progress seemed slow to us at the time but in retrospect it was only 2 weeks and 2 days for us to get into a lease. We moved to Italy with no certain place to live and managed to get it done in a time frame that is unheard of in this country. I was able to celebrate my birthday in our new home by unpacking all my knives and kitchen toys, it was great.
At this point there were many more challenges to be met but we had been re-inspired and ready to face them head on after finding our dream home. Having a partner with the same vision has continued to push us forward. When one of us begins to waiver the other steps up to help restore the faith. A short time into our journey and we quickly understood to forget expectations and to keep an open mind if we wanted to succeed. Making your dreams a reality is no easy feat but so what, it’s first world problems. If your biggest hurdles are just the tedium that comes with red tape in a beautiful new country…then life is pretty good.