The story of how I ended up with a home in the mountains of northern Tuscany. My wife and I had been looking on-line at houses in Italy and Greece. It had become a hobby.
We’d find a place on one of the many sites that aggregated homes for sale. Then we’d dig into wikipedia to learn a little of it’s size and history. Then Google maps – to see where it was, and even virtually drive the streets. Then open searches for activities and events.
9 months of that and I was told to “sh_t or get off the pot”. On my birthday – I went ahead and booked a one-way flight just two weeks out – to go house hunting. As I was dropped at the airport, she told me, “Don’t come home unless you have a house in Italy”.
After 5 weeks of looking across 3 regions I got into my bed at a little AirBNB. It was here that I learned that it takes days to warm up a rock house. I was cold, and tired. It had been rainy and overcast for several days. I considered – why not just rent forever. The place I was in – while cold, was nicely decorated, seemed to be in great condition and it was only 35 euros a night. There was a new pool that would open in the summer, and it was in the center of a region that I really enjoyed. Renting would give us the flexibility to go anywhere, and not be tied down. I fell asleep thinking that was the answer.
The next morning was glorious. The sun came out, there were rocky mountain tops across the valley that I hadn’t seen. The village just a few hundred meters away was an iconic walled city. I thought to myself – if I rent, I’ll always be a renter. Even I came back every year for 20 years – I’d always be that guy that comes back year after year to vacation.
I wanted more. I didn’t want to buy a house, I wanted a home. I wanted to be an Italian.
That day I re-visited the three houses that had risen to the top of my list. The ones that had magic.
I made an offer on my favorite home. I then made a plane reservation to come home. I was going to be a Italian homeowner.
Then, several days later, the owners rejected the offer. They didn’t counter. But, they did say “keep talking”.
I made another offer, but had to catch my flight. I wondered, what will happen? How much trouble will I be in when I get home.
I was in the window seat on the flight out of Florence. As we picked up altitude I looked out and saw the little village with the house I was hoping would become mine. Beyond that the valleys of the region where I’d found places I wanted to live. It was all beautiful.
As I waited for my luggage in Denver, I checked my emails. Somewhere in the last 12 hours, they’d accepted my offer. I was buying a home in Italy!