Advice from Audrey: Tuscan Resolution

More useful advice from our dear friend Audrey:

I was discussing my New Year's resolutions with Conch Shell earlier this year and she did not offer up her resolutions. In fact, she told me that she has decided to be unambitious this year.

Unlike me, she is not worrying about: getting the ESIs to meet at a place other than the Usual Spot, losing five pounds, finding a cheap fare to Rome, writing a screenplay, being a better daughter/sister, drinking more champagne, buying more flowers, doing more volunteer work, spending more time on patios, watching more episodes of Tom Green's House Tonight on the Comedy Network, or finding a cute boyfriend.

I thought that maybe I could help a reader to fulfill one of his/her New Year's resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to rent a villa in Tuscany, or purchase property in Italy, read on.

Renting a villa in Tuscany

Several years ago, friends and I rented a delightful villa near the hilltop town Castiglion Fiorentino, in Tuscany. Castiglion Fiorentino is extremely well-located; it is on the rail-line between Rome (2.5 hours) and Florence (1 hour). The next town (but not on the rail-line) is Cortona, the setting of "Under the Tuscan Sun".

The villa was one of five that have been created from the restoration of an ancient country house and outbuildings. The property is exactly what you would wish for: there is a castle at the top of the hill, an olive grove hugs the hillside, grape vines line the laneway, there is a beautifully maintained swimming pool, there are lemon trees in pots, and there is a cute little dog that will sit at your feet if you beg him to!

We stayed in the largest villa, Giogo, and opted for the 3 bedroom/3 bathroom option. We also viewed the smallest villa, Tino, and loved it. The owners rent out late-model cars but you can walk to the train station, the grocery store, and several wineries. The grocery store was just like an Italian Loblaws! It had everything, including wine, fresh bread, fresh pasta, prepared deli food, and wonderful cheeses.

Purchasing a property in Italy

In 2007, the IO and I were in Italy and viewed some properties. Before leaving home, we spent many hours searching for property on-line, primarily at the following sites:

One of the agents took us to a medieval hilltop town north of Perugia, in Umbria near the border with Tuscany, where a variety of 1 and 2-bedroom apartments were for sale. These properties had recently been renovated and lacked only finishing touches. Although the location did not suit us, we thought that the properties were delightful and very affordable (starting at 80,000 euros ($120,000)).

Property for sale in Perugia

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