I recently had the occasion to read a very good article on the International Herald Tribune (10/10/2005) of a famous journalist, Courtney Walsh. She is currently the owner of an elegant inn, purchased through the Great Estate & Chesterton Group cooperation. Ms. Walsh tells the different phase of the process and the unique relationship she created with the ex-owners, Giancarlo e Wanda. For those who comes from a large city, it is surely not easy to understand and get accustom to a small town life.
“But our rapport, in particular with the cantankerous Giancarlo, does not always have that warm, fuzzy “Under the Tuscan Sun” feel.
At one point he even threatened to put a bullet in my husband’s head when workers threw out a 15-year-old water heater . He then roared with laughter when he saw my face go pale.
This is Italy. And he was joking. After almost 20 years of living here, I now know that nothing is as desperate as it first appears. One day our perfectly restored nine-bedroom inn and restaurant will open.
We were captivated by the palazzo but shocked by its state of decay.
The first floor and the verandas were piled high with clothes, broken machinery and the pungent odor of dead mouse; but we envisioned an exercise room, a massage room, a breakfast room and a library. The olive-drying room would become the “events” hall; the mill, full of machinery, would someday be the restaurant. True, the roof had gaping holes stuffed with Styrofoam, but I knew my architect could do his magic.
As we were leaving, Wanda, a spunky retired schoolteacher named after Toscanini’s youngest daughter, pulled us aside and assured us that everything would go “smoothly” should we decide to buy the house.
Things did not go smoothly”
It is not easy to do business with people owning a different culture so, the intermediation of the specialists, serious professionals is fundamental to easily face all the inconvenient may present:
“Thanks to Stefano’s hard work – never have I felt that the agent’s fee of 3 percent of the price (from each sidewas more deserved – we tracked down Giancarlo’s creditors and paid them. But we had no idea of the bad blood between the group that had rented the olive-oil mill and Giancarlo. It was more than eight months before the machinery was removed)”
“Last month our family visited their comfortable home nearby, and we walked together to a village festival. When a neighbor asked when Locanda Tocanini would open, I shook my head and said early summer, with hope, because the work was taking much longer than expected.
Giancarlo cut us off. “Ma pazienza!” -But patience!- “It will be magnifico. You know Rome wasn’t built in a day.”