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  • Writer's pictureRoger Hampton

2.The journey began...

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Approximately five years ago, we started to believe that an apartment or house in Italy, could be something for us as a family. Before, realistically it was my dream. It took a little more time for the others to have the same belief that it wasn’t just a whimsical fairytale. We wanted a property where we could have guests and attractive enough that we could rent out to help cover some costs. We didn’t and still don’t have a huge budget and don’t want to have to radically change our lives in Norway, where we live, to be able to afford it. So after months and months of pouring over the internet, the first house tours where set up as part of our holiday in the summer of 2017 in Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche.

For many, when they dream of Italy, they see the rolling landscape of Tuscany. I can say, from first hand that it is wonderful. On the right day in the right light, it is like a dream. However, it is one of the places in Italy where you feel the pressure of tourism along with Cinque Terra in Liguria, the Amalfi coast and Lago di Garda in the north. Obviously, this inflates the price. There are some areas where there is less demand, for example in the north of Tuscany, but this wasn’t for us. We have been there, but don’t feel “at home”. We picked out the properties, we thought we could afford in the south and were, frankly disappointed. We didn’t even go into some. There was no soul. For example, one property had a total lack of feeling on the flat fields below the beautiful town of Cortona. Strange that this should be so important when you hear later what happened. We continued, really quite disheartened. We had no expectations after the first few options that there would be something that would satisfy our needs within our budget and moved on to Le Marche.

We have holidayed for a number of years now, in Le Marche. Inland, it is very much like Tuscany with rolling hills and hilltop towns. This makes the view so quintessentially Italian. There is always something to rest your eye on. However, in Le Marche you realise that the sea and the mountains are near. In Umbria and eastern Tuscany, the mountains are near, but the sea is not in your mind. In Western Tuscany, it is the opposite, although in the north you can get that feeling of both, but you miss the rolling landscape. So in many ways, Le Marche was perfect for our wishes. We travelled to meet an American agent, truly with relatively low expectations and ended up speechless. It was one of the most beautiful places we had been and the price was right in a buyers market. There were four bedrooms, a swimming pool, a kitchen with a rooftop terrace and views to the mountains and on a clear day to the sea. Jackpot or so we thought at that moment. We were full of excitement and returned home and continued discussing it. However, timing is everything and after a lot of discussion we decided that the timing was just wrong. In hindsight with covid etc, we were probably lucky, but it didn’t change the fact that the dream was there, although I was disappointed at the time. I know we could have been happy there and would have enjoyed a lot of holidays now and in the future. However, the search was set on ice.

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