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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
My husband and I have bought a house in Ofena and are planning to retire there in 2 years time.
We would be very interested in meeting any other expats in the area to discuss the benefits of moving to Italy.
We bought our house through The House Around Italy team.They have all been very helpful especially their 'Girl Friday' but beware of any builders that the agents recommend the standard of work from the builders we used was very poor and cost a lot of money.
We will be back in Ofena 3rd June for a week if anyone wants to meet up. Our house is on Via Delle AIE.
 

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Hi Maisie

We have paid a deposit for a house in Ofena through HAI and will be visiting in three weeks time, staying in a hotel by the sea. As you have used them yourselves did they take you through the process happily. We have just found out our very small house in the old town doesnt have a "title deed"!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi
Yes we bought our house through HAI and the girls themselves were very good but please be careful with the agents that they sometimes use as they are not all trustworthy as we have found out to our cost.
They have a ' Girl Friday' who is very good and we are now dealing primarily with her. I can always provide you with more info via email if you would like.
We will be going back again 29th July for 2 weeks.Our house is at the far end of the village overlooking the valley.
 

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Hello All
We have a house in Carrufo, just above Ofena. In fact my grandmother was born in Ofena. The local club has just bought a bar in Ofena and are planning on operating it as a club. I got a message saying it will be 10 euro to become a member and they hope to get it set up with internet access as well as a meeting place for younger people.
There are a number of english speaking Italians as well as Canadians in Carrufo if you need someone to talk to about the local builders etc.

Barry
 

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Hi Barry and all,
Just back from Italy and France where I spent more than a month working on the house with the trade people.
Had visited pretty much everywhere in Abruzzo. Your 3rd cousin has shown me your house Barry. Nice place! Love Ofena and carufo areas. However they are too much in the hills and mountains for me. Need to be closer to the coast. Still looking yet!
Cheers!
 

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Hi Yvonne
Sounds like you had a good time. Gianni did say you didn't see anything you liked. I was born and raised here in Calgary so the country around Carrufo feels just like home. If you want something closer to the sea and warmer just go over the mountain from Carrufo. It's only 5 Km from Carrufo but the climate is completely different. They get more rain and they actually have soil so there are a lot of small farms.

Barry
 

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Hi Barry,
Looks like Ofena will have a lot of anglophones there. Everyone seems to have their heart set in that cute part of Abruzzo. It's kind of fun!
I love Abruzzo and still am looking in that province. Maybe a small vineyard!??Will see...!
In small villages, you were right, it's better to use propane tank. It's convenient and cheap. That is what i use in my farm in France. On the other hand, personally, I think it is important to have a spa -like modern bathroom!
I probably will be back in Abruzzo at the end of September to look around a bit more.
Cheers!
 

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Yvonne,
You sound like my wife. She wants to turn one of the spare rooms into a huge bathroom with the whole works. I'am quite happy with the tiny shower and half a tub we have now! The only advantage would be to move the washing machine from the kitchen to the bathroom and get it out of the way.
I forgot to ask when you go to France do you fly direct to Paris? Wondering what Charles DeGaule airport is like. We have been going through Gatwick the last couple of years but it is a very unpleasant place so were thinking maybe Frankfurt or Paris.

Barry
 

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You can go directly from Calgary to Rome via Heathrow or charles de Gaulle but it's expensive. I usually fly Calgary - Heathrow - Toulouse or Calgary- C.D.Gaulle - toulouse where my village is near.
It was my first trip to Abruzzo and I wanted to drive everywhere so I flew to Frankfurt with Air Canada, bought a cheap ticket from Ryanair to Pescara then rented a car and drove in Abruzzo, down to Rome, along the coast mediterraneen up to Genoa, returned the car there (they don't allow you to return a rented car in another country unless you pay a really high fee). I then took the train to Nice, rented another car and drove all the French riviera up to Toulouse then to my village which is an hour west of Toulouse.
When flying with Easyjet or Ryanair you always have to go to secondary airports(ie. Gatwick, Orly in Paris, Frankfurt Hann in Frankfurt) so you have to change airport, sometimes sleep overnight in hotel if your flight is not on the same day. At the end I don't know if it is cheaper! and they limit you to one suitcase only under 17kg and one carry-on.
If you fly Calgary/France, you will land in Charles de Gaulle, you have to transfer to Orly to fly to Rome on Easyjet. But if you want a couple days to enjoy Paris before going to Rome then that's the way to go.
Hope this will help.
Yvonne
 

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Thanks Yvonne,
Sounds like you have found the same problem we have. The local flights in Europe do not fly out of the major transatlantic airports. We flew to Gatwick once then took Ryan Air to Pescara but British customs held us up so we missed the bus and had to take a taxis to Stanstead. The ride was 125 pounds and our air fare was 100 pounds!
We have settled on Canadian Affair to Gatwick then Easy Jet to Rome. It isn't the best as we get into Gatwick at 7 AM and the morning flight to Rome leaves at 8 which means we always miss it. We have to wait around for 8 hours and catch the aftrenoon flight. We only have small carryons now as everything we need is in the house in Carrufo so baggage is no problem.
Easy Jet seems more pleasant than Ryan Air as well. Checkin is no problem and they page us on our cell phones when the plane is ready to board so we have taken the time to explore a bit.
Barry
 

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Hi
My husband and I have bought a house in Ofena and are planning to retire there in 2 years time.
We would be very interested in meeting any other expats in the area to discuss the benefits of moving to Italy.
We bought our house through The House Around Italy team.They have all been very helpful especially their 'Girl Friday' but beware of any builders that the agents recommend the standard of work from the builders we used was very poor and cost a lot of money.
We will be back in Ofena 3rd June for a week if anyone wants to meet up. Our house is on Via Delle AIE.
Hi there,
My husband and I plan on moving permanently to Italy. We are going to Calabria for the first time July 1 until the 27th. We have been to Italy a few times and thought Abruzzo would be the place to search for a home, however, I think we will see the beauty of Calabria first and then decide.
We are from America. Where are you from? Is Ofena in the mainland? I also was taken around by The House Around Italy last year and was pleased.
It is so exciting. It was interesting that you mentioned builders. Up to this point I was thinkiing that we would most likely buy a used small home and then another person stated that she is having a 4 bedroom hme built for the same cost as an apartment in one of these complexes. So, then I was thinking that maybe I should get the names of some honest, reliable builders to research cost. Would you know of any?
Will you be in Italy in July?
I am of Italian heritage and speak Italian, although, it is not great Italian. I earned Italian before speaking English and I love my roots and the country. I feel so at home there. It will be difficult leaving my 25 year old daughter, but I think it will be fine.
Would love to hear from you.
MaryAnn
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Mary Ann
We are a British couple.
Ofena is a small village in Abruzzo, nestled in a valley. It is known locally as the 'oven of Abruzzo' as it is south facing and gets quite hot in the summer.The temperature at the moment is in the mid 30's.
We are going to Ofena again 29th July for two weeks to work on the house.It is apparently fiesta time in Ofena at the beginning of August as well.
We have been relying on HAI's 'girl friday' Francesca Palmy to liaise with a good builder for us as the agents that we dealt with originally have really let us down and the renovation work that they 'supposedly' monitored was of a very poor quality.So now we are dealing with Francesca who is a lovely girl.I can always give you her contact details if you wish.
Our house is very old with vaulted ceilings and we also have a 600sq. metre garden that has grape vines,olive trees, walnut, apple, pomegranite and artichokes growing in it.
I understand how you feel about leaving your daughter, i feel the same way about leaving my children but they are encouraging us to move.
We have just started taking classes in Italian, as my language skills at the moment are very limited.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Judy.
 

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Hi Mary Ann
We are a British couple.
Ofena is a small village in Abruzzo, nestled in a valley. It is known locally as the 'oven of Abruzzo' as it is south facing and gets quite hot in the summer.The temperature at the moment is in the mid 30's.
We are going to Ofena again 29th July for two weeks to work on the house.It is apparently fiesta time in Ofena at the beginning of August as well.
We have been relying on HAI's 'girl friday' Francesca Palmy to liaise with a good builder for us as the agents that we dealt with originally have really let us down and the renovation work that they 'supposedly' monitored was of a very poor quality.So now we are dealing with Francesca who is a lovely girl.I can always give you her contact details if you wish.
Our house is very old with vaulted ceilings and we also have a 600sq. metre garden that has grape vines,olive trees, walnut, apple, pomegranite and artichokes growing in it.
I understand how you feel about leaving your daughter, i feel the same way about leaving my children but they are encouraging us to move.
We have just started taking classes in Italian, as my language skills at the moment are very limited.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Judy.
Hi, Judy,
Thank you so much for replying. It was nice reading your email. I have heard this type of situation several times whereby people are let down by builders. I just am not sure which way is best. Judy, is it best, you think, to hiere a builder who has been recommended to you through a realtor? Do you think that increases the chances for a smooth operation? When we were in Abruzzo last year, I remember writing down the name of constructin companies as we drove by for the future.

I think you said you are not far from the ocean? We wee searching in Abruzzo for a low level area near the sea. The realtor brought us to great heights beautiful, but too much for us, for I need this to be a place I can easily drive down when i am older, in my 70's. lol I am 58, my hubby, 61. Got to think of the future, right?

Ofena sounds nice and I plan on looking it up on the map. How about we keep in contact? I would love to know how things are progressing for you, Judy. Pretty exciting, huh? Now, so you hired someone to restore the building? When will it be finished and then, did you say, you will move there for good in 2 years? (I may be thinking of someone else.)

Take care, be well,
MaryAnn
 

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Hi MaryAnn,
Where was your family from in Italy originally? That is how we ended up buying in Carrufo. We went for the first time in 2005 to visit the villages where my grandparents were born and ended up buying a house the next year as it turns out I am related one way or another to just about everyone in Carrufo and Ofena.
Having a house built is certainly a good option. We have been told it is about the same cost as doing a complete renovation of a "ruin". The prices we were told is 800-1500 euro/sq.meter.
Barry
 

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Hi MaryAnn,
Where was your family from in Italy originally? That is how we ended up buying in Carrufo. We went for the first time in 2005 to visit the villages where my grandparents were born and ended up buying a house the next year as it turns out I am related one way or another to just about everyone in Carrufo and Ofena.
Having a house built is certainly a good option. We have been told it is about the same cost as doing a complete renovation of a "ruin". The prices we were told is 800-1500 euro/sq.meter.


Barry
Hello, Barry,
My, my, that is wonderful--moving to where your family was. Your situation parallels mine in that your grandparents lived there and now you and your wife are moving there.

My maternal and paternal grandparents were all from Giarre, Sicily. My grandfather was born in Piedmonte Aetna area of Catania, where Giarre is.
We went to Sicily in 2003 and were near Giarre, but unfortunately since it was a tour, we did not have the time to go to Giarre. I saw it in the distance from a lovely lounge where we danced one night, in lovely Taormina. The bartender pointed out the window to the sea and it was maybe a 20 minute ride. The bus situation prevented us going there.
I spoke Italian before I learned any English as a baby and was raised in a close-knit Italian family. My grandparents lived upstairs and my uncle and his Italian bride who spoke no English lived on the top floor. Having been the only child, close to my parents and losing them in Oct. 2005 and Mar. 2006, well, I just miss the Italian culture. I feel more at home there than here,honestly. As I said to Judy, the toughest part is leaving my daughter, who is 25, in medical school.
I hope that we continue to be in touch because we intend to save money and try to travel around a bit when we move there. When are you moving there? Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet?
That is terrific to find your family. I am 58 and I jsut can't picture relatives being alive. I wonder now... I have a common last name-mom's maiden is Pennisi and Dad's is Puglisi.
Write again-I am now calling a moving company to price what is worth bringing (car, furniture...)Would appreciate input.

The best,
MaryAnn
 

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MaryAnn,
Speaking Italian certainly gives you an advantage. Some of the non english speakers in our village are giving me a bad time because I can't speak it!
I don't know if it is worth it trying to ship furniture to Italy. Prices seem to be the same as here so we are just buying what we need there and we can't own a car because we don't have residency status. We've been renting whenever we go over but this fall I think we will try the bus service. My wife complains that with a car I make her travel everyday and she wants to just stay in the village and relax.
I don't know if I can talk her in to a permanent move. We also have a daughter and even more of a problem a new grand daughter. Currently we've been spending 2 months a year but hope to get that up to 6 months in the near future. The Canadians living in the village say it is pretty boring during the winter so for now we will travel back and forth.

Barry
 

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MaryAnn,
Speaking Italian certainly gives you an advantage. Some of the non english speakers in our village are giving me a bad time because I can't speak it!
I don't know if it is worth it trying to ship furniture to Italy. Prices seem to be the same as here so we are just buying what we need there and we can't own a car because we don't have residency status. We've been renting whenever we go over but this fall I think we will try the bus service. My wife complains that with a car I make her travel everyday and she wants to just stay in the village and relax.
I don't know if I can talk her in to a permanent move. We also have a daughter and even more of a problem a new grand daughter. Currently we've been spending 2 months a year but hope to get that up to 6 months in the near future. The Canadians living in the village say it is pretty boring during the winter so for now we will travel back and forth.

Hi, Barry,
I learn a lot just by reading in between the lines. I must have misundersood your wife, for I thought that you and she were moving there permanently and that it was what you were doing the renovating for. I see, the decision, the large, very large decision, is still in the making. Yeah, well, we'll see how Miss MaryAnn does when push comes to shove, but honestly, Barry, I jsut feel the need to. I feel that at my age, I want to have a new beginning, something exciting, a place which I began at and will end with. I just love hearing the Italians speak, answering; I seem to change into another person, I guess, the actual me. Do not get me wrong, I am happy here, but it is just my daughter here giving us the roots. Everyone says she can call, email, im, and even maybe visit. Costs a lot to come back to the US, and my husband already informed me that it may not even be once a year. :( I feel we will end up doing this. You are lucky to not be that far.
So, listen, I never knew you had to be a resident to own a car. But Iguess when I move there, I would apply for residency, correct? Because, I believe you can only stay there, what is it , 90 days on that permit? Am I correct?
Then you need to apply for the residency, I think.
Say hello to Judy for me.
MaryAnn
 

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MaryAnn,
I think you are confusing me with Judy who lives in England. I and my wife live in Calgary, Canada so we are even further from Italy than you are. Our house is in Carrufo which used to be part of Ofena up until the 1950's when it was transferred to Villa Santa Lucia. It's a 20 minute walk down the mountain for me to go to the bar in Ofena. Actually we are lucky in that there are a lot of cheap flights to England and then with Easyjet it is an inexpensive 2 hours further to Rome. Calgary-Rome return is usually less than $1000 each.
Have you checked to see if you are eligible for Italian citizenship? If you had your dual citizenship you are home free! As long as your parents hadn't become American citizens before you were born then I think you are already an Italian citizen. Otherwise you have to apply for residency.
We've been going for 3 years now and there are a number of Canadians and Americans living in our village and they all say winter drags for them. Maybe you should try renting for a few months to get the "feel" of living there before fully commiting. There are other problems for us old folks, such as health insurance. We usually buy it for 30 or 60 days and it's not to bad but I haven't checked into the cost for full time coverage.
We certainly enjoy the lifestyle in Italy and wether we move to Italy full time or just spend a number of months there each year we have no intention of giving up our house there.
Barry
 

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MaryAnn,
I think you are confusing me with Judy who lives in England. I and my wife live in Calgary, Canada so we are even further from Italy than you are. Our house is in Carrufo which used to be part of Ofena up until the 1950's when it was transferred to Villa Santa Lucia. It's a 20 minute walk down the mountain for me to go to the bar in Ofena. Actually we are lucky in that there are a lot of cheap flights to England and then with Easyjet it is an inexpensive 2 hours further to Rome. Calgary-Rome return is usually less than $1000 each.
Have you checked to see if you are eligible for Italian citizenship? If you had your dual citizenship you are home free! As long as your parents hadn't become American citizens before you were born then I think you are already an Italian citizen. Otherwise you have to apply for residency.
We've been going for 3 years now and there are a number of Canadians and Americans living in our village and they all say winter drags for them. Maybe you should try renting for a few months to get the "feel" of living there before fully commiting. There are other problems for us old folks, such as health insurance. We usually buy it for 30 or 60 days and it's not to bad but I haven't checked into the cost for full time coverage.
We certainly enjoy the lifestyle in Italy and wether we move to Italy full time or just spend a number of months there each year we have no intention of giving up our house there.
Barry
Hi, Barry,
I apologize; yes, I was pairing you up with Judy! Sorry; your message on the forum came right after I had written her and the situation seemed similar, so all along I had assumed that you were her husband. lol
Yes, you mentioned the people say winter drags for them. Why is that? We are not skiiers here in America, but if my husband weren't such a do it yourselfer, we would spend more time getting together with friends in the colder weather. Is it because the Canadians are not finding the towns have things to do?
See, we want to be in the warmer weather and I guess Abruzzo, well, does it get that much snow? That is why I am hoping warm Calabria works out. It is the warmest part, except for Sicily. I guess that is a good question for me to ask people down there in specific towns; how is life in the cold weather when there are less tourists. some seaside towns I heard are like ghost towns,so that is why I am seeking a nice village close to the sea,but a village where Italians live.
My parents were not born in Italy; my grandparents were. My mom was born in 1916 here, but my grandfather did not become a US citizen until 1938. I believe that means I can apply and be eligible for citizenship. So, are you saying, Barry, that I need not become a resident? I don't think it gives me citizenship immediately and that I have to apply for residency.

I am glad that you will never give up your Italian haven.
Keep in touch; it is great chatting.
MaryAnn
 

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Maryann,
Sounds like you are eligible for dual citizenship! It takes a bit of work and time so you should get started on it as soon as possible. Carrufo had 2 feet of snow around christmas. It melted right away but it was still cool. Even on the beaches outside of the tourist season it can be very quiet. We went in May once and stayed in Silvi Marina on the beach and we were the only ones in the hotel!
Our villages are fading away. There are no young people and most of the residents are in their 70's and 80's. Only in July and August the population doubles with young families. If you find a good size town, ie 5000 to 10000 people it would probably be livelier in the winter. Watch to see if the population is to old or if there are a number of younger people around. You might check out villages or towns around a larger center such as Pescara. The advantages of Pescara is it's right on the sea plus it has the airport with direct flights to New York and Toronto during the summer as well as Ryan Air to London and Frankfurt all year round.
Barry
 
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