Adventures in marketing…

Please be comforted… I remain ever-valiant in the Realm of Marketing Il Poggiolo as a vacation spot-par-excellence though it has had its trials…

There is practically not a soul left in The World who is not aware of My Ambition to rent out at least one of three apartments at Il Poggiolo. One who has taken this to heart is My Dutch Friend in Codiponte. She enthusiastically suggested I give a look-see at a vacation rental website she had discovered & based in her own home country. Holland ain’t just tulips & queens who abdicate in favor of their off-spring. I went immediately to its Home Page.

Apparently, there is quite a need to satisfy the Dutch Diaspora with vacation homes & apartments from the last of May… when the school-year ends… to the first of September… when it starts up again… because, suddenly, the screen of my rather modest Apple MacBook quickly filled to its every corner with a panoply of vacation rental sites in practically every Euro-country and many beyond. Those Dutch certainly are well organized. The site presents with graphic precision & short paragraphs their World Order of the vacation rental market and their unabashed Global Quest for market domination by voraciously swallowing-up any & all pip-squeak domestic sites under its Mother Umbrella… or protection, depending upon your view of such zeal. The site’s proportions are stunning. One head-line quipped of over 1,000,000 hits a day. Yes, 1,000,000 a day. Boggles the Spirit & Body. Never knew websites could handle such consumer violence.

Oddly though, as it is with so many other of such sites, there was absolutely no indication of how to proceed with joining the unavoidable vanguard. Well, beyond CONTACT US. But that enticement was geared for The Renters. Then, and coincidentally, out of the blue came a series of e-mails from the same Dear Dutch Friend… the where, the when & the how… of a meeting with an Italian speaking representative of the Mother site. Gosh, what luck! Must be Destiny. However, by Invitation Only. I called and managed to reserve A Seat at the table for this past Monday at 4PM. Yep. Destiny.

The drive down from Genoa was interesting. I could see it was snowing on the low hills to the left of the autostrada but, rain poured down on My Little FIAT. A curious meteorological wonder while I happily steered towards My Destiny.

The meeting was organized at an agriturismo… a farm-holiday locale at the proverbial end of the road… in that last cluster of terra-cotta roofed houses & barns in the lower middle of the photo below.

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I parked the FIAT at the confine of the gravel & grass, a bit away from the fence, as all the other spots for temporarily abandoning a car had already been taken. To the meeting.

Il Picchio Verde - GateAs I had suspected, you are invited to join the ever expanding march, if you & your done-up hut pass muster with the Mother site’s myriad qualifications. They do all the admin-work, you get to change the sheets, clean between visitors and point to where guests can nap in the garden and sit-back & collect the hopeful influx of dough, in any currency you care to receive it. I am happy to report Il Poggiolo & myself passed. Said My Good-byes and sped pell-mell for My Car to return to Genoa to feed The Dogs & You by 8PM.

I got into the FIAT. I backed it up just a teenzy-wheenzy bit, so I could whirl around past the other parked cars to head for home. The car promptly sank into the cleverly disguised foot of mud posing as a grassy median-strip. OK. The last time I got stuck… in dirt on a trail trying to reach an appetizing wreck of a house above the Ligurian Riviera, many years ago… I rocked the car back ‘n forth to get free. Worked once, surely it would again? No. Rocking rocked My Little… Cute… Adorable… 17 year-old… FIAT… Convertible down through the open gate and 100 feet into AN EXTREMELY SOGGY COW PASTURE!!! I could’ve strangled Destiny.

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If any of you Cherished Readers are at all intrigued by the co-ordinates of My Disgrace… well… pick a spot in the middle of that cow pasture in the above photo and you’ll have it.

Thank God… the owners of the agriturismo came with a mega-tractor, a grandfather who spoke with an English accent… having grown-up with the Brits in Egypt, of all places… his son who looked like an Italian action movie star and his two sons and an hour and a half of PULL… and PULL…… and PULL some more to liberate Me & My Little FIAT from the grip of 3 month’s of steady rain-created mud. And, we were successful. I could’ve shook the hand of Destiny. My thanks were handily accepted, My Saviors asked for nothing more, which left me with little else to do but hit the road. Well, I did go back yesterday with a Life-time Supply of the most delicious pastries in the area as an offering of further Thanks.

Now, if you will excuse me, since My Story is told, I must get back to Marketing. Gads.

 

Before & After…

I’ve come to cherish these Before & Afters. So uplifting to see how Progress can work its mighty wonders. Let us hark back to a Before of early 2010 and a new roof under construction for L’Appartamento Azzurro & La Casa Grande. Poor ol’ plum tree flowering its pink heart out while engulfed by that shoddy scaffolding, costing all my limbs!

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And, an After in the late Spring of 2011 with a pristine roof and a re-built garden. I ought to take a new snap but, I think I’ll wait until we are out of the dregs of Winter. Gads.

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Who’s heard of it?…

We have a house in the country. Oh, really? Where? In the Lunigiana. Where’s that? Italy… it’s part of Tuscany… Oh, then, I think I might HAVE heard of it. Down near Siena, no? No… and there dies the conversation. I have no tolerance for anyone, especially an Italian, who is unaware of the Lunigiana. It’s like an American who’s doubtful of North Dakota. Yes, a trick question… for the ignorant & unsteady. I’ve been to ND. Twice. It has its charms. Have you ever seen a moving bank of fog sailing past inordinately green fields… expanses as large as all of Italy? Or miles & more miles & even more miles of nothing but sunflowers? Pretty darn yellow. While you ponder a reply, let me say, so too has the Lunigiana un sacco di fascino. Well, nothing to the wide-West of open spaces of ND but, how about…

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100s of stone villages from the Cisa Pass above Pontremoli to the North over to the Cerretto & Carpanelli Passes to the East & Southeast… a 120 castles to visit or, at least, snoop around. Go to http://forrestspears.com/serendipity/a-castle and see the video about an extraordinarily romantic castle started 1200 years ago. And, I can take you to & through it personally. If that is not enough, I can escort you to the Castle of Castiglione del Terziere and personally introduce you to the owner. How about that?… did you know the first working typewriter was invented in the Lunigiana? 1803. There’s a museum in Fivizzano with it…. there are acres & acres of olive groves… the via Francigena pilgrimage route to Rome runs right past Il Poggiolo and you can do it too, in either direction… Oh! And let me NOT FORGET to mention Hannibal perched on top of a pachyderm on his merry way to crush the Romans. The merry died near the lake below Perugia. And again, he & army trooped right past Il Poggiolo, for cryin’ out loud!!!… the Mediterranean Sea is 40 minutes by car. In other words… BEACH!!!… Ever want to see where the poet Shelley met his watery demise? Lerici and the Bay of the Poets. And anyone who was anyone literary stopped in Lerici or, thereabouts… the Cinque Terre is an easy train trip to walk its Via del Amore… the region is defined by the Apuane Mountain Range and its four dominating peaks… one of the five principal Roman cities was Lunae/Luni from which the Lunigiana takes its name. You can visit the amphitheater and then go eat testerolli, a kind of rough-grained crepe cut into strips eaten with, for example, a savory meat sauce. If that isn’t your bill-of-faire then, there is a fried bread called sgabei served with salami + un formaggio cremoso… Parma is 1 + 20 minutes by car… ditto for Pisa and its leaning thingy-ma-jigger, while Genoa is an extra 10 min. You can stroll down via Garibaldi to click away at the magnificent palazzi built during the city’s 300 years of Superba… you can bike, hike, walk, skip, if you so desire throughout the Lunigiana… should I stop? There’s much more. So, why don’t you all come to see me in the Lunigiana? There’s plenty to do. Then, if asked, you can sound intelligent & informed of PARADISE!!! Gads.

Reviewed by remote…

IMG_0203One of these vacation rental websites offered me a 90 day free listing, if, obviously, I were to place an ad with them within the next 24 hours. Sure!!! I then ate up all of those 24 hours, and then some, trying to get the Special Offer Secret Code off my laptop and onto the specially prepared Confirmation Form for a return-to-sender e-mail. The Apple gadget felt I ought to be protected from what it judged to be a dangerously junky e-mail. No access to The Code!!! After several attempts, I resorted to an e-mail to the website’s Support seeking HELP. On about Hour #36, I was given a NEW!!! Special Offer Secret Code. And off I went, writing, uploading photos and the rest for Il Poggiolo’s three houses.

I have to say, this particular vaca-site was super easy to use for dummies, graphically pleasing for those lazily illiterate and with pop-up prompts catching various errors and this well beyond Spell-check. Glorious. The whole kit-and-kabuttle of placing three ads took me a little under two hours. That may seem a lot to the uninitiated but, it’s nothing to the likes of some other vaca-sites. One, a bit behind the IT Times… engaged all My Computer Skills for nearly 10 hours of posting 3 ads. Uploading & pasting the photos… and I was happily asked to put more-the-merrier onto each of the 3 ads, so, I did… were the major culprits. I strove to persevere, a previously unknown quality now added to My List of Character Traits. Came with the territory, darn-it.

All hummed Well & Good with the free offer site. The cybernetic pike was busy with e-mails of thanks, others for coming on board to be a part of a world-wide membership, still others with Helpful Tips. Then, early last week, an e-mail barreled-in offering an additional 30 days free if… yes, if… I could corral a few Guest Reviews. Or, so said the jargon. What is Our World coming to? Apparently, Our Thanks are due… with or without Our Consent… to Trip Advisor for turning Our World into a mass of skeptics, if not furnished with at least one Review. I feel this is a further degeneration to Our Civilization begun with the dreadful invention of Self-Service. However, not to quibble too long with gripes about Marketing… dammit… I contacted nearly anyone or everyone… whichever happened foremost… who had set foot in Il Poggiolo. Even My Dear Bummed-hipped 84 Year-old Mother… for cryin’ out loud got bothered. Gratefully, most of the Contactees… ranging from Italy to Montana… rallied to produce A Review. So, let me share just one fine example of several noteworthy blurbs…

“La Dolce Vita”

We wanted to visit Italy off the tourist path…a place to experience a serene more private Italy that few tourists ever get to see.So this was the perfect place to relax after 2 weeks of sightseeing with crowds of people. Still, it was close to the Cinque Terra, Parma, Lucca and Florence which we reached by short drives or train rides. In Codiponte we strolled to aqua Paradiso, visited the church, hiked to the old monastery and the castle ruins on the hill above the village. But mainly we relaxed in the loggia with books, took naps in the garden, and enjoyed the company of the lovely owner…who is a wealth of information about Italian ways and the surrounding area. When we wanted something to do he gave us ideas and directions on how to get there. A day trip to Cinque Terra is wonderful…be sure to hike the Via Del Amore, and Lucca is an amazing walled city, about 1 hour away, where you can rent bikes and ride the top of the ancient wall (about 3 miles around) and have lunch in one of the side walk cafes. If you want to relax, hike or sightsee you can do it all staying at il Poggiolo. The apartment is a perfect combination of ancient charm and modern convenience that is beautifully decorated as well. The garden is so welcoming… overlooking the river and valley below, a perfect place for a glass of wine, a good book or a nap. All in all a great experience.

Wonderful, no? Did everyone take note? Anyone quivering to rent one of Il Poggiolo’s three houses say, sometime in the Summer? It’s wide-open, folks. Hopefully, not for long though. Gads.

 

Racket control…

IMG_1701So far, most of My Winter Asylum in Genoa has been dedicated to furiously marketing Il Poggiolo as a VRR….or, a Vacation Rental Retreat. This was not Our Original Intention. But then, Mr. Monti came and taxes & utilities went up. Doubled. That’s easier than doing something worthwhile for the economy, stupid. I’m sorry I am not God. Anyway…

One Key Task has lately been to list the three houses of My Adored Tuscan-but-in-the-Lunigiana Farm-house… La Casetta, La Casa Grande & L’Appartmento Azzurro… with such websites as… House Trip & Flip Key. I am not responsible for the last one’s name. May I say? It takes hours & hours to compose & write, upload & arrange photos… happily taken with a digital camera and NOT an iphone though this admission demonstrates just how un-hip I am. But then, is it not the privilege of being over 60 to be so techno-grumpy?… and understand & fill out forms for which, thankfully, I have two university degrees to cope with.

But what a racket!!! Most get you up front with what I think are extortionist level ad-fees… and I will name names here for this Crime = VRBO… or, Vacation Rental By Owner which, its title looks & sounds so homey than their actual operation. I bet this site rakes it in. A premium one year fee is nearly $1,000!!! That kind of cash is already destined to pay The Tax Man. And, for the fantastically inefficient garbage collection in Codiponte. Oh yes… perhaps… maybe… possibly… for some avid individual, who explicitly bought, refurbished… even totally re-built!!!… a mock-Swiss chalet in Verbier or a palm-brushed yellow condo on Barbados, VRBO’s fee range is just so much tut-tut. I am and have never been so market-oriented. I just wanted a bit of Italian Territory. And why own-to-rent a modern sheet-rock shack with AC stocked with everything from IKEA? Apart from this current discussion, might we be risking… If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium? I am happy to report that Il Poggiolo is about .00000000000000000123% IKEA. The rest is PFMF… or, Pure Flea-Market Finds. No. Though I changed course in mid-stream, had bought, totally re-built AND cleverly furnished a wonderful house in a wonderful part of the World no-one knows about EXCEPT some fairly savvy English persons sprinkled with a smattering of other nationalities, even My Own Fellow Americans, I must now PTP… Pay The Price. I won’t. VRBO & Owner’s Direct dot co dot uk can go hang. And, I’m dealing with Flip Key only because they gave me a 90 day FREE ad. If no bookings, bye-bye Flip.

Some other sites… the ones I have belabored for hours & hours to perfect my ads… take their cut at booking. A percentage. Fine. This is a fairer proposition, to me. There’s less a feeling of being taken for a ride to pay for some dot-co-dot-uk’s late model BMW.

Let me mention An IMPORTANT Hallmark for comparison ad building with vacation rental sites. The ones who ask for a percentage are the ones you hear from. House Trip, for instance, has a bevy of multi-lingual young things who call me every time I have listed a property or have sent an e-mail seeking HELP for some cybernetic foul-up. The dot co dot uk boys send only e-mails… more than likely, from their BMWs on Brompton Road. Gads.

Biding Time till Spring…

Il Poggiolo and its former jungly garden, as we saw it one rainy day way back in early February 2009…

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I am in Genoa. Codiponte seems far away. As the geography goes, it is. For instance, the weather can be so different. Sleet can be slicing the air outside our apartment here… which it is doing as I write… while the sun is blazing in the Heavens above Il Poggiolo. And visa-versa. Yet, my thoughts of Il Poggiolo… well, worries… are right with me all the time.

Even in my dreams. For the past week, I have had nightmare after nightmare of… out-of-control lawn-movers, their whirling blades near to decapitating me in one fell SWOOSH!!!… the grassy terraces sliding down to the Medieval bridge in a RUMBLE!!! blocking it with a mountain of mushy stone, Mother Earth & uncut grass. That last one hurts… the bare & angled bows of trees, like the make-basket-willow tree You HATES the sight of, SCRAPING!!! their growth into up-lifting the rafters of La Casa Grande’s roofs off their stoney & secure anchors… and so on and so forth. Pondering them all, these nocturnal shenanigans can mean just One Thing… Latent Gardening Anxiety! A Bad Case of it too, don’t you think?

During the holiday week spent at Il Poggiolo, I surveyed the Garden… You was napping, having exhausted himself with several Inspection Tours of his own… and made A Mental List of what all should be done at the first possible moment… WHEN… the 2,000 square meters ain’t sodden to the point of desperation with the previous night’s donation of frost & dew. I cannot depend upon The Sun to burn this wet stuff off into the local atmosphere either. Its bene-rays do not arrive at Il Poggiolo until about 1 – 1:30PM. And, by 4PM the orbe sinks behind the chestnut covered hills marking the Western boundary of Our Aulella River Valley. The sunny day is then done. No use putting out the laundry and hope to have dry underwear by afternoon’s end. In the summer, it’s out by 9, dry by 11!!! What a change. And, besides Mr Sun never rising higher than 30 degrees above the hilly horizon from October to March, there is this falling down construction of an enormous palazzo above us. We have absolutely NO PRIVACY because of it, thank you so very much. Yet, if there weren’t those storied walls & crumbling roof where they sit, I might have a year-round sunny Garden. Then, I could cut the bristling grasses, rake the dry leaves from under the Persimmon Tree or, prune the dangling branches from trees along La Casa Grande’s Eastern side of the Garden without using a light-torch to saw by. I can dream can’t I?

So, frustrated, I sit, bang out this blog & chomp on a non-existent bit till when? End of March? Hey! That’s Spring. YIPPEE!!! I can get to work. Gads.

Vacation Rentals at Il Poggiolo…

Since A Magic Wand has yet to be invented… and all it would really take is an app on an iphone!!!… to bring bevies of vacationers to Il Poggiolo in a constant & remunerative flow, I am forced to interrupt My Usual Blogging Schedule at Italian House with this attempt at Self-promotion…

Everyone… listen up… please… Il Poggiolo’s 3 houses/apartment… La Casetta, La Casa Grande & L’Appartamento Azzurro… are AVAILABLE for vacation rentals!!!

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Though admittedly biased on the subject, Il Poggiolo’s 3 residences have been entirely re-built & furnished both inside & out to be quiet, relaxing retreats. Airy & sunny too, as you can well see in the stunning photo of La Casetta’s Salotto above.

For further information: http://forrestspears.com/ilpoggioloacodiponte

P.S. We give DISCOUNTS to facebook Friends & Family.

The Topics of the holiday…

You & I spent a lot of time socializing in Codiponte during Our Holiday Stay from the Day- after-Christmas to Capodanno. There were two sorts of encounters…

Have a caffe’ and a piece of panattone with the locals. In one busy afternoon, we paid visits to three of our favourite Codipontesi neighbors and at each stop it was… Have a caffe’ and a piece of panettone. We came home with severely disturbed stomachs. By the way, for those who are not familiar with this Italian Christmas staple called panettone, beware that it is a sweet bread big as a chef’s hat and often adulterated with chocolate, nuts, or candied fruit. The last does My Intestinal Track no end of trouble. Add all the caffe’ and… well, never mind. You still complains of coffee poisoning. But, it would be rude to refuse, You! And, especially, when one & all were so complimentary about what we have done with Il Poggiolo. Have another slice of panettone? Si, grazie!

and…

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pranzi o cene with Our Local Non-Italian Friends, who, like us, had the silly notion to buy & renovate an old house. Even before the white wine, The Topic of Conversation gravitated almost immediately to builders. Must’ve been something in the air or, with what we were nibbling & sipping. Or, no one was much disposed to talk about rising utilities fees & taxes. I don’t blame them. So, onto i nostri costruttori. And, The Verdict… near universal for all those undertaking such Buy & Re-build initiatives after Ryanair was invented & invaded Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport… for cryin’ out loud… carrying masses of mostly English persons with Pound Sterling burning holes in their pockets, anxious to be in Tuscany yet, without forking-over funds for all that over-priced real-estate south of Firenze. Whew!… was none had… A… Nice… Word… to… say… about their builder. All felt abused, bilked & cajoled by them. I aptly commiserated by harkening down My Memory Lane with Stories of Builder Sturm und Strang… lots of S & S, if you recall September 23, 2011… and all splashed in a constant medley of blog posts for the past four years. But then, in mid-breath, I was cautioned by one Very Dear to Me…

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…You, who quietly asked me to make A Fairer Assessment for what-all Our Builder had accomplished for us with Il Poggiolo, instead of berating His Record with what You felt were Minor Infractions. Oh? I see. So September 23rd was just a trial run for a heart attack? With No Reply, I changed course. You’s council guided me to recognize the many, many items of Builder Expertise by Ours at Il Poggiolo, now since forgotten. I’ll give you a Summation though… We gave the Builder a dump and he returned it as a…? As a…? As a villa? Perhaps not. But, a house with a roof that doesn’t leak, for sure!!! I am grateful, appreciative & beholden onto him… Yes!… Our Builder. What a way to kick in 2013? You’s resolution for me in the New Year is to stick with the Italian. Gads.

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Our New Year’s…

Our Week’s Stay in Codiponte was one of the best yet and despite the severe alterations to Our Original Plans, i.e. guest cancellations right & left for Our New Year’s Party. The new day-long celebration came off splendidly.

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And, I think You & I have hit on The Way to kick in the New Year… give a luncheon!!! There are many, many advantages to this novelty… A) your guests come at Noon and are gone by 4PM… B) restoring Order in House & Home is accomplished by 5PM… C) most can drink and get a nap in later too… and D) The Most Important Item on the List, you can be in bed at The Usual Hour, avoiding all those ghastly & amateurish shenanigans of over-doing Food & Drink until the stroke of Midnight, to wake-up Happy & Refreshed to the New Year!!! Genius, no?

Ahhh, and improvisation often produces The Best Parties AND food too!!! It helps if the weather also co-operates with warm mid-day temps and a bountiful quantity of sunshine. We bated a 1000. Had an unexplainable hankering for polenta. So, I called some of Our Dear & Non-Italian Codiponte Friends to come over to Il Poggiolo at Noon on New Year’s Eve Day… whew!… to eat polenta on Our Loggia. All accepted. I made a superb sauce of pomodori, sausages, yellow & red peppers to throw over the yellow gruel. You threw in A Special Guest Ingredient of fresh porcini mushrooms transforming the concoction to a near out-of-body taste experience, if I may say so myself. You’s Task was the gruel. Did you know there is a special machine for making polenta? A New Discovery! It’s a kind of Mix-master made out of copper which you can put over a lighted burner while the contraption stirs. More genius, no? You thought so. Saved him from stirring for 3/4’s of an hour!!! We added a lovely tossed salad along with a more than adequate supply of pro-secco & red wine. And, A Good & Hearty Time was had by all.

Feeling My Work was done, I could have gladly stopped. However, there was the invitation to climb up to La Concia at 8PM for the remnant of what was once Our New Year’s Party re-located due to a reduced Guest List. Our Dutch/Milanesi Friends pulled off a delicious journey of tastings to get us to Midnight though I feared all of us would fall asleep en route. Various pate’s… ravioli made with pumpkin… spiced ricotta wrapped in prosciutto & sauteed for a landing on a bed of lattuga doused with a stunning mustard dressing… to name only a few of the many. Through A Collective Force-of-Will, we all stayed awake ’till Midnight to trod outside to put a match to a couple of mini-bonfires feeding the flames with something old, something forgotten or, something useless from 2012. A charming idea and one I hope will bring lots of Good Stuff in 2013. We do so sorely need it. Gads.

Our Poggiolo Fairy Tale…

The passing of New Year’s always brings to mind how You & I came to own il Poggiolo…
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four years ago yesterday, while stationed at My Laptop Command Center in Our Apartment in Genoa, after a pretty good Holiday Season of a Christmas Trip with You to Firenze to spend five days carousing with My Mother & Her Girl-friends from North Carolina…

with the added attraction of cold & snow flurries. Mom’s travel agent had booked us into the Hotel Lungarno. Now, if you have Big Bucks to splurge while in the City of the Medicis, treat yourself to this hotel. The personnel, service & ambiance are tip-top wonderful. Our room overlooked the Arno River from floor-to-ceiling windows five floors up, it had padded fabric Blue & White walls and the double-bed mattress… a mattress to do somersaults upon… one I gladly sank off to a Nirvana Never-land all’italiana immediately after landing. And, nothing can beat lounging in comfy sofas, nibbling the latest confection out of the kitchen and sipping a superbly chilled pro-secco served by an almost too handsome Fabio… or, was his name Fabrizio?… as the Arno slugs its muddy way to Pisa and the Mediterranean Sea.

and a rousing New Year’s Eve Party back in Our Apartment in Genoa with the same NC Crowd & Others eating, drinking & shooting German-made dime rockets off our balcony…

I asked You if I should resume My Search for A House in the Lunigiana. He said… Si, certo.

Then, not a day later did not an e-mail arrive from a real-estate agent whose door I had knocked on in Aulla a year before. He was soliciting interest in a hay barn in a town called Magliano. Google said it was in the highest reaches of what I thought would still be the Lunigiana. I referred this New Development to You, who replied… Andiamo questo Sabato. We did with two friends following us in their sparklingly new Brown Porsche… a self-inflicted Christmas present of the male member of that team… and in a driving rain-storm. Once in the Lunigiana, rain became sleet & snow. And with no mobile coverage, we got lost. Way above Codiponte, we lucked into coverage to link-up telephonically with the real-estate agent, desperate to finally hear from us. Discovered there are two Maglianos. Of course, we were well on the road to the Wrong One, up & over the top into the Garfagana from the Lunigiana. I could not complain though. There are 17 Romes in the United States. The agent talked us back to Civilization to Fivizzano. As a Consolation Prize for missing the hay barn in the proper Magliano, the agent took us to see a palazzo FOR SALE in a nearby village. The owner was very proud of his do-it-yourself Home Improvements of a shoddy property sharing a cortile with two other palazzi. You loved it. I muttered… Over My Dead Body… and fled. Caught by the real-estate agent escaping the colorful draping of electrical wires strung from Kitchen to Bedroom via the Bath, I was subjected to a friendly interrogation of… OK! What are you looking for in A House? I gave him My List… 1. A Garden… 2. Big enough for guests… and 3. Preferably, located in a quaint village in the main valley of the Lunigiana along the Aulla to Pontremoli axis. Before You could pipe up with his admonition of NO YARD-WORK, the real-estate agent said he could easily satisfy all but the last item. However, if we would consider enlarging Our Area of Search, proposals would be in an e-mail post-haste. I said… Si, certo.

And, lo’ & behold, on Sunday, an e-mail arrived with three proposals attached.

On Thursday after, I drove down to take a look, nixing a ghastly house in Soliera. Who needs five floors of cantine and a head-on view of a defunct factory? That left the two in Codiponte… one Il Poggiolo.

On Saturday after, You & I drove down… alone… to inspect il Poggiolo and the other house. We nixed the later due to a serious lack of a garden larger than an airing pen for cows and for being tightly enclosed within the borgo. Who wants to hear Salute! from a neighbor after sneezing? I aked You what he thought and he thought… Facciamo un’offerta per Il Poggiolo. We did.

On the Monday, Our Offer was accepted. The rest is the History of this blog. Gads.

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