Renovations in Grottole

08/20/2011 - 10:43

Our house is ready, but there is still no water connection, despite myriad requests and a variety of excuses from the water board- software problems, short staffed, August, wrong kind of water etc. We were due out next week, but have had to cancel. We would have been prepared to go out and stay somewhere else, but unfortunately I have a lung infection (pneumonia? in August?) so can't go anyway. This is a link to our web album showing the before and after. Hope you can tell the difference!



I can't believe it takes so long to get the water connected! Although the building is an old wine vault and has never had a water connection, the house next door has water, so it's not as if the water company has to lay miles of piping. It's really frustrating having a house and not being able to stay in it.

Would a neighbour [for a suitable small fee] allow you to make a temporary connection to his supply?  Where I am, we share a single water meter with 2 flats in the adjacent house - the owner of the house also owned our house until we bought it off him.   This is a semi-permanent arrangements, so we've split the costs each year [a lot lower than the UK] since 2003

Karen, Are you having problems with the contractor or with the water service, Acque dotto Lucano (adl)? I know adl was working in August as I saw the area rep in our town several times and we are only about 20 minutes from Grottole. We have a good friend who is a local structural engineer and also has done several home projects who might be able to help you if you aren't getting results. He knows the right people and is a local.

In reply to by Bruno

I have a so-called property management agent who is supposed to be on the case, but she tells me that the water company- yes, it must be the same company as for you, Bruno- have said that they will 'let us know' when the installation is going to be done. Surely there is some way to speed up the process? I would happily pay a 'special connection fee' if I knew who to offer it to!

Karen, If you would like help to get that set-up just send us an email. As I said our friend did this for us and has done it for other properties in PZ. info at

Karen - sorry to hear about the water. Not much too add about that but thought I would say what a lovely looking property you have created. Nice simple and simpatico restoration, and the town looks great. We have been having a new build done over the past 5-6 years. (It was meant to be restoration of a barn but the planners decided othewise).  We have water from the beginning - how I'm not sure  - bt what we are waiting on is a permanent electricity supply, as opposed to the temporary supply for building needs. Like you, we have no time scale for this, but as we are not about to go and live there, no problem.  Good luck, and take the advice of the other Forum members - they have probably been through it too!   Regards from Fabbriche

Fabbriche - hopefully Enel will come to do your transfer whilst you are there and you can take a meter reading.  In any event make sure you have as up to date a reading as possible.  When Enel came to change our "builders supply" to our permanent supply I thought nothing of it and it was some some months later I noticed we were being billed for both supplies.  When questioned they had no cut off reading and it was a real pain trying to sort it out.  At least if you have a reading and this problem occurs you know what you should have paid up to for the builders supply.  In addition to our new build (knock down and reclaim) we had a small house in town that we lived in for the year it took to build thus seemed to always be getting bills and didn't notice it immediately.

Apparently our water has at long last been connected! Actually it was done 2 weeks ago but our agent was 'too busy' to let us know before. This is good news, but unfortunately we won't be able to get out there until December- and by then it will no doubt be too cold to stay there until we get a source of heating sorted out. We are thinking of a woodburning stove to put in the huge fireplace.  Still, am looking forward to going out and haveing a shower, flushing the loo and washing the dishes - yes I know we can do all that here in Sheffield but we take it for granted here. We heard from someone in Irsina - also in Basilicata, same water company, Aquedotto Lucano, that her neighbours had to wait 18 months for a connection, so maybe we should count ourselves lucky. And thank you to all who offered help, advice and good wishes.

Congratulations! It has taken a long time but it's done. Regarding heating, there are quite a few old threads with valuable information such as this one: You can also do a search entering the word "heating" where the search butten is, at the top right corner. Also, it is difficult to know until you have spent some time in the place during the winter months. Insulation is most important if you want to save on energy. Best wishes

"Apparently our water has at long last been connected" Really pleased that your water is now up and running, but is it just connected to the meter - or has it been turned on so the pipes in the house are full?  If thats the case, someone will need to drain all the pipes before Winter sets in and they freeze. You Agent should be able to advise what has been 'filled'   Good Luck

A good reminder, Alan. I have no idea if the pipes and taps have been tested or not. Our agent is pretty hopeless, but I can ask her to test that the water is flowing. We are coming out in December, so hopefully they won't have frozen by then.

I spoke too soon. Apparently our water has still not been connected, as the downstairs neighbour is refusing to let our pipes run down his wall to street level! He doesn't even live there, the property is only a cantina, used for storage. Some people who bought in Irsina had the same problem, the irate neighbour even tried to push the workman installing the pipes off his ladder! In the end the work was completed under police guard. Has anyone heard of this happening elsewhere? I am fully expecting a demand for some extortionate sum of money for the 'privilege' of using his wall- strictly illegal of course. What a country!

Is it resolved yet? Have you spoken to your neighbour? We have a potential issue at Godzillavilla in that our water comes from a sorgente and we plug into it at a neighbour's hillside, by agreement passed on through generations and then to us by dint of purchasing the land to which this agreement is attached. Nothing in writing, of course! The water cannot be owned, but the access where it first emerges from the earth (and is therefore potable, before it starts running down the stream) can be. Because I don't know the actual owner of the water (he's never there) I've made a point of befriending everyone else involved, including the previous owner of the rights (who now runs the local bar and who kept his cows on the property for year after selling it to us, at our request). Personal associations make the world turn 'round where we are. Don't know if yours works the same way.

Unfortunately we do not know the awkward neighbour, and as we are not there- because we can't stay in the house with no water-  it is difficult to find out who it is. A representative of the company who sold us the house is trying to find a solution, but we feel a bit helpless. I have suggested to her that the mayor of the comune might be approached as an intermediary, but for all we know he is the owner who is being awkward! What is especially irritating is that there is an ugly, rusty stove pipe or flue running from his cantina up our wall just beside the window! But I hesitate to rip this down... things might easily escalate! We would rather not go down the legal route, knowing how slow and inefficient the Italian legal system is. Any advice/suggestions would be welcome!

Our house was just walls and roof when we bought it.  We were told (and I also read it in a relocation doc) that you are allowed to take water from the fountain in the local square for personal use.  We used to take  50litre container and fill it up weekly until we got our regular Ruzzo supply connected. Ruzzo Teramo were quite quick connecting us.  Electricity connection has been a nightmare.  I applied October 2010. After many false starts, cancellations, 'acts of god' etc finally got connected 30 September 2011. Had used a builder's supply for about 2 months, so I am expecting probs as I haven't had a bill yet.  I've had to pay 1,000euros to ENEL for the connection and 297euros for the builders box. Another prob I have is we've decided not to have a telephone landline - using mobiles, skype etc. However, the telephone line crosses from the abandoned house opposite, is fixed alongside my house wall (and pulling out the bricks and getting in the way of windows/doors opening) before it connects to the pole a few metres away.  I would like it re-routed to go direct to the pole, avoiding my house. But so far, I have been told the telephone company now 'own' that part of my house that the cable is fixed to and it can't be moved. I can't get any sense out of anyone. Has anyone heard of this sort of thing?

Lillipet, I think that your house is subject to a "servitude" (same word in English and Italian) which does not mean that the telephone company owns any part of your home. Perhaps, one of our "legal eagles" could explain this better than I. I do not see why the telephone company could not be asked to make a better connection that will not cause any problems to you. Whether they are going to do it or not, is a differente matter, but they should.

We have been told that 'there has been some progress' in the dispute with our neighbour about fixing our water pipes onto his wall. Apparently some sort of agreement has been reached. I just hope this will not involve any financial concessions to this person. And I hope he or she will not change their mind! Fingers crossed! By the way, is there an equivalent phrase in Italian to 'keeping one's fingers crossed'? If so, do let me know! 

Ciao! Well, all the finger-crossing seems to have helped - thanks Esme for the Italian version! The problem of the awkward neighbour has been resolved. apparently, he wasn't objecting to having pipes connected to his wall in principle, but the water company had fixed the pipes and water meter in such a way that his antique fireplace on the other side had been damaged. This sounds very odd to me- it's only a cantina, not a house- but the water company have agreed to shift the pipes and meter to avoid his precious fireplace! Can't wait to get out there, but will have to for now. Apart from both of us being too busy, there is snow out there at the moment - as in Sheffield - so travel will have to wait until warmer weather. The next problem will be buying a stove... But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. No doubt there is an Italian equivalent of that phrase too!