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We are looking to have the roof of our stone farmhouse repaired. It is actually quite sound in most respects, but it is subject to tile slippage in high winds so leaks do pop up.

Sat, 11/14/2009 - 18:42

I'm sorry if this has been covered before, but could someone just confirm whether one can successfully call 112 from a UK mobile? We're starting to rent out our house and don't have a landline, so guests would have to use their own mobiles.Thanks<

Mon, 06/08/2009 - 17:51

 We were staying at our house in Emilia-Romagna last week with friends, and took them to Modena for the day.

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 09:03

I've just signed up so am just getting to grips with this new site. I did use the old one, occasionally, but found it very un-user-friendly.

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 08:48

Comments posted

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 13:09

Really? They have enrolled the children without a problem (so far! I had to apply back in Feb, before we were here). The only thing that has come to light so far is that I need to get codici fiscali for the children, but nobody could tell me how to do it. I have spoken to someone at the comune and also the admin office for school and they both said that it is not obligatory to become residents. The alternative was domicilio...?

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 07:44

I have read some threads on this topic but none quite reflects our situation and I could do with some advice. We have owned a house in Italy for a number of years but have just moved here. The plan is to do a 'year out' - ie we are probably not going to work during that time, and if we do, it will be for Uk companies. Our children are enrolled at the local school. Of course, there's always the possibility that we might decide to stay longer but for the moment the plan is 1 yr. we are renting our house in the Uk. My instinct is not to take out residency but I am not at all clear on the implications of this. I know that we pay more to ENEL etc but other than cheaper electricity, I am not sure what the advantages would be and it might just complicate things tax wise. Am I legally obliged to become a resident if I am here for a year? Even if we are just 'on holiday', so to speak? I have the S1 forms from the DWP in the Uk and they say we are eligible for Italian healthcare, paid by the nhS, until Jan 2014 - but do I have to be a resident to qualify?

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 12:26

Capo Boi, it's a big ole' roof. I think it's about 8m x 8m x 3m high at the peak, so approx 64 sq m?The quote does include scaffolding, so I'm getting the impression that it's a good deal. But if we're going to go the whole hog and take all the tiles off, I want to make sure we're not still doing a half-cock job so the advice re membranes is helpful. They're proposing a plastic one but it sounds like there might be better (no doubt more expensive...) options. We would be able to insulate the roof from inside afterwards so I'm not worrying about that yet, unless anyone advises otherwise.

Mon, 09/07/2009 - 16:30

I actually found the article referenced in the original posting here really quite patronising - talk about stating the obvious - and at times, plain wrong and misleading . Am I the only one? For example:'People are extremely fussy about where they spend their precious Italian fortnight and they will not accept substandard accommodation under the guise of it being a ‘rustic’ house. 'This is just a silly statement. People holidaying in Italy do not all have the same budgets or expectations. As long as you are honest about your home and include pictures in your advertisement, people will book in full knowledge of what they are getting. If the house is priced accordingly, there will be no problem. We have what could be considered a rustic farmhouse, which we have started renting out this year and have had 100% positive feedback so far, in part, no doubt, because it's an absolute bargain compared to many (much more luxurious) rental properties. You get what you pay for, and the benefit of a more 'rustic' (and therefore cheaper) rental property is that people who otherwise might not be able to afford to holiday in Italy can go there. Also, shock horror, some people don't WANT a pristine, fully modernised house with perfect right angles everywhere. We consider the rustic-ness of our house a big selling point, as have our clients so far. It is certainly not substandard. It offers a very high standard for the market we're aiming for and the price we're charging.And:'The more facilities you offer, therefore, the more you will be able to charge and the greater number of clients you will attract.Properties that have facilities such as ISDN lines, Sky TV, a cook and maid service, heated pool etc, can command higher prices in what is a competitive and crowded market.'No sh**! Stating the obvious in the extreme. That doesn't mean that you haven't still got a decent market if you don't/can't provide these things, as long as (I say again) your pricing structure is correct and you make it clear what facilities there are and aren't. This article could have been so much more useful! 

Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:15

Ram, I enjoyed your rant! However, I expect almost anyone could do better than Under the Tuscan Sun - it was the most appallingly badly written book I have read, perhaps ever, and also the most sloppily edited/proofread book. I wrote to the publisher to say as much. It was full of mistakes in both the English and the Italian. The publisher had the cheek to ask me to point out the errors - as if! I'm not going to do their job for them for free! As for the film, let's not even go there. I think you're being a bit harsh - I didn't get the impression that they came back to England because they were desperate to 'be' somebody. In fact, in a way they were better known in Italy because they stood out, everyone knew who they were (for good or bad) and they made a difference (however small) there. It's just that some people aren't cut out for rural life and there's nothing wrong with admitting that. At least they gave it a go - and a good go, at that. They obviously worked hard to learn the language and integrate, which is more than you can say for many many expats. The fact is, they've got quite an interesting story. We might all 'cash in' (otherwise known as finding a way to earn a living) if a) we had a good story and b) could write well.  

Wed, 08/26/2009 - 06:56

Annec, I think you have to allow for some caricature-style descriptions of locals in these kinds of features and books - they do paint a picture of a rural scene that is perhaps not quite accurate (but not totally inaccurate, either) but it is obviously intended to be humorous. I thought it was a well-written and affectionate piece. Actually, this choir-singing, football-playing couple integrated into the local community a lot more than many expats do, and have left a legacy of a successful business that has given new vigour and ideas to the local oil industry. And, as a 'meeja' person myself (until the end of today!), I'm afraid people don't generally write features/books/have their homes/lives splattered across the papers unless they have an ulterior motive - ie something to plug. That aside, it is at least a slightly different take on a subject that has been done absolutely to death - 'living the dream' abroad. Zzzzzz. 

Mon, 08/24/2009 - 10:53

We have our mortgage with Banca Woolwich (Milan branch). Yes, it was a bit of a palaver to set up,  with lots and lots of form filling and sending of pay slips etc, but no more so than in the UK (we've just changed our UK mortgage and it was equally time consuming). They were helpful and efficient and they speak good English if necessary. At the time (6 years ago) there weren't many options available to us for a euro mortgage, but I think more Italian banks offer mortgages to foreigners now. 

Mon, 08/03/2009 - 08:09

Valentina, Thanks for this lesson. I think the subjunctive is a tricky concept for British people as we don't use it much (and when we do, we're not often aware that we've used it!). I actually think it's quite elegant in Italian (more so than in French) and always feel really happy when I use it correctly (although I sometimes get the impression that many Italians are quite amused, even when used correctly, as it seems quite formal and they sometimes don't bother using it in casual conversion - or am I wrong?)One point of confusion: Non so se dovremmo andarci - I'm not sure if we should go thereThis doesn't seem to be the subjunctive to me - it's the conditional, surely. Similarly, Mi ha detto che sarebbe venuto - He told me he would have comeThis is a past conditional tense, no? Thanks for any clarification you can give!

Sat, 06/13/2009 - 03:51

I agree, Angie and Robert, that I should find a local producer, and if ever I live there permanently I shall certainly do so. My concern is whether animals can be classified as organic but still not go outside (touching upon Gala Placidia's point that 'organic' is still a foggy area!). For example, our local restaurant has a smallholding at which they rear their own chianina beef to organic standards. It's fantastic - however, from what I can see, they are not grass fed and don't go outside.

Sat, 06/13/2009 - 03:43

Of course I agree that great meat can be found if you know where to look - however, the fact remains that the UK usually has higher animal welfare standards than the rest of Europe, even for intensively reared animals. For example, pigs in the UK have far more access to outdoor space than anywhere else (I'm well aware that we've still got a long way to go, but according to these statistics we're quite a long way ahead of other countries If it's had a happy life (which the vast majority of Italian veal certainly hasn't), it tastes much better! I'm sticking to my rule that my pork needs to have been outdoor-reared and slaughtered in the UK unless I know exactly where and how it was 'grown'!