KarenSheffield's activity

Questions Asked

Our electricity was recently cut off by ENEL for non-payment of bills. We hadn't paid because we hadn't received any bills!

Tue, 03/12/2013 - 11:52

We are having our outside staircase renovated - at the moment it is all in rather rough concrete which is crumbling. Out builder has sent us details of the work this involves.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 13:23

We are having our outside staircase renovated - at the moment it is all in rather rough concrete which is crumbling. Out builder has sent us details of the work this involves.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 13:23

We have had problems when hiring a car in Italy - they seem to deduct random credit card payments for imaginary accidents and traffic violations. However, it is a long way from Sheffield to Basilicata. Is there anybody who had cone this?

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 09:41

Our two latest visits were very different.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 15:24

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.

Sat, 08/20/2011 - 10:43

The property is an ancient wine vault that was used for making and storing wine. It is part of a terrace of similar structures built into the hillside, with cantinas underneath.

Wed, 07/06/2011 - 10:33

Hooray! Our house is finished! Well, apart from the water connection...

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 15:30

Our wine vault in Grottole is being renovated. The plastering has been done, kitchen and bathroom installed, but still no electricity or water connections.

Fri, 05/27/2011 - 12:35

These photos show our house in Grottole, an ancient wine vault, and some views of the village.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:24

Comments posted

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 13:04

 Thank you to everyone who made suggestions and omments.In the end we have given the property manager our online details for the Enel account, and she can now log on and see if any bills need paying, and pay them online, using our BancaPosta card..This way we don't have to have a bank account, and we don't have to rely on the post office to deliver bills to the Italian house.I must say when I read Poetica saying  "Easy enough to register your italian address with the local postal office on application to start with and subsequently ask them at the local office to change mailing address to your UK address" I was moved to hollow laughter. We tried to to ask the post office to send our mail to our next door neighbour, but not only did this take over an hour - and  our kind neighbour had to go there the next day as well to fill in forms - it still did not work, as she reported finding a bill on the steps to our house. We have a post-box, but it is at the top of the steps! Why is it that Italian institutions are still in the pre-digital age? (Apart from Enel, and even then...) Still, it's all part of the joy of living in Italy!  Cheers, Karen

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:28

We bought a former cantina in Basilicata. Unusually, it is on the first floor, approached up a stone staircase - there is in fact another cantina underneath which our neighbour uses for making and storing wine. It is a large vaulted space, with a small bathroon walled off, and a kitchen corner. The ceiling is so high we had a mezzanine floor put in, accessed by wooden stairs, with a partially separed-off bedroom below. The toral comes to 55 square metres, plus messanine which is about 1/3 the area of the main floor. There is a small terrace at the top of the stairs where it is possible to sit out. It does have some damp, but we find a dehimidifier deals with this. And as the walls are nearly a metre thick it stays cool even in the torrid heat of a Mezzogiorno August. In winter we use a wood-burning stove.I would say, go for it, especially as it gives you access to the garden. And it will definitely be a room full of character. And, yes, get a good geometra!     

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 14:10

In Italy you need a codice fiscale for everything!Probably a good idea to have a bank account too- though the charges are high. We are intermittent residents and have a post office account.

Mon, 10/14/2013 - 13:47

Forgive my ignorance, but do the devices that you plug into the mains replace a modem or supplement it? Don't you need a phone line for this?

Answer to: Palio di Siena
Fri, 04/12/2013 - 14:52

About 20 years ago I went to the Palio with a group of friends, including 3 small children. It was awful, after waiting for hours in the heat the children became distressed and had to be taken back to our rented villa. Some of the adults stayed on, but our good view of the Piazza from a flight of steps was blocked just before the race began by a party of notables who took their reserved places just in front of us. The race itself was over in minutes. but the processions of supporters of the various teams, drawn from different districts of the city, all in Renaissance costume and bearing banners, was stunning. It was straight out of Romeo and Juliet. As dusk fell, fights began to break out all over the city between rival various supporters. I saw one one young man in doublet and hose bite his thumb from a balcony at a rival group below (meaning 'you are not worth the dirt beneath my thumbnail'), one of whom, enraged, was hoisted up to balcony level by his friends and tried to drag the youth who had insulted them off it!  It took hours to get out of the city, the traffic was so bad, and also because we took a wrong turning down a narrow alley which ended in a steep flight of steps. Trying to reverse, we knocked over a whole rown of flowerpots outside people's doors... I'm surprised we made it out alive. 

Answer to: puppies - update
Wed, 04/03/2013 - 08:34

Unfortunately I have had similar experiences with litters of abandoned puppies. Last August in our village in Basilicata there was a stray dog with a litter of puppies. They were being fed sporadically, and I tried to get the local vigile urbano to do something about them with no success. Somebody eventually 'adopted' the mother and one of the puppies, but the fate of the others is unknown. Now there is another litter of puppies from the same mother, but the 'owner' is unwilling to have her neutered, preferring to let nature take its course. Two English ladies in the village are trying to persuade him to let them take her to the vet. The puppy from last year's litter is mainly kept in a small kennel, he is a lovely dog but absolutely enoormous, unrecognisable from the fluffy bundle of last summer. Yes, the dogs are all fed watery pasta... It is all very distressing, and I wonder what will happen to the current litter, now 9 weeks old.  It is good that Sabina has managed to find a solution for her puppies, but obviously this is impracticable on a wide scale. I don't know what the answer is.

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 13:15

I have managed to register online with Enel, but they say you can only pay online with an Italian-registered credit card. Also they will only accept certain cards. We have an Italian Banca posta card but it is Maestro which is not one of the accepted types. I am reluctant to open an Italian bank account just to pay bills.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 13:41

My order of preference would be: Bersani; Monti; Grillo; Berlusconi. Bersani promises to focus on job creation and stimulating the economy Monti has proved himself capable and honest, though his austerity programme is not popular Grillo is a good laugh! He is capitalising on the current disillusionment with all politicians, but the danger is that he might split the anti- Belusconi vote. Berlusconi won't win, but enough people might vote for him to enable him to prevent a ruling majority and carry on making mischief. By rights he should be in jail.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 13:24

Thank you so much for your replies, both of you. I did ask for the steps to be clad in stone, as one of the original steps has a stone slab, although all the rest are this very rough concrete with big stones in it. It hadn't occurred to me that that 'ornie' might be a typo for 'oneri'! I thought it referred to some kind of decoration. There is a separate item for the risers: 'Intonaco all’alzata dei gradini' which I think means that they will just be plastered. When I have learned how to upload photos I will post some before and after pictures. Thanks again, Karen

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 13:49

I tried to paste a photo here but it hasn't worked!