The 17th century farmhouse. photo taken in the 1980's.
The farmhouse today.
Alison, my English realtor, picked me up at Villa Torre del Tartufo and we spent the morning looking at villas and apartments in my price range in Cortona. We hit it off, and I enjoyed just driving around in her little Fiat looking at the countryside while she smoked endless cigarettes.Some of the properties we looked at were far from the center of Cortona and seeing that I spoke no Italian, the thought of living by myself in such a remote location was terrifying.
It was time for pranzo, better known as lunch, and Alison and I stopped at a local restaurant for a break from house hunting. We shared a bottle of Brunello wine and I had the most wonderful bistecca fiorentina.
Alison was turning 52 the next day and invited me to her birthday dinner at a local restaurant. I now had my first friend in Cortona and was feeling warm and loved and thought I could easily fit in here. Perhaps it was the wine.
I used the bathroom and as usual was mystified as to where the toilet flusher was. They are always hidden in a remote spot behind the toilet. I saw a string and pulled it. An alarm sounded and I soon realized, I had pulled the emergency cord in the handicap bathroom which signals I am in distress. The owner of the restaurant knocked on the door politely asking if I was ok. I was mortified. After explaining my error, I quietly returned to the table. I told Alison what I had done. She already knew, as the alarm sounded in the dining room for everyone to hear and she assumed it was me. So much for fitting in .
After lunch, we visited a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath villa for sale 10 km. from the center of Cortona. It was part of a 17th century farmhouse on a sunflower field that had been renovated 15 years ago and broken up into 12 residences. The owners all shared a magnificent pool with views of the Chiana Valley.
It was charming, with beamed ceilings, stone tiled floors, a beautiful backyard with a pergola and garden. I was in love. I didn't need to look any further. I had found my home.
I was leaving for the US the next day, so to make this happen, I had to give Alison power of attorney to negotiate on my behalf. She called a Notaio, a Notary, in Castiglion Fiorentino, to draw up the papers. Off we drove to his office in the next town. Evidently, a Notaio, is one step up from an attorney, a pretty important guy in the food chain here, as I soon found out. After our introductions, Dr. Notaio got straight to business, and with Alison translating, he started filling out the necessary paperwork to make my dream a reality. I had to put my trust into Alison's hands and we agreed on a certain price she wouldn't go above in negotiating. Let's hope she remembers...
He asked where the money would be coming from to purchase this home. I replied I was in the drug trade in Columbia. After it was translated to him, I waited for his reaction. I smiled. Then he smiled. He was cute, though a little short for me.
After the formalities, we got up to leave and he shook my hand and gave me his card. He said to call him any time. Well, that will be a problem, because I don't speak Italian. And I'm sure his wife would not like it.
Alison and I hugged and she dropped me at my hotel to pack for my trip home to the US.
Let's hope when the wine buzz wears off I don't have a panic attack at what I've just done.