Would you dare to follow your dream
and move or retire to Italy?
Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts.
Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in
the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced
when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.
For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh
Glossary of Italian words included! Learn a bit of the Italian language along the way
Practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy pleasantly presented within the stories
“A charmingly lighthearted recollection” Kirkus Reviews
“A comical, often downright hilarious account” Reader’s Favorite Review
“Smulders’ storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining” Blogcritics/Reader Views
Do we really have to move?
Okay, there we go.
Order or download now:
(paperback on Amazon only)
Our adventure in 25 slides
Hilarious & Horrendous Expat Stories
Our expert checks everything(while nitwit real estate agent looks on)
Checking the permits at the comunal office(everything ‘a norma’?)
Signing the 'compromesso', preliminary contract(the owners looking on)
Final deal at the notary(do we really understand what we’re signing?)
Getting the roof waterproof!(first things first)
OMG the renovation(?) has started(why do they always start destroying first?)
Trying to escape the dust(setting up a website for the B&B)
Just look at the mess!
Neighbour Francesco is glad with the rubble
Our A-Team: Marco (Romanian), Mariano (Moroccan) and Mimmo (Sicilian)
The infamous contractor Torti
Torti checking the work of his workers(not looking happy)
Torti still checking(never satisfied)
There he is again(“Sbagliato!” he shouts)
Okay, I'll do it myself then(same age as Berlusconi, 77 years old)
Doesn't he ever leave?
Yes he does! Lunchtime!(pasta from mamma)
The staircase doesn't fit(our blacksmith is a disaster)
All the plaster has to come off(headache for a week)
We do the painting ourselves(Vertigoooo!)
Final stage: pouring the concrete for the ramp
The indispensable swimming pool(imported from The Netherlands!)
The first dive in the pool, finally!(with the workers still busy)
Cin cin!(thank god we survived)
In 2008 the author emigrated to Italy bringing husband and dog along,
to start bed & breakfast Villa I Due Padroni.
But a lot of hurdles had to be taken before the first guests could be accommodated.
In his book Living in Italy: the Real Deal Stef reports about the adventures in buying and reconstructing the house, obtaining a tax number and a bank account, registering at the commune and at the national health service, importing a car and a range of other things that lead to a myriad of bureaucratic troubles. These problems were always resolved in a truly Italian fashion, leading to raised Dutch eyebrows and hilarious scenes.
As a reader you will encounter a range of characteristic Italians, from sympathetic to villainous, from moving to shameless. Real Italians of flesh and blood, sometimes cliché, sometimes surprisingly original.
But always worth encountering.
From this ...
Lousy real estate agents
“Buttini checked everything: did all the measurements tally with those in the land registry? Had anything been modified or extended illegally? Was the size of the plot of land correct? “È tutto in ordine, non ci sono problemi,” Olita shouted out time and again, offended that we brought in a real expert to check on him. But we were well prepared, and we bore firmly in mind all the disasters that could befall someone trying to buy a house in Italy.”
“No, he didn’t want any grappa and no wine either. He was astemio, totally teetotal, he claimed. We stared at Torti in surprise. Alcohol abstinence in this part of the world? You must have great self-discipline. Later I did catch him pushing a trolley at the Cantina Sociale, the wine merchant where local drinkers replenish their fast disappearing wine stocks for two and a half euros per bottle. What would he be doing there? Buying a bottle of grappa for his daughter, was his excuse. A bottle, with a trolley? Subsequently, he pretended to know which wine would suit which meal and which vineyards produced the best wines and which were rubbish. But this wine know-how probably originated from his stubborn nature, which we would get to know through and through. Torti always knew better.”
“I want to warn you, please don’t be offended if I seem rude, but I see that you are kind and trustworthy people and I don’t want you to suffer the same fate that I have. I see it as my moral duty to warn you. Be careful with that charlatan; don’t do business with him because he will rip you off. I have lost ten thousand euros. He was going to do everything for me but nothing came of it. He also stole a piece of my land: according to the land register, my garden is a lot bigger.” Piero was just rattling on, going around in circles and coming back to the same topic every time. “Nico, Stef: ascoltatemi, non fidatevi, ricordatevi quello che vi ha detto Piero. Vi faranno male. Ve lo dico dal cuore.” With that, he placed his hand dramatically on his chest. What were we supposed to make of all this, as newcomers and outsiders?”