if only she knew….

we are still at the crumble stage

Weeks ago I received an email from a woman stating the following:
“we considered staying at your B&B for our holidays but we have read on your blog that you are planning to renovate the new part of the house and we are afraid the works will disturb us during our stay”.
Indeed last May, after a decade of painstaking negotiations and worries, we have fulfilled our dream and bought the second half of our farmhouse. The story is here.
Cara signora (dear lady), I hope you are reading this. Because I want to ask you why you take from me the time which I need to read your message. Then  you take the time I need to reply that of course we would not dream to do any works which could disturb our guests during season. We have a B&B we quite some reputation, so why should we do something so damaging.
And then you don’t even bother to reply because you have already decided that you will not be staying here.
Cara signora I know why you have written this message. You live on a planet where – when you want a house –  you ask your neighbor kindly if he wants to sell it. If he does, after a week all the papers are signed and the house is yours.
The next week you have your plans and you go to one or another public office and ask them kindly if they give you permissions to move a couple of walls, install, new windows, photovoltaic solar panels and a modern, low consumption biomass heater. “A wonderful project!” – they will say – and give you full support.
Say all the above has taken you a month. Then you get immediately all the construction companies and technical consultancy necessary to actually implement the project, order the materials and put up the scaffolding. immediately afterwards the builders speed in and start  hammering making all that horrible noise.
trying to find an opening

Cara signora, can you please tell me on which planet you live? Because I want to move to this place where is possible to buy a house in May and start to the actual renovation work in September. And may be even complete it by Christmas.
I live in Italy.
It’s been 5 busy months and we haven’t even managed to put together all the crazy paperwork necessary for the solar panels  on the roof. The rest of the renovation has to be presented at a later time because it needs even more crazy paperwork.
A couple of days ago, a public officer has announced that after all the documents prepared, we might not be able to install the photovoltaic panels on the roof where they would hardly be visible.
The local government prefers for us to install the panels on our beautiful fields, where they will take up much more space, be visible from very far and disrupt our magnificent view. He said that we have to hide the panels behind a 6 ft tall fence surrounded by tall trees.
Shaded solar panels. Ingenious.
Besides, as we are at the top of a hill on sloping grounds the fence would not hide the panels from view. In contrast, it would only increase the horrendous visual effect of the whole construction.
see the flock of sheep? There's where they want the industrial looking installation

Cara signora, if you would only know how difficult it is to realize a project here, you would not even consider coming over  for holidays.
Please give me the address of your world and I might start packing before it’s too late.


  1. You have me chuckling with your sense of irony 🙂
    Maybe you’re better off without this particular Cara Signora.. best of luck with all that paperwork. Lovely post.

  2. Wishing you lots of patience, Letizia, with all the paperwork and with your struggle to convince the local officials to use their brains instead of just their mouths!

  3. Cara Letizia — oh my – you write so well! I can tell you that Cara Signora is not from my part of the planet — the bureaucrats reign supreme here in Berkeley as well! You should see the hoops we are jumping through just to get a permit to remove a garage that is ready to fall down on its own! REAMS of paperwork; photos; architect plans for the area… I feel your pain.

  4. so funny….reminds me of my dad’s story of how we came to US… “if I hadn’t done my own paperwork we would still be living and waiting in Italy”. My dad was a Carabiniere, need i say more… LOL

  5. You so live on my planet, and I so understand your reply and funny enough your reply makes me happy. I’m not the only one who sometimes want to write things like this and scream. we’ve got the same stupid mails, and ofcourse living in Italy the same problems.
    To all of you, merry Christmas and a happy Newyear. From another region of Italy Piedmont, but with the same people working at the permission office.

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