A New Life In Umbria

Although it seems we just left, on the other hand it really seems much longer than three weeks since we left our farmhouses in Umbria. We are headed back this weekend to spend a very cold seven weeks there hoping to get the rental house all set up and ready to go, plus get at least a start on furnishing and decorating the house we will live in when we are in Italy.

Our friends and family think we are crazy leaving SW Florida where the temperatures have been in the 80’s to spend almost two months in Umbria where the temperatures presently are as cold as they have ever been, but we just feel the need to spend time in the two houses and make them our own.

I left Italy in December with a terrible cough that turned into walking pneumonia over the holidays, and do admit I am nervous about going back to that cold, wet climate! (The house we will live in is shown in the photo) It is going to be an adventure in more ways than I think we even expect as we will initially not have any television, or internet, only a few basic pieces of furniture, and an almost empty kitchen (gulp)!

That will be the most difficult aspect for me to accept since I spend hours every day in my kitchen, and although my husband continually states that we have to focus on setting up the rental house first, I have a feeling that after a week or so of “roughing it” in our bare bones kitchen he will see my side of this issue!

Although we have owned the houses for less than a month, we received our first phone call today about a problem at the houses stating that a pipe in the pool shower burst due to the unusually cold temperatures. My husband simply looked at me and stated…..”And so it begins!” Luckily the builder who has been so kind to us up until now got in and turned off the water to that area.

We are told that it is very expensive to heat a home in Italy and that most folks set the heating to come on 4 hours in the morning, and another 4 in the evening when most of the family are home. Trying to find out what works best for us, we are setting our thermostat just as was recommended to us, but to supplement that and to keep us warm weather folks comfortable, I expect we will need to keep fires going in both of our fireplaces whenever we are home.

Even our little dog Luca who is not used to colder temperatures, shivers unless he is wearing his knit sweaters inside the house and likes to curl up on a soft blanket right in front of the fireplace for warmth.

Since we have almost no furniture in our house at this point anyways, we decided to close off the master bedroom upstairs and sleep in the one guest bedroom that has a bed in our house which is downstairs. Lucky for us, for whatever reason, that seems to be the warmest room in the house!

Our goal for this trip is to paint and decorate, and furbish both houses as much as we can accomplish in the seven weeks we are there, to finish creating the farmhouse website so folks can actually book their stay with us, and to explore in our free time (one cannot work all of the time!) the area around us as much as our schedule and the cold weather allows.

My first priority is to figure out the best internet access I can for that area and get that set up so I can at least feel connected to our family as well as the rest of my internet world. From that point on, we have a list that we prioritized of things we have to accomplish this trip, other things it would be nice to get done this trip, and a few other things that will stay on our wish list for the future.

We are both excited to get started to put our mark on our new farmhouses and to become more familiar with the area, and we are very lucky to have very kind people who have taken us under their wings to help us get settled. If you do not hear from me for a while, know that I will be back online as soon as is humanly possible!

Wish me luck, I have a feeling I may need it! I’ll keep you posted about our Umbrian adventure!

Deborah Mele
December 2008

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