Monday, January 5, 2015

Beautiful Guardia Sanframondi

Like so many others who watched the House Hunters International episode highlighting a beautiful little town in Italy called Guardia Sanframondi, I, too, wondered....could this be true?  Could I actually own a little slice of heaven in Italy?

I researched the internet for several months, although there wasn't too much information readily available.  I was lucky to run across Patsy's blog http://guardia-italy.blogspot.com, which explained her house-hunting adventure and provided names of who to contact in Guardia Sanframondi.  You should read her blog, as it is inspiring and a very good read packed with good information.  Because there isn't a lot of information out there, and inspired by her blog, I created one also.  Right before publishing my own blog, I have recently learned that Patsy's friend, Glenn, also has a blog http://guardia-italy-living.blogspot.ca/ and I wanted to include it. Great job, Glenn!

I had never travelled internationally before, but always dreamed of doing so.  My daughter, Courtney (affectionally dubbed "Cornelia" by Pasquale - her new alias in Guardia) had travelled to Italy last summer on a high school senior trip, fell in love with Italy, as I did, too, listening to her adventure.  So she was definitely supportive and on board.  She is majoring in International Studies in college and would receive college credit for this trip, regardless of whether or not we found a home.  We asked grandma (my mom) to join us who has always wanted to visit Rome & Vatican City (after coming so far how could we NOT see the Eternal City), so we added Rome to our itinerary and she was on board, too!  Three generations bound for an exciting adventure in Italy! WooHoo!!

With this first blog entry I will not be giving a blow-by-blow account of our wonderful adventure because I could go on and on about it (I'll save it for another entry perhaps).  The main purpose for this initial blog entry is to help those of you out there who believe owning a little slice of Italian heaven is too good to be true...it CAN really happen.  If I can do it (this single mom, government employee, one income only), anybody can.  I want to provide the information and tips to make your dream come true too.  Pasquale and Roberto and the wonderful people they will introduce you to have made the process very smooth and almost seamless.  I guess practice makes perfect!

The very first contact you should make is with Pasquale Orso (Orso means "bear" in Italian).  He owns and operates (with assistance from his mother, Anna, and his father, Luigi) the local B&B in town.  The website address is www.tanadellorso.com or you can contact Pasquale through email at bbtanadellorso@gmail.com.  Pasquale can be found on Facebook, too.  Once I started an email dialogue with Pasquale, he introduced me to Roberto Adamo from the Municipo, a "truly unique and enthusiastic individual who is incredibly helpful and full of interesting facts about the history of Guardia, the houses that are available and the vision that the Municipio has for the revival of the township." (I couldn't have described him any better than Patsy-thanks)  Roberto is the person who actually took me & my daughter hunting for houses in the Centro Historico area of Guardia.  Pasquale and his mom & dad are the kindest, warmest, and most generous souls you will ever meet, but they have a business to run and most likely will not personally house hunt with you.  However, they are the most gracious of hosts and I would highly recommend you book your stay with them.  They are centrally located within walking distance of the Centro Historico area and their house specialties, roasted chicken and wine (red & white), are out of this world!

Communicating back and forth in two different languages isn't as hard as I thought it might be, thanks to Google Translate.  And I learned en route to Italy that Pasquale (correct pronunciation is Pask-WOLLy) does speak English well enough that if you need to call him to let him know that your plane is delayed, he will understand - thanks Clare Galloway for that vital information.  In person, you can do without a translator to communicate with the Orso family at the Bed & Breakfast and with Roberto, as they have picked up some English and we all have a way of "shorthanding" to express our needs and wants.  But it wouldn't hurt to try and learn a little Italian before your trip.  My daughter and I used 'translator apps' on our iPods which turned out to be very helpful at times. The only instance we truly needed a translastor was when we were ready to make an offer on a house, and fortunately for us, our lawyer(Daniel), his wife, Sabrina, speaks English perfectly.

There isn't much house-hunting that can be done before you get there with your boots on the ground, so relax. You only need to decide which airport you are flying in and out of and how you'll get to and from Guardia.  We decided on Naples, rather than Rome, and arranged to have Pasquale pick us up (you can take a bus or train or rent a car maybe cheaper, but for our first visit, we felt better leaving the driving to Pasquale).  Pasquale is able to arrange a shuttle service to and from the airport or train station - contact him for details.  Myself, my daughter, and my mom visited Guardia for a total of six short days and our typical day was spent with a delicious cappuccino & croissant served downstairs each morning when we awoke (included with lodging), we explored Guardia on foot on our own and ate our own lunch (not included with lodging) and Roberto picked us up at the B&B each day (on the days his schedule allowed it) around 3pm to look at houses.  Roberto is NOT a realtor and receives no money.  He does it out of friendship and his vision for the future of Guardia.  His son, Benito "Benny" Adamo, is a very knowledgeable and trustworthy contractor and quite talented.  His knowledge and experience can be quite helpful when making a determination about your prospective house.  We plan on hiring him when it's time to do the renovations that myself and my daughter cannot do alone.

Like many others, we were worried that we had arrived too late to still find a great deal on a house, as we arrived in Guardia on November 1, 2014, over two years after the original airing of the House Hunters International episode.  However, we still found a wide range of homes for any budget.  Here are some of the homes we looked at.  Please remember that any prices listed here are subject to change and are listed only to give you an idea of what to expect.   **These examples of houses and prices were what we were shown at the time we were there, so they may not still be available or the prices may be different.**

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House #1 - 25,000 Euros


Completely renovated - ready to move in



(My kind of entertaining!)

Ground Floor - Kitchen & Dining area

First floor bedroom

Stairway leading up from kitchen to 1st floor bedroom

1st floor window - but no balcony

Looking away from window towards bathroom

1st floor wardrobe

1st floor bathroom


Stairway leading up to 2nd floor

2nd floor looking back down the stairway

Teenie Tiny balcony on 2nd (top) floor



2nd floor bedroom


2nd floor bathroom



So, 2 bedroom/2 bath, 2 flights of stairs(3 levels in all)

Looking back from kitchen table at your front door
 





















House #2 - Right across the street, Total Restoration Required, 5,000 Euros

No electricity, so it was pretty dark.
 




House #3 - 25,000 Euros, Large Terrace, 2 bedrooms
This is the area where the 3rd house could be found.
 


Ground floor, bathroom.


Full tub. Common for bathroom to be on the ground floor.

Stairs leading up to the first floor.

Up to first floor landing.


Living/Dining Area


Living/Dining Area



Living/Dining area, peering into kitchen
Kitchen - no appliances


Cabinets, but no appliances



It's common practice to take appliances with you when you move








Hold on, there's a stove.

Fireplace


Peering into a bedroom

Bedroom


View from Master Bedroom Terrace

Looking down from Master Bedroom Terrace
House #4 - (Roberto's uncle's house?) 4 levels, Large Terrace, Fabulous View, 45,000 Euros
Furnished, Pizza Oven
























View from the Terrace

Looking back from Terrace into house














Looking down from street side balcony







front door












Looking out your front door at the neighbor's door across the street

Looking in your front door



Your street side balconies

Looking straight up at your balconies from the ground



House #5 - Small, but cute (2 rooms basically, stacked on top of each other) 1 Bedroom/1 Bath, 9,500 Euros - no appliances, but a very nice view from the top floor (bedroom)




Nice views from this lower floor window





Small balcony on upper floor


Do they call these Juliette balconies?


Very high ceilings - maybe bunk beds or mezzazine bed?










Roof has been recently renovated



House #6 - Part of the turret of the castle, really cool, has a pizza oven, but needs roof & balcony renovations, 15,000 Euros, Hugely Historic!









Great view from the bedroom window
 
 
House #7 - 2 Bedroom/2 Bath, 4 Levels High, 16,000 Euros, Great view from the master bedroom, no balcony, attic in the small bedroom, great tile, fabulous courtyard with fountain nearby
 
 


















Master bedroom looking into small bedroom with attic access


Leads up to the attic. Roberto feels it can be converted into a terrace

small bedroom





back on ground floor as we're leaving

There is a toilet behind the curtain



House #8 - Shown to us by our lawyer, Daniele - price unknown































This house has a cantina(cellar,basement)




Right next door to the church

 





















Once we advised Roberto of the house we were interested in (might be important to note that these are not 'stand alone' houses we have become accustomed to in America, but rather more akin to apartments), he then introduced us to Daniele & Sabrina, recent newlyweds.  Daniele is a lawyer and his wife, Sabrina, acted as an English-speaking intepreter for us.  Daniele drove us to a neighboring town (not even sure if it was Telese or Benevento really) to an official government building to sign a document that I believe acted as a tax registration of sorts.  It is free of charge and is necessary to purchase real estate or open a bank account in Italy.

On our last night there, me and my daughter, Roberto, Daniele and Sabrina, and the seller all met at Daniele's office in their home in Guardia.  I signed a document giving Daniele power of attorney in my absence to sign whatever documents would be necessary for the sale, and in the document it stated that he would contact me via email before signing anything on my behalf for my approval. He drew it up in Italian and Sabrina transcribed it in English and we received a copy of each.  And still, no one asked for any money at this time...not even a deposit.  We learned from the seller that there may be a third party that has a partial interest in the cantina (cellar) portion of the house, so until Daniele researches that snag, there was nothing more to be done, but go back to the B&B and get some shut eye before Pasquale drives us to Rome in the morning.  We will celebrate when we return, when the sale is final - I can promise you that!

Rome was fantastic and now we are back in Florida, USA - still waiting for the purchasing sales agreement.  We'll be sure to keep you posted.  Good Luck to You!

I asked Pasquale how did we manage not to get one single photo of him!

My daughter


My mom
Me and Roberto Adamo
Aaahh - wine & pizza! Delicious!








28 comments:

  1. Thanks for your informative blog for would be house seekers and welcome to our International family in Guardia!
    Like you,we used Patsy's blog as our starting point-she was so generous with her time and connected us to Roberto Adamo and Pasquale Orso-both of whom are invaluable with help ,time and information. Our whole process went smoothly and took exactly 2 months to finalize in our names!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience here! I never thought this possible!

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    2. Thank you for sharing your experience here! I never thought this possible!

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your experience in Guardia. How is the purchase going? My wife and I plan to visit Guardia in June or July.

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    1. Sorry for the late response. I am a very new blogger and still have much to learn. Our purchase is complete. Did you and your wife make it to Guardia yet?

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  4. Is there still properties for sale in Guadia, only saw the episode today and I am interested in buying property.

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    1. Yes there are still homes for sale. Let me know if I can help in any way.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thank you. It's been quite the journey and the journey continues. Let me know if I can help in any way.

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  6. I can't thank you enough for starting this blog. As an American, I lived in northern Italy for 4 years before moving to Germany (for 5 years), and finally coming back to America in 2013. I've been back to Italy to visit twice since then and it always feels as though I'm coming home. I never dreamed I could actually buy a place anywhere there - I'm almost in tears.

    I'm going to start this process, brush up on my Italian, and get over for a visit!

    Any further thoughts or comments would be most welcome and appreciated! Jopowellaa@hotmail.com

    Warm Regards,
    Joline

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  7. You are so welcome. We never dreamed we could own a home in Europe, but our dreams have come true...yours can, too! Let me know if I can help you in any way.

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  8. Hi Christine
    Thank you for sharing your Guardia experience! My Husband and I are going to Guardia this June and hopefully are successful with finding a property that suits us. We were able to reach out and connect with Pasquale who has been such an incredible help already. I have some specific questions for you if you don't mind, can I reach you via email offline? Thank you so much!! Kendra

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    Replies
    1. Sure - I can be reached at Christine.mccranie@hotmail.com or on facebook

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  9. A year later but still an amazing blog. I might just have to be your neighbors soon! Can I reach out to you offline to ask a few more questions?

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    Replies
    1. Sure. I can be reached at Christine.mccranie@hotmail.com

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  10. Trying two find out if there r still properties for sale.just saw the episodes on house hunters.
    Thanks Glynn

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  11. Trying two find out if there r still properties for sale.just saw the episodes on house hunters.
    Thanks Glynn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roberto Adamo is a good contact for available properties. You can find him on Facebook as "Donatello Brunelleschi"

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  12. Heading there in November...contacted Pasquale. Looking forward to finding our dream retirement home! Thank you for the insight.

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    Replies
    1. We are returning in November too - maybe we'll see you there! Good luck house hunting!

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  13. Good for you for fulfilling your dream! My wife and I recently moved into our dream home in St George, Utah.

    Rex Bush
    Stgeorgeinjurylaw.com

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  14. Christine thanks for your blog. I am planning a trip and would love to speak with you . How can I reach you? Thanks Phil Grose - my email is phil705518@aol.com

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  15. Janice Greco,
    Do you have an updated list of homes for sale in Guardia San Framondo?
    Ty

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    1. No, once we purchased ours, we were not shown anymore houses. I only used those to demonstrate what they look like and what they cost. Roberto Adamo and Pasquale Orso would be excellent contacts to learn more about current houses that are available for purchase.

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  16. Janice Greco,
    Do you have an updated list of homes for sale in Guardia San Framondo?
    Ty

    ReplyDelete
  17. Janice Greco,
    Do you have an updated list of homes for sale in Guardia San Framondo?
    Ty

    ReplyDelete