It used to be that when I would come to Italy, for the first few days, people would see me and give me a huge ‘welcome back’. That was then. I would come here once a year in the summer and spend a month to six weeks here. Michael and Paola are here… it must be summer, right? Big hugs, dinner invites, the whole nine yards.
But now things are different. I got here yesterday and there was no fanfare. Not a single dinner invite, not even an excited greeting. Instead, most people never even realized I had been away.
Who can blame them? They saw me 3 ½ weeks ago, after all. I was here with the family all summer. Before that, I was here for Christmas… and in October before that… all summer before that… April before that… January before that… etc. In between my solo trips and family trips, Paola always peppers a trip or two per year on her own, so to the untrained eye, it seems that there is always a Kovnick in Soriano.
When I tell them I have been in the states, I get that shocked look, accompanied with something on the order of ‘But didn’t I just see you???’. In fact, I would argue that many people think we live here now.
Such is now my life with CultureDiscovery.com.
So why do I blog this? Last night I met a couple of our guests from Arizona who are leaving today. (Hi Lynda and Christine). They told me about how much they loved it here. They felt so at home, and Lynda was really interested in purchasing a place here as a vacation home. It really occurred to me how doable something like that really is. If you sit down and do the math, it isn’t really more difficult or costly than having your second home in the mountains or at the beach in the U.S. It just seems that way.
To start, purchasing a place here is far less costly that it would be in the states. One could easily get a beautiful place here for less than $75,000. Property taxes here are extremely low. Ongoing expenses such as heating, electricity, phone, internet, etc. are all relative, of course. So what makes owning a vacation home here seem so far out is that it is a world away.
But if you consider that someone from the east coast only has an 8 hour flight, then a one-hour drive to get here, is it really that far? Even from the west coast, it isn’t that bad. Essentially, you give up coming for the weekends in favor of spending weeks, but the payoff is that you are in ITALY. When you look at the cost of ownership here, it covers the airfare many, many times over.
Then it is worth considering what one would do with a second home in Italy. The first and obvious answer is to see Italy. After all, after 23 years, I am still discovering this wonderful country every time I come. I’ve never seen such an amazing place. But then consider the rest of Europe. After all, in Soriano, we are about an hour from the Rome airport, and there are airlines that now sell tickets to just about anywhere in Europe for insane prices. Think about spending the weekend in London, Berlin, Paris, etc. for around $40 each way.
Add all of that to the fact that Viterbo (the provincial capitol) is only 10 miles from us, and their airport is gearing up for commercial international air service. All of Europe is literally at your doorstep.
Thinking about it, it really does add up. The cost of having that cabin (and using it) in the mountains is really on par with the cost of having (and using) that medieval retreat in the heart of Italy. Hmmmm.