Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sheila, Billy, Monty Don and Monty Dog 4 strays in Abruzo

Sheila and Monty dog always thirsty!

All four hooligans playing together after the sheep and Roberto's dogs have left

Buyer Beware

With house that have a 20,000.00 euro price tag or less is it any wonder that so many of us are tempted onto Italian Estate Agency sites we find online? Of course I don't mean true Italian sites; these offer new appartments and ugly concrete boxes on the side of a road. I'm talking about sites that cater for English visitors with plenty of pretty stone ruins amongst the olives.

Here is one such 'bargain' on offer currently:

We bought our house for very little and have been in a position to do lots of work ourselves but there have still been many problems that have meant we've needed professional help.Unfortunately in Italy this can mean spending may thousands every time.

Check wood work for signs of infestation -this is a Capricorn Beetles hole!1.5cms across

In an old stone house thats covered in stucco its tricky to see what deteriation may have occured until you take the stucco off.In our house we have found holes as big as 1metre across filled with earth.Some internal beams were simply wooden branches which in time have rotted or been eaten by insects.Metal joists have been attacked by water and needed replacing and earthquakes over 100's of years have taken their toll on floor tiles.

upstairs floor with slightly damaged metal strap- tiles set into clay

How many people spending 20,000.00 euros bother to have a survey done? But if you buy a house without knowing the full extent of the problems do you have enough money to pay for the work, which could cost many times more than the house itself? If you can't afford a survey at least take a builder with you and get them to remove plaster, lift floor tiles, inspect wood etc and discover what may need to be spent.Otherwise your purchase could turn out to be a liability!

One thing you should not do is to install damp proof course or any dpm into an old stone house or you will be causing yourself future problems.If you concentrate on removing any cement and also cleaning block drains and clearing earth that's piled up in front of walls outside you may well need to let the house 'dry out for a couple of years' but from then on you should have no more damp problems without spending huge amounts of money.

Cheese Shop in Lettomanoppello

In Lettomanoppello, Abruzzo there is a wonderful cheese shop where the cheese is made on the premises.The milk comes from sheep and goats kept on the green slopes of the Maiella mountains.

Lettomanoppello Cheese Shop

Percorino (fresh)

This dish was first made for us by an English couple who run 'villasfor2' and it is made by combining riccotta (in this case sheep's milk) with fresh strawberries and lemon juice then sprinkling with sugar

I love the Pecorino 'morbido' which is just 6 euro for a whole cheese.I cant think its possible to buy such a wonderful hand-made cheese in the UK for this amount.

I discovered a Belgian couple in the shop one day who were buying 300 euros worth of large Pecorino cheeses to take home for friends!Quite a good day for the little cheese shop.

Shop opened daily (not Monday) inc Sunday morning until 12 noon.Follow Passo Lanciano road and the shop is on the bend.