We are buying a property that Rusty saw for less than an hour on a cold day in February.  I wasn’t there. I have a well-known fear of flying that is a textbook phobia that Rusty, thank goodness, does not share. I have never seen the property in person, but only in the hundreds of photos Rusty took. Crazy as it seems, our decision to do this seems right. 


In 2007, we decided to start looking at properties. I searched the Internet for real estate in Tuscany. I made appointments for Rusty’s to meet with real estate agents and view properties. He went to Italy in July 2007 and again in February 2008 and saw over 100 properties in Tuscany, Umbria, and Le Marche. He saw an 11th century monastery, a multi-story vicarage, and a Liberty-style mansion, among others. Since I wasn’t going, I made Rusty a ‘Property Book’ where he had to enter tons of information about each property.  Not being detail oriented, he surprised me and did rather well. I also made him promise he would take tons of pictures of every room of every property.  Every day, he would call me with the highlights of the properties he had just seen.  Every day, Rusty told me he had seen ‘the one’.  His excitement escalated with every property he saw. I had to make him promise not to sign any legal papers while he was in this state of real estate euphoria.


After Rusty returned from Italy, we would review all the properties, hundreds of pages of notes and hundreds of photos, and narrow it down to the ten we liked the most. It was a really hard decision because Tuscany is littered with thousands of rustic properties that would all be great B&Bs.


One property stuck in Rusty’s mind more than the rest. He kept referring to it as ‘his property’, even just from reading his notes. The property wasn’t the most spectacular. It wasn’t the largest nor the most impressive. But it was a great property in the perfect location. This will be great for us and our guests.


This property had advantages over the others:

  • Most of the houses were in the country, which would require a car for us and our guests. This one is in a village with a train station. (Rusty was really excited about this, Mr. Enviromental that he is.)
  • It’s above the village, away from the traffic, but a short stroll to the main square with a bakery, bar, restaurant, and shopping.
  • The village is 3 km in either direction from spectacular towns, well known in the valley. Bagni di Lucca is famous for its geo-thermal baths. Barga has music festivals and great shopping that attracts people worldwide.
  • I didn’t know anything about the Serchio Valley but now I am really excited about living there.  I found out that it has two national natural reserves, a botanical garden, and a world-class ski resort. It’s a hiker’s paradise and it attracts trekkers from all over Europe.
  • We really enjoyed Colorado and being so close to the mountains. The Apuan Alps and the Apennines embracing this Valley are every bit as spectacular.
  • Even though it seems hidden, it’s a short trip to Pisa, Lucca, and Florence in one direction, and the beaches in the other.
  •  Rusty said it feels the most like “a home” and our guests will be really comfortable there.

 And we found it on Craigslist! We didn’t even find it through a real estate agent; take that, Century 21!!