We have been in the process of buying this property for the last eight months.  The seller wanted a ‘quick sale’ and we did too. However, Italians warned us that just about anything in Italy will go slower than promised, and sometimes even slower than your lowest expectation. When Rusty complained to our lawyer about how long it was taking, our lawyer said as he laughed, “Viva l’Italia!”  It takes longer for buying property, applying for permits, and even giving birth.  I am beginning to believe that Italian women give birth in their tenth month. With a ‘Saint Day’ every other week, three-week vacation in August, Liberation Day, Christmas, and probably even a Pasta Day, and what would take two months in the US becomes six months in Italy. It’s a slower paced life that we are going to have to get used to, me especially.


When your Italian lawyer says “I will be speaking to the other lawyer in a couple of days”, refer to the Italian Culture dictionary-remember a couple of days in Italy really means about 2 ½ weeks in the US. Nothing is done in the time manner that you expected or were told.  Italians seem to have a ‘I’ll get to it when I get to it’ attitude. And this is in dealing with the government.


Unexpected delays in our purchasing this property:

  • Architect takes two months to make house plans
  • Lawyer 1 goes on vacation
  • Lawyer 2 goes on vacation
  • Architect goes on vacation
  • Lien appears on the house
  • Lawyer 1 negotiates with Lawyer 3 to remove lien
  • Lawyer 1 never answers his phone
  • Lawyer 2 is delayed from a meeting because of a pregnant wife
  • Seller takes a vacation
  • Mortgage Bank is closed because of Boxing Day
  • And so on, and so on, and so on.


The process was even more complicated because the seller is in England, the buyers are in the US, the buyers’ lawyer is in Florence, and the seller’s lawyer is in Lucca.  None of us is even in the Serchio Valley in our Italian village. With all the delays in communicating across six time zones and three countries, it’s a wonder really that we have even made it this far.


Rusty (who often has problems with punctuality) is less worried about the time schedule. Perhaps it’s because he lived in Italy and so got used to Italian bureaucracy. I was born in fast-paced Miami and got used to a ‘get it done now’ schedule. Oh boy, I can see I am going to have to learn patience. I hope renovating our new home goes faster than it has taken to buy it.