In 2001, during a month's holiday in Lunigiana, we'd been idly looking for somewhere to live un bel di (one fine day).
We took the road to Mochnignano Chiesa, drove round the corner, and into the square. Lovely house with the outside staircase, I said. Lovely 'for sale' sign on the door, he said. We fell in love on the spot.
It took us three months to achieve a compromesso (agreement to buy). Then a year to disentangle all the details and get approval for our plans. We worked with an architect who liaised with officials for us and put together a team of expert craftsmen for the renovations.
Work started on the roof in November 2002, and by March 2003 the cantina was ready for us to camp in. Between April and July 2003 our workmen transformed the house, so that in August we were able to hold an inaugurazione (housewarming) for our new friends and neighbours.
Since then we’ve been adding the finishing touches that make the house our Italian home – and tackling the garden which will always be a work in progress!
Above: before and after restoration