The Big Decision, Part One

It was Ruggero, the countryman in the family, to first fancy the idea of moving permanently from the countryside to the hills. He told me his idea and, well, in less than ten seconds I decided it was worth trying.

We were looking for a country house away from the noisy world and with plenty of room, where we could settle permanently, invite and host friends overnight, welcome tourists in the summer by offering a secluded spot of relaxation surrounded by nature, a perfect base for exploring this beautiful Oltrepò Pavese.

We wanted to invest in nature, wellness and hospitality.

[cml_media_alt id='116']Oltrepo Pavese[/cml_media_alt]
the map of Oltrepò Pavese and the properties visited
The search took longer than a year. In his spare time Roger visited websites and estate agencies, collected information, visited houses, explored renovation solutions, contacted architects, requested estimates. In his dreams he destroyed and rebuilt farmhouses, adapted spaces, cultivated land, planted fruit trees.

From Oliva Gessi to Zavattarello, from Golferenzo to Montalto Pavese, from Godiasco to Ponte Nizza, he visited a vast part of the Oltrepò region. Some of the houses seemed promising and we visited them together.

We reduced it down to a short list of three houses.

We visited, we imagined, we dreamed, we hesitated. Two of the houses were very close to our dreams. The pictures of another house reminded us of the house of Mulino Bianco, a very popular brand from Italian/American pasta maker Barilla. This was our house. We made an offer.

It was July 2015, a year ago. The die was cast.

The purchase was then formalized a few months later, in October, but the die, the real one, was drawn when we decided to buy our “Mulino Bianco” (white mill), which later we called Oltrella Country House.

[cml_media_alt id='67']Oltrella house before the renovation[/cml_media_alt]
Oltrella House before the renovation
We were over the moon with delight and we decided to share the news with my brother right away. My brother, a real estate hunter for passion and a supporter of our project, was at the time blissfully amusing with his family at the seaside near Cecina, in Tuscany.

But this is another story… Want to hear it? Read on!