HOW TO BUY A HOUSE IN ITALY (LIGURIA) AND PRAY ST. GEORGE (OR ST. EDMUND)>
HOW TO BUY A HOUSE IN ITALY (LIGURIA) AND PRAY ST. GEORGE (OR ST. EDMUND)
Once upon a time there was an Englishman in Liguria like Stings music ‘Englishman in New York’.
One could ask the question,what the hell is an Englishman doing in this Province?
Perhaps he is attracted to the fact that Genoa has the same flag of St George as England : the red cross on a white background. There is historical/geographical tradition as this flag was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart during the Crusades from that of St George ,patron saint of Genoa. The English in due course adopted St George as their patron saint and the said flag, abandoning their earlier patron the poor and less marketable St Edmund!!
However this fact or the flag had no attraction to our Englishman.
He was attracted to the Ligurian for its beautiful coast, landscape, food, wine, hills, sea diving, olive tress,focaccia,pesto, farinata, ‘piano piano’ lifestyle inter alia. Consequently he decided to purchase a small dream house in the world famous UNESCO region of Cinque Terre or also as Riviera Dei Fiori. Staircase to a hillside sprang to mind.
What STEPS did he have to do to acquire this house in this paradise location:
Inspect the house, agree the price and the buy the house with the use of an Italian estate agent, Geometra and Notary. Then take possession of the keys and start enjoying life.
Everything was going splendidly until one late morning when he was relaxing on his sun lounger observing the Liguarian sea, he noticed some movement at a distance to the gate entrance of his Staircase to heaven vineyard. He was relaxed as he imagined, as it was Easter time, it was a loving/kind Italian neighbour bringing him a Pasqualina cake with a glass of Vermentino wine to share friendship.
Alas his fantasy soon evaporated. In front of him stood three beautifully clad uniformed Carabinieri men with serious looks to their faces.
He was politely advised to seek independent legal advice from an Avvocato to defend him in Criminal and Environmental proceedings.
Shock horror. Our now helpless and desperate Englishman started to become anxious wondering how could this nightmare happen.
After all the Estate agent had recommended him to the best Geometra in town and who was also a good friend of the local Sindaco ( the Mayor). This Geometra, had prior to the purchase, told our Englishman in a very relaxed manner that it was fine to develop and use the outbuilding of a Barn as it already had the necessary permission.
The Englishman improved the state of this Barn and built a small bathroom and put a sewer system so that he could use the Barn as a separate dwelling.
The Geometra had said no problem as everyone here does that to small shed/stone buildings.
Our Englishman feeling he was ‘welshed’ wanted to know who had reported his ‘improvements’ to the Authorities. Who was the Spy?!!
Our Englishman later learned through local gossip that the answer was simple. A powerful Geomatra in any Ligurian village or town always has an enemy/rival who waits for the slightest misstep and then to report this to the local authorities (Comune and Procura).
He was further told if that was not the case the other Spy could have been a jealous neighbour.
Our Englishman thought, I should not have relied on the estate agent and chosen a Geometra and Builder of my own choosing. Alas too late. All sorts of anxious thoughts was now going through our Englishman’s mind. Consequently his dream turned into a nightmare and the Englishman is now wanting to sell the blighted house (staircase to hell) and return to England and start a movement to relinquish the flag of St George and reappoint St Edmund as the patron saint of England.
The moral of the story – every thing has a payback. When the English took the flag of St George from the Genoese to defend themselves from the ‘pirates’ little did they know that often the ‘pirates’ could be the Genoese themselves!!! That could be the sting in the tail.!!
So do not assume anything when you are in Liguria. First seek the advice of a recognised lawyer (Avvocato).
Avv. Carlo Bottino
Note: this was written with the help of our Englishman by a Ligurian terribly in love with his Province even though he is frightened by his people.