Our big fat Renovation Project: Palazzo Pizzo

All began in 2006 when we were falling in love with an over 200 year old house on a cliff in Pizzo (Calabria), in the South of Italy.
For several reasons it took us five years to renovate and decorate the palazzo.
It's now our beautiful European home base, away from our expat home in Asia.

Here are some milestones from our project:

How we got the palazzo? - about having a dream in summer 2006
Facade - before and after - photos from above
Facade - before and after - photos from front and side
Facade - before and after - photos from the Sea

Before and After Photos - all "before and after" posts show the long way we came

Fanfare! - the renovation starts with good vibes in November 2007

online renovation - how to deal with a long distance project
My crazy tile mix for the kitchen - turns out sensational!

Now I have to live with this - the "mistakes" we made
Maybe the biggest shock - the struggle with a TV antenna
Popular posts about everything bathroom and kitchen
Resource links - my file for resources (international, Italian and local)

Restoring - the whole documentation of the renovation progress
Press: The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune feature our renovation project in the article "Expatriate Bloggers chronicle details of Home Renovation"

The Guest Residence - the vaulted cellar of the palazzo with its private garden terrace became a pleasant guest residence which we are letting to vacationers. 
Visit our "Best of" Photo Gallery  for more impressions

Palazzo Pizzo logo 2006-2013
Palazzo Pizzo logo since 09/2013

An Adventrue begins - Ein Abenteur beginnt

We were sitting in the gelateria Belvedere and enjoying a tartuffo ice cream. - Pizzo, what a nice little town! - We always love to come here for a walk in the piazza and then sit down in one of the many bars.

To have an apartment here with a little roof terrace and sea view - that would be something!, we were saying .... and dreaming.

"By the way, Mimmo," we asked the ice cream gelatiere of the third (or forth?) generation,
"do you know anybody who is selling a nice appartment with sea view around here?"

He was showing us a palazzo, a building, near the piazza and pointed to the roof. The owner's name he had forgotten. Just then a men pushing a bicycle came along the alley, and he asked him. The men with the bicycle recommended to contact the lady of the tourist agency. She also works as a real estate agent in this village.

This is about how the story started.

A few weeks later,  we became owner - not of an appartment with a roof terrace - but of an over 200 year old entire palazzo. This really wasn't planned at all. But the house has a roof terrace - and sea view form many rooms. It is located in the historic center of Pizzo, on the edge of a cliff. It is a breathtaking 54 meters above the sea. A dream!

And now the adventure start. The house is not only over 200 years old, it also was empty for over 10 years. It needed renovation desperately. The renovation project is subject of this blog.

palazzo (ital.) means translated not only "palace", but mainly "residential building" or "edifice". In our case it's the latter. Among us,  in italian language, we speak just of our casa, our "house". Our house has no specific name, as it has not much historic relevance. It is up to us how we call it. For the blog name we combined the word palazzo with the city of Pizzo to "Palazzo Pizzo". This would, however, not be appropriate as a name for our house, since in Pizzo there are many palazzi, of those some with historic relevance and names of their noble (pre)landlords.

The first post was written in German language:

Wir sassen in der Gelateria Belvedere und genossen unser Tartuffo Eis. Was fuer ein herrliches Staedtchen, dieses Pizzo.

Hier ein Appartment mit Dachterrasse und Blick aufs Meer, das waere was.

"Sag mal, Mimmo", fragten wir den Eismann der dritten (oder vierten?) Generation,
"kennst Du jemanden, der hier ein nettes Appartment mit Meeresblick verkauft?"

Er fuehrte uns zu einem palazzo, Wohnhaus, unweit der piazza und zeigte zu der Dachwohunung hinauf. Der Name des Besitzers war ihm allerdings entfallen. Ein Mann, der ein Fahrrad schob, kam in diesem Moment die Gasse entlang und Mimmo fragte ihn, ob er den Besitzer kenne. Der Mann mit dem Fahrrad riet uns, die Dame vom Touristikbuero zu konsultieren. Die sei im Nebenjob Maklerin.

So in etwa fing die Geschichte an.

Wenige Wochen spaeter waren wir aber nicht im Besitzer eines Appartment mit Dachterasse, sondern eines ueber 200 Jahre alten palazzo. Das war nicht geplant - aber eine Dachterrasse haben wir - und Meeresblick  von vielen Zimmern. Das Haus steht atemberaubend auf einem Felsen, etwa 54 Meter hoch ueber dem Meer. Traumhaft!

Und nun beginnt das Abenteuer. Das Haus ist nämlich nicht nur über 200 Jahre alt, es stand auch 10 Jahre leer und ist schwer renovierungsbedürftig. Von dem Renovierungsprojekt handelt dieser blog.

palazzo (ital.) bedeutet uebersetzt nicht nur "Palast", sonden vorallem "Wohnhaus" oder "Gebaeude". In unserem Fall ist es letzteres. Wir sprechen allerdings unter uns im italienischen von casa, also "Haus". Unser Haus hat keinen bestimmten Namen, weil es in Pizzo keine groessere historische Bedeutung hat. Es ist deshalb uns ueberlassen, wie wir es nennen. Fuer den Blog Namen haben wir das Wort palazzo mit dem Staedtchen Pizzo zu "Palazzo Pizzo" zusammengesetzt. Dies waere jedoch als offizieller Name fuer unser Haus nicht angebracht, da es in Pizzo viele palazzi gibt, davon einige mit historischer Bedeutung und Namen ihrer adligen (Vor)Besitzer.