We have a New Renovation Project!

Yes, we do! We do have a new renovation project! In Pizzo! Again!

I don't know where to start, I don't even know how it happened. I was against it. We just had enjoyed our first summer in our palazzo - how could I look at another house?! It felt like I would betray our beloved baby! - Which sounds stupid of course, especially to men.

And it was men - my husband and Angelo, his father - who layed eyes on a new property. I looked at it once, I thought it was overpriced - and refused to discuss any further. The more they showed interest the more I was against it.

Of course we would not give up / sell our palazzo. We would realize a new project for a third party - for sale. Or at least for rent.

But you don't have to have studied economics to make a simple calculation: purchase price + project costs roughly = I declared the project for unmarketable. Full stop. End of story.

Well, well. You see, we have a project, the men won.

The truth is: Angelo NEEDS another project!

He loves to supervise these kind (and much bigger) projects. That was his job for decades. He enjoys
DIY flooring, painting, craftsmen work. However, since there is not much more to do in our home, Palazzo Pizzo, he got bored. Our visitors can testify that Angelo appeared every morning to just fix something. (Of course we are lucky and thankful for these quick fixes!)

But now, he gets a whole new construction site all for his own! Well, not now, really. The project has not started yet. We don't even have the layout finally defined or decided on the contructors. (But we already got a friendly letter from the lawyer of our neighbour who has never met us, warning us about any changes in general. Seems to be a popular way in Pizzo to greet new neighbours).

Anyway, after my first resistance to the project, I seem to slowly get into the mood for renovation again. It is strange though, to do it for a "third party". Meaning, I don't want to get involved emotionally too much, since this casa (no, no more palazzo) will not be ours to live in... does that make sense?

We are not professional interior designers (although we would love to), so I wonder how one feels when doing that job for a customer? How much passion and commitment do you put into a project? And how does it feel to leave the keyes for someone else? Any comments?

I guess, it depends on the customer, the briefing, the budget. Since our "customer" is a future, to be defined, customer, we have to do it the way WE like it, however with a closer eye on the budget.

Since our last visit to Pizzo this April, I am more curious about the new project. Last Sunday, I came across a book with a stunning Sicilian casa. I love these hand painted blue window cornici. Paint costs not much and Angelo enjoys painting... blue especially, remember?... I showed him these pages via skype the same evening. I think, he likes it. So here is my first idea for our new project:

"Casa Grotta" by William Brockschmidt in Modica, Sicily
Source: Designers Abroad  (also in my BookStore)

I will document the new project in my blog under the label Casa delle Grazie. So, here we go, the project has a name!


Follow Palazzo Pizzo's board Palazzo Pizzo NEW Project on Pinterest.


What you need to know when buying property in Italy

"Missing building licenses and faulty cadastral registers („registro immobiliare”) can change the dream of a holiday residence into a nightmare. German home loan banks (Bausparkassen) are warning of pitfalls especially in Southern Italy."

In this post I partly translated an article that I found online via Financial Time Deutschland, 2004. I deem it necessary for interested property buyers to know some Italian specialties:

"Real estate in the Southern Italian provinces of Apulia, Campania and Calabria is still offered at good prices. The problem in these provinces is that often houses have been built without building license.

Nowadays, the authorities are controlling more strictly the building licences. Is a license missing or falsified, the owner needs to pay penalty or - worst case - demolition is requested. In consequence some owners try to sell quick and at attractive prices.
Therefore German home loan banks are warning of buying Italian property that is located South of Rome, and they do not accept these properties as security for a loan.

Deficient Cadastral registers in South Italy

Even if a house was legally built, there could be problems for the buyer, because the cadastral registers in many South Italian communities are insufficiently managed. Often encumbrances or partition of a property are not recorded. A perfect flawless cadastral register is no guarantee, that the buyer is buying the whole property or that it is encumbrance free.

Licensing Requirements prohibit modification or extension

Other problems might occur when buying a rustico in Italy. In some communities exists licensing requirements that prohibit that old farm houses can be modified or extended. It is recommended to get a lawyer or architect who should check before acquiring a property, if a) the building is in line with any building license and b) if the planned modifications or extensions are allowed. The German consumer protection recommends: You should not alone rely on the statements made by the owner who wants to sell or the real estate agent."

Details about Italian land register systems

In Italy are existing two different systems of land registration or cadastral registration. This has an historical background. While in some Northern provinces the principle of the 'constituent publicity' is in place, in all other Italian provinces the French tradition of land registration is in place.

1. The first system, the principle of 'constituent publicity' from 1929 means that the registration of a property at the land registry is legally binding. If you are registered as owner you are the owner by law. This is comparable with the principles of land registration in Austria and Germany.

2. However in the rest of Italy the actual system is based on the duty of cadastral registration without 'constituent publicity'. The registration has no healing effect when the transfer of property has deficiencies. Only by 'adverse possession' the deficiency can be cured. The period for adverse possession is 20 years (Art. 1158 Codice Civile), in case of good faith 10 years (Art. 1159 Codice Civile).

Therefore the buyer's notary and lawyer should do an intensive research about ownership and possible encumbrances or partition of the property by going back 20 years !

Financial Time Deutschland, 2004

  1. Italian land register law by Maître Giampettro Danieli & Rechtsanwalt Dr. Götz-Sebastian Hök