Have you ever thought about buying and renovating a house in Italy? Or how about starting a B&B? Get the inside scoop from Dutch expat Stef Smulders in his entertaining book, Living in Italy: The Real Deal – How to Survive the Good Life.
Stef and his retired partner Nico packed up their dog and their belongings to start a B&B in the Oltrepo Pavese wine country of northern Italy. As you can probably imagine, it was not an easy thing to do and of course, everything did not go smoothly!
During their adventures, Stef wrote a blog to document all the interesting things that happened along the way, from what was supposed to be a 6 month period of study at an Italian university to their decision to buy and renovate a house and all the adventures that went along with it. He’s woven these little stories together into a book.
Stef gives the reader an often humorous step-by-step account of house hunting, buying the house, doing the remodeling, and the trials and tribulations of adapting to a new culture and everyday life in a small Italian town. He introduces us to a number of interesting characters they meet along the way as they overcome one obstacle after another and a number of situations that are often strange for people from other countries such as the Italian bureaucracy, health care, shopping, and even eating.
The book also gives the reader an inside look at one of Italy’s beautiful off-the-beaten-track areas that has plenty of things to do but sees few foreign tourists. His descriptions transport you to the vineyards, little towns, and restaurants of the Oltrepo Pavese and maybe will even make you think about exploring the area yourself.
So were they successful in their quest to open a bed and breakfast? Find out for yourself at Villa I Due Padroni. Wondering how they picked the name? You’ll find that out in the book, too.
Read more from Stef on his Italy Expat blog that includes info about Milan and Italian food and culture.
Find more book reviews and books about Italy.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of the book by the publisher, however that did not influence this article.
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