Fiona Duff: I’m not buying into Tuscan good life

Cortona in Tuscany
Cortona in Tuscany
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So, here we are on our annual trip to Tuscany to visit some friends who have a gaff here.

Every time we visit, the idea of doing something similar crosses our minds. At the bottom of the hill where we are staying is a little stone building which has been on sale for about 12 years.

At first the owners of this shack, which has neither water nor electricity, wanted 100,000 euros.

Apparently, this is the sort of way it is done here. No one gets a surveyor round to do a report, they just think of a figure (maybe double it) and then sit around for someone mad enough to come along and buy it. Or at least have a bit of a haggle and settle for something perhaps a bit nearer the true value.

To be honest, said our friends, they’d probably sell it for about 20,000-30,000 euros, and it could be done up nicely with space for a small swimming pool.

Of course, there are two problems with this – the first is that I don’t actually have a spare 30,000 euros in my back pocket to buy it, never mind refurbish it to the most basic living requirement.

Second, it appears that dealing with local planning people is a flaming nightmare. They pile tax on every decision and can make one’s life a total misery if you want to make the slightest change. So, if I had the money, I wonder if I would want the hassle of dealing with Italian authorities.

In addition to them being a pain in the bahookie, what is going to happen to Brits who own properties in Europe when we are no long part of the EU?

No doubt there is something in the Brexit small print which no one has noticed as of yet. Perhaps those who know don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.

In meantime, we have the best of both worlds. We have a lovely place to visit and no hassle or expense in being able to do so on a regular basis.