Who would have thought that, just three years into my idyllic new life in Italy, I would already be selling up and moving house!
Having transported myself lock, stock and barrel from the west of Ireland in 2013, to my perfect apartment in the Euganean Hills south of Padova in the Veneto, the last thing I expected was to be moving on so soon.
When I arrived in Italy, I had closed down my interior design consultancy in Galway and moved here to write full time. I had been on my own for too many years, my priority having been to raise my children and run my business as profitably as possible. When 2012 dawned, I decided to sell my lovely home on Galway Bay, close my business and move to warmer climes to begin a brand new life. My children were all reared and managing perfectly well without me, so with no ties, I was ready for a new beginning. Alone.
I found my new apartment in the Veneto through Italy Magazine. I had spent a great deal of time on line at night looking at countless properties. During visits to Italy I kept searching for the perfect home and finally, there is was. Within a week I had flown to Venice, seen the apartment and made my offer, which – after some minor haggling – was accepted. I was over the moon.
Living alone and loving the countryside, I wanted a home that was not isolated yet in a picturesque location. I felt that if I lived in a city apartment – not knowing anybody – I would quickly become anonymous and isolated. On the other hand, had I bought a home in a quiet rural area, I could have faced the same problem. I did not want to be without social contact and wanted to get to know my neighbours and become absorbed into Italian life. My apartment was the perfect place for all of those things, being in a small community with an outside terrace from which I could see – and be seen by – my neighbours and passers-by, able to exchange greetings with all and sundry.
My home is actually a large modern apartment/duplex on two floors. I have the main ground floor and downstairs, on the lower ground floor, there is a big sunny guest room with its own en suite shower room and a small private terrace. Above me lives a young Italian couple, who have a completely separate entrance further up the road.
This is a three-house development with two apartments/duplexes in each house. There is enough space around them not to feel that they are too close. All have independent entrances and gardens in a rural setting; the little hamlet of Faedo with a population of less than 400 people. It is truly unusual to find any new property here in the Euganean Hills which is a national park with huge restrictions on development. Three of the duplexes are occupied by Italians, two are occupied by very nice British couples who spend three or four months of the year here and the sixth is occupied by me. In fact, all the neighbours are very kind and friendly.
The apartment/duplex is about 130 sq. metres, so it’s quite spacious. It comprises a very large living room with an oak-beamed ceiling. This room combines a sitting, dining area and kitchen. The seating area contains a big open fireplace, where I burn logs during the winter months making the apartment extremely cosy.
Most of the lovely wooden windows have mosquito netting installed and all have green outer shutters. There is a good size terrace in front of the sitting room looking south down the valley. Beautiful for having lunch or a sundowner. I have planted extensively over the past three summers and there are lots of roses and a hedge of jasmine. The garden is quite a decent size, divided into two separate strips where there is grass and lots of indigenous trees – including two bountiful plum trees.
There are three bedrooms, including the guest bedroom downstairs. The master bedroom faces both south and west with two windows. It’s a gorgeously bright room. One of the bedrooms is used as a study. There is a dressing room and a storeroom and a large square hall, which could also be made into a study if the third bedroom were required. The master shower room is large. The entire apartment is light and airy with all front windows facing south down the valley with lovely views.
There is air-conditioning and gas fired central heating.
All around the house are walking and cycling trails among the vineyards, forests and olive groves. There are many restaurants and agriturismi close by with fabulous food and wine. It is truly a foodie part of the world and amazingly inexpensive to eat out locally. You can get a full dinner with four courses and wine for about €30 per head in most restaurants.
A ten minute drive takes you to the railway station in Monselice where you can get a direct train to Padova (20 minutes) or Venice (45 minutes) about every half an hour. There are several supermarkets within 15 minutes’ drive, in the very pretty, historical town of Este where there is a huge Saturday market in the piazza. There is a brand new and highly efficient hospital between Este and Monselice – about 20 minutes’ drive away. The beautiful little town of Arqua Petrarca is only 10 minutes away, along with many, many beautiful villas and gardens.
I was perfectly content with my life in the Euganean Hills. I finished writing my interior design handbook and handed it over to the publishers. I started to do research for a romantic novel set in Venice. I began blogging. It was an interesting time; meeting my Italian neighbours for lunch and aperitivi, finding out where to buy good wine and olive oil and learning my way around the Veneto in my brand new Fiat 500.
After eight months of settling in, I decided to fulfil a long-term ambition: to visit all the old Palladian villas dotted around the Veneto. I have always been a great fan of the architect Palladio and I decided to visit Villa Poiana where I met a widower of similar vintage. Like me, he is a travel writer and blogger, with identical interests. My whole life changed there and then and we have been together ever since. Now we have purchased a new home in Puglia, just outside Ostuni, and are heading south to make a new life there. It’s all very exciting and I am extremely happy and content.
Read full details of the Euganean Hills HERE.
A happy postscript to the story is the fact that Tom and I got married last week here in the Euganean Hills. My new husband is to be found on www.thepalladiantraveler.com .
Euganean Hills, Veneto, Italy
PS. 8th August, 2016 I exchanged contracts with a lovely and adventurous Italian/American lady who has agreed to purchase my home. I am sure she will pick up the baton and carry on with the happy and healthy lifestyle I have discovered here in the Euganean Hills. Good luck Annette! 🙂
Orna — Your home shows beautifully. I’m sure you’ll have many suitors!
Thank you Tom. Fingers crossed! 🙂
I wish you and your new beau every happiness life has to offer. You write beautifully, and I hope you will continue to share that gift with the world.
Howard Hellams Columbia, South Carolina USA
Thank you for your very kind comments. 🙂
Reblogged this on The Palladian Traveler and commented:
My friend and fellow blogger/travel writer, Orna O’Reilly, is selling her little Shangri La in the Euganean Hills in the Veneto of northeastern Italy. If you’re interested in living “la dolce vita” among vineyards and olive groves, then this property might be just right for you.
Bellisimo! What is your asking price ?
€230,000. Negotiable. 🙂
What an exciting new adventure for you, Orna! Best of luck in Puglia. I’m so sorry we won’t have the opportunity to meet up here in the north before you leave. I’m sure you’ll sell your home in the blink of an eye. It is just stunning.
Buona fortuna Orna!
Thanks for the good wishes Rachel. You never know when we bloggers will meet up, or where! Fingers crossed that we’ll meet up before too long. We expect to be here for another few months. 🙂
You seem happy Orna! Buona fortuna in Puglia!
Thanks Martin. Yes…..very happy in an unexpected way. 🙂
What a gorgeous property – and a great story! Especially finding love and beginning a new adventure together. I hope you sell well and enjoy you new life in Puglia!
Thank you Wynne. I love this apartment and had planned to stay forever. You just never know what’s around the corner! 😉
O Orna, your life for the past few years is like a fairy tale and now with a happy ending. Your apt is divine, thank you for all the lovely photos. I wish you so much happiness with your new life. Puglia is a gorgeous part of Italy. I hope that you continue to blog as I always enjoy your stories.All the very best. I will be in Italy in less than 3 weeks.I am so happy Lyn
Thanks Lyn. A fairy story indeed….I was the biggest sceptic around and can’t believe how my life is shaping up. I won’t stop writing or blogging, it’s in my blood. Where are you visiting in Italy? It would be great to meet up sometime. But enjoy your trip and keep reporting back. 🙂
HI Orna, I am flying in to Rome and going directly to Lucca. I will stay in Lucca and the area for about 2 weeks. I will visit Orvieto and then play the rest of my 5 weeks by ear. I will be back on line with my blog stories then also.
Wishing you both all the best and I hope our paths will cross somewhere in Italy, someday!! In bocca al lupo!! X
Thanks very much Liz. I do hope our paths will cross soon….we just keep missing each other! Maybe in Puglia, who knows?! 🙂
Glad to read the backstory of what I already guessed. I wish we could buy your house, but instead I’ll just with the two of you the best together!
You’re very astute, as I remarked earlier! Thank you very much for your kind wishes. It’s a big adventure ahead for us, without a doubt!. 🙂
And, I have no doubt, a rewarding one. Perhaps one day we’ll get over to Italy and take you both out for a congratulatory drink or two.
Hi Orna its Lorraine Kate’s Scottish friend on the Sunshine Coast. Congratulations on all that is happening in your life. Your apartment is beautiful and your blog. Kate keeps me up to date and I am so happy for you. Hoping to see you back in Australia one day. Love and best wishes and all the best in your new home with Tom. Xx
Hi Lorraine. Lovely to hear from you all the way from the Sunshine Coast. Thank you so much for your good wishes. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I would love to visit Australia again, but not until we are well settled in Puglia. So much to do over the next few months. Love, Orna xx
Dear Orna: Beautiful words and pictures. Worked with Tom for a number of years and must say I’m happy almost to the point of tears for both of you! Wishing you both more and more happiness to come. Hope to meet you one day! Love from Janice in Colorado
Thank you very much Janice. I have heard about you many times from Tom. (All good!) I am touched by your heartfelt wishes. I would love to meet you some day too. Keep in touch. Orna x
What a gorgeous post, I want your house and your writing life and your very happy ending! You got every girls dream. Go sister!
Thank you! Believe me, I never thought that my life was going to turn out so well at this stage. I had resigned myself to spending my autumn years alone with my books, camera, walking shoes and laptop for company. And then – out of the blue – along came Mr. Right on his white charger!! I’m feeling extremely lucky these days and absolutely appreciate my good fortune. 🙂
Congratulations! What an exciting new adventure.
Thank you Stephanie. Exciting times indeed!
Your home is so lovely. And the photos of the surrounding area are exquisite. Buona fortuna on finding the perfect buyer. I couldn’t be more excited for you as you move to the next adventure!
Thank you so much Margie. I truly appreciate your comments. I do hope we will meet up again on your next Italian trip. Be well! Orna xx
What a wonderful story Orna. I like you found a widower of similar vintage. We married ten days ago in Slane castle and plan to live happily ever after. Congratulations and wish you a lifetime of happiness.Trish Crerar now Trish Keoghxx
That’s brilliant Trish! Diana told me about it and I was absolutely delighted at your news. We are hoping to do the same as soon as our paperwork is in order. Hopefully soon. Glad you like my story. Maybe see you next trip back to Ireland. Orna
I am sure your home will sell really quickly Orna – you clearly havent lost touch with your interior decorating talents – best of luck with the move – but dont forget to write that book – love Penny
Thanks Penny. The book is slow as real life intervened…..big time! But I won’t lose touch and hope to see you again before too long. X
Such a lovely place Orna! Your time has been wonderfully spent and lived in Italy….and now you are off to more adventures. I wish you all the best.
Thank you so much Susan. As you know, I love living here in Italy and am very happy to have met someone who truly appreciates the same things about this country as I do. Our adventures together should be interesting, as we continue blogging. I do hope to meet up with you again on one of your trips to Puglia. Keep me posted. xx
Will do Orna, thank you! I will look forward to reading more of your updates as you settle in.
I just had to wish you well on your new adventure! I’ve been following your blog since you made the leap from Ireland and your enthusiasm for your new life is palpable. Your photos are wonderful and I’ve enjoyed your special perspective of life in Italy. I particularly love the photo of you in your sweet little Fiat–especially since your photographer is reflected in your sunnies as well as in your glowing smile! Love that! All the best to you both– 🙂
It’s responses like yours that make blogging worthwhile. I was truly warmed by your comments. To be sure, I am enjoying my life now; a big change from having been alone for so long, I can tell you! I’m delighted you like my photographs and my general perspective on life here in Italy, which I absolutely love. Thank you very much indeed for your good wishes. Orna 🙂
I am so happy that you have found new happiness and are about to begin a wonderful new adventure. But sad that you are leaving my beloved Veneto! You were an amazing source in information about an area I don’t know too well but have been inspired to visit. That could equally apply to Ostuni so looking forward to reading your posts from there! In bocca al lupo!
Thank you very much Luca. We are sad to be leaving the Veneto too, but happened to see our perfect home in Puglia and couldn’t resist the lure of super-mild winters and the very laid-back lifestyle in the Ostuni area. Hopefully, you will be inspired to visit the Valle d’Itria too and will find it has its own individual attractions, which are very different to those in the Veneto. We love both areas and will miss the Euganean Hills in particular.
Hi Orna. I have just read your lovely story. I remarried four years ago aged 75! We are very happy. I remember you so well in less happy times and am so happy for you. Kate Okuno now Hall
My goodness Kate! A voice from the past. I am so happy that you are now happily remarried and I also remember you very well indeed. It seems to me that one should never give up. I am now happier than at any time in my life, which is quite incredible; Tom and I got married just yesterday here in Italy. Very best wishes. Orna
I’ll find you on twitter and RT this posting. Lovely story.
Thank you Roisin. I’ve waited SO long to meet Mr. Right and get my life onto a happy level. Slogan: Never Give Up!
Such a lovely happy story. Congratulations. I love the single aperol spritz at the beginning and 2 spritz at the end.
Thanks Lyn. Yes, I liked that little touch myself! All good fun; in fact, since I met Tom life has been incredibly happy. The future looks promising right now. 🙂
As you already know, I’m so very happy for both of you. I’ll enjoy keeping up with your new lives on your blogs and raise a glass in congratulations!
Thank you so much Janet. It has been the happiest of times for Tom, me and our respective families, now combined. We hope to be blogging from Puglia by the autumn. Cin cin! Orna
What a story! It would make a great movie! I am so thrilled seeing your smiling faces which cannot hide your happiness!! Best wishes and a long life together!❤️
Thank you so much Margie. It has been a perfect few years and we are absolutely delighted to be married. Hey! You never know what will happen when you start to follow someone’s blog. Who knew when I signed up to follow http://www.thepalladiantraveler.com what was just around the corner! ❤
Auguri! If you’re in Galatina, please drop in to Percuoco a Santa Caterina, say hello to Mario (and Katina if she’s there) and enjoy an excellent meal!
That looks lovely! I certainly will later this year when we move down. For now it’s speedy site visits for 2 days at a time to see progress, talk to the builder and so on. No time for expeditions, but soon. Thank you for the recommendation and auguri! 🙂
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Congratulations to you and Tom!