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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 6:57 AM No comments
A week of learning

We spent the last three days getting to know the area and the new house.  On the 15th we took a walk around the entire castle.  This time around we decided to take measurements of every wall in every room so we could see how much space we have for puzzle placement.

Wow is all I can say!  This place is simply amazing.  In Puzzle Palace, we had 2180 linear feet of shelving space.  The Castle has the possibility of having that and more.  We’ve only calculated the IPP room and with ceilings that are over 10 feet tall, George calculated that we have enough room for 105 IPP’s.  And that is only one section of one floor. This space takes up one large and two small rooms and will have over 1500 linear feet of shelving.  This set of rooms comes complete with a bedroom surrounded by puzzles.    

The main room here also has a lovely fireplace with a fresco of the family crest of the last owners of the castle. 

The mirror over the fireplace is as ancient as the castle.  While you can no longer see your image in the mirror, you can see the silvering coming through the glass.  Above this is an angel with a large amount of filigree on the wall.  

Every time we go upstairs, we see something we hadn’t seen before.  At the top of the steps to the Logia we have a fresco that is the city and surrounding area.  When we move in, we will hire a professional to come in and clean these frescos up and give them new life.

I was asked by a friend why we bought such an ugly old castle in Umbria rather than buying a beautiful Tuscan villa for a fraction of the cost.  The simple answer is we fell in love with the castle when we got to the dungeon, when we hit the first floor staircase and saw the stellated dodecahedron light, it deepened out desire to own this property, but when we hit the top floor, saw all of the space that we don’t have in our home and museum in Florida we were sold.  To make it even more of a sale, there was a puzzle of sorts on the wall.  

We have spent a great deal of time driving around the area and to be honest, I don't see much of a difference between here and Tuscany. What I see is that Tuscany is filled with tourists while Umbria is still unassaulted. As for the "better place for a better price" gone are the days of Under the Tuscan Sun and finding a lovely all finished place for a good price.  We have been looking since we've gotten here, and to be honest, we got a real bargain.  Well over 3 times the space for only double the cost.  Without land to take care of.  For us it is a real win.  

The city is a medieval town that has houses leaning against one another to form the concentric eclipses and 3 main squares. At one point in time, this was one of the most advanced forms of defense against attack.  The castle of Panicale is strategically located at the foot of Mount Petrarvella between Lake Trasimeno and the Nestore River.  Its roots go back to the Etruscans in the 7th century BCE. (I now need to study this bit of history!) Later it was conquered by a small number of Roman soldiers who survived the Battle of Trasimene which was won by Hannibal of Elephantine fame in 217.  (

More importantly today, it is a city filled with art and culture.  There are a number of sculptures scattered throughout the small city.  And by small I mean small.  The comune di Panicale has only 5,669 residents, but this includes 13 villages and hamlets.  Our small town has only around 50 households and many of those are only B&B residents.  

The town also boasts a theater where in the fall there will be an opera festival.  We shall continue the tradition of allowing the singers to use the first floor apartment at their leisure.  Across the road from us is the Museum of Tulle which also houses a magnificent sounding piano.  During the summer, there are 2 concerts a month put on. It’s wonderful to have the notes ride along the breeze and into our open windows. There are also 2 open air amphitheaters that I discovered on my walk the other day. I’ve yet to discover what these will be used for, but in time I will.  

So we chose this place because of a dungeon, a few light fixtures, and a puzzle on the wall.  We’ve come to really love it for the community.  George once told me he wanted to escape to Alaska and become a hermit.  Thank goodness I talked him out of that!  But then I realized as we take our (weekday) Sunday drives around the area that he has been granted his wish.  We truly are in the middle of no where.

Perugia is the nearest large town and it is 40 minutes away from us.  Not bad you say, but wait.  The entire trip is around those famous hairpin Italian hillside curves that have a speed limit of 50km the entire way.  Now for those of you that are doing the math, it’s only 18 km from here.  But….

There is a major shopping mall there, the apple store, good grocery stores, and you guessed it, another medieval castle. We have been focusing on that city to do our shopping and getting phones set up, etc.  It also has methane gas stations for the farting car that we rented.  Which by the way, we got a lesson in filling this week.  I’ve been going to full service stations because that was all I saw. This week I discovered self service methane stations.  

To get to our castle from anywhere at all, you need to take a very narrow road (in the rental car at least) up the hill in 1st gear.  The hills are steep, the corners are tight.  But it is now our home!

We sat down with Lorenzo earlier this week and obtained the keys to the castle.  He held back two that only he has until they move out which is fine with me. 

We had a good laugh as he brought out bucket after bucket of keys.  Most of which I must add were for the wardrobes that we prefer not to keep.  They take up too much space and have little storage inside them.  I am now officially the lady of the castle.  I hold all of the keys.  Mind, it’s not as many as you would think as they have changed all of the doors to be on the same key.  A very clever move considering how many outside doors we have.  

We made the final payment on the castle and now await the notary’s return from holiday so we can sign the final papers and move on.  When George did the wire transfer, we had a bit of a shock and are so glad the bank called.  He accidentally added an extra zero to the number!  

On a trip to Perugia one day last week, we were driving through Tavernella and spotted a place to purchase a pillow. We stopped in and while there, took a look at the kitchen set up that they had on display.  I loved it.  I hate the kitchen in the castle.  Well, this week we went back with blue prints of the house and set about ordering a plan for the kitchen.  Now not one to waste perfectly good appliances, I will have the kitchen from upstairs moved down to the first floor apartment. 

Current kitchen
Not bad for George’s workshop.  

And speaking of, his 3D printers will all be in the middle room of the apartment and the plan is to keep the back room a bedroom.  I’ve gone and looked at the other side of the connecting bathroom and it is also a small sitting room that we plan to make into another guest bedroom.  To make it useable, we will need to add a door to the bathroom.  When I asked about it. I was told there are no pipes or wires there and it won’t be a problem. Yipee!  We are in business.  

We also had a lesson in how to fill a farting car full of fuel.

It is no easy task. First you need to enter your card like back home, then the pump number.  There is only one payment location for however many pumps you have.  Next you hit the start button and run back to your vehicle to begin pumping.  Thankfully the machines are auto shut off, BUT, you have to then run back to the payment spot and hit the stop button or the next guy can come up and pump. 
Ouch!  I’ll not buy a farting car.   Today (21 August), we have spent a great deal of time looking for a vehicle that will fit our needs. But then we go back to that tax code thing and the circle goes on. 

We did look at another building close to ours that we may be interested in purchasing.  This one hasn’t been opened in over 10 years and we were warned.  Oh my!  It was used as a room to press wine.  Inside we found a lot of old bottles and 2 presses used to crush the skins. 

We also discovered a large concrete vat.  In the first room, there is plenty of room for a 'dirty' workshop.  Here’s hoping that we can get it.   Oh, and I forgot the weirdest part, inside we found our skeleton.  Sadly, it wasn’t human so I can’t have it jump out of a closet at Halloween.  It was a cat.  Although….

Our final bit of mundane learning was that of washing clothes.  Now I know you are thinking what?  You can’t wash clothes?  Of course I can, but the machine is in Italian and there is no dryer.  George finally managed to work it out while I made dinner.  Drying clothes is an entirely different kettle of fish.  We have a rack that they hang on.  By the time the next morning came around all but our jeans were dry.  Those I ended up hanging in the window.  When we finally move in, I will have that downstairs Jack and Jill bathroom partially turned into a laundry room complete with a dryer.  Hanging on those racks is for the birds.

Until next time, arrivederci mi amici. 

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here


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