The Beast from the East has left us!
It’s been an exciting time to say the least.
A week ago I travelled to Rocchetta Palafea and Vigna Rocchetta in order to sign the final paperwork with our muratore who will be overseeing our barn conversion. Turns out I was also there to pay some unexpected construction work taxes (that's a story for another time). And I was also hoping to witness the start of the build which I have been looking forward to.
Traveling light with jeans and sneakers, 6 days continuous snowfall and cold weather was not quite the trip to Italy I had in mind! These were, in fact, some of the coldest and snowiest days Piemonte has seen this late in the recent years, and unfortunately, this meant a delayed start up - frustrating after months of planning. Nonetheless, as I write this, work has finally begun on the guest house.
As a loyal AVIS customer, I was grateful when they kindly upgraded my car to an Audi A3. Unfortunately, AVIS fit their rental cars with all-year tires which were completely useless on snow. Suffice to say, I now finally know how to fit snow chains on a car. Next time I'll hopefully be able to do it in less than an hour, and without the bloody knuckles :)
The Tardito family, the former owners of the house, were very helpful and fired up the heating 3-4 days prior to my arrival to take the chill off the property. The internal temperature of our house had slowly risen from 2 degrees to 10 by the time I arrived.
And with the help of a second fire in the living room, it was a cosy, comfortable 15 degrees by the time I was ready to leave for Norway again. These old stone houses certainly keep the warmth out in the summer, but they are extremely slow to heat up in the winter – reassuring me that our decision to install an underfloor heating system is the right one.
First step of getting underfloor heating in - Video: Enrico Pistone
Shortly after arriving I was snowed in! Even snow chains can only do so much! But you will be relieved to know that I had been to the grocery store and, more importantly, to our wine maker, Ignazio, to pick up some cases of wine. So, when the snow hit big time, I was able to enjoy my wine with pasta cooked over the open fire. It was certainly an adventure and has definitely brought me closer to nature which reminds me of the goal and feel we are looking to achieve with Vigna Rocchetta, of course in a comfier, warmer, more relaxed setting of strolling through vineyards and gorgeous countryside - but a closeness to nature all the same :)
There is still some snow left, and although last night we had a couple more centimetres, the builders are back on the site, and have had no problems removing the snow with their huge machines. The work on the ground floor has begun, and demolition is underway to get to the proper ceiling height for installing the underfloor heating and cooling system (not a moment too soon!)
Hopefully it is full speed ahead from here, and we are still on track for our August completion date.