Thursday 13 October 2011

Head for the hills to find value for money, fresh air and community spirit

Sue Childs, a teaching assistant from Reigate, Surrey, has the best of both worlds (England & Italy-Umbria) with a 3,250-square foot apartment in a renovated 400-year-old olive mill at Rancale in Umbria. Her two-bedroom apartment, one of eight restored properties, was bought last May for £250,000. Now, it is valued at more than £360,000.
'Just because we are in rural Italy, that doesn't mean we can't get to lots of places,' insists Sue, who is in her late 40s. 'We have lovely vineyards and walled towns nearby.'
Her three children aged 23, 20 and 17, love taking photos of old railway stations and discovering small local bars and cafÈs. Umbertide is the nearest big town, a 15-minute drive, with ten restaurants and other services.

Getting there is simple too. Sue flies from Stansted to Perugia, a two-hour flight. 'If I leave early in the morning, I am in my apartment by midday.'
Paul Belcher, managing director of Ultissimo Ltd is selling the three remaining homes at Rancale from £240,000. 'The coast gets busy in peak season with tourists, but loses its soul in the winter. Restaurants are open year-round near Rancale, which has more of a community, he says. 'Often, the Italian coastline is spoilt,' says Roger Coombes from Cluttons Italy. 'During the Mussolini era, train lines were placed close to the beach and concrete motorways run alongside.'

He is selling a restored rambling five-bedroom farmhouse with an outbuilding that could be converted into a guesthouse. It's set among rolling vineyards and olive groves and has views towards Orvieto.
'The price is £770,000 and the owner will negotiate further for a quick sale. You need to spend about £85,000 to finish off the exterior and the garden, but this would be an investment that would bump up the value to more than £1 million.'

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Amanda Knox verdict is not universally welcomed!

I'm completely convinced that Amanda Knox participated in the murder of Meredith Kercher. The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. They kept telling everyone a pack of lies!! Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police in 2007. She accused an innocent man, Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn't recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. A powerful lobbying campaign by her family played a big part in changing perceptions of Knox from the promiscuous "Foxy Knoxy" of early media reports and the cold-blooded portrayed by prosecutors. She's not an angel is she?

Monday 3 October 2011


If Italy were a dartboard, the city of Perugia would most likely be its bull’s-eye. Equidistant from Florence and Rome in the bucolic, central Italian region of Umbria, Perugia is an enchanting hilltop city with a compact historic center that is a rambling maze of medieval streets. Although many associate Perugia with the controversial murder trial of the American Amanda Knox, this forward-thinking city maintains a friendly appeal. In 2008, an eco-friendly high-tech light rail line called the MiniMetrĂ² made its debut, zipping visitors into the city center from outer areas and keeping its historic streets mostly car-free. Instead, the streets jam with visitors during two popular annual events: a summer jazz festival that attracts the music world’s biggest acts, and Eurochocolate, a huge autumnal chocolate festival that this year runs Oct. 14 to 23.