Continuing from The Big Decision . . .
Before I knew it, I was on my way to catch my flight to Rome to begin my two week Southern Italian vacation. As I cleared customs and was reunited with my luggage, I instantly spotted my driver holding a sign with my name. Antonio took me just across the road to his Mercedes (illegally parked, of course) and whisked me down the autostrada to the Naples ferry port and my hydrofoil to Capri.
While in Positano, I had a little business to take care of – I needed to open a bank account at Banco di Napoli. Property Organizers had made arrangements with the local branch so we could conveniently handle this while in Positano. Property Organizers had already secured a Codice Fiscale for me, so securing an Italian bank account so I could transfer my money in to cover the purchase, was the last detail left. Oh, did I forget the most important thing? The other piece of business while in Positano was to meet my realtor and travel down to actually physically see Villa Velina, a detail most normal (normale) people would have handled before (prima) sending all those Euros for a deposit.
My time in Italy felt leisurely. The Monday after arriving in Positano, I made it a priority to get to the Banco to get my account opened. My contact there was Paolo and he immediately greeted me and invited me into his office. Once in, I could see he had a stack of account-opening documents in front of him. We exchanged greetings and small talk and Paolo asked me about the location of the property I was buying. I replied that it was in the Caselvelino area, about 1.5 hours to the south. Paolo began to shuffle the papers nervously and asked why I was opening the account in Positano, rather than closer to where my home would be. He spoke very good English. I explained that Property Organizers had arranged for this in Positano for my convenience because I was vacationing there. Paolo then continued to play with the papers and looked up at me and said “I have never opened an account for people who do not live in Positano and I don’t feel comfortable doing this”. I tried everything, including getting Property Organizers involved, but Paolo wouldn’t budge. This was a huge concern, because I had to get the funds transferred in time to clear and be available for settlement and I understood in Italy even though you may wire-transfer, it could take a couple of days to be recognized by the bank. Once the funds were available, I would have to go back and get the equivalent of a cashiers check for settlement! (How I managed to get the funds in cyberspace awaiting the opening of the Italian account is a topic for another story)
So, Property Organizers came up with Plan B. When Luisa picked me up on Wednesday, we would go first to the branch in Agropoli (a town one hour to the south) to open the account. I realized we were going to be cutting this close. Wednesday came quickly and I had the pleasure of meeting Luisa and driving down the remainder of the incredible Amalfi Coast for the first time as we traveled first to the bank and then to Villa Velina.
We arrived in Agropoli at 1:30 pm, excited to be finally getting this done and found the doors of the Banco locked! “Oh, no”, I thought, “this is siesta”. This did not fluster Luisa, she just pounded on the door until someone came and opened it for us! We were taken upstairs and met with our banker, who spoke only Italian. Fortunately, I were there with Luisa. The account got opened, the funds got transferred and we crossed our fingers that on either Thursday or Friday the funds would be available when we went back to the Positano branch to get the checks for settlement.
Now, on to Villa Velina! As we neared the area, it became clear that we were not quite in the right location, so Luisa called the owner’s son and he agreed to meet us at a gas station. We followed him up the hill to the property and there it was gleaming in the sunshine with views and interior exactly as expected and yet better.
After taking all of the requisite photos, Luisa drove down to the nearby beach town that we could see from our balcony and we had lunch and gelato as we walked the beach promenade. As we drove out of town, there Villa Velina was glowing in the sun on the hillside across the valley! The only thing that could have made it better was a rainbow!
Back in Positano for Thursday, I enjoyed my last two days so much – I really could live there. Below is a picture of me on our balcony and one of our many shots of this Bella Città!
On Friday, I successfully extracted our funds for settlement, on Saturday I traveled up to Rome and met up with Luisa to go to settlement. All went smoothly. After settlement, I went out for caffè with my wonderful new friends.
When I hopped on the flight home the next morning with Italian house keys in my hands, I can’t begin to express how wrong that felt. Shouldn’t I be staying???? I must be certainly crazy . . .sono certamente pazzo!