House-Moving in Italy

We couldn’t have picked a worse time to move: record high temperatures and humidity, with people literally falling down in the streets. In a particularly horrible accident the other day, a man on a street repair crew fainted. His colleague driving the tar truck didn’t see him on the ground, and backed over him.

Our move has been far less dramatic, but involves lots of hard work and running around when we’d be wiser to take a siesta. When you rent an apartment in Italy, unless it’s advertised as “furnished,” it’s completely bare: no kitchen appliances, no light fixtures. (Toilets and showers yes, at least, but often no toilet seats.) So everyone buys and/or moves their own major appliances, and we’re taking the opportunity to upgrade our kitchen. Our old kitchen in Milan is literally one meter by two – I’ve seen bigger walk-in closets. When we moved here, we had to measure carefully to ensure that the stove and a (clothes) washing machine would fit in beside the sink. I am so thrilled now to have a huge, eat-in kitchen, even though it’s tiled (floor and walls) in a bilious shade of olive green that was popular around 1975. We’ve brought up some pieces from my in-laws’ place in Rome: a painted wood table, sideboard, and display dish rack which also happen to be olive green (decorated with flowers and birds, which is not as bad as sounds). I’ve never been particularly fond of these pieces, but they go very nicely in the olive green kitchen.

Our own kitchen stuff (which, in Milan, is in the living/dining room) is made of a light-colored wood (from Ikea), so we’re adding more pieces in that style to expand storage and work space. For the last 12 years I’ve been producing culinary miracles on a 40×60 cm worktop. Can’t wait to see what I’ll be able to do with a REAL kitchen.

So the upside is that we get to do our own kitchen. The downside is that we have to, and it’s still not in working order. Figuring out what would fit where, making buying decisions, and having things delivered and installed, is taking far more time than I expected. Getting workmen to come is proving difficult. The electrician never showed up for our appointment last Friday, and has since been impossible to reach on his cellphone. Hit by a truck? (If not, he’s about to wish had been…) At least the plumber has been reliable, and hopefully will be able to find his carpenter friend to come Monday, because there’s a worktop that will need to be cut for the sink…

We’ll move the last major stuff from Milan on Sunday, and will bring up our handyman to attach bookshelves to walls and hang paintings. I always knew Signor Gino was a treasure; I just hadn’t realized he was an irreplaceable treasure – so far we haven’t managed to find anyone in Lecco to do this sort of thing. We’ve got zillions of books sitting around in boxes because I can’t put them on the shelves yet, which is making me crazy.

Yesterday, in frustration, I vowed that I would learn to use a power drill myself, so that in future I can make my own holes in the wall. As a start, I went to the hardware department at the local Bennet (Italian Wal-Mart). After half an hour of browsing, I realized that I am indeed a complete geek: I was enjoying looking at tools, electrical connectors, wire… I bought a wire stripper, and am determined to use it! So I’ll be watching Gino closely on Sunday to see how he does all this stuff, and from here on I will be a do-it-yourselfer.

Oh, and one slight detail: I want everything done before I take off for Boston on July 4th!

One thought on “House-Moving in Italy”

  1. Hello,

    Are you still in Lecco?!
    Is a place you recommend for a young family?!

    We are undecided,
    Any pointers are much appreciated!


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