Saturday, July 08, 2006


The roof cleaning continues. Marco and Maurizio had hoped to be finished on Friday, but were delayed by two things: 1) We decided to go ahead and have a new gutter put up on the side of the house rather than just patching it. The geometra told us that basically since we had the guys and had the scaffolding up all it would cost would be for the materials. sigh.... and 2) we actually had RAIN!!! yesterday, both in the morning AND in the evening!!!!

The fabbro, Renaldo, had told us he would be here on Saturday morning to install the iron bars for the kitchen window. Imagine our surprise when we come home on Thursday afternoon to find the job finished!! 
For those of you who might be wondering why we did this, I'll explain. Those of you who don't care can skip this part.

Previously our kitchen window had a single shutter on the left side, then a double (hinged) shutter on the right side. In order to close the shutters you had to go outside to release the latch for the shutter on the right.

The Italians seem to keep their shutters closed all the time. Most Italians don't have screens, so in the summer I guess this helps to keep the bugs out, and in the winter the shutters are closed to help keep the cold out.  Although we close the shutters in our bedroom in the afternoon to keep the hot sun out, the rest of the time all our shutters are open...all the time...summer and winter. We like the light!!!

Of course the Italians think we're strange, and consider it somewhat of a security risk to keep the shutters open. If your shutters stay open all the time, then are closed for several weeks at a time, like we do when we go on vacation, to the Italians this is just a red flag announcing that you're not home. Perhaps if we lived in a big city or a very remote location we would have more concerns, but living in San Venanzo, living right across the street from the old folks home where there's always someone coming or going, security isn't really a major concern for us when we go on vacation, especially if all the shutters are closed and locked.

Somewhere along the way we got the bright idea that we could have iron bars installed over the kitchen window, thereby eliminating the need to ever close the shutters. When we had the shutters revarnished we had the second shutter on the right removed, and now we have one (non-functioning) shutter on each side, just for looks. I guess we could have elimnated the shutters completely, but since every other window has a shutter, we thought this was would look better. 

The fabbro told Art that when he was installing the iron bars, several people asked him how we were going to close the shutters, and he told them we weren't, because we wouldn't need to. Mauro, our geometra, asked why we didn't have the iron bars mounted inside the window frame, but when we told him we wanted to have flower boxes, he understood.

I was afraid we might feel like we were in prison when we were sitting in the kitchen looking out, but we both agree that it's not a problem, and adds a slightly medieval touch and maybe even a bit of much needed character to the house.

I'm sure we do things every day that puzzle the Italians, and although there are many Italian ideas that we've adopted, we still think like Americans....lots of light in the house.....shutters that are for looks only....screens on the windows. And now we also have beautiful copper gutters and downspouts, just like some fancy-shmancy Italian villa!

We've been here almost three years, and we're finally getting everything done! The shutters have all been repaired and revarnished, the windows are now all double-paned and weather-stripped, all the windows have screens, we have the iron bars on the kitchen window, a clean roof and new, functioning gutters. Only a few things remain on our the front door and installing a new sidelight, and finishing the small bathroom upstairs. We've decide just to make this a half bath and will remove the shower stall. We'll buy a nice tall cabinet to put in it's place to use for storage (currently the shower stall is being used as a closet's where we keep the vacuum cleaner and mop bucket!) We'll also tile this bathroom now that the gutters are functioning and moisture shouldn't be a problem any more. (Speriamo!)


At 7/08/2006 09:02:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara & Art,
Thank you for those beautiful sunflower pics. Your home is looking lovely. Do you really have that wonderful view from your home that it looks like?

Regarding the roof job...copper gutters...that's a custom feature here in California. I know they are so expensive. Do the Italians provide you with a written estimate prior to starting a job or is it all loosely discussed and the job evolves over time. I guess there is a lot of trust. You know, in the US you need to get everything nailed down, including the date of completion, etc. Let us know how it works in Italy so that those of us who decide to take the plunge will know what to expect. Enjoy your summer.

Fans from California

At 7/09/2006 05:46:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

Yes, we've gotten preventivos for work before, but normally, eps if we're dealing with someone in town, we ask the price, they tell us, and that's it.

For the roof, it was always an estimate, depending on the amt of work, how many tiles had to be replaced, etc. but we know and trust our geometra, so we don't worry that we're being ripped off.

Additionally, our neighbors who own the other half of the house are Italian, born here, and if there's a problem with the price they'll take care of it....and us!

At 7/13/2006 03:36:00 AM , Anonymous bardigiana said...

Now would be the time to paint too because you've got the scaffolding,

You house is starting to look quite charming you 2!



At 7/13/2006 10:02:00 PM , Anonymous Annie M said...

Barb, I've got to tell you, I love reading about your day-to-day life in San Venanzo.

The photos and narrative of your latest "copper gutters, park and roof cleaning, iron bars and shutters" project are so interesting to me.

I admire you and Art so much for embarking on this adventure and for sharing it with us. Mille grazie!


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