If I smash both Avvocatos, can I make guacamole?

The house in progress. The openings for the doors and windows have been enlarged and the new kitchen space added. They rip off and raise the roof on the third floor (pay attention, it will be the guest quarters) next week.

Thanks to all who have expressed sympathy and held my hand through this period of high anxiety. For the past week we have been under the threat of having our new home and land “claimed” by one of our new neighbors. Under the Tuscan Sun? More like under a Piedmont Rock.

According to an Italian rural land law, neighbors have the right of first refusal when a property is for sale. In his initial contact with us through his Avvocato (lawyer), our new neighbor said he planned to exercise his right to our land. Holy merde. By Italian law, he has one year to make a claim. Our year is not up until 1 September 2006.

Good news, I think. At least it’s not bad news.

We had our Genovese Avvocato (attorney) look over our house documents and the notification of the sale that was sent to all our neighbors back last June. Sig. Avvocato says our papers are "very well". I believe he meant they are legally GOOD. He says if we did “stand up before a Judge”, we should win. He then told me “to be quiet”. I believe he meant to tell me to stay calm. Or maybe he was sick of listening to my lousy Italian.

Don't tell Chris, but I have fallen in love with our wonderfully talented and resourceful Italian architecto. He is teaching me to cuss in Italian and we are teaching him the meaning of English words such as 'affordable', which unfortunately he did not understand!

We now think our neighbor , who is rich and powerful and owns lots of vineyards all over the province, wants to make us a legitimate offer to purchase some of our land. Our Avvocato told his Avvocato about our very good documenti and I believe that instituted an attitude change on their part. We think he was just fishing in his initial contact and hoping we had been stupid. Normally that would have been a fair bet, but for once I don’t think we were, at least not about that one thing. We have about 5 acres of very well positioned land and could just maybe be talked into selling some if the price was REALLY right.

This hole will one day be our showcase staircase, spiralling up through all three floors.

We of course don’t know what his reaction will be if we refuse to sell him what he wants. He could still file a claim and potentially tie us up in court for many expensive years, or at least threaten us with that. So things are looking pretty good, but we are not completely out of the woods yet. We will proceed with the reconstruction for the time being and see what he has to say.

But come September 1st, no matter where in the world you are, you will hear me breath a big giant sigh of relief.

Keeping the faith.