We love Luigi

Officially, he’s our real estate agent in Saluzzo. But he has gone above and beyond the call of duty. When we had just arrived in Italy, we were naively going about looking for a short-term housing contract. We needed a furnished place, and we thought we’d like to rent for six months. Every real estate agent told us the same thing. Rental contracts in Italy are for four years. Four years! We’d never lived in the same place for one year. We were utterly incapable of committing to four, especially without our furniture.

Enter Luigi. He showed us three different apartments he had for rent. We fell in love with the first, and he negotiated a six-month lease with the owner, even including an option to extend up to a year. When he found out Tony didn’t have a codice fiscale (social security number, needed for major purchases, health care, and many other reasons in Italy), he just took us down to the Comune and got us one. He introduced Tony to a banker and got him a bank account (yes, that’s the best way to get a bank). He was even willing to drive up from the beach on a weekend to let us into our house when we locked ourselves out.

A few weeks ago, we told him our situation, and that we had to move from Saluzzo. We couldn’t break our contract, but he said if he could rent the place out to someone, we wouldn’t have to pay rent. Monday evening he sent Tony an email that he had found a renter. So yesterday we went up and did a final cleaning and turned in the keys. Tomorrow, Luigi is refunding our deposit and the two months of extra rent we were going to need to pay.

We weren’t counting on that money at all, so we feel very blessed. Tony suggested that we jump start our food storage with it, and I concur. We had to leave our food storage in San Diego with the rest of our belongings. Little by little, we’re becoming better at living the way we’d like to live. I have two kinds of sprouts going in the kitchen. Tony has started his yoghurt making experiments. Maybe I’ll start making butter again, now that we have cow milk instead of goat milk. I use all different kinds of grains when I make pancakes or bake. We are planning a two-week revolving menu (we’ve been trying to get that going for years now). Something about the air of Italy makes all things seem possible . . .