Saturday, 10 January 2009

Trouble at Trullo

We were so excited yesterday morning when the postie rang the bell and asked us to sign for a package from Italy. It was the long awaited final plans for the trullo that our architect had submitted to the local authority for approval. Lots of pretty bound pages with photographs of the house, copies of our purchase documents etc, all in Italian so we didn't look at them for long and quickly opened up the drawings. We were devastated to find that the submitted plans bore little resemblance to those we had agreed to last year. The room spaces are much smaller, ugly and awkward, we now have a utility/laundry room that is only accessible from the outside instead of being off the kitchen, the separate guest room with en suite has become a store with an outside oven and many more changes. We know that Italian planning law is tricky, we accept that we cannot increase the footprint of the building but we have had no contact from our architect about these major changes. We can only assume that the planners are reluctant for us to increase the internal space to any extent and want the incredibly thick walls and tiny rooms to remain. We had discussed this with our architect, Mr FF is a chartered structural engineer unlikely to accept any alterations to the fabric of the building that wouldn't stand for a million years at least. We also talked about keeping the spirit of the building and its quirky features, we want a beautiful and sympathetically restored trullo not a sterile new structure, so we have no idea why things have changed and will need to start sorting them out next week.
Meantime Mr FF has taken it very well, the old drama queen says we are ruined, that its pointless putting any money into a house that isn't what we want, that the property is worthless if it can't be developed into something decent, I could go on. I don't give up that easily. I am reading Half of a Yellow Sun a stunning novel about civil war in Nigeria in the 60s, I just watched The Diary of Anne Frank on BBC1. These are heartbreaking, life destroying experiences, not getting planning permission for what we want is just a blip and we know from our battles with the Italian bank that we can get there in the end.


  1. Absolutely unbelievable! I'm so sorry to hear about your plans. Can you find a new architect? Perhaps someone part British who understands what you want is important? Or can one of you stay over there for a bit and make yourself an irritating presence in the architects office until the plans are done as you want?

  2. So sorry to hear of your difficulties. Was it a miscommunication with the architect or a crazy Italian thing that you submit one plan (wink wink) and will actually make (very innocently) a home which is quite different? Difficult to manage long distance and not in your mother tongue, unfortunately. But you are right--don't give up! Eventually you will have something you are happy with (but it could take T....I....M....E.....). We've been in our house for two years but STILL have lots of work outside and on 2nd floor to finish up. Patience, patience as they say. Courage wouldn't hurt either!