Tel: +34 93 665 8596 |


Moving to pastures new

By Gareth Horsfall
This article is published on: 3rd June 2024

You might be wondering why I have started this E-zine with one of my favourite quotes? Well, you may or may not know that I have been living in central Rome for the last 20 years of my life, between Trastevere, Campo dei Fiori, the Pantheon and for the past 8 years in Prati. I feel like I have been living a real Roman Holiday!! This is also my 50th year on this planet (how time flies) and I will be celebrating my birthday at the end of July.


Some of you may know that I whilst I do love Rome, I have become a bit of a moaning bore about the city of late. The tourism since 2019, and especially after Covid, has gone crazy. The city has always been pretty disorganised and dirty (the lack of respect for the city drives me mad!) but I have put up with it because I get to live in Rome!

However, in the last few years I have been yearning to get out into pastures new, somewhere with greenery and birds tweeting in the morning rather than the sound of traffic and wheely trolley tourism (a term coined by a client recently, one which made me laugh a lot because it’s so true – thanks Bec!).

There was always the possibility of moving out of the direct centre of Rome, in a more quieter area, but the areas we would like to go are either too expensive or badly connected and so choosing to lead a life stuck in traffic or up to my eyes in debt didn’t seem so appealing.

But the city angst was always about me rather than my family. My wife is a self confessed city girl and she can’t imagine a life without cinemas, theatres, restaurants and bars on the doorstep. My son, at 14 years old might have trouble if he were to relocate from Rome, but he is finishing terza media this summer and so Heraclitus might be right with the timing.

I had actually told my wife a few years ago that I could see myself living in Rome until I reached the age of 55, and when Alexander turned 18, then I would need to move out of the city and into the countryside somewhere. She wasn’t convinced back then to which I replied, ‘well that’s OK. You can have a small place in the city and I will have a small one somewhere quieter and we can meet up in the middle’. That’s been a kind of running joke because we did actually try and make a break for it just after Covid when we found 2 properties we liked in and around Cortona and made offers on each, only to be rather disappointingly used to bump up offers for other prospective buyers.

Anyway, that put us off the move and it worked quite well because my son enrolled in a school in Rome and my wife got a job at the Chicago Loyola University of Rome as the lead psychologist/wellness person.

However, my dreams of living outside Rome did not quell and I found that Facebook has loads of properties in the country for sale if you join enough groups and click enough links. The power of social media being that when it knows what you are interested in it just starts firing lots of options at you. The ones I liked I would send to my wife who, I joked would, in a very ‘Tinder dating’ kind of way ( not that I have ever used Tinder I might add !) swipe right for no and swipe left for yes. In about 2 years I don’t think there was even one left swipe but there was engagement and that was the thing.

buying house in Italy

Fast forward to Thursday 9th May 2024 and I finally achieved my goal and in fact we signed the ‘rogito‘ on a house in Amelia, Umbria ;about an hour north of Rome on the motorway. A property which is independent (no more condominio problems) and is surrounded by its own olive grove and fruit trees.

I have to recount the story about the olive trees though! I have never held great aspirations to do the raccolta delle olive although I can’t deny that having your own olive oil must be a great thing, I have to admit it looks like a lot of hard work. So, the property we bought, with 140 olive trees, seemed attractive because the owner had an agreement with a local coperativa who tended the land, did the tree cutting and did the raccolta but took half the oil and gave you the other half.

Now, that sounded like my kind of arrangement! Then 2 weeks out from the rogito we were told that the coperativa no longer want to do it because they have enough land to deal with already.

So Oct/Nov 2024 could be an interesting time! That being said if you are looking for oil you know where to find it!

From under the olive tree

One of the old ‘secolari‘ olive trees on the land, probably a few hundred years old.

Thankfully I made friends with the neighbour who is a farmer and he told me not to worry as he knows loads of people he can ask who will help out.

I love the countryside already!

On the subject of olive trees they have also given me a great opportunity for work. I had decided in 2024 that I was going to start doing more video content and just putting out short video content of subjects that come up regularly and which I could talk about quickly and then upload to either Youtube / Instagram or other social media platforms. One of my issues with doing these videos is that I like to be out of the house when I do them. I hate just sitting in front of the computer and doing a video, instead I prefer to be out in the open space and talk, walk, stand…whatever takes my fancy.

From under the olive tree

But, I have one slight handicap: for some reason I just can’t seem to do my videos when I have people looking over my shoulder or listening in!

I like a bit of peace and quiet (I would make a rubbish influencer!).

But, the olive trees have now given me the best back drop ever (they also don’t talk, although they may listen!) and I will be relaunching my videos with this following logo.

So, as per most properties in rural Italy it needs some work and is currently undergoing building and ripristino work. Structurally the property is sound and so it just needs bathrooms doing, walls painting and bringing up to date as it was last renovated in the 1990’s, that being said it does hide a magical jewel. It’s own very private, yet consecrated catholic chapel.

We are told that underneath the more modern exterior of the house there  is an old church from the 1600/1700’s which the local monks used to pass by and pay penitence at the windows of the chapel. The knee imprints can still be seen in the travertino stone underneath the windows. A beautiful story to uncover in time.

Lastly, the exciting thing for me is the land that comes with the house.   Finally some green!  No more staring at cement and tourists.  I must say that although I do love Rome (resident population 2.8 million, expected tourist numbers in 2024 -19 million, expected tourist numbers in 2025 [Giubileo Vaticano] – 35 million), based on these kind of numbers it seems to be the right moment to go.

Of course our Italian friends are horrified and jealous at the same time.   They admitted that they would be petrified to live outside the city.  That living in amongst the neanderthals, ogres and in the great unknown which they only visit en-mass on Sundays when they want some fresh air and when everyone else is going – safety in numbers – is a big no-no.   Yet, some of them have openly wish they had done it themselves and they would have loved to try a similar life.   For us, its probably not a forever place, although I am sure it will grow on us and we will never want to leave but we understand that life throws curveballs at you and never say never.   For now, its a long term project to bring the land back into the shape and for me to save 4 old ‘secolari’ olive trees which I discovered the other day all covered in ivy and with other plants growing all around them.

I know this E-zine is a little bit off my usual subject but I wanted to write to explain why I have not written an E-zine in the last month or so and to share this journey and excitment with you.  Getting the bank to agree a mortgage and then agreeing terms with the ex-owner was, as it always is in Italy, a stressful task.   I am now following workmen which is equally stressful but I am determined to keep an eye on them like a hawk, and hopefully learn a few things in the meantime.  And so we can move in July, when planned.

It goes without saying that once set up fully (probably after the summer) that you are more than welcome to visit and see the place for yourself if you are down this way, meet for work purposes or just to pop in and say hello.  I would be more than happy to see you there.   I will be with my new fast Starlink internet connection and so be connected although in the blissful countryside, for those who can’t make it in person but who would still like to hook up online.

For now, I hope you enjoy the fotos and I will be in touch again soon with more financial and tax planning ideas for your life in Italy, and small updates on the state of the house.

If you want to know more about me or the things I do then just click here

Article by Gareth Horsfall

If you live in Italy and or have financial interests in Italy you can contact Gareth Horsfall directly on: to request more information about how he may be able to help you. Alternatively you can complete the form below and a message will be sent to him. If you would like to read more about Gareth's work you can follow his blog on tax and financial planning in Italy HERE

Contact Gareth Horsfall direct about: "Moving to pastures new"

    The Spectrum IFA Group is committed to building long term client relationships. This form collects your name and contact details so we can contact you about this specific enquiry. For further information, please see our Privacy Policy.