November 18, 2010
People ask: Do you, uh, have a trust fund or something? How can you afford a house in Italy?
Answer: We’re just a couple of free-lance artist-teacher types, wondering from which tree the next job will drop. I acquired the house in Sicily on a shoestring budget by sheer force of will. (Prices in Sicily are, certo, a fraction of those in Tuscany.)
We practice frugality. We schmear paint on the walls ourselves with big sponges, sand plaster from raw stone, putty every crack and crevice.
Our coffee table is a weathered old skid scavenged from the street. We extracted the rusty nails and polished the brittle wood to a shine.
We eat from mismatched china scavenged from Sunday-morning flea markets.
We decorate with “trash” that Sicilians have tossed.
We shop the sales at Upim.
We frequent church bazaars, jam-packed with cheap new or vintage homemade goodies.
And did you know that in Sicily you can bargain for new beds and couches (like for cars in the US)?