They even took the kitchen sink!!!

Your dream has finally come true. After many years of dreaming and persuading your partner that moving to Italy is a good idea you finally arrive. With satisfaction you remember handing in your notice to your old boss and laughing when he said “you’ll be back”. Finally you are here, in Belle Italia. Hopefully the Italian subsidiary of your freight company has only misplaced your furniture and hopefully it will turn up in a couple of weeks.

Do you remember your last visit to Italy, the time you were walking around the house that you and your partner decided to rent / buy? Can you remember how the sun shone in through the kitchen window and made the shiny taps and stainless steel sink sparkle? I bet it was a shock when you finally entered the house and realised that not only had they removed all the door handles and light switches but the beautiful kitchen cupboards and sink are also missing. If only they had left a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom you could wipe the tear from your eye.

They even took the kitchen sink

They even took the kitchen sink (

I really am not exaggerating, Italians view their kitchen cupboards and sink the same way they view their leather sofa or their bed. When they move house, they will take it all with them. What you are buying / renting is a house, this means something that has four walls, a roof, windows and a door. But don’t worry they will leave you the bidet although the chances are you will use it for washing your feet and not your bum.

Last week I was talking with Georgette from Girl in Florence and we decided to write about our experiences of renting houses in Italy so please go and read her post, it is full of sensible advice.

Mrs Sensible and I have lived in Italy for seven years and in that time we have moved house three times, we have viewed quite a few houses in our search, so here are a few of our experiences.

House no 1 Rent 220.00 euros a month

A nice little house but

A nice little house but it had a funky smelling bathroom. You can see the entrance and the bedroom at the rear.

Mrs Sensible chose to rent this furnished house, she took this decision without my input, because she was tired of living in a nunnery with a collection of nuns, whilst I enjoyed eating bacon sandwiches and drinking pints of beer in the UK. Honest, the nuns rented her a cell room for 2 months while I was still in the UK

This first house had one bedroom, a kitchen sink and a little problem with rising damp. The bathroom had been built over the septic tank, which meant the bathroom always had a funky smell to it, regardless of the number of times we scrubbed it with bleach. We loved the little house, for Mrs Sensible is was a short walk to her school and I didn’t have far to walk to the bar. There were two reasons why we moved house, the first was the funky smelling bathroom and the second reason, was the embarrassment of asking friends who had flown over from the UK if they minding sleeping in the lounge on a blow-up bed next to the table..

Lots of visitors from the UK camped in our lounge

Lots of visitors from the UK camped in our lounge

One afternoon when we were driving in the countryside I suddenly stopped the car and pointed to a house that had the sign AFFITTO nailed to the wall. I demanded that Mrs S phone the woman and ask her for some information.

Mrs S: Hello, we have just seen your house with the for rent sign, can you tell me a little about it.

Crazy Women: It has a bathroom, kitchen, lounge and a bedroom.

Mrs S: So it doesn’t have a second bedroom?

Crazy Woman: How many will be living in my house?

Mrs S: Just me and my Husband

Crazy Woman: So why do you need a guest room?

Mrs S: In case my parents want to visit or if we have friends from the UK to visit.

Crazy Woman: Oh I don’t think I am happy about guests staying.


I dragged Mrs Sensible to look at a beautiful villa in Conzano overlooking the valley, the rent was 550.00 a month which was over the budget we had set ourselves. It was furnished with Sicilian antiques; there were 4 bedrooms, a study, lots of balconies, a large private garden; I was in love. We both walked around the house and discussed if the rent was affordable, I was like a child in a sweet shop, almost skipping with joy. Every time I passed Mrs S I whispered into her ear just tell them yes.

Mrs S started to discuss something with the owners, I knew there was bad news coming, I just felt the atmosphere change.

Me: Just say yes.

Mrs S: The boiler is fired with gasolio.

Me: Just say yes.

Mrs S: The boiler heats air and then blows it around the house through those air ducts.

Me: OK, say yes.

Mrs S: It will cost a fortune to heat this house; this is really a house only to be used as a summer house.

Me: But it is fab, please say yes.

Mrs S: No

Me: Pleeeeaaaasssse.

The boiler was a littlw out of date

The central heating boiler was a little out of date

One afternoon Mrs S took me to look at a house that she had found in Terruggia. Terrugia is a rather nice village and the rent for the house was €500.00 euros a month. The house had been split up into 2 apartments, one on each floor and the owner kept a private studio on the top floor. The apartment we looked at was on the second floor. As we climbed the communal staircase (I was still thinking about the dream villa) we were shown into the apartment. It was spectacular, the dinning-room and lounge were open plan and furnished with leather sofas, there was a nice kitchen and a small but adequate bathroom. While Mrs S wandered around the kitchen I suddenly realised the absence of anything that looked like a bedroom.

There was a very impressive wooden wardrobe in the lounge and I opened the door to see if the bedroom door had been cleverly disguised. Nothing, it was just an empty wardrobe. I walked over to Mrs S and said “I don’t want to appear stupid, but where will we sleep, I can’t find any bedrooms.

I wasn't sure what I would find when I opened the wardrobe, maybe a bedroom or maybe a lion and a witch

I wasn’t sure what I would find when I opened the wardrobe, maybe a bedroom or maybe a lion and a witch

Mrs Sensible: My husband has just asked were the bedrooms are.

Owner: Ahh! You are in the day side of the house; let me show you the night side of the house.

Me: What did he say?

Mrs S: Wait!

The owner walked to the front door and opened it; he walked across the communal staircase and unlocked another door.

Owner: The night side of the house is through here, look there are 2 bedrooms and a shower room.

Me: You are kidding me! So when I want a glass of water in the middle of the night, I have to go in search of the keys to open 2 doors and walk naked across a communal staircase to get to the kitchen!!!

Mrs S: You will have to wear pyjamas.

Me: I don’t wear pyjamas.

Mrs S: You will have to put on your dressing gown.

Me: And if I forget and the neighbour sees me streaking across the staircase?

Mrs S: PN!!!

I think part of my dislike for the house (a really small part) was because I wanted the magnificent villa with the Sicilian furniture and diesel fired central heating.

The third house we looked at was frankly just amazing. We were made to stand outside in the rain while the owner showed some other viewers his house. While the rain ran down my neck I asked Mrs S how much the rent on the house was. €600 a month she told me. Wow it must be fantastic.

How to expand your house the italian way

How to expand your house the italian way

We entered the house and walked down a hallway, there was a sofa in the hallway that we had to navigate around. The hallway opened into a good sized dining room complete with a very large table. There was a very, very small kitchen through a door. As we stood in the kitchen I showed Mrs Sensible how I could touch all four walls without moving my feet.  Stop it she told me, there will be another kitchen elsewhere maybe upstairs.

I walked back to the hallway and sat on the sofa.

Owner: (in Italian) Ah you have found the lounge.

Me: Sorry I don’t understand, I am English.

Mrs Sensible: She said you are sitting in the lounge.

Me: (hysterically) ask her where the kitchen is.

Mrs S: Can you please tell me where the kitchen is.

Owner: It is small but it is through that door….

Me: Let’s go home.

We went upstairs and viewed a large bathroom, down a corridor there was a door that led to bedroom number 1, on the other side of the bedroom was another door that led into bedroom number 2, and if you walked through that room there was yet another door leading to bedroom number 3.

Me: This is bizarre, if we have guests in bedroom number 3, they will have to walk through two bedrooms if they need to visit the bathroom. This house is just a mass of corridors with no proper rooms.

Owner: What did your husband say?

Mrs S: He said you have a very nice house.

To this day I am not sure how they fitted three large bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and only a corridor and a dining-room downstairs.

To end this post I want to direct you to one of my earlier posts on the hazards of owning a summer house in Italy.

Link A little Summer House

Our house

Our house


36 thoughts on “They even took the kitchen sink!!!

  1. this is crazy fun. especially just doing the exploring if you didn’t have to actually live in them. i love the discovery stage of each of these and the crazy maze of the last house. like french farce. only not farce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a little crazy in Italy. One house we looked at was fab, but the owner said we couldn’t park our car in the courtyard. We were supposed to leave it down the hill in the town.


    • Located in Leonessa, Italy (35 mins from Rieti & 1.5 hrs from Roma) : My father in-law is currently selling a beautiful house that he hand-built over 12 years with the best materials – it’s very sturdy & well built! This house comes furnished! And was never lived in! It has a large piece of surrounding land property, which has a storage structure, and a base structure *including electricity and pillars for another building to be added (all permits included) and has many healthy fruit trees and a garden – all enclosed with a private entry gate – it’s very beautiful and a bargain for the price! If you are interested, please email Maruo @


  2. Hope you’re settled nicely now PN and I love your photos – it seems you saw some real stinkers!!! It does amaze me how the cost of rent bears absolutely no relationship to the size or services in a flat or house though – so far I’ve lived in 4 different flats in Venice and they’re gradually getting bigger but cheaper!! The first one now looks like a complete rip off but I was a novice! We live and learn eh?!


    • Very true. I would still like to live in the big villa… This house is pretty cool, but the cost of heating this house is scary. We shut down the top floor during the winter and burn lots of trees to warm the downstairs.


      • One day eh PN, one day!! And I can only imagine your fuel bill! I am currently sat in 4 t-shirts and 2 jumpers as my landlady forbids me to raise the thermostat above a certain temperature!!! I love the houses here but really, someone needs to introduce double glazing cos shutters just don’t cut it!! :o)


  3. Between you and Georgette, I reckon I’ll kneel down and kiss the floors of my abode when I get home from Italy.

    (The second day I was here in Florence, as I skulked down a side street, I recognised none other than Georgette. She graciously allowed me an audience.)


  4. When I used to have more cable TV than I now have (saving money to move to Italy) I used to watch House Hunters International. That is where I first learned that Italians took their kitchens…and sometimes their bathrooms with them.
    When I’m searching for a place to live in Venice I will be very specific about my needs.
    and I have only used a bidet once to soak my feet….they were aching so bad and the place didn’t have a bathtub. I had no choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is just the hilarious post I was waiting for. It reminds me of when I was looking for a place in 2008 and was shown an ‘office’ that I could live in from 7pm – 8am, no joke. No kitchen was needed because I am ‘American’ therefore must be shit at cooking. Sigh….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks…. we were offered a one bedroom apartment that had a small bathroom and kitchen. No lounge or dining room for crazy money… There was a lovely garden but we wouldn’t be allowed to use it. We also phoned a woman who owned an empty house. When we asked her if it was for rent she said “The house was my mothers, she died there…. oh no I could never rent my mothers house”


    • It was fun looking at houses, at one house the owner said “the neighbor is from Naples so don’t leave any pot plants out at night because he will steal them”

      The last house we rented the landlady said “are you sure you want to rent my house, it is way too big for 2 people” We told her we liked the house so yes we will rent it “but are you sure?? don’t you want a nice small house?”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember learning about the whole “take your kitchen with you” idea… I suppose it could make sense if you compare it to a couch or something…
    I would’ve chosen the apartment with the railway car style bedrooms… What could go awry with that? 😉


  7. It makes you wonder about some people, seeing their houses, doesn’t it? I’ve seen some weird things in France too. In one flat, the owners had gone mad with papier maché, or fibreglass in the hall so it looked like you were going into a cave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sarah, I need to e mail you a photo of a flat my daughter rented in London. It must have been lived in by the guys you met, because the inside of each room was like a cave, there were little holes and shelves in the walls. The best part was the house was owned by the local council and the guy couldn’t hand the keys back because he didn’t know how to remove several tons of plaster that he had used to create the caves. So he just kept sub-letting it.


  8. hahaha …. and the only logical reason that they leave you the bidet & WC is that for reasons of hygiene, they expect that you’ll want to replace them at your own expense as someone else’s “feet” have been using them …


  9. What what what?????!!!!!!! You’re moving to Sicily in 2 years?????
    How dare you not send me a special announcement declaring this fabulous event!

    I loved this post and I could tell you about a few of the houses we viewed, including the mansion which was beautiful but had its stopcock in the nasty neighbour’s garden. The owners said he was nuts and each time they had an argument he would shut off all their water and they would have to wait till the police came to make him turn it back on again.

    Oh and I could also tell you about Sicilian Hubby who “helped” pack up my house in London before I shipped out here. I had to keep intercepting him as he was wrapping up the drawers he had removed from the kitchen, trying to unscrew the light fittings and and I even reached the point where I thought he would take out the taps and chisel the tiles off the walls!


    • Sorry about not telling you about the move to Sicily, it is still a bit of a secret and I am not supposed to tell anyone, except of course the few people that read my blog 😉

      I like the Italian way of emptying the house when they move. The muckers who rented my house in the UK did this, although they were supposed to leave my furniture when they left.


        • I spent Christmas painting the house with the help of my children. The house is still up for sale, I am worried that people who come to view the house can still see the mural under the thick wallpaper that we covered it with.

          Also whoever ever buys the house will have a fit if they ever decided to remove the wallpaper


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