Calabria Property Consultants

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Ristorante Vecchio Frantoio - The Old Olive Mill - Diamante

If you fancy a short walk before and after lunch this restaurant fits the bill.

Park in Diamante under the SS18 near the bus park (NOT the bus station) and then follow the red tiled path up the side of the river.  It’s about 1 kilometre but it’s very easy walking on a footpath and will take about 20 minutes depending how often you stop to survey the scenery.

The trail leads you past some spectacular cliff formations as well as some very pretty landscaped areas.  Even in summer there is always plenty of water in the river – but in the winter it can be very fast flowing and turbulent.

You arrive at the restaurant over a rickety rackety looking bridge, conjuring up visions of Billy Goat Gruff living underneath!

The restaurant is set on the side of the river with a large car park to the side of the wedding area.  If it’s a nice day eating outside at the tables set amid the trees is very relaxing.

Should you choose to eat in the restaurant, it’s a light and airy building retaining many of the features of the old mill.  It has been converted in a very tasteful way and has some quirky artefacts around the walls.

Even the toilets are a delight to visit. They are very clean and modern.

The menu includes all the normal dishes of the region, all of which are cooked and presented beautifully.  My personal favourite is the local sausage. The flavours are fabulous.  They have a novel take on chips here which may look odd at first but are delicious.

The beer served is Birra Morretti, which makes a nice change from Nastro Azzurro.  The wine is local and again very good.

The people however are just as important as the food and they present a very warm welcome whatever time of day you arrive.  They are attentive without being intrusive and strive to ensure that the whole experience is as perfect as they can make it.

If it’s night time, or too hot to walk, the trip in the car takes about 10 minutes on a rough track. You arrive slightly shaken and, if you’ve been foolish enough to forget to close the windows, dusty!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lido da Pietro

There are a multitude of beach lidos here in Scalea from June to September. You’d be hard pushed to find a better lido than da Pietro along the Lungomare Ruggiero di Lauria. Carmelo, Antonella and their staff have a big warm and friendly welcome waiting for you and the bonus is that da Pietro is open all year round. Having established a core client base Carmelo decided to open up all year in 2011 and he’s never looked back. With a good following of foreign clients many locals also enjoy the hospitality shown by the good people at da Pietro 

Services include drinks and snacks, and beach facilities such as sun loungers and parasols. With satellite TV and WiFi internet access you can relax and watch sport or connect with friends and family on social networks.  

Known as my second office, it's a much more pleasant surrounding than that at office No.1. I usually meet clients during the day to have my morning or afternoon tea (in my special mug). Occasionally I’ll push the boat out and have a G&T. On Sunday mornings I reserve for a little treat and spoil myself with a delicious apple muffin. Well it would be rude not to!  

Da Pietro also offers free parking for clients and if you fancy something more substantial than snack foods then you have a great choice. Next door is L’Ancora restaurant specialising in fish or just across the road ViGri Ristorante where Enzo offers lunchtime specials and an a la carte menu. 

Right I’m off for a cuppa......

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

La Perla del Tirreno

Whilst the location is picturesque right on the beach, this restaurant offers so much more than just a romantic setting.  

Owner Antonella and her daughter Federica are excellent hosts and will give you a warm Calabrese welcome. Federica speaks English if your Italian might not be up to scratch and there’s a menu provided in English and Russian as well as Italian. 

Specializing in fish, the menu offers a wide selection of choice and the food is always tasty and of great quality. The tuna steaks being one of my favourites. If you prefer meat then you won’t be disappointed. La Perla’s meat menu is of no lesser quality. With angus steak you won’t go far wrong. The menu consists of the usual antipasto/starter, primo/pasta and secondo/main. If you have a big appetite you might want to try a three course meal. For those of us with a less ambitious palate then something more modest like a second/main would be more than enough.

La Perla isn’t the cheapest place in town but it is probably one of the best. The quality is never in question. 

Not only a restaurant, La Perla offers a beach lido service with sun loungers, parasols and cabanas with hammocks. There is a waiter service from the bar area. It really is a great setting and worth a try. 

Finding La Perla is easy just look for the blue light box near to the London bus Pub. 

Travelling south from Scalea town centre the entry to the beach area and La Perla is just past the London Bus Pub. Travelling north from Santa Maria del Cedro, opposite hotel Felix. La Perla is open all year. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Treasure in Tremoli

We had been dreaming of the Italian life for many years before we finally committed. Francesca is Italian and we determined that we would not become one of those 'buying abroad disaster stories' that you continually hear about, how could we with Francesca's knowledge gained in childhood, of the Italian property market? Two years down the line and I'm pleased to report that with the help of Tony and his builder extraordinaire, Giuseppe, it hasn't happened. We managed to purchase the house of our dreams and are well on our way to converting it into our own Calabrian idyll. For us it's going to be our permanent home, not a holiday home so we needed to be completely certain we were doing the right thing.

I'm almost ashamed to say that we bought the first house we looked at, but it's true. We had been searching online from our home in Newcastle for quite some time. I remember spotting the house in Tremoli one dull Saturday morning whilst watching football focus on the BBC. Francesca liked the look of it as well. The price was right, it needed some work but it definitely had potential. Nothing happened for a year but we continued to look online and kept going back to the house in Tremoli. We needed to have a look. Arrangements were made and we visited Scalea to check out the area, meet Tony and see the house. Suspicions were raised when I discovered he was a Manchester United fan but as he had Italian origins Francesca said not to worry and off we went past the skips in Villaggio La Bussola towards the stunning mountains of Santa Domenica Talao and on to Tremoli. 

First impressions of the house were great. It was everything we hoped it would be despite the fact that it needed work. Tony held nothing back and told us everything he thought it needed. Daunting as it was we both realised at that point that he could be trusted and decided that this was the place. 

A year later after much deliberations we finally did the deed and bought the house. Cautious of the fact that the house needed work we were concerned that much could go wrong and we could be adding our names to the 'nightmare abroad' articles. Tony introduced us to Giuseppe and the man has been fantastic. All the work done so far has been completed as requested, on time, on budget and to an exceptionally high standard. He knows not to listen to me (why would he, I can't speak Italian?) but follows Francesca's instructions most of the time and as a result our house is taking shape and looking fantastic. 

There's still a way to go. Some finishing touches to the outside. We've had to have quite a bit of stabilising work done, and a load of concreting, finished off with a patio and paving in local mountain stone. Giuseppe has done the work to last and we have no worries about completing the job. Both him and Tony have really gone the 'extra mile' in helping us with not just work to the house but in a whole range of other things.  When we have needed help and advice they have been there for us. We need a sport shop, we call Tony or Giuseppe, we need information on residency, we call them, best beaches, eateries, car hire, literally anything and we know it's not too much trouble. Giuseppe and his wife have become friends. They understand the difficulties foreigners face when buying abroad and have for us made the whole experience as painless as possible. As a result the dream continues despite the fact that Tony still doesn't realise Manchester United will continue to have a negative impact on his reputation...

- Brendan & Francesca

If you would like to find your own Italian dream, visit Calabria Property Consultants where you will find something to suit your needs.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Our Home Away from Home

It has been 2 short years since we first visited Scalea. After somewhat impulsively deciding that 'life is very short' and that I wanted to buy a holiday home in Italy (having never visited the country before, I might add), I engaged in a lengthy email exchange with Tony, the proprietor of Calabria Property Consultants, sharing with him my dream of a property centred around my love of beautiful surroundings along with Mediterranean food and wine!  My budget was small, however a weekend was arranged for viewings, and I was very excited!

When we arrived in Scalea, we were greeted by Tony, despite it being past 11pm, and accompanied to our B&B.  The following morning, our 1 1/2 days of property viewings began, and I soon fell in love with a small apartment in Centro Storico with a little balcony taking in the sea views; bliss! 

Three months later I returned for the final purchase of the property.  On this occasion I traveled alone, but was warmly welcomed into the fold of other property owners (residents and holiday home owners) and enjoyed many social gatherings!  These continue, and every time we visit we find our social life is far more vibrant than when we are in our home town in the UK. Indeed, every day we bump into someone we know.

We have made some improvements to the apartment, including a little plumbing, decoration, and installing louvred shutters to improve the ventilation to the property. There is still some decoration to be done, but somehow the DIY doesn't detract from the holiday?  The weather has mostly been kind to us, even during December,so I can only think those wonderful rays of sunshine are responsible for our good mood when working.

The apartment is now a home from home.  When we visit, we find the steps up to the property a challenge for the first couple of days, but it does at least give us an excuse for our over-indulgence at the excellent local restaurants and bars, and of course, the views more than compensate.  

Our neighbours always wave and chat across the balconies.  We are taking Italian classes in the UK and each time we return, we understand a little more and can be a little bolder with our attempts at the language. With our limited Italian, and a heavy reliance on actions and sign language, we muddle through with much laughter along the way!

Mostly when we visit, we fly from Stansted to either Lamezia or Naples and take a beautifully scenic train ride to Scalea. The fare can be as cheap as €9 when booked in advance, and the station is only a 20 minute walk from our apartment. Scalea is a well serviced town, everything you need is within walking distance of Centro Storico: the beach, the bars, the countryside, the restaurants, supermarkets, fruit and veg stalls, hardware stores, and the market on a Monday provides a multitude of goodies.  A short drive away are some wonderful towns, beaches, adventure sports and historical attractions providing enjoyable days out too.

The last two years have flown by and our love of Scalea has grown.  My impulsive purchase has given us more pleasure than we could have imagined; just waking and opening the shutters to the magnificent view warms the heart.  And the apartment is there for the long term, for the enjoyment of our friends and family as well as ourselves. 

- Jane Boor

If you would like to find your own home from home, visit Calabria Property Consultants where you will find something to suit your needs.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Airport Shuttle Bus!

Well it has taken some time but, eventually, we have a seasonal shuttle bus from Lamezia Airport along the Tyrrenian Coast all the way north to Praia A Mare with many stops along the way on the SS18 including Belvedere Marittimo, Diamante, Cirella, Grisolia, Santa Maria del Cedro, Scalea & Tortora.

The service runs twice in both directions every day including Sundays and bank holidays. The fare to Scalea is €7.20 (€8.60 to further stops and the route ends in Praia a Mare).

The early bus will get you to Lamezia airport by 6.15 am if you have an early flight out and you can find the full timetable here:

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dreams start here....

Long have I held a dream of owning a piece of property in Italy, a place that I could remove myself from the wear and tear of everyday life in the US…a place to remove myself to and get lost in the moment.  I have been travelling to Italy for 15 years now as a way to “recharge” my batteries, and have always found myself in Tuscany.  This was in part due to an affliction that seems to affect most US citizens; I closed my eyes to the possibility that there was anything or anywhere else in Italy that would serve me. 

I began seriously searching for a piece of property to buy about a year ago, and naturally limited my search to where I was most familiar, Tuscany.  I contacted different relators on line, but I never really received a prompt reply, or even that they were interested in my business.  On a whim I began to look further South and landed on the region of Calabria where I found many properties that were not only listed as less expensive than those in Tuscany, but also had amazing views of the Mediterranean and great potential (let me point out here that I was very interested in purchasing a ruin and working to bring it back to life).  There was one site in particular, Calabria Property Consultants, that had a number of great properties of a type that looked perfect for me, and so I sent an inquiry for more information on a few properties, but to be honest I did not expect to get much of a reply, I mean why should I, as so far my inquiries have left me feeling a bit flat.

You can imagine my surprise when the next day I received an email back from Calabria Property Consultants, in particular from Tony Hackett, that not only told me more of that particular piece of property, but also asked in more detail what I was looking for, my needs and interests in buy Italian property.  This began a stream of emails between Tony and me where he continued to find out more of what I was looking for and an invitation down to Scalea, Calabria to look at some properties.  I was planning on touring Tuscany during March of this past year anyway, so I decided to take a detour South.  Tony’s exact words were, “…there’s plenty for you to see and you can rest assured at no point will you be put under pressure to commit to a purchase.”   In a later email he again reiterated this with, “If you like it here then I have no doubt we will find you something. If it‘s not for you then I am sure you will enjoy the experience all the same.”  I was getting a very good feeling about working with Tony, and even extended my stay in Scalea as a way to get a better feel of the area.

Tony helped me plan everything from taking the train to Scalea, booking a bed and breakfast (the best one I have ever been in), taking time out of his day to pick me up at the train station, driving me around to the different sites and even sitting down with me for a cup of tea (many cups of tea over many discussions) along with a meal or two.  I felt that during my time in Scalea that Tony was dedicated to making my time there memorable and profitable.  He was very free with information and willing to work around my schedule or things I wanted to see.  He showed me a side of the community that I have never before experienced with a realtor.  He even had the foresight to introduce me to a number of builders that he works with, and brought me in to see the buildings that they were currently working on.  Having a background in construction, this was not only fascinating to see their building techniques, but also gave me insight to their competency in construction.  I left feeling very comfortable that any construction needs I would have in the future were in good hands.

From the early emails, getting off the train to find Tony waiting, the properties I was shown and the experience of seeing the Calabrian Coast for the first time, I have felt that my best interest was at the forefront of Tony’s mind.  I never felt that out of my depth and all my questions of Italian property purchasing was explained very well, and after my return to the States Tony has continued to support me, quickly answering my emails and offering suggestions here and there.  I look forward to finishing my purchase this summer when I sign the papers, and then begin the joy of designing my Italian getaway.  This experience has been so pleasant that my only regret is having waited so long to get it started.

Geoff Brace