“This corner of Abruzzo is paradise” began Stewart Holland, an englishman who worked previously as an IT consultant, who in 2006, along with his artist wife Ruth, dropped everything, sold their home in England and moved to Civitella Messer Raimondo, a picturesque village perched high on a hill to the right of the river Verde, with an enchanting view of the Majella mountains.
Then in 2007, they decided to purchase and restore two stone houses in the countryside, built on the banks of the Aventino river, on the edge of the Majella National Park.
And so was born “Casa del Fiume”, their holiday rental house (with three reception rooms and three bedrooms accommodating up to five people) that is visited by guests from all over the world. A place where you can stay and “feed” from all that the surrounding area has to offer, also Stewart and his wife Ruth, in the 5 acres of surrounding land, grow fruit and vegetable, pick olives and produce their own organic extra-virgin olive oil.
Stewart had never been to Abruzzo prior to 2006, but when he discovered it he was dazzled by it’s beauty.
He tells me that in the area surrounding Civitella, and in the neighbouring hills around Casoli, there are many English families who have likewise decided to buy and restore old ruins and then move here.
“They chose Abruzzo because of its tranquility and its unspoilt environment , which you no longer find in the normal tourist destinations. And also, in just 30 minutes drive you can reach the sea or drive to the mountains to go skiing.”
“It’s late”, as Stewart says goodbye to me, “I’m going to enjoy the sea in a fantastic spot – Punta Aderci.”
I leave him, thinking that there really is a growing phenomenon of English in our region maybe it’s because, as Andrew LLoyd Webber ironically stated a few years ago, “Tuscany is over-crowded, a better place is Abruzzo.”
Translated by Stewart Holland
[Credits: casadelfiume.com, Carmelita Cianci, inAbruzzo.it]