So it’s safe to say it’s been a strange year. Our beautiful part of Tuscany was incredibly fortunate and had very few cases of Covid-19, even at its peak. Lockdown was strictly implemented and in a world gone mad with panic buying and lack of loo roll, Italians formed orderly queues and calmly followed the rules. It was a period of silence. Our home in the historic centre of Sansepolcro felt eerily still without the usual rumble of voices from the bars along the corso. The mayor posted messages on Facebook everyday encouraging everyone to stay home and follow the rules, and as lockdown was eased, he was regularly seen cycling though the town with his mask on, reminding people to keep their distance from one another and not to get complacent. It seems to have paid off.
We are now in midsummer, the Tuscan sun is scorching but the joy of walking to the piazza to get a gelato in the afternoon or meeting friends for an aperitivo in the evening and then going for pizza is what makes summer here so wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable and if I have to wear a mask and apply hand sanitizer, I’m ok with that.
During lockdown we moved the office to our home and continued working. Our days were busy and our wifi worked its socks off with our daughter doing school lessons on her tablet in the mornings and our son doing his third year of university lectures via his laptop. Whilst he felt cheated out of his student life experiences, we felt secretly rather happy to have extra, precious time with him home. The downside was the constant feeding that was required. It felt like I had baby birds constantly chirping for snacks. The food and cooking experience in lockdown was something else entirely.
As the rules eased up, we were allowed to re-open our office. We cautiously returned to work with our short commute to Anghiari and slowly things began to feel normal again. We had no idea what the property market would be like post-virus but to our surprise, it would seem that the experience of living through a global pandemic has made a lot of people re-think their lifestyles. We’ve had Italians, other Europeans, Brits (with sadness I am separating them now) and Americans all keenly enquiring about properties. Areas that are usually not as popular, due to being more remote, are becoming hotspots. Working from home seems to have proved so successful for many, that they are now re-thinking where ‘home’ could be.
I can see the charm of working from home if that home has chestnut trees in the garden so you can pop out to collect some to roast on the fire after supper. Your neighbours bring you some fresh truffles and mushrooms from their morning walk and you never need to buy olive oil again because you receive so many bottles of home-produced oil for Christmas that you are truly spoilt for choice. These are just a few of the simple joys of living here, what they add to the quality of life is hard to measure but I wouldn’t swap it.