The long weekend in May is always a marker for the good weather to begin in Canada, up until this point the weather can go either way. Yes, snow is not totally off the table until this time of year, and even then…

The other thing I love about long weekends in general is that the city morphs into a much more livable space. For one thing the traffic is much less (thank you for cottage country up north and the droves of people who make the trek!), it transforms the city into the city it was 25 years ago.

For the first time this past Saturday I wasn’t in a perpetual traffic jam while driving to do my weekly errands, and such a welcome change!

For those who do head to their cottages, the Victoria Day long weekend signals a start to the summer festivities and the weekends by the lake, which I’m sure is both relaxing and also a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and the weekly grind. Nice!

However, not growing up in Toronto and with no real concept of a country house or cottage I clearly don’t miss it cos’ I’ve never really been exposed to it.

It’s not that I haven’t been to a cottage for the weekend, but admittedly I didn’t find it particularly relaxing, especially given that to get to a cottage on a Friday afternoon you generally fight traffic and can be a rather long and bothersome commute in heavy traffic.

This also impacts your enjoyment of being at a cottage in that the Sunday commute back to the city hangs over your head like an unwanted albatross all weekend, cos’ you know deep in your heart that you’ll have the same traffic and long commute as you had coming up on Friday.

I guess it’s what you’re used to, but definitely not my cup of tea!

My perspective is that I’d rather travel the world than pour capital into a country house or cottage. For one it gives me greater flexibility and given my adventurous nature doesn’t confine me to a single place that I feel I’m obligated to go each weekend.

Not to mention all of the upkeep of two places etc.

Now, if my second house was in Italy and I could spend 4 – 6 months there a year, then it may be a different story. 🙂

For that to happen I would definitely downsize to a condo so that I minimized the upkeep on my place in Toronto, while spending an extended time outside the country.

As you’ve seen from some of my posts on Facebook there have been a number of well documented instances where the mayor and council of a small village in Italy are concerned at the drop in populations, especially as the younger families are moving away to find work in the larger cities.

And so they have come up with, what I think is an ingenious idea to keep their towns viable and vibrant.

The offer is a house in a village for the princely sum of 1 euro.

Now, before you begin packing for Italy there are a few things you need to know… 🙂

Firstly, many of these abandoned homes need a lot of work to make them liveable, not all, by definitely some of them depending on where you want to live.

The second stipulation is that you must invest a minimum of 25,000 euros to renovate them. In addition, it must be within a certain time frame (as I understand it it’s within a year of “buying” said property), but the rules may differ from village to village.

Third criteria is that you need to use a local contractor for the work. A smart move on the part of the local council to help foster the local economy.

And finally, you must reside in the village for a certain amount of time per year. They want your physical presence in the village to add energy and vitality to the daily goings on.

In essence it’s an incredibly insightful move on behalf of these villages.

It’s clear that they want to make their village a viable place to live for the remaining residents, bringing in outsiders is definitely a way to keep the village alive and inject some new euros, thinking and culture into the local community.

The town council also benefits from the property taxes levied on the new residents, thus making it a more viable proposition for the existing residents by perhaps lowering the spreading the tax burden to help on the services and upkeep of the village.

Overall, it can be a win-win for everyone concerned.

I suppose I’d need to change my way of thinking to just live in one place in Italy… There are so many gorgeous villages and regions that I think it would be difficult for me to settle in just one. 🙂

It also means that I would have to get serious about my Italian language skills, although I’ve been mulling over the need for me to go live there for an extended period while I attend language school this major move would settle that score.

When I spoke to Zach and Sam about me doing this it was met with a rather tepid response. “I think you should wait till I’m finished my undergrad” was Sam’s response. Zach was supportive, but also a little tentative.

I get it, they still like to have me around even though neither of them will not be in Toronto once school starts in September. It’s nice to feel wanted though! 🙂

To be honest, I’m thrilled that they were so open with me and felt comfortable telling me how they felt about my possible future plans.

So, on the back burner for the moment…

Until next week!