8.10.12

Italian Property

 
Italy's financial crisis does have a high note...it's an excellent time to buy property! Motivated sellers and a flat-lined real estate market are making prices lower than they have been in years. Of course, the top destinations like the Cinque Terre, Lerici and Portovenere are still riding high, but just 10-20 minutes outside these splendid locations are real steals. 


Towns like Beverino, Ricco di Golfo, Aulla and Barbarasco (also referred to as the Lunigiana, covering an area of the borders of Tuscany and Liguria) are incredibly desirable locations, located in the supreme peace of the Italian countryside yet only being 30 minutes from some of the top holiday spots and within an hour of the grand cities of Genova and Pisa.


Friends in a small town just 20 minutes from La Spezia are now neighbors with Belgians, Norwegians and Swiss. These families have discovered the benefits (and value) of buying old stone farm houses that sell anywhere from 35-75,000 euros. This leaves plenty of budget for renovations to customize to your taste and have your very own Italian villa for around 100,000 euros.
 

If you are in the process of looking for property in Italy or are needing some renovation work, small fixes or even complete rebuilding, I can help you through the entire process. From the actual work, to the quagmire of Italian permits and building codes, having a bilingual and trustworthy construction company can make the world of difference.

16.6.12

Welcome Back Vernazza!

The grand Re-opening of the Trattoria da Sandro (and the remaining businesses) today! Here you can see the lower fa├žade and the Eco-sustainable wood deck that I completed.


For a review of the restaurant and pictures of their food, click here.

13.2.12

Smog Reducing Cement

It turns out that the titanium dioxide that we have in our tooth paste, our natural sun block, and our white field paint is the new magic ingredient in eco building! Coating surfaces with it apparently reduces smog in the surrounding air by 50-65% and acts as a self-cleaning agent for the surface. In an article on BBC News website, they discuss a two year study in a tunnel in London that reduced the levels of smog by 65%. Alcoa recently made news with their "EcoClean" aluminum building panels that self-clean and reduce smog, but ten years ago, Italcementi, an Italian cement manufacturer was researching the effects of titanium dioxide when mixed with cement.

Today, they produce TX Active, the 37th product listed in Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2008. Their first project was the Jubilee church in Rome, requested mainly for it's self-cleaning properties. They have since discovered the 'side effect' of reducing smog from the air. According to Time, Italcementi built several buildings with this "smog-eating" cement in their town of Segrate, Italy (just outside of Milan) and they claim that the Nitrogen oxides in the area has reduced by 60%.

There are several uses for this titanium dioxide additive. It has been combined with paint, used as a coating to glass, aluminum panels, ceramic tiles, roofing tiles and even toilets--all of which have shown a significant reduction of NOx (smog gases) in the surrounding areas. According to Alcoa, 1000 square meters of their coated panels can reduce the equivalent of smog from four cars. What and exciting discovery for the future of our smog-ridden cities.