We attended many festivals in the local area. Everything from medieval archery, chestnut, mushroom, arts and crafts, fly fishing, wine and olive.
One of the highlights for Jim, a rev head from way back, was attending the Italian Formula One Grand Prix in Monza and going to the Ferrari Museums in Modena and Maranello.
But best of all we met the most wonderful people in our village who we will consider our friends forever. So it was with a heavy heart that we packed and returned to WA after six months. We will certainly return to Ponte a Serraglio on our next trip to Europe to spend some more time in this beautiful area.
Back in WA we have moved down south and are now living in Margaret River – an area renowned for its wines, surf and tall trees. Three months on we love living in this region and are looking forward to settling into the community.
What can I say? Retirement really is great!
As a footnote to this wonderful retirement holiday I have to say that unfortunately the logistics of staying in Europe for more than 90 days in any 180 days has its complications for non-EU citizens. If you are staying for more than 90 days you need to apply for a visa from the country where you will spend most of your time, in our case Italy. This is a laborious process and at times stressful.
Initially you need to apply for the visa which goes into a lot of detail about your ability to financially support yourself plus your proof of return air fares, confirmed accommodation for the full duration of your stay and comprehensive insurance. Once the visa is granted, then upon arrival you need to apply for a residency permit (Permisso di Soggiorno) which is another bureaucratic challenge including completing forms in Italian, getting the relevant duty stamps from the tabacci (tobacconist), lodging the forms with the post office who also arrange interviews at the Questura (immigration office) and finally attending the interviews which includes mugs shots and finger printing. Wow. Lucky for us we had a good friend, Debra, who spoke Italian and was familiar with the process – it helped us enormously.
But please don’t be put off by the process …it is well worth the hassle!