In the early 80's, I bought a 400 year-old house, together with 2 friends, in the village of Tavole Novelli, Italy. We started to remodle it, traveling down from Munich with my VW bus just chocked full of materials, mostly through St. Moritz and Trento, about every three weeks, until we had a new roof on it.
Tavole Novelli sits in the mountains off the Italian Riviera, up the hill from Ventimilla, near the French Border. The house had not been lived-in for 100 years and was used by Italian soldiers hiding from having to go to war in WWII.
My music career took over, so I passed my portion of the house on to Christine, who was going to start a homeopathic practice there.
It was a lot of fun and our Italian neighbors referred to me as the 'California Boy'. One old man had never seen an American close-up, and would not stop staring. One day, while I was working on the roof, the elders of the village came up with a bottle of red wine and some glasses they never washed (just rinsed with wine), and we sat and drank until the sun went down. Talking English, Italian and German, not understanding a word, but having a comeraderie I have felt few times since.