From Start to Finish

Our journey with Cortona International

Ciao from Macon, Georgia U.S.A.!
I am Emily Hinson and together with my husband Alex we would like to share our journey to becoming residents of the most wonderful place we have ever experienced, Cortona.
Our journey began 30 years ago when Alex had the opportunity to attend the University of Georgia program in Cortona where he fell in love with the city and its residents. Alex has always said the experience was life changing for him in every way! I was fortunate to have a very similar study abroad opportunity not far away in Montepulciano, a few years later, and I too knew the Tuscan region would always be special to me. Fast forward to 2021 when we made the decision to return to Cortona and Montepulciano for the first time since our college days. The moment we stepped off the train in Camucia, and looked up at Cortona, we knew this would not be our last time in this amazing place and we immediately began to discuss purchasing our own home here. 
We visited again a few months later and enlisted the help of Cortona International to find our dream apartment within the walls of Cortona. Nicola had a big challenge on his hands when we told him what we were looking for and our budget! We saw many properties during our trip and finally settled on one, “Romance Rooftop” as it was called in the listing.
Initially we were hesitant to take on a full renovation from half-way across the world but in order to find all the attributes we wanted in a home we had to be willing to take the leap and buy a property that needed work. From the offer, to the closing where we needed to hire a proxy to sign for us because we could not make the trip over, to choosing the right contractors, and navigating setting up banking, utilities, taxes etc. Cortona International and Nicola were invaluable to the success of our purchase and renovation
After we closed on the property, we were warned that renovations in Italy take time and this would not be a quick process, this turned out to be quite true and from start to finish was about eighteen months. Throughout those eighteen months we visited three times and had many video calls with our architect and countless What’s App messages daily. We were able to choose all of the design and finishes in person and make smaller decisions via pictures when needed. This process did not come without frustration, stress, and of course changes to the ever-evolving budget. However, when we arrived last month to our finished apartment and walked through the doors for the very first time all of our worries melted away as we were able to enjoy our home for the very first time. 
When we reflected on the process of buying a property in Italy, and undertaking a full renovation, we have many times thought “we must be crazy!”.
We now know we would have been crazy not to have gone through this process. Throughout our journey we have made so many connections and friendships with local residents, other ex-pat residents, professionals, and tradesmen that we now feel much more connected and a part of the community of Cortona. Sure, would it have been easier and faster to buy a property that was move-in-ready, of course but at the end of the day I am so thankful we made the choice to invest in a property to renovate.
I hope you enjoy these photos of our property before, during, and after renovation and know that it is possible to fully renovate a home from another continent! 
Ciao, Emily and Alex Hinson
Emily and Alex Hinson, 06/03/2024 17:14:11

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