A beautiful Carmine Superiore house has this morning gone on the market. It's a rare opportunity to buy a lovely cottage-style property with two bedrooms, large kitchen, separate sitting room, cellar and a lovely open terrace - of which I'm very envious - with magnificent views of Lago Maggiore and the surrounding countryside. The agent is Marlis Zanetti in Cannero, although the property is so new to the market it hasn't even made it to the website yet. Give them a call - English, French, Italian and German spoken fluently.
Those without Nice-Neighbour Certificates need not apply. In order to qualify for a Nice-Neighbour Certificate you will need letters proving the following :
- You have passed the International Plumbers' Association advanced septic-system maintenance course and sworn an oath in front of a judge that you will never stuff your toilet with sanitary towels or flush out the shared septic ecosystem that I have spent the last eight years balancing with bleach, lye or caustic potash.
- Your face knows how to form itself into a smile whenever one of your neighbours passes by.
- You promise to good-naturedly tell hikers the way to Cannobio, Cannero or Viggiona, even if they're standing slap bang in front of the signpost.
- You have enough money or brawn to transport building refuse down the hill instead of dumping it in the woods.
- You promise to learn a courteous answer to the perennial tourist question, "How do you get your shopping up here if there's no road?" in at least four languages, including one non-European one, and to always smile while exercising that skill.
- You understand that a continuous supply of freshly-laid Carmine eggs delivered magically to your doorstep can be assured by the occasional bottle of crémant d'Alsace propped by the side of the chicken coop - those bionda piemontese do like a drop of the old fizzy stuff after they've just laid.
PS The outgoing owners have enough Nice-Neighbour Certificates to paper the walls of their wonderful little house three times over. We'll miss them!