Finally, after much reflection we decided to continue with the house purchase and agreed, reluctantly, to pay the full costs of cancelling the “Livelli”. So the plan was now to convene to sign the “Atto” the following week. We hoped and prayed that this time all would go ahead without difficulty. Surely we merited some good fortune?
The day prior to the meeting Giampiero had checked through the draft copy of the “Atto” with us, highlighting certain modifications. Rocco had suggested that certain clauses should be inserted in order to clarify matters. Giampiero diligently explained everything to us in great detail, ensuring that we fully understood all that was written within the contract. Finally we felt ready to tackle all that the following day had in store for us.
The next morning Giampiero drove us to Fondi, however we arrived there rather too early so we all decided to have a strong cup of espresso in a nearby bar to steady our nerves. Perhaps a strong gin and tonic would have been more in order !!! Giampiero appeared to be just as nervous as we were.
As we entered the “Notaio’s” offices, we found that on this occasion we were the first to assemble, however this gave Giampiero the opportunity to talk to the clerks about amending some of the wording in the “Atto”. The vendors finally emerged. We had not been savouring encountering this family again. We smiled through our gritted teeth, as we forced ourselves to exchange polite pleasantries. Then a jolly Rocco arrived – we were so relieved that he had been able to come, but later he declared that he had “been in it from the beginning and had therefore wanted to see the matter through with us, right to the end”.
Eventually we were all shepherded into the meeting room, and the “Notaio” took his seat at the head of the table. Thus the proceedings began.
The “Notaio” wanted to affirm that all parties were now in agreement, however, yet another hurdle was thrown in our way. The Vendors once again tried to up the price. Rocco emphatically exclaimed that the vendors were pushing things to the extreme. He had decided to put on his thespian’s cap and waved his arms round dramatically, advising us to just walk away from the deal, saying that there were plenty other houses in the area that we could buy.
The “Notaio” impatiently rose to his feet and left the chamber. The agitated Ilaria and Marcello began to huff and puff, getting very hot under the collar. They stamped up and down, phoning contacts for advice on their mobile phones.
However, throughout we remained calmy seated, steadily holding our ground. I also decided to try my hand at some acting, by staging my own theatrical performance. I consciously made myself appear to be totally cool, calm and collected, while studiously consulting the reams of paperwork we had amassed regarding the house purchase. Then I began to tantalise Ilaria by mischievously shuffling the prepared bank cheques in front of her desirous eyes. My ploy seemed to do the trick as it resulted in Ilaria reluctantly conceding and agreeing to go ahead with the Atto as it stood.
Finally the “Notaio” returned and once again took his seat at the table, and proceeded to read aloud the “Atto” in full, rattling it off at breakneck speed all in Italian. Thank goodness Giampiero had taken the time to go through it all with us the day before. After some hesitation on Ilaria’s part we finally, each and every one, signed our names on the contract, and finally the “Notaio” added his signature to validate the legal transaction. We then proceeded to hand over the prepared cheques. By this time Ilaria could no longer contain her fervour, as she involuntarily stretched out a hand to snatch them from my grasp, like a striking a viper lunge at its prey.
So, at long, long last, our perseverance had finally paid off, and we found ourselves to be the proud owners of the abandoned farmhouse and 8 acres of land.
Now the real work was to begin.