Welcome to troll town!

We’ve finally hit the big time… we have not just one, but two facebook trolls. I didn’t realise sympathetically renovating an old house could incite such hatred, but I guess I underestimated the power of the troll.

“VERGOGNA!” screamed the first, all in capital letters. For you non-Italian speakers, that means “SHAME!”. She then expanded by saying: “These people are my neighbours. No comment.” Erm, firstly we’re not her neighbours. And secondly the “no comment” thing doesn’t really help anyone. If you have something to say, at least say it.

SHAME ON THE SWIMMING POOL AND ALL WHO SWIM IN IT!!

SHAME ON THE SWIMMING POOL AND ALL WHO SWIM IN IT!!

That’s not a criticism I can make of our second beloved troll though.

“Che orrore!” she bellowed from deep inside her cave. “What horror! Where once there were antique vines now they are building swimming pools.”

Of course, you should never let the facts get in the way of a good bit of outrage. Yes, we have built a swimming pool, a very nice one at that. I just had a lovely, refreshing swim in it. But there were never vines there. There was a concrete yard. A rather ugly, cracked, broken one at that. There are vines all around our land, just as there have always been, but we haven’t touched them.

Renovation renovating house Italy

Then…

And now.

And now.

But she wasn’t finished there. She went on to explain that she doesn’t agree with tourism. That we should respect the original ambience of a place, that we should fix the broken roads and stop putting down concrete.

So, where to begin… I might just ignore the bit about fixing broken roads and stopping putting down concrete because it really doesn’t make any sense. Just thinking about it hurts my head.

Let’s talk instead about respecting the original ambience. You got me on this one, we have indeed made some changes to the original ambience. For one, we removed about 100 square metres of asbestos roofing, replacing it with old, recycled tiles instead. How naughty of us.

And then there are all those original features that we’ve uncovered. How dare we chip away at concrete to reveal original brick ceilings and stone walls. How dare we hire local workers to build us a beautiful real-wood roof to replace the mix of rotten beams and just no beams that was there before. How dare we tear down rusty metal doors and replace them with beautiful, locally-crafted windows. How dare we remove a large gas tank from the ground and heat our house with more environmentally-friendly solar panels and wood pellets. Sometimes I disgust myself.

Too much cement here...

Too much cement here…

And then there’s the concrete that we’ve removed. That’s right. There is actually less concrete here now than there ever was. We’ve planted flowers and bushes, we’re about to plant grass and next spring I’m going to start work on the orto.

I know I shouldn’t care what these trolls say, but it hurts. We’ve taken a big risk coming here and doing this. We’ve dedicated three years of our lives to it, worked harder than we’ve ever worked and created something that we’re both immensely proud of. To have some uninformed ‘local’ criticise that is hard to bear.

Master bedroom

On the plus side though, the house is now pretty much finished. After a month or so of living in what felt like the final ten minutes of a home renovation show, with tradesmen of every variety climbing over each other to finish their work and us slaving away until long after dark every night, we finished up just as our first group of testers arrived. We’re now into our third week and things are so far going well. We’ve even started taking bookings for next year! There are still a few minor things to finish off, but we can do that after the summer, for now it’s time to sit back, relax and I guess start fixing some roads. Now, where did I leave my steamroller…

Cascina living room vaulted ceilingKids bedroom

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57 responses to “Welcome to troll town!

  1. Ignore the idiots, we had a rant on our property page from an English woman who had fallen out with one of our page members, so she used it as a platform to slag off Brits in Italy, forgetting she’s one of the said Brits in Italy.

    • Nice! There’s no accounting for the behaviour of some people. It’s not always easy to ignore them, but I guess it’s all they deserve. Don’t feed the trolls and all that…

  2. You know you’ve hit the big time when you get trolls! You’ll be on e!news next.

    Can’t wait to see your swimming pool!

  3. know your feeling we’ve had the same (and still do), I think we all do make some people happy and some will just never be happy whatever you build or restore

    • It just seems so unnecessary. If you don’t like what someone is doing (for whatever reason), just don’t follow them. Why follow, like and share stuff just so that you can be mean about it. At the end of the day, their opinion doesn’t matter, but it’s still hard to take sometimes isn’t it.

      • Thanks for THE compliment, and I sometimes moan About it 😉. But Some people or things you Will never be able to understand, and maybe thats for THE better.

  4. There’s one (or two) idiots in every room. People who don’t get it and don’t want to. They’re just angry and you’re their latest (and easy) target.

    Congratulations on the completion of your project/home. It looks absolutely beautiful. I would love to visit some time. 🙂

    Don’t let a couple of rock dwellers spoil it for you. 🙂

    Loved your post. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Lynette, that’s really nice of you. You’re right, it seems some people just like to moan. There’s nothing we could do that would please them so it’s better just to ignore them.

  5. Unfortunately trolling is part of an international phenomenon that includes cyberbullying. I love your response but suspect though they key is not to feed these idiots by offering a response. It’s jealousy, resentment and anonymity that encourages these sad dos to react this way and to post online what they would never say to one’s face!

    Very sad individuals who need to get a life!

    Your property looks fabulous and can only have much enhanced the area.

    • I know you’re right Maureen, but sometimes it just eats away at you. It always makes me feel better to write stuff down, even if it doesn’t actually achieve anything positive. And thanks! I think so, although I am slightly biased…

  6. Vergogna!!!! to their attitude.. Pecatto! they don’t realize your efforts to bring life into one of the thousands of decrepid homes…Che Figatta di Luogo!!!! we all say… Auguri!!!!! to a job well done. … save me a place by the pool We Will!! see you in October

  7. I am an Australian living in Piemonte and one of my friends has also received a lot of criticism of her renovation. While I don’t condone it, I do understand that a lot of it may have to do with the visible wealth of the owner. Italians are not rich; their wages are significantly lower than wages in many of the countries from which we renovators come from. It must be hard for them to see flaunted wealth…and let’s face it…if our own countries were poor and we saw foreigners building luxury properties in a place which until very recently had been humble and traditional, we’d probably be a bit saddened and frustrated too! Luckily, we don’t receive such criticism personally because we are far from wealthy… 😉

    • Thanks for your comment Catherine. I hadn’t really thought about it like that. The thing is, we have done the renovation in a very traditional style and worked extremely hard. We haven’t just thrown money at it. I guess there is nothing that we could have done to keep such people happy other than not renovated at all. C’est la vie.

  8. Oh, my. Not one green-eyed monster, but two? Jealousy is so destructive. There’s nothing worse than seeing a foreigner making something nice out of a building you never cared about, huh. They’ll get over it – trolls are generally bored people with little self-esteem who get attention from criticizing others rather than doing something interesting themselves – after all, if you don’t take any risks, then you can’t fail, but you end up frustrated and hanging around under a bridge waiting for Otto to come by disguised as a billy-goat Gruff instead. Hopefully they will find something more constructive to do with their time – you only have one life, after all 🙂

  9. Hey, it’s us the Piedmontese! Falsi e cortesi is the way to describe us, I don’t think I need translating it.
    Possibly you have people with too much time on their hands and a good dose of envy for having to learn from foreigners – gosh, the horror! – how to improve and give new life to the places they’ve lived forever and never quite learned to love.
    But, you see, I guess you can’t please everyone. Take a gin distillery not far from where I live in London. They do tours for small groups of people, foster proper drinking education and the values of quality over quantity of alcohol. All in all, compared with other possible alternatives, locals ought to be glad it’s there; yet, when I visited with another dozen or so of equally tame and respectful visitors, we were yelled and photographed by a lady who lived next door and who disapproved our very presence in West London.
    You can’t win with them, can’t you?

    • Some people are just never happy I guess. There’s no point arguing with them as there’s nothing you can say to change their minds. Of course, we could just leave all the buildings in this area to fall down, like the roads, maybe then they would be happy. Somehow though, I doubt. That distillery sounds great, it’s crazy that anybody could have a problem with it!!

  10. Thank you for a lovely blog. To follow along and see the beautiful pictures makes my day. Please do not let the “trolls” bother you. Continue your good work for your followers appreciate it.

  11. What a miserable lot! They may not agree with tourism, but Italy would be is serious trouble without it…hang on, it is is serious trouble. I haven’t seen much evidence in 12 years of living in Italy of the locals doing anything much to change their situation. If a few more fixed up their falling down houses and rented them to visitors they might actually make a bit of money and help their communities.
    We have been very lucky with our house in the mountains. Our neighbours are delighted to see the old house rebuilt and a garden being created where there were brambles.
    Ignore the nay sayers

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there Debra. Like it or not, tourism is massively important to Italy. Our actual neighbours are happy with what we have done here, it’s just a couple of internet warriors who like to moan about change. I’ll do my best to follow your advice and ignore them!

  12. What horrid folk,i think you have done amazing things and enjoy every minute of your news.Keep it up and enjoy,much love from “accross the Pond” in New Zealand.

  13. I was so annoyed after reading about your run-in with trolls that I had to go out and try to catch one. Ecco, che carogna!

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    P.S. Hope you got a chuckle out of it, but it if doesn’t work, toss it in the bin!

  14. You got your first Troll!!! Congrats to you both, I have been working away on my little blog of madness for 3 years and haven’t caught one yet. Oh the shame of it!

    Can you please give me some advice, I have always wanted one.

  15. Yes I wouldn’t mind a troll or two myself to feed! But seriously, why do people act like this online? Good luck putting the finishing touches onto everything, don’t worry about awful people who do these things and I hope to meet you in person soon at a future #BlogPiemonte get together 🙂

  16. Wow, you’ve done such an amazing job! Congratulations on finally finishing it and turning it into something so beautiful. As one who has a lot of experience with trolls, I recommend telling them to go and f*** themselves. At the end of the day, all they have is their sad little keyboard warrior, troglodyte existence, and look at what you have 🙂

    • Thanks Linda! And that’s officially my favourite comment so far! You’re totally right, but I don’t know how you’ve put up with all your troll experience as I’ve found it pretty hard to deal with. I’ll remember your sage advice next time it happens!

      • Yeah, it was a bit scary at the time – and not so nice opening up email, twitter and blog all full of hatred from total strangers! But looking back on it now, it seems like a lifetime ago – and I know those people are still in their caves tapping away at different targets while I’m happily living in fabulous Berlin 🙂 You’ll get through it!

      • Wait til they start calling you a ‘miserably looser’ and telling you ‘you are horny too long time’ 🙂 Think I still have that t-shirt I got made somewhere 😉

  17. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. Opinions are just that. And as you’ll know by now, in Italy everyone has one 😉 And they’re not afraid to use them! But that’s one of the things that makes Italy, Italy. I think you’ve done a great job on the restoration.

    • You’re totally right. I got used to all the opinions early on, particularly as most of them were just that, opinions, occasionally helpful, otherwise easily ignored. Straight out criticism of everything you’ve done is slightly harder, but I guess it comes from the same, opinionated place. Good old Italy!

  18. I think that is the nature of people who have no other productive way to deal with their time. I know it’s easier said than done but look how beautiful your house is. So stunning. And you built it over the years – you and your perseverance and your hard work. I am definitely going to try and come stay there when it’s open to outsiders. Take heart! And Bravo!

    • Thank you! I guess if you can’t do it yourself, why not just be nasty to people who can!? Thanks so much for your lovely words and we would of course love to welcome you here some day!!

  19. I think the important thing is to seperate criticism from trolling. If someone said, “I always feel sad when I see ancient vines removed, is that important to you? How do you balance that?” Well that’s a conversation, and a useful one. With trolls though I think the words are just a vehicle to express their own unpleasant selves. So it doesn’t make sense; and they don’t even want it to make sense– they’d rather be angry. I haven’t had trolls but I have gotten weird feedback on my blog/book. I try to tell myself that there are some people who are wired in ways that I’m not only never going to understand, I’m just not meant to understand. That’s what I try to do, but I confess that I always feel a little wounded. Nowadays I tell myself that it’s a good exercise in resilience. I’ll let you know if that works!

    • I agree completely Michelle. If someone wanted to discuss any of our decisions with us, I’d be more than happy to. Everybody likes different things, has different opinions, values things differently, and as you say, there is a conversation to be had, one that we could probably all take something from. Publicly proclaiming absolute horror when you know none of the facts, and showing no interest in getting to know them, choosing instead to moan nonsensically about tourists and roads is not that. I’m with you in trying to understand, trying not to feel hurt, but it can certainly be tough sometimes. Best of luck with your book and, of course, with the resilience, though from what Allegra tells me you don’t need luck as the book is fantastic!

  20. I have just come over from English man in Italy blog.. I think you have done a fantastic renovation. .well done looks amazing . And I adore Italy.

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