In this week's post, CharmingItaly.com is honored to share with you the English version of the inspiring story of Casa Talia, previously published in Italian in the great travel blog VoglioVivereCosì.
Viviana and Marco, two architects from Milan, tell us about their decision to leave the stressful life of the city to open a Bed&Breakfast in Sicily.
Casa Talia is one of the most appreciated Slow&Chic accommodation in Modica, a magic place where fall in love with Sicily.
"In 2001 me and Marco happened to be in Modica, by mere chance.
We had booked an agriturismo in Noto, willing to visit that town. As soon as we arrived though, the owner (a guy from Noto) told us: “Have you come all the way to Sicily just to visit Noto? Have you ever heard about Modica?”.
That very night he took us for a quick tour in town. We immediately fell in love with Modica and started talking about getting a house for our holidays. For a few years though, we had already been fantasizing about moving from Milan, so we knew deep in our hearts, that this was just the beginning of a huge change. Since that summer our life has changed completely.
We were particularly fascinated by the old town centre, almost completely car-free, made by a multitude of stone-made house, mostly empty.
For about a year we traveled back and forth to buy some small houses that were located around one of the few gardens in the town centre, and in June 2002 we started the renovation works. Our aim was to create a home for us, surrounded by a series of rooms dedicated to hospitality. This way we would have had always different people around us, and have an extra income during this phase of change from our previous life.
Works lasted longer than expected, but finally, in 2005, we opened our Casa Talia B&B and started actually living in this town.
Today we feel part of the local community and we are carrying out our professional activities as architects and designers. Marco has maintained his office in Milan. He goes there once a month, but basically manages to handle it from here. I mostly work as an interior designer of masserie and old houses in the centre. We are both very happy with this change.
Meanwhile, we also had a baby.
It’s not been easy though. It took a lot of willpower, passion and determination. For two years we had a hard life: I moved to Modica, while Marco was still working in his studio in Milan. He would come here every three weeks. It seemed like it would never end, but eventually we saw the light.
The people were very friendly and welcoming, although in the beginning they couldn’t understand how we could actually desire to move in an abandoned part of the town. After a while though, also others started working on old buildings, and within a few years the whole town was brought back to life.
Modica became Unesco heritage and was chosen as a set for the popular Italian TV series “Montalbano”. I like to think that Marco and I have paid a small, but important part to start this process.
Today we are very pleased with our choice and achievements. We have a very active life and live in a beautiful place. Once every few months we go to Milan to do all those things we cannot do here: exhibitions, cinemas, museums theaters, nightlife, shopping ... but after ten days maximum we feel the need to return to our oasis.
Until now this has been a good compromise. At the end of the day, when we used to live in Milan we worked all day long and we had never time to do those things.
Weather is another crucial element. Now I couldn’t live without these sunny days. This warmth and this beautiful light make you live in a more relaxed way and let you enjoy much more the place you live in.
We really can’t complain. We might have given up the comfort of the city, but we have found so many things that right now are much more important for us. On Sundays, instead of strolling through the centre, we go to the beach (which is only 20 minutes away from Modica) with our son Matteo and enjoy the sun and the fresh air.
Today we’re happy with our life. Tomorrow is another day".