IAN ROSS turned a rundown villa into his dream holiday home

Mail Online | 7/9/2019 | Ian Ross For The Daily Mail
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On the Jasmine Coast at the southernmost tip of Italy, where warm winds blow from Africa and the turtles come each summer to lay their eggs on my beach, time stands stubbornly still.

Non cambio (‘I don’t change’) is the watchword here. If nothing ever changes, we will all be happy. While the rest of the world rushes ahead at terrifying speed, my small slice of blue Mediterranean heaven will resist with all of its Calabrian heart.

House - Sea - La - Villa - Buntessa

My house beside the sea, La Villa Buntessa, is in a part of Italy known as Mezzogiorno, the Land of Eternal Lunchtime.

Quite how slow, I could never have guessed . . . until in a fit of delirious optimism I decided one day, without even consulting my wife, to make this land our family’s holiday home.

Years - Thoughts - Durrells - Mind - Corfu

When I first came here, more than ten years ago, thoughts of the Durrells were in my mind. If only I could find somewhere to compare with their 1930s Corfu and bring my extended family of 23 children, grandchildren, in-laws and so on, to holiday here, I could be happy.

I had lived in London, Los Angeles and many points in between, and I craved peace and solitude. I can’t really explain what I wanted, except that I was certain I’d know what I was looking for when I found it.

Airport - Brindisi - Bit - Palma - Mallorca

The airport at Brindisi, where I first touched down, was small and palm-fringed, a bit like Palma de Mallorca in the 1950s, where I used to fly on holiday with my parents by propeller-driven Vickers Viscount. The sense of nostalgia was palpable.

After a couple of days of meandering in a hire car, getting lost and panicking at the lunatic road sense of other autostrada users, I spotted a bay between the villages of Capo Spartivento and Spropoli — a sickle of...
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