When coronavirus lockdowns appeared to place dwelling that dream on indefinite maintain, Cavalli and Lobo did not surrender on discovering a method to spend much-needed time with household and buddies this summer season in idyllic Valle d’Itria within the Puglia area of southern Italy.
Cavalli, whose household is from northern Italy, was very involved as Covid-19 started to take maintain within the area. He and Lobo, who started sheltering in place at their California dwelling in March, figured that issues would settle down in time for them to return to Puglia this summer season. As months went on, nevertheless, the couple fearful and questioned about whether or not they need to threat going to Italy, particularly as instances in California started to spike in July.
Goals can come true
Marco Cavalli and Sunaina Lobo, a married couple who reside in California, determined to fly to Italy and reside their summer season dream of their second dwelling in Puglia.
“Puglia has at all times been a vacation spot for me, since I used to be an adolescent. I at all times had the dream of shopping for a spot right here,” stated Cavalli. The world of Villa d’Itria, the place their house is situated, is charming with hills, olive bushes and wine and isn’t removed from the coast. Cavalli’s Italian mother and father did the groundwork, finding the house they bought about 18 months in the past.
“There was a little bit little bit of crimson tape, so it took for much longer than we thought it could. However in the long run, it has been a stupendous buy. We had been simply saying the opposite day, we’re so glad we did it,” Lobo stated from a scenic perch outdoors the house.
“It is a spot the place we will meet with household and buddies,” Cavalli stated. “And clearly, I’ve lots of connections [in Italy], but in addition Suni has household in Spain. So, this is sort of a little bit of a central place for everybody.”
Lobo continues, “Since we purchased the place, we have had a number of buddies of [ours] from the US, from the north of Italy, from different components of the world, come and keep. We do not need to Airbnb it out. We do not need to lease it out. We needed it to be a household dwelling the place folks can come and luxuriate in it.”
The pandemic journey
As spring turned to summer season, they had been nonetheless hopeful they’d be in Puglia in some unspecified time in the future. However Cavalli watched from afar as his household in northern Italy confronted the more severe of the pandemic.
Then it appeared that a lot of the remainder of the world was making headway towards restoration, or at the very least flattening the unfold, whereas US instances saved rising, notably in California.
“I had not seen my mother and father for a lot of months. When issues began to get higher [in Italy], we thought that is the chance, as a result of I do not know if within the fall it comes again and there is one other lockdown.”
Sunaina Lobo and a good friend at Guna Seaside, Puglia, in 2019.
Courtesy Marco Cavalli and Sunaina Lobo
Cavalli and Lobo have needed to earn a living from home since March and figured that it could be possible to do the identical in Italy, even with the problem of managing a number of time zones.
“We did not see any [end in] sight within the US sadly, although we had been sheltering at dwelling for such a very long time. In order that’s when Marco took over and he was like, ‘I must get out,’ ” Lobo stated.
They did a little bit of analysis as a result of “we had been each very nervous about touring, flying,” stated Cavalli. “We did not understand how issues [would] work with quarantine. We did not understand how, , who might come as a result of I am a citizen that she’s not although she’s my spouse”
Ultimately the 2 determined to threat it. “We additionally had some buddies who had come earlier than us, they usually had been nice. So we thought, OK, we’ve, we’re not the one loopy ones.”
Journey within the age of coronavirus
The couple flew to London, the place they needed to present their marriage certificates earlier than being allowed to board the flight to Milan. Lobo, who was raised in India, carries an Australian passport, whereas Cavalli holds an Italian passport. “There was some paperwork. The Italian authorities has some types to fill out earlier than you fly. Puglia, particularly, has different documentations that they require,” stated Cavalli.
Lobo was struck by how totally different the flying was once they left San Francisco. “SFO is such a busy airport, it was surreal. Nobody was there.”
They wore masks always, and the flight to London was fairly empty, with largely Europeans returning dwelling. US vacationers are banned from getting into the EU — and the UK requires People to quarantine for 14 days.
As soon as they arrived in Milan, they rented a automotive, drove south and started their quarantine.
After they received there, based on Lobo, Puglia had solely a handful of energetic instances, and people numbers had been low as a result of they locked down early and enforced quarantine. Not like the US, you could not come and go freely.
Quarantining in Puglia
“I did not know what to anticipate,” stated Cavalli. “The well being division referred to as us instantly, requested us questions like ‘How are you feeling?’ and confirmed our information. They stated they’d ship somebody to check us in seven days.”
Donning PPE, well being officers got here to their dwelling, examined the 2 of them and left instantly. Officers referred to as to examine in repeatedly, till the 14 days had been up, and the couple had been formally free to take pleasure in their vacation.
“The entire expertise was very, very good and no person, and that is the important thing distinction from the US, no person requested for a bank card. No person asks for insurance coverage, no person asks for something. I used to be the one saying, ‘Hey, do we have to pay for this?’ And so they stated no,” stated Cavalli of the testing.
“It was completely straightforward, and the outcomes got here again the following morning.”
Lobo stated she is aware of it isn’t the identical throughout Italy, however their expertise with testing and quarantine in Puglia was superb. She discovered the care, the consistency of the communication to be not like something she’d seen within the US.
“It was not economics. It was public well being,” stated Lobo.
Dwelling it up ultimately
The couple hosted some buddies from the USA in 2019.
Courtesy Marco Cavalli and Sunaina Lobo
Free after quarantine, the couple went out however nonetheless felt a bit fearful. Cavalli defined, “After six months of no folks, it was unusual to be out and about in such a traditional means,” even with folks carrying masks and social distancing.
“We went to the seaside, and it was fairly packed,” stated Lobo. “So we received a spot away from everybody else. We weren’t used to it. We went for a swim and received out.”
That stated, the couple has loved their time, cooking, visiting with household and buddies and getting a style of what they’d hoped for once they purchased the home within the first place.
“Puglia is like Tuscany 30 years in the past,” Cavalli says.
Lobo agrees, “It’s fairly untouched. It is a little bit gem. We love the country side of it.”
Because the clock winds down on their stolen summer season season, the expertise of spending August in a spot which means a lot to them — even throughout a world pandemic — was total very constructive.
However it hasn’t been straightforward managing work with so many time zones in play.
“Marco’s work is just about within the US time zone, so you can begin late and finish late,” stated Lobo. “I’ve groups globally, so it looks like I am doing a 24 hour shift, and it is simply nonstop. That was fairly exhausting.”
So whereas the social gathering’s practically over, the couple are content material to return to the USA. “We have been fortunate,” Lobo stated.
Sooner or later, they hope to reside off the land, by making and promoting olive oil from the olive bushes on their property — they simply made a giant batch from final October’s harvest that they are attempting to determine how you can distribute.
“Marco stated this is able to be an excellent retirement plan,” Lobo stated. She smiled and added “not that we’re actually occupied with retirement but.”