Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 16, 2012

I met the original owner of our Vergemoli house

While I was painting walls I had a visitor to our stone house in Vergemoli. One of the local villagers dropped in to check on the progress, as they often do.

Battista was his name, and after discussing the latest developments, he told me that the original owner of the house still lives in Vergemoli. He asked if I would like to meet her…….of course I would!

We met later in the day at the village bar and Battista took me to the house of Liana.



Liana is the granddaughter of one of the 3 brothers who owned the house. She remembers well going there to visit her grandparents. She is delighted that the house is alive again.

The ground floor was divided into 3 parts, one of which was home to the family cow. Produce grown on the property was stored in another part and the rest housed the families who lived there.

There are still olive trees, fruit trees, at least one walnut tree, fig trees and who knows what else. On my next visit I will explore the land around the house.

It was great to meet Liana and her husband Selso. Thank you Battista for introducing us.


Battista, Liana and Selso.

Our house has a name. It is Casa Debbio. It is in the localita Debbio, so it is only fitting…..and it is very close to Debra.

When I come back there will be a party at the house for the residents of Vergemoli and the lovely builders who have made such a beautiful house for us.


  1. I am glad to know that you have found about the story of your house. It makes it more special.

    • I was delighted to meet Liana and it is lovely to know the village is happy about the new house.

  2. That is fantastic you got to meet a former resident of your house. I love when that connection can be made! The name is very fitting. I am envious of your whole experience!

    • You may not be so envious if you knew how difficult it has been to get some things done, but we are thrilled with it.

  3. How wonderful to be able meet the original family and learn more about your house in Vergemoli!

    • Liana told us the house hadn’t been lived in for nearly 100 years. By the time she visited her grandparents there it was just used during the day. She had never slept there. When we bought it the house was too far gone to repair it. We rebuilt it in exactly the same dimensions as the original house, as you have to here in Italy.

  4. Your story gave me wonderful chills to hear that you have made this connection, Debra. The party should be great fun and you may learn much more about your new home in the process. Enjoy your adventure with Casa Debbio!

    • The adventure is just beginning with Casa Debbio I think.

  5. What a wonderful story – can hardly wait to see the pictures when your house is finished Debra

    Pam Proctor

    • I can hardly wait until it IS finished.

  6. Wonderful getting to know a bit of history. Your new property is in a beautiful setting. After a lifetime of going to the village of Pieve di Monti di Villa, I never knew why the location of our property is always referred to as Il Debbio. The name of your “casa” prompted me to finally pull out the dictionary. Apparently “debbio” refers to the areas where they originally did the burning of the stubble. You may already know this. I do love the similarity to your name.

    • I didn’t know this, thank you. The name coincidence is great, especially since I am often called Debbie. I was named after Debbie Reynolds.

  7. I also found the name similarity very special! It’s a good sign! Lovely!

    • It is a happy coincidence.

  8. Your house has a name! How cool is that! 🙂

    • We will have a little name plate made at some stage.

  9. Lovely story, Deb.

    • Nice to hear from you!

  10. I love the idea of exploring and uncovering a garden that was -and now that you have the extraordinary coincidence of locality Debbio and have christened the house , it will be even harder to part with.

    • I can’t see it selling too quickly, so we may get to enjoy it for a while.

  11. Lovely connection for you Deb- meeting the family of the previous owners is such a tangible way of making a connection with Casa Debbio’s past.

    • I hadn’t thought that there might be someone around who had connections with the house.

  12. The house is absolutely made for you isn’t it! 🙂 And how wonderful for you to meet the previous owner too.

    • It was lovely to meet Liana and her husband. Thanks Battista.

  13. Casa Debbio is perfect, and love the fact that you got to meet one of the original family members.

    • I am happy that the villagers are happy to see the house rebuilt.

  14. How wonderful Debra!! I am so thrilled you met Liana. What a great story. And to know she is happy about your beautiful house makes it all the more special.

    • I hope Liana and Selso can come up to see the house one day.

  15. How cool to learn some of the history of your house! Amazing! Our house once had a family of 11 kids living in it before the master bedroom was added on! Thus a family of 13 in four small bedrooms! We only have four of us in the same house!!

    • If only walls could talk!

  16. It must have been very exciting to meet her. Does she know any details about the history of the house? Any neat stories to share?

    • It was great fun to meet her. I had heard that 3 brothers owned the house, but I thought they were bachelors. It was a fairly significant house in its day, with terraced vegetable plots. The terraces are still there and I would like to have them cleaned up at some stage. Liana didn’t tell me much about the time before she knew the house. I will try to find out when it was built.

      • Liana’s photo looks a lot like photos of my grandmother. I see striking similarities – glasses and all. Very nostalgic for me.

        PS – In your About Me section, I noticed that your son’s birthday is the SAME day as mine. Isn’t that fun?

      • I think Liana is in her late 80s….she looks pretty good. You must be a very nice person with a May 31 birthday, my son certainly is.

  17. So glad you met her, it’s so lovely to make such connections. Some sisters who grew up in our house come by occasionally to see what we have done here and it makes a house so much more real, and reminds us that as with everything here in Tuscany we are just a part of a very long chain of History.

  18. You get a wonderful sense of continuity, meeting original owners. Our apartment’s owner was born in our villa, as was his sister who sold it to us. The old timers talk about a beautiful wisteria trellis on the terrace – we’ve been nursing the wisteria back to life but the trellis is long gone. One more thing to resurrect!

    • I think it is great to feel part of a community. I am looking forward to meeting more of the village when we have our little festa in September.

  19. That is so special to know the history of your casa – especially since it’s name is Debra 🙂 What a wonderful way to bring it back to life for the original owner’s relatives.

    • I am looking forward to our party in September, when the people from the village come to the house. I would like all the lovely builders to come too, and see the results of their hard work.

  20. Reblogged this on Our House in Tuscany.

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