THE YOGAPULIA STORY
Once we had decided to open a retreat centre, the next step was to find the right property and location. We knew we wanted to be based in Europe but apart from that we had no preferred locations. After spending many hours looking at properties on the internet, we were captivated by the Trulli buildings in Apulia, Italy. On our very first trip in June 2017, we fell in love with the Itria Valley and knew this was where we wanted to open our centre. We viewed more than 15 properties but had a very specific idea of what we wanted, so the search continued.
On our second visit we viewed the property we would end up buying. Although the building would need a lot of work, the quiet, peaceful location and energy of the place was exactly what we had been looking for.
Our offer to purchase the property was accepted and we had entered the Italian house buying process!
As we got further into the process of buying the property we realised we really needed a local Italian solicitor and were very fortunate to meet Giandomenico who made the whole process relatively straightforward. (We highly recommend using a local solicitor to anyone thinking of buying a property in Italy!) We also started Italian lessons!
We wanted a simple name that would clearly convey what we were about and where we were based and came up with YogApulia. Thanks to our dear friends Gary and John for helping us decide on the name and designing the logo.
Our first meeting was with Giuseppe the Geometra, Donato the local builder and Graham, an English guy who had been living and working in the area for many years and would prove to be a huge help to us. With a plan for the building works and costs completed we just needed to finalise the purchase.
Eight months after our offer was accepted we found ourselves in the office of the Notary (public official to oversee the sale) along with two estate agents one for the buyer and one for the seller, our solicitor, the current owners of the property, a witness, an interpreter and the Notary . Five hours later, after many heated discussions in Italian, we were pretty sure we had bought a property!
July/ August 2018
After 10 years running global business development for a digital advertising company and almost 20 years working in London it was time for me (Mark) to say goodbye.
The building work began on the smaller property which involved a new roof, new floor, two new bathrooms, new wooden doors and windows, removal of some internal walls and a new kitchen. Donato and his team along with Giuseppe overseeing everything had done a brilliant job with everything completed on time and on budget. Next up was the yoga shala.
After driving 1,380 miles through France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland we arrived in Puglia with our two very tired dogs! We met our neighbours who are in their 80’s and have lived here all of their lives. Due to our very limited Italian there was a lot of hand gestures and nodding! Everyone seems fascinated with our dogs, apparently Whippets are not too common around these parts.
The building renovations started in the main building for the guest accommodation and yoga shala which included a lot of demolition and reconfiguration along with a new flat roof, new electrical and plumbing, external stone cleaning and repointing. The order was placed for the new windows and doors.