I adore the Italian lifestyle. The food, the fashion, the luxurious sense of la dolce vita. But there’s a shadow over my love for this beautiful country, and it’s the way some Italians treat their foreign tenants. I’m passionate about the opulent lifestyle, but even I have my limits when it comes to being ripped off. Here’s my story.

For years, I’ve been renting properties in Tuscany and now in Umbria. Every time, it seems, I’ve been lied to, and once again, my deposit has vanished into thin air. This time, I’ve had enough. It doesn’t matter how kind or accommodating I am, it’s time to confront these landlords who are rich in both cash and property. Here are my top tips on how to handle these situations.

First and foremost, always record everything. Take videos of the property and make sure you do not leave until they refund your cash right in front of you. I once left in good faith after the cleaner inspected the place, only to receive a bill for €150 later, claiming the dishwasher was broken. Despite the mold and the unliveable conditions I tolerated, they still found a way to charge me extra. The house wasn’t cleaned as promised, and the bed linen wasn’t even made up for me.

I used an agent in Todi, a beautiful place, but even there, I found myself scammed. The agent is now ignoring me, but I have a plan to fight back. I’ll use Google reviews and a video of myself standing in front of the agency, calling them out for their dishonest practices.

It’s not just me. A friend of mine is owed €70,000 by Italian builders who simply disappeared. It’s infuriating and something needs to change. We need to stand up to these practices and demand our rights.

Villa Tuscany Gracie Opulanza Italy Yves Saint Lauren Silk Scarf

Dishonest Landlords

One unforgettable incident involved a stunning villa I rented in Tuscany. The property was magnificent, straight out of a fairy tale, but the dream quickly turned into a nightmare. The landlord promised the world but delivered very little. I arrived to find the place a mess, with no clean linens and a broken air conditioner. The landlord was unreachable and I spent my first night sweltering in the Italian heat. It was only after numerous phone calls and a threat to involve the local authorities that anything was done.

In Umbria, things weren’t much better. I rented a picturesque farmhouse, expecting tranquility and charm. Instead, I got leaky roofs, faulty plumbing, and an infestation of bugs. Complaints were met with indifference and excuses. When it came time to move out, I was slapped with a bill for damages I hadn’t caused. I learned the hard way to document every single detail upon moving in.

I am not alone in this struggle. Many expats and foreigners face similar issues. We come to Italy with dreams of beauty and elegance, only to be met with deceit. It’s a harsh reality, but one we can tackle together. Sharing our stories and exposing these dishonest landlords can help prevent others from falling into the same traps.

Now, let’s add some humor to this otherwise frustrating topic. Picture me, standing in my elegant dress, designer sunglasses on, holding a broomstick, chasing after a landlord who’s trying to scam me out of my deposit. Or imagine the look on the agent’s face when I show up with a camera crew to film my review. Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Fattoria Mansi Bernardo outdoor eating (1) httpswww.fattoriamansibernardini.com Gracie Opulanza 2020

On a lighter note, Italy is still a place of incredible beauty and charm. Despite the rental nightmares, I continue to be enchanted by its landscapes, culture, and, of course, its fashion. Living an opulent lifestyle in Italy means not just surviving these challenges but thriving despite them.

To those thinking of renting in Italy, don’t be discouraged. Just be prepared. Document everything, stand your ground, and don’t let anyone take advantage of you. And when you encounter those few bad apples, remember there are also honest, wonderful Italians who will restore your faith in this country.

So here I am, still living my best life in Italy, despite the occasional rental scam. My love for this country is unwavering, and I’m determined to make the best of every situation. After all, life is too short not to live it with passion and a touch of glamour.

Umbria Olive Trees and Vineyards (8)

Let’s not forget the joy of sipping espresso in a sun-drenched piazza, the thrill of shopping in Milan’s fashion district, or the simple pleasure of a perfect bowl of pasta. These are the moments that make all the challenges worth it. So, let’s raise a glass to resilience, to standing up for ourselves, and to never letting anyone dull our sparkle.

Here’s to all of us who love the finer things in life and refuse to be taken for fools. Let’s keep sharing our stories, supporting each other, and enjoying every luxurious moment Italy has to offer. And remember, the best revenge is living well – and fabulously. Cheers to that!