Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Neverending Story of Construction in Italy

For years, I have been listening to the sounds of restoration or construction. It began in Venice, when the building across the canal had work done for over a year as the owners remodeled the house. Then I moved to Padua.

In the first apartment, you could say I had a respite. In reality, I exchanged construction noise for car traffic and sirens. I was living on a major thoroughfare next to the hospital so not only did I enjoy rush hour traffic and pollution, but I also had sirens outside my windows at least 3 times an hour. The sirens could even be heard during telephone conversations with friends and family in America.

Once I got out of that situation and found a nice residential area to call home, the construction began again. For the first year, a new small condominium was being finished next to our house. No sooner was that project finished, than the property directly across the street decided to resume 20-year-old project for another larger building, including condos and commercial space.

The demolition of the old pillars began two years ago and the building has finally finished this summer. I can't believe the construction is over! There aren't the big trucks blocking traffic anymore. Our neighborhood parking spaces have been given back to us. The big box is standing and ready for occupancy with a big banner hanging with per informazioni (for information)and a telephone number.

It had gotten to the point that the sound of a jack-hammer was like a lullaby during my afternoon naps, when I could take them. Having silence is odd now.

Below is a picture of the project from our front lawn. What do you think? Would you want to live there? I must admit that although the area is great, this building doesn't look very inviting to me with its "pool" blue paint and bulky, restricted terraces. The condo has been named L'Ancora (The Anchor) and there is a big anchor as the focal point of the landscaping area in front. Padua only has canals and two rivers that run through or around it with virtually no boat traffic so I don't understand the symbolism.

My husband and I are making bets on what the commercial spaces will become. Will we get a take-away pizza joint? That would be convenient. Will a new perfume shop do business there? Or a small supermarket or green grocer? I guess we will find out by the end of the year. We haven't seen anyone move in yet. For now, the construction company has set up its offices in the second-floor office suite.

In the meantime, two new demolitions and new housing projects have started further down the street. The trucks are back in the neighborhood. It is just neverending.... but at least we can't hear their noise.

Funny thing is that my husband and I are looking to move again. Who knows what projects lurk around the new property. Maybe this time we will be the ones making the noise, especially if we find a house to fix-up.


  1. Over here in Milan, construction is not a great problem. We have a disco on our doorstep, but that is another story!

    What gets me is when people move into apartments above or around you in Italy. The first thing that happens is that the apartment is gutted and given a huge makeover. This process, which seems to take a few months, involves lots of banging, drilling and other noise - often on a Sunday morning from 8 on! Arrgh!

    I've had to put up with refurbishment pains on more than one occaision.

    Padua, which I have visited, looks to be quite a nice place to live - despite continual construction.



  2. Yes, Italians want their interiors to be impeccable as soon as they enter the property and that does require a lot of constant refurbishments.

    I can only imagine what it is like living by a disco.

    Padua is quite nice and has a great medieval flair in the city center.