February 28, 2024

By Tamara Hardingham-Gill | CNN

They met in California again within the Seventies after they had been each 18 and went on to marry on the age of 21.

Over 5 a long time later, Randy Allen and Cindy Harding Nannarelli from the US are each residing in Italy with their husbands.

Actually, the 2 {couples}’ properties in Noto, Sicily are positioned only a brief distance from one another.

“We share plenty of meals collectively and in addition plenty of buddies too,” Randy, a former realtor, tells CNN Journey.

Randy and Cindy’s longstanding relationship started after they “dated for a couple of yr” again after they had been youngsters.

Lengthy-standing relationship

Randy, proper, and Steve with their canines Mimi and Lola.(Randy Allen through CNN) 

“I met a boy and got here out,” Randy provides. “And Cindy determined to nonetheless be my good friend.”

In keeping with Randy, he and Cindy realized how a lot they meant to one another after spending a couple of months aside, and “each form of proposed to one another, despite the fact that she knew I used to be homosexual.”

“Whenever you’re 21, you don’t actually know what a soulmate is,” explains Cindy, a former instructor. “You simply clump all of it collectively.

“So it was like, ‘We have to be collectively, as a result of we have now a lot enjoyable collectively. And we actually care about one another.’ And that simply meant getting married [to us] I suppose, which is what we did.”

Whereas they had been legally married for nearly three years, the pair say that they solely lived collectively for about 9 months.

Regardless of pulling the plug on their marriage and realizing that any romantic relationship between them was doomed to fail, their friendship stayed sturdy.

In 1978, Cindy took a visit to Europe, the place she met and fell in love with an Italian man named Sandro and ended up remarrying and relocating to his dwelling metropolis of Florence.

“There was an extended interval the place we misplaced contact,” says Randy, explaining that he moved round so much throughout that point.

“As a result of there was no different strategy to keep in contact however to jot down letters or make costly phone calls.”

Fortunately, Randy was in a position to journey to Germany on a piece journey in 1996 and determined to take the prepare to Florence to go to Cindy.

Whereas he solely stayed for 5 days, Italy “made an enormous impression” on him and he continued to journey there to go to Cindy and Sandro, who’ve two sons collectively, through the years.

In 2006, Randy met his future husband Steve Bertiz in what he describes as a “good old school manner.”

“We had been launched by a mutual good friend in a bar,” he says. “And two years later, we obtained married.”

Italian connection

As Steve had by no means been to Italy earlier than, they traveled there quickly after, and Randy was in a position to introduce his new husband to Cindy and Sandro.

The 2 {couples} bonded shortly, and with Cindy touring backwards and forwards to the US, recurrently visiting Randy and Steve in California, they had been in a position to spend time collectively in each Italy and the States within the following years.

Randy and Steve say they hadn’t significantly thought of leaving the US till the results of the presidential election of 2016.

“It was the day after Donald Trump was elected,” says Randy. “We awakened and we couldn’t consider it occurred.

“Then we checked out our telephones. And it was official. And we each simply thought, ‘We’d like to consider residing elsewhere.’”

Though they are saying they significantly thought of relocating to Mexico or Portugal, Italy received out in the long run.

“It was my favourite place,” admits Randy, including that he instantly dominated Florence out as Steve “actually hates chilly climate.”

“It will get very chilly in Florence – by his requirements,” he provides. “And likewise, it was costly and we’re not tremendous rich.

“We needed to stay someplace the place we may personal our dwelling, not have a mortgage, and actually be capable to stay on our pensions and Social Safety and issues.”

Though they’d by no means been to Sicily, Randy and Steve felt prefer it may very well be an excellent place for them because the latitude and the climate “had been just like California,” and determined to pay a go to.

When Cindy heard that they had been headed to Sicily, she insisted that they go to Noto, a city she and Sandro had beforehand spent a while in, and the 2 {couples} determined to go collectively in late 2018.

“We [she and Sandro] spent three days right here and fell in love with it,” says Cindy, including that it reminded her of a city in San Francisco that she and Randy had lived in whereas they had been married.

On arriving in Noto, Randy and Steve shortly realized that it was the correct place for them, and ended up viewing a home “accidentally.”

Unintended viewing

Randy and Cindy on their wedding day back in 1975.(Randy Allen via CNN)
Randy and Cindy on their marriage ceremony day again in 1975.(Randy Allen through CNN) 

They had been printing out their boarding passes for his or her return flight at an workplace on the town when Cindy occurred to ask if anybody knew of any good property offers.

“One of many man’s grandmother’s had simply died and he mentioned he may present us her place and warned that his dad wouldn’t settle for something lower than 90,000 euros,” says Randy.

“We agreed to have a look and our hearts actually stopped.”

Though they had been prepared to purchase the two-bedroom dwelling there after which, Cindy satisfied Randy and Steve to provide it slightly extra thought.

They went out for lunch, “transformed the entire place” of their heads, after which organized to satisfy with the daddy of the person who’d proven them the property.

“I used to be translating backwards and forwards all their questions,” says Cindy. “And he appeared as shocked as I did after they mentioned, ‘We wish it. We’re shopping for it.’”

Randy and Steve excitedly headed to a close-by ATM, and managed to withdraw 1,000 euros (about $1,080,) which they left as a deposit.

They then shook arms with the stunned Italian and agreed to purchase the house for 90,000 euros (round $97,000.)

However whereas the sale course of solely took a couple of months, it might be one other three years earlier than they’d formally transfer to Noto.

Throughout this time, Cindy started appearing as a “form of challenge supervisor,” for the couple, who had requested her to assist oversee the renovation work on their dwelling, touring backwards and forwards between Florence and Noto, an 80-minute flight, in addition to trying to find her personal property in Noto.

“After we got here with them at first, I had just about needed to purchase one thing,” Cindy says, explaining that she was on the lookout for one thing barely cheaper that she may renovate “little by little.”

Cindy and Sandro finally bought a property shut by round two years later.

In the meantime, Randy and Steve, who beforehand labored for the federal government, had been tying up free ends within the US – Steve needed to work to a particular retirement date – and making preparations to fly to Italy with their canine Luigi.

In October, 2021, the couple arrived in Italy with Luigi after promoting their dwelling in California and the whole lot they owned, other than a container of things that they’d shipped over.

“It was very surreal,” says Steve.

Sadly their transport container took longer to reach than they anticipated. And because the fuel had not but been linked at their Italian property, they needed to stroll over to Cindy’s dwelling to bathe day by day.

“We by no means walked over in our tub robes, however we did carry our towels,” says Randy.

“And I’m certain all of the neighbors had been questioning, ‘Who’re these Individuals, and why are they carrying towels across the neighborhood?”

Randy and Steve entered Italy with a Elective Residency Visa, a long-stay allow for non-EU residents who intend to take residence in Italy, which requires a passive earnings of 38,000 euros ($40,700) per couple.

Shaky begin

The interior of their home has been completely remodeled since they purchased it in 2018.(Randy Allen via CNN)
The inside of their dwelling has been fully transformed since they bought it in 2018.(Randy Allen through CNN)