Oxfordshire couple star in Channel 4 show about life in Italy

An Oxfordshire couple star in a Channel 4 daytime show, having packed up their lives in the county to start a new business in Italy.

Mark and Jane Barton, who left Mixbury to live full-time in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy, star in A New Life in the Sun.

The Channel 4 show follows expats as they say goodbye to the UK and begin the long journey of setting up businesses in places like France, Spain and Portugal. It shows a window into their new life and the positives and negatives that come with it.

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Their business has two components: the first is a vacation rental apartment in a town in the Casoli district and the second deals with other people’s vacation rentals, who are based where their new home is in Palombaro.

The couple, both 55, got involved with the show as they had watched it before and Mr Barton saw it was an advert for contestants so he applied in line.

Mr Barton said: “We always wanted to move to Italy full time. Two things precipitated the move; Brexit being one, we lost our rights as Europeans, and the second was HS2 which was spoiling Mixbury for what we wanted Mixbury to be.

“It was time to really come out for us.”

The Bartons had not worked at a similar business before moving to Italy.

When they lived in Oxfordshire, Ms Barton worked with horses on a freelance basis and she joked that she had ‘come out on the safe side without too many injuries’.

Mr Barton, meanwhile, was previously a property developer, but in recent years has worked in plumbing, heating and electrical.

The couple said that since arriving in the country the business has been “remarkably busy”, particularly on the vacation rental side.

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Mr Barton explained: ‘There are a lot of people looking to move to Abruzzo so the apartment has been rented almost full time with people staying a month at a time looking for properties.’

There’s not much they miss in Oxfordshire – besides cycling, it’s easier.

Mr Barton said: “We are literally half an hour from the beach, we are 40 minutes from the ski slopes, wine is only a euro a liter for the good stuff, the food is excellent and cheaper than in the UK.

“We don’t owe anyone any money, so pretty good to be honest.”

A New Life in the Sun airs weekdays on Channel 4 at 4pm with Barton’s episodes airing January 26, 27 and 28.

You can check out their business at corsovittorioemanuele.co.uk/.

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