What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
1. Lots and lots of over the counter medicines. They are 3 times the price and mostly behind the counter at the pharmacy. Not in grocery stores I could find.
2. A sling-box. To watch TV in English - to relax and give my brain a rest from talking in Italian all day. Cable is expensive and channels in English don't necessarily show current shows.
3. Lots of those super-huge ziplock bags. The ones that are 2 or 3 feet tall. With the conditions very open air, we have lots of trouble with mold on the walls and musty wardrobes. I'd put any clothes, linens, anything wool in those bags to protect them.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Make sure to make connections with the International Women's Club of Torino - facebook or their website - whether you are a woman or man. They are tremendously helpful in getting you set up for living there.
Please, realize living in Italy is not like Germany or England. So much different than coming and seeing the sights and staying in a hotel. Life is hard for most Italians. Both spouses work to be able to afford a small apartment and cover expenses. It isn't quite like Mexico or Spain. More of a "2nd. world" country, if that's a word. Has Internet and cells phones, but power outages, antiquated ways, and ancient buildings that are falling apart.
Realize you may need to purchase your own kitchen for the apartment you rent - stove, cabinets, sink, dishwasher. They aren't guaranteed even if you see them in the kitchen when you view the place. Negotiate for them as part of your rent so you don't have to get rid of them when you leave. Also know that there is no MLS listing for all the area possible apartments. Each real estate office and each agent have their own set of apartments to rent. If you don't like the ones you see, ask what another agent has listed.
Learn as much Italian as you can before you go - only the young will know some English. And most who say they speak it, mean they understand it when they hear it.
Make sure to plan a trip to your home country once a year for perspective and respite for your brain.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We live in a two-family duplex with a yard in the wooded hills area just outside Torino city limits. Very typical of most expats I know who have children. It's closer to the international school in Chieri. And easy to get to the city (10-15 min.). And much quieter. Easy to get to shopping.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
We chose the hills "Percolina/ Colina" area, because of the availability of yards for our kids to play outside. Parks in the city were made for kids 5 and under. We have school aged kids. There's one in the Park of Rememberance. Prices for places with yards and 2 family shared homes were about the same as in an apartment buildings we saw in the city. We had to buy a car though. Was very worth it.
We were taken around by agents from HomeBase. They were hired by my husband's company, but I would recommend Judy Stein at [email protected] or +39-338-985-1432. Judy is from the US originally and knows the expectations North Americans have for housing. I wish I could have found housing with her instead of HomeBase.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Much higher. Meat is expensive. Gasoline/diesel is high. It's cheaper to buy clothes and house items in the US on holidays and bring them back in the suitcase.