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An Expat Talks about Moving to Bergamo, Italy

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Bergamo

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Things to bring:

1. Cling Wrap - the kind here is very thin and incredibly hard to tear. I always end up with half the roll bunched up in a mess.

2. Packaged mixes such as muffin mix, Bisquick, packaged seasonings - while on the rise, prepared food mixes aren't as popular in Italy.

3. Good, sturdy ice cube trays. Italians don't use ice in regular drinks, and don't seem to make blender drinks. So the quality of the ice cube trays here is bad. Hard to use and very small.

Things I could have left behind:

1. Large Pyrex dishes. The ovens here are smaller and the larger Pyrex will not fit in the oven.

2. Large cat litter box. We have two cats. Everything here is smaller and you won't be able to find the large litter box bags.

3. Large Tupperwares. Fridges are smaller and you shop more and store leftovers less. I only use my small plasticware to store.

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

This city of Bergamo is divided into two parts, the upper city and lower city. The upper city is literally on a hill and is the more exclusive part of town. It's the "in" place right now. But it comes with drawbacks - can be loud at night because of all the bars and restaurants, while there are plenty of parks up here there are no yards, and hard to find parking spaces. I would first decide what type of housing situation you want (house with yard or city living) and then hire a good realtor. You have all types of housing from apartments to houses with yards and gardens. Our expat friends live in a variety of housing situations so there is no one way to do it here.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We live in a one bedroom apartment 90 sqm. While the layout for the apartment is typical the location is not. We intentionally chose to live in a more touristy, city-type area because of the nearness of restaurants, bars, shops, museums, etc.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We used a realtor selected by the company. After looking at around 50 apartments (one deal fell through and we had to start all over again) we were lucky enough to find an apartment in the exclusive old city. We were very fortunate.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Our housing costs are higher here only because of the higher rate of electricity. Electricity is very expensive here. I don't know the average rate of housing here.

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