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Why do you pick the are of Italy you now live or want to live?

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foxwhite1
5/3/2018 07:51 EST

My wife and I are at the beginning of our journey to move to Italy. We have been to Italy a number of times and most recently spent Jan/Feb/March in Lucca, as Tuscany and Liguria were two areas we had not previously spent any time in. Our dilemma is where to finally move and make a commitment for a year+ lease? We loved Lucca, and are seriously considering it. However, there are a few downsides that are preventing our decision. First, we enjoyed the closeness to the mountains and sea, but the weather was less than ideal. We have lived in Florida all of our lives and a bit sunnier and warm clime, even by a few degrees would be lovely. Secondly, the food was good but my family came from Agropoli in the south, and their cuisine is much healthier. More fruits, vegetables, seafood and tomatoes based sauces. The Lucchese idea of contorni was frittes and the occasional spinaci. Third, the people although very nice they are more reserved and avoid eye contact when passing by. My experience in the south was there was always a friendly 'Buonasera' when passing a stranger on the street. Now with all that said, Lucca, is full of charm, is clean, relative to a lot of Italy, is safe and not overpopulated with panhandling migrants. (Sorry but come in the front door the correct way, and I can accept you, otherwise head to Germany, Sweden or work to make your own country habitable LOL) Now one thing that is important to us is that my son and daughter-in-law live in Denmark and so we want to be near an airport that does not require them or us when we visit to take all day traveling. I have heard lots of good things about Puglia, and I spent six weeks then when in high school but travel from Copenhagen to that region is at minimum a 10-12 hour journey. So besides the above wish, we also like bike/pedestrian friendly cities/communes, reasonable winter weather, more mild than cold, and the heat of summer does not bother us. So with all this rambling, what I would like to ask, can you tell us why you choose your current Italian location, it's pluses and minuses and any other comments would be appreciated!

foxwhite1
5/3/2018 07:52 EST

Sorry about the spelling on the title, why is there NO ability to edit posts???

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foxwhite1
5/3/2018 08:09 EST

Oh, sorry we have one more requirement. We love sailing and anything to do with the sea so close proximity to the sea is essential

HenryGiovanni
5/3/2018 09:41 EST

Hi again Foxwhite1,
We chose Padova because my wife is originally from here, and the family remains here to this day. Her brother's house is a very short (10 min max) walk down the street. Her sister lives not far away, easily accessible via public transport (bus, then tram).

Venezia tends to be the local tourist-magnet, so Padova has less of that traffic. My wife says the tourism is booming; I disagree. It's nothing like Roma, Firenze, or, heaven forbid, Venezia.

Public transport: very good. Train station downtown (25 min via bus). Marco Polo Intl airport in Mestre is about 45 min away by car, and one can get a bus from the stazione straight to the airport for a reasonable rate (I forget, but maybe EU 15?).

Lots of history in Padova, so lots to see.

Venezia, should one wish to venture there, is a 30 min train ride to Santa Lucia Stazione on the Canale Grande. There are pay-beaches on Lido, just across the lagoon, and more at Jesolo.

I was up on Monte Cengio this last Sunday, at the very SW corner of the Altopiano dei Setti Comune. The drive was about 1-1/2 hrs. Asiago (cheese and speck) is up there. One can ski during winter, hike during summer, or just visit.

The four of us climbed Monte Pasubio's Strada delle 52 Gallerie in June 2015. These are serious mountains. Also about 2 hrs away by car.

Bolzano/Dolomiti Mts: 3 hrs.
Austrian border (Brennero): 4 hrs?
Bologna; maybe 2 hrs or take the train.
Verona: 1-1/4 hrs by car.
Trieste: 2 hrs or take the train.
Firenze: 3 hrs if traffic keeps moving on the A-road; 4-1/2 hrs when I went, but spent 1-1/2 hrs walking around outside the car taking pics.
Milano: 3 hrs drive.

Weather: it was COLD this last winter, but it was cold everywhere in EU. Snow in Feb. I came from Southern CA; not used to such things. Currently: nice weather, even expecting thunderstorms later today. I love those! Summer can be hot and humid (not used to that either), but I lose weight easily, without even trying, and still eating without limitations. I am not overweight by any stretch of that word, but used to drop 10-20 lbs in 3 weeks on prior summer vacation visits. That will happen again this summer, I'm sure, though I have less to drop than I used to when making a living meant sitting in a chair.

So, I might have chosen another place, but I like Padova from all prior visits (about 7 or 8). Fortunately, because my wife wanted to return "home", so here it is.

One side benefit, for me: one of my interests is the Italian Front during WWI. (see my Henry Giovanni book Italian History Through Italian Medals on amazon.com, e-book only due to large number of photos. Also on amazon.it. Only in English. Currently being revised with more medals, more history, and more trips). Padova is central to the entire front (Armistice signed here on Nov 3, 1918, effective 24 hrs later on Nov 4, now a national holiday). On past trips I've carved out a week or so to travel around various places (first visited Monte Cengio in 2012). Most sites are within the 2-3 hr driving range. I can walk the trenches, read the local history, look at the old photos, and listen to the ghosts. The list of places that remain to be seen is now (maybe) shorter than the list of places already seen. So for me, Padova works well. Brother-in-law and his wife now want me to devise another WWI trip for them!

Hope this helps. Cheers, John.

whidden39
5/3/2018 09:59 EST

There are two regional airports in Puglia with good connections to other other parts of Europe. Climate was a big draw to sunny Puglia, and the people here are kind and patient. They are not yet jaded by excessive tourism. The landscape and beaches are captivating, the food is very healthy and inexpensive. Even restaurant dining is inexpensive as is good local wine. The quality of life in my opinion is very high and the cost of living quite reasonable. Food in the outdoor markets is sourced from farms very close by. I have traveled all over Italy over many years and loved every place I visited. But when it came time to choose a place to live, I realized that Puglia was an authentic, low-stress region with its own unique character. Finally, I do favor the Valley d’Itria area of Puglia because it is not too rural or too much of a summer colony. I live here the entire year and I enjoy cultural activities and social interaction with Italians and expats throughout the year. Good luck finding your special place.

foxwhite1
5/4/2018 08:20 EST

Thanks for the information on Puglia. As much as I would like to consider Apulia as an option the flight times from Denmark are insane. Minimum of 10+ hours with connections. Since at some point in the near future we hope to be grandparents, the ease of visiting each other is paramount and the thought of a tortuous 10+ hours journey is not at all acceptable.

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sedona
5/5/2018 14:15 EST

Thanks for the information on the Valley d"Itria! I am near retirement and would very much like to spend 2 months or so living in that area of Puglia and exploring some of the individual communities. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for locating a short term local rental in a "central" location? Can you tell us a little more about the expat community in the area where you reside? I do speak "passable" Italian but I do need to refresh my vocabulary. Grazie.

whidden39
5/6/2018 09:00 EST

I rented an apartment for two months in Martina Franca owned by a friend of a friend. It was expensive because it was high season and was listed on Air B&B as a vacation rental. The centro storico of Martina Franca is really a wonderful place, but the surrounding countryside of all the towns of the Val d’Itria offer accommodations. Unfortunately, I don’t have a referral to an person or agency that could help you find your short term stay. In addition to Martina Franca consider these other Val d’Itria towns: Alberobello (centro is very touristy), Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ostuni, and the peaceful Laureto neighborhood of Fasano (high over the city with great views). All these towns are in fairly close proximity if you have a car.

My English speaking expat friends include South Africans, Americans, Brits and Australians. When you meet one of two people, you end up being introduced to others. There is no formal organizations I am aware of. There seem to be a few of us in this forum that live in Puglia.

PhilG
5/6/2018 12:06 EST

I echo Whidden39's lyrical waxing of the Val d'Itria. Puglia is increasingly being touted as "the new Tuscany" and the towns mentioned by Whidden39 are but some of this region's historical, architectural and cultural jewels.

We live in Locorotondo, one of Italy's most beautiful hilltop towns. For us the plusses (not in any order of priority) are:
The natural beauty of the surrounding area; friendliness of the towns-folk; wonderful weekly market; fabulous cuisine; proximity to east and west coast coves and beaches; the choice of two international airports both within an hour's drive; cycling and walking trails....I could go on and on.

I hope the above helps to inform your decision on what part of Italy you choose to live in.

sedona
5/6/2018 13:29 EST

Thanks for the information. I had read about Martina Franca and it is definitely on my list to explore. Can you tell me of the best "off season" times of the year to visit and explore? I plan to rely on public transportation and perhaps renting a vespa to get around. Any thoughts on that plan? Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Regards
Aldo

sedona
5/6/2018 15:30 EST

Martina Franca is definitely on my list to explore. What "off season" months of the year would you say would be the best times to come and explore? I plan to make use of public transportation and renting a vespa to get around. Any thoughts on that part of my plan? Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and advice.
Regards,

Aldo

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maluza86
5/7/2018 02:41 EST

FoxWhite,

There are flights from Brindisi to Copenhagen via Alitalia connecting with Swissair through Zurich with total travel time less than 5 hrs.

Having said that...we chose San Vito Dei Normanni (SV) just outside of Brindisi, in Puglia for several reasons. First and foremost, I met my wife there in 1993 while temporarily assigned to the former American Air Base located just outside the city. We were married in a small church in Lecce in 1994 but had not gone back to visit until 2008, after one of oldest son moved back.

San Vito Dei Normanni is a nice small sized city of about 20,000 people, but doubles in the summer (as do most small cities and towns in Puglia) due to tourism. The tourists are mainly northern Italians and Europeans and Puglia has been a hidden gem for a long time. They are not the selfie stick weilding, mass tour groups many have complained about and mentioned in other posts of Venizia, Fiorenza etc. There is a also a pretty good sized English speaking community comprised of mainly British, but some American, French, and Canadian as well. Also many of the older generation Italian business people speak some English due to the proximity the base was to the city and the business opportunities it offered.

As others mentioned, once you meet one or two Expats you'll start meeting many others with a variety of passions and begin to find out just how many are hidden in and around the confines of the city you choose.

We decided to make the move to SV in 2014 as our middle son had also moved back there in 2009 after graduating from College. So with our older two boys living in Italy, married with children, the lure of being closer to the grand kids was too much and SV was the logical choice for us.

We really enjoy the city of SV and the people and are involved in many activities, but our favorite is our local Harley Davidson Free Chapter out of Brindisi. SV is close to the beaches for summertime activities, 7km to Specchiola, 12 Km to the Airport and there are tons of other small towns and larger cities nearby that offer much to do year round. Every city has an open air market, usually on different days, and festivals galore during the summer. Ostuni, the Citta Bianca is a very international city, 15 Km away and offers great cultural activities, but there are so many others... Carovigno a nice small town with a great city center, Lecce the large gateway city and many, many, many more as you move up and down the coast from Bari to Alberobello. Polignano a Mare. Otranto. Monopoli. Vieste. Trani, Santa Cesarea Terme (in addition to the other towns others have already listed).

whidden39
5/7/2018 03:10 EST

A Vespa will serve you well here. Bicycles too. There are many bicycle paths— one goes on top of an aqueduct affording great views. September/October is my favorite time because the temps are still warm and comfy, the beaches are not crowded, the local tempo resumes. May/June is much the same with wild flowers everywhere. The only time I would avoid is December - March. It can get very raw and rainy at that time.

whidden39
5/7/2018 03:27 EST

Good job, Maluza, rounding out other comuni and experiences in Puglia. I try my best to travel all quarters of this enchanting region to discover secrets the guidebooks thankfully have not yet revealed. San Vito dei Normanni is indeed a special place. You have been in this forum for many years now. Your comments about Puglia while I was still in the States gave me the firsthand insights I needed to settle here. I am grateful for your previous assistance and encouragement. Living my new life fully in Puglia!

whidden39
5/7/2018 03:27 EST

Good job, Maluza, rounding out other comuni and experiences in Puglia. I try my best to travel all quarters of this enchanting region to discover secrets the guidebooks thankfully have not yet revealed. San Vito dei Normanni is indeed a special place. You have been in this forum for many years now. Your comments about Puglia while I was still in the States gave me the firsthand insights I needed to settle here. I am grateful for your previous assistance and encouragement. Living my new life fully in Puglia!

sedona
5/7/2018 20:12 EST

Maluza, Whidden,

Thank you both for sharing your knowledge, insight, and experiences.
Regards,

Aldo

sedona
5/7/2018 20:23 EST

Maluza,

You mentioned your service at a U.S. Air Base outside Brindisi. I t was an Army installation back then. I work at Vandenberg AFB California. We launched a spacecraft to Mars a few days ago on a Delta 5 rocket. I was on the roof of 14th air force headquarters at the launch. Couldn't see a darn thing but it was the loudest thing I heard in my life!
http://abc7.com/science/nasa-launches-insight-lander-to-mars-from-vandenberg-afb/3432371/

Regards

Aldo

Airbornespoon173
5/7/2018 22:04 EST

I'll be moving to Vicenza due to it's proximity to Caserma Ederle a U.S. Army installation. I'm a recent retiree from the U.S. Army so all of the service's that the post offers will make my transition a more simple one. Along with the above reason I'll be settling in Vicenza because it's a beautiful and often overlooked city by most American tourists.

maluza86
5/8/2018 00:17 EST

Thanks Whidden and Sedona,

This is truly a great source of information for anyone looking to move to Italy or for those already here...always something new to learn.

I've enjoyed following your journey Whidden and am glad you are enjoying your home and the Valle d'Itria :-)

whidden39
5/8/2018 07:12 EST

Vicenza is a classy place. Beautiful architecture. Loved a self-directed tour of the magnificent villas designed by Palladio in the countryside. Enjoy your new home.

thefountain
5/12/2018 14:52 EST

Go with your gut feeling. Become familiar with the areas you have in mind. Weigh the pros and cons of an area. That why it is good to lease.

Good luck.

HenryGiovanni
5/12/2018 18:02 EST

Hi Thefountain,
Wife is from Padova. Been here to see family many times over the past 17 years. She wanted to return. Buying is always better than leasing. We bought a condo. Already. Done deal. We are now "installed" in the condo, making it work. Damn the torpedoes.
Thanks anyway. BTW, Padova is quite nice, and I'm already used to it. Just far enough away from the tourist-magnet of Venezia, yet still close enough to get there in short order, so life could be worse, but it's not.
Cheers, John.

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

sparrow19
7/28/2018 20:44 EST

Just received our visa and moving to Campione d'Italia (the Italian enclave located in Switzerland). We chose Campione mainly because my husband speaks passable German; neither of us speak Italian. We'd have to join classes and learn. Campione is a small city, very peaceful, no crime and absolutely beautiful! The area offers good public transportation (though expensive), and this was an important factor, as we won't be driving. We are renting, so always have the option to move elsewhere if we are unable to manage. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

zanzara72
7/29/2018 03:29 EST

I would stay where you're staying simply because you're near Lugano, paradise.
I lived in Florence for eight years and I've been back to visit, but there are so many other places where I'd consider living. I speak the language so I can move anywhere, and I'd want to explore the Adriatic coast area because I was always on the Tirrenium side. But about 15 years ago, a NY work partner took me to visit his hometown a coastal town in Calabria, province of Catanzaro. I met his friends there, all part of one family, and they immediately made me part of their family. They own a hotel, which has been friended on FB by a whole bunch of beautiful Italian women. Being a single guy, I have to go back there.

codybrandy
7/29/2018 03:42 EST

Hello sparrow...just wanted to wish you the best of luck! I just read about Campione...if that isn't the most interesting history! Happy travels and smooth transitions.

sparrow19
7/29/2018 13:43 EST

zanzarz72
Thank you much for your response. Your location and your 'family' sounds wonderful! Lots of luck to you

sparrow19
7/29/2018 13:44 EST

Thank you Codybrandy!

Napol01
7/30/2018 03:36 EST

Hello
Is there anyone out there living in Lecce. We just moved to Lecce two months ago and are loving it. We would like to reach out to those who are living in this beautiful city.
Thanks

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