Ciao a tutti! We are on the verge

06/22/2014 - 11:27

Ciao a tutti! We are on the verge of some life changing decisions and I would like some advice on areas of Italy:We have 3 ( nearly 4) year old boys who have another year before they start full time school in the UK and I have a 'now or never' decision.I have always wanted to improve my Italian and spend some time in Italy. We are in the process of selling our house in an up and coming area of London, so we'll have some capital to either buy somewhere (modest) in Italy or to invest in the UK and get a small income, I also sell high end vintage via a company in Paris, so I can be based anywhere, as long as Fedex or DHL can collect. The idea is for my partner to have a break from the daily London commute ( he's just had his second redundancy), we are living in a rather grotty area of London, with bad schools and I want to have a go at simplifying our lives a little. Ok, here are the options:Sardinia, where we'd like to rent as it's near extended family ( my partner's father was from the Oristano province), it's very uncommercial and as I said, there are lots of family there, none of whom speak a word of English, which is great for us as a family as I'm thinking it will make learning more intense. I would like to rent for a 6 month / 1 year period. I can't seem to find anything online to rent. I also don't want to bother family to find somewhere. Can anyone tell me how it works out there? If anyone has a place they are interested in renting, let me know! The second option would be to rent an apartment in Florence, where I fell in love with Italy. I would need a good pre-school nearby as a major reason for going would be to get my boys to learn some Italian. It all seems to be crazy expensive holiday lets, which I understand as it's such a mecca for tourists. Can anyone recommend a lovely suburb of the city with a nice little school where locals tend to rent? Similarly any tips on finding non vacation rentals?My third option ( admittedly a bit of a wild card) was to buy somewhere in Abruzzo. It seems so reasonably priced and beautiful and the fact it's on the mainland appeals. Admittedly, to date, I've not had much luck with estate agents getting back to me. I'd prefer to rent somewhere before we buy in order to really get a feel for the region. If anyone has any recommendations, feedback etc about the region, I'd so appreciate it. I know there must be such a wealth of knowledge from people on this forum.The fourth option ...... is to stay in London, with a crazy mortgage, school fees, financial pressure and giving up being a full time mum. I'm sure you get the picture. I have loads more questions re council tax etc ( Zia Grazia in Sardinia pays something crazy like 230 euro a year?) Any utility information would be great.thanks so much in advance 



I like the Sardinia option.  Being around relatives can be quite nice.  That said, I would kind of try to figure out where I would like to be in 8 years (socially, eductation wise for the kids, economically, etc etc) and then work backward from there.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. As you can see, I am trying to research THREE possible places to spend the coming year.I agree with stefanaccio, being around my partner's extended Sardinian family would be great in many ways, I've visited them every year for the past 10  years. Great beaches, amazing food and wine from their vinya. My kids will be fluent in Sardo before I know it - haha! I have to say guys, we are looking to spend 6-12 months renting ( I am possibly looking for a (holiday) place to buy in Italy, it's always been my dream) and I'm looking for any leads regarding property and local knowledge of these areas. I think that going to italy for a year would be a brilliant experience for us as a family. Financialy we can do it before the boys start ft school and we knuckle down to life in the UK again. I just can't decide where and I can't seem to get ahead with my research regarding a property to rent. Stefanaccio - Thanks for your consideration and positivity smiley it's not forever, it's a kind of sabbatical before my children start ft school when they are 5 years old. The 4th comment was tongue in cheek as we've decided to move out of London anyway and buy mortgage free back in my hometown, it's got excellent schools, it was named one of the 10 best places to live in the UK. So, I've got that one covered smileySo, to recap:1. Long term rental in Florence, can anyone recommend a nice area / rental agency? Scandicci was recommended to me. 2. Does anyone have a lead for a rental property on the Costa Verde in Sardinia?3. Any tips regarding Abruzzo, are prices as good as they look on the internet? As you can tell, I haven't decided where we are going to spend this precious year. Florence would be an indulgence, Sardinia would be a year with family and Abruzzo would be a research exercise in where to possibly. I am reaching out to the Italy Magazine community for information on any one of these areas.  **** Any leads regarding property anyone? ****  Also, any info regarding utilities? I am just curious to know. Thanks in advance for your constructive comments, I have read this forum for many years and there are some very knowledgable, positive people who contribute so well! There might be someone with a property to sell? I'm a great believer in research and shared knowledge.Can't wait to see if any of you have properties to sell or long term rentals?   

Hello! How exciting that you are considering such a move and I can only imagine how stressful this must be. I think if I was in your shoes, I would rent for at least six months in the area i was looking to move in order to get a feel of the place and see how your kids adjust. Sardinia is an amazing place but it can be tough for locals, many leave the island for the mainland to find work, attend better universities. I think Florence is a great bet in that there is a nice community of expats here but as you mentioned before, overpriced tourist rentals. Since you guys don't yet speak Italian, email a few rental agencies that can help you find something for your budget. I recommend the areas of San Niccolo, Santo spirito, piazza beccaria, piazza alberta, bagno a ripoli. which are all very charming and more 'liveable' without being too far from the center. I think Abruzzo is an absolutely beautiful area of Italy, as far as quality of life and what you would get for your euro, it would be higher than both Florence & Sardinia but its an area I don't personally know much about, in this case you will also want to rent an apartment to search for that perfect house and go through an agency likely to do so. I hope that helped at least partly to answer your question. You can always send us links here to anything your agency sends you and we can tell if you the price seems normal.  Best of luck! Georgette: Italy Magazine 

Ah, not quite so mad! How many kids? Do you want to be rural, town or coast? Sorry but you have to  do your research on this and no matter what people come up with on here you need to try harder to get your information. Very true that forums are a great way to get a lot of the information, but you have to ask the right questions and wade through the answers and weigh them up!  Ok, we have only been to Florence a few times and only really once to see it as a place, we much preferred Siena as a less tourist town. But from Florence to Abruzzo you have to make a very, very big leap! Mind you (and I may upset one or two here), you could look at both as dumps! We have lived in Abruzzo for getting on for 4 years now, but thought it the poor mans part of Italy when we first visited circa 2008.  However we have since bought a house there and live (retired) most of the time there. There are many, many great properties for sale and no matter what the estate agents there tell you, there is a very good reason they are cheap! Many it is because it costs a fortune to make them liveable and many because they are isolated, not near a motor way or some other reason Italians don’t want to live there. Oh and there is also the fact that so many of them are leaving the area because of dire economic factors….  That said… we love the place, but that may have more to do with the house we live in and the way we want to live, rural, very isolated and with more land than we can cope with at times. Others will quote the classic “a place you can ski in the morning and sun bathe in the afternoon”. Which is likely true, but not something we would want to do. So it depends on what you are looking for and the type of people you are as to whether Abruzzo is for you and your family.I would suggest you go over you and your family’s day to day requirements e.g. getting the milk, paying the bills, going on-line. Note them all down and then start researching how you would get/do these in Italy! Crucial for us was internet; we have mobile BB, not brilliant, but good enough for us. I’m sure you will have the obligatory book on “living in Italy”, if not, then you’ve not even scratched the surface of your research. Granted we learned little we did not already know from forums etc, but it’s a good reference.When you get to renting (which is a great idea), then we would look at other options rather than the normal avenues. There are many, many rental sites out there, just Google something like “Trova immobili residenziale in affitto in Abruzzo” or where ever you wish to look. Personally I think you are in the right place on a forum to get a place to rent. We know of at least 4 people in Abruzzo looking to sell and suspect they would likely be interested in renting medium to long term as selling there is difficult. We ourselves rented before buying by listing our needs on a local forum and had numerous replies and found a beautiful place that suited our needs perfectly.Utils depend on exactly where you are, we have found water and electric cheaper, many near us have found the opposite. Internet costs us €12 per month, but this can be none existent in places or cost a great deal for good access. Winters can be very, very cold, wood is a lot of work, but cheap(er), so don't be put off if you see a wood burner.Sorry about the “madness” response, but the football was on and I did not have time to reply fully. Glad to find it does not sound mad at all now, but is still not a move we would have wanted to contemplate with children… Sardinia sounds a good bet, but you might want to go it alone!

Hi Steve,thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Ahh yes, what you say makes a lot of sense and I suspected these apparent bargains are there for a reason. We would want country but near to a nice village / small town. I'm not bothered about the coast or mountains. I envisage that when we buy we'll be in it for the long haul as I can't imagine the property market being buoyant. We are after a little piece of Italian lifestyle. I love the buzz of a city, what with being based in London for many years, but in honesty I want life to be simple when we visit in future years and I'm not scared of it being a bit basic. I'm a welsh girl who grew up with ponies, so you can imagine, somewhere rural is in my heart. Internet is an absolute must though and we don't mind paying. Have your contacts listed their properties for sale on any sites? It would be great to see what they are selling and if they'd be looking to possibly rent in the meantime.We are looking for something habitable, I've read up a lot on the region and like anywhere with derelict buildings, I don't want the headache of buying somewhere with structural issues, land slides and other factors. Your life sounds amazing and it must have been a brave move. I take your point, but introducing my twin boys to an Italian preschool doesn't worry me ( they are 4 in September). Their Nonno was Italian, so even if they have fun in Italy for a little while, it'll be a good thng. But please don't hold back on the pros and cons Thanks so much for your reply, I looked at your other posts and you seem like a knowledgable guy.

In reply to by Siena

You more than welcome to any help I can give, as I'm sure many more here will also be happy to do. I'll look for links for the places people I know are selling, but off the top of my head I do not think any would suit your needs. I'm quite often surprised how many people don't know that these do lots of overseas property. So if you have not looked you may want to do so. If nothing else they give a feel for the type of houses up for sale, all in English and lots of pictures. This one is in the Teramo area and not too far from us A lovely looking house and on the face of it good value. However I (and no doubt a lot of people) would be concerned about the "spring" under it! Knowing the area I would also suspect the access road(s). Having the pool would to me be another worry - rates are higher and it needs to be maintained. Still it would have been on our list to look at as the area is rural, but has good facilities as it's very near in a number of small towns within minutes of each other. Not too sure how much they allow on this forum in the way of information/links these days, but hopefully the above are ok to include.

It sounds like you have already weighed up the pros and cons and quite righty so, this is a big life decision to make. At House in Tuscany we offer a 360 degree support service to people like yourself looking to re-locate to Italy. If we can help in any way then please get in touch.Good luck on your adventure!GeoffHouse in

Siena, if you are looking at Tuscany, Florence may be an expensive choice. Have a look at the answer I have given to "Ulysses" about Northern Tuscany in another thread. We love Florence and we go there at least once a week whenever we are at our place in Bagni di Lucca, but I would not live there. If you want a larger city, Lucca may be a good alternative. Just have a look and if you want to ask more questions... simply ask! Best wishes regarding your plans.smiley

Hi,my name is Monia I am Italian and I live in Abruzzo. I studied at postgraduate level in the UK, therefore I manage to speak a fairly good English although not at native level.I am the director of a real estate agency based in Abruzzo and I normally deal with foreign clients, therefore I think I can give you some advices from an Italian point of view and from a professional point of view.Sardegna: If you decide to rent in Sardegna you will have two advantages: 1) You will be close to the family of your husband 2) You will pay a very affordable rent. On the other hand, you will have a disadvantage:  from Sardegna is not easy to travel around Italy and explore places. In Sardegna you will probably have lot of time to relax after living in the busy London.Toscana (Firenze): If you decide to rent in Firenze you will have the advantage to live in a beautiful town, lively from a cultural and entertaining point of view, not far from other well know locations in Italy. From Firenze you can easily drive or catch a train to Rome, Bologna, Venezia and other cities in Italy. Nevertheless Firenze is a touristic town, very busy and for this reason very expensive. You should be prepared to spend over 700,00 euro a month to rent a house.Abruzzo: In my opinion is better you do not buy a property in Abruzzo straightaway. You could firstly rent a place for you and your family in order to have the time to evaluate the region, to understand if it is the ideal place for you.  In Abruzzo to rent an apartment on the coast you will spend 350, 00 / 500, 00 euro a month, inland prices are cheaper. Abruzzo is a central region; it will be easy to travel from Abruzzo to Firenze, Le Marche, Roma and the South of Italy. (By the way: I don't think Abruzzo is so poor,I hope my suggestions will be useful and if you have any question please let me know.Good Luck.Monia from Abruzzo Rural

Hi there,you can ask me whatever you want about Abruzzo as I was born there and lived right on the coast for more than 30 years and I used to accompany tourists around my I have moved to Switzerland(my husband is Swiss) 'cause, like you, I wanted to experience something new and give my daughter a different view of life and both the chance to enjoy a southern land during the holidays and a northern country where schools are renomated. I have a nice flat in Tortoreto Alto, it's on the hills but 5 min distance from the sandy beaches and my intention is to sell it. If you are interested, I can send you pics and the cost is affordable. I would recommend you to have a go and look around the area to see if you like it, in case you'd like the place, my sister (who speaks English too) can show you round my flat. We know a lot of people who have relocated from Britain or America cause we had a private school of languages and since 2007 a cultural association where several mothertongue teachers are employed. Most of them have liked the area, stayed for a periode and then moved again for personal, as you can see, I am a good mine of info for you..just let me know what can help you..Laura

Ciao, Why do not the 'Umbria? From Perugia there is' a plane that does service to London, 3 times a week, in the area of Todi, where I live, there are many small villages, well served by schools, pharmacies, banks, from Todi There are train and daily buses to Rome, and an apartment in a village of about 150 square meters, can 'cost around 350/300 euro a month. There are several communities of the British and Americans who live here, some, as I recall, are also in the forum. I can provide, in private, some addresses of estate agents SERIES. You can make an idea of the area from this site > have some good friends in Sardinia, all classmates of yore :), as soon as they tell me I'll let you know if there are possibility in line with your desires. Abruzzo also is not bad, but the transport links to London, they are not the best, you have to go to Rome for a decent air service, and that during the winter, it is very easy - I hope in the meantime, as said a friend vechio <the pleasure of trying and good fortune to find>Ugo 

Ciao! I am originally from Abruzzo but I have been living in London since last year and because of the stressful lifestyle that everybody runs there, I can understand 100% your decision to move. I read that between your options  there is also my loved region, Abruzzo so if you need some information about houses, sales, rent, lifestyle, culture, transports, don't exitate to contact me. I will be glad to help you to know something more about my beautiful area. Regards

Try the website Airbnb   very informative as you speak with locals that are offering their own apartments, houses for rent.  I have found the hosts to be so helpful and because they are locals can answer questions on schools, utilities, transport.   Another resource to gain some insight into the area you are keen on.Best of luck and your children will thank you for the experience in years to come.

Hi there, not sure if you would be interested but I am looking at renting out my place in Uras about 20 mins drive from Oristano - It is a 2 bed fully furnished to a high standard - we are not using it as often as we would like, and it needs living in - Uras is next door to Teralba and about 25 mins to the lovely costa verde beaches.

Hi, oh wow, we know that area quite well as we have relatives who live in Marrubiu, Teralba and Arborea.  We found it really difficult to find somewhere to rent in this area, even with the help of a lovely English lady who lives in Marrubiu. The rental market doesn't seem to be advertised on the internet ?! I researched and researched. We are still in the UK as I had to have some NHS appointments ( sorry for the overshare!) but that was all concluded this week and all fine, so we have been in limbo a little bit. We are going on a research trip / hols next week to Puglia to look at some properties but that doesn't mean we are decided on what we are doing by any means. What we *have* decided is that we'll be making a decision in October.Can you private message me with details and maybe some pictures? . 

Hi there, don't know how to personal message you, so if you could help me out that would be geat, have photo's, also my friends have a B&B in Uras and if you actually wanted to see it while you are visiting Puglia, I am sure they would be only too pleased to show you our house. Once I know how to send you a p.m. will get straight on it ( and don't worry we don't want lots of money in rent)

Ciao a tutti,I think my Country is all beautiful but I notice that foreigners tend to take in consideration the same regions while others are neglected. Why don't you have a look at this New York Times article have just been appointed Unesco World Heritage site nr 50 for our landscapes and we're the region in Italy with the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants! Good luck with your choice!elisabetta 

Elisabetta, thanks so much for the recommendation. there are so many lovely parts of Italy. Dixiefitz - I'll give you a generic email and then I'll give you my personal email when we are communicating :)  

I have just bought a house in San Vito, Puglia. It is 20k from Brindisi Airport, and there are regular flights from Stansted - but that is all. San Vito has a population of 20,000 but is near to Brindisi which is a big town. This is near to beaches, and some supermarkets and shopping malls, and there is some history but it doesnt have to be overwhelming. I've spoken to lots of people about small children here and they all seem very satisfied with their pre-schools; I am going in to one as a Volunteer in January to do a week of serious English with 5 year olds and was impressed by how welcoming the teachers were and how the children seemed happy. This is a sweet small town with some foreigners but quite a few things for children to do - so far, I have not found too much for adults, but there are lots of cyclists, swimming, clubs for kids and a cinema.You could not know this without visiting. Give yourself a chance. I was here in San V in January and it was cold, but not UK cold. In April it was pleasant and sunny when the sun was shining. In September all the fruit trees were groaning with produce.Another thought might be whether you want the kids to experience some Town opportunities if you are going to be small town in Wales afterwards. They will be happy if you are.

Hi,I see that you had many great answers to your great project of moving to Italy.  Me and my wife bought a quite big farm house and restored one level in the main building last year to finish one appartment with all the modern amenities, we have two children.  This was the end of a long 10 years process/project, after many research and travelling in Tuscany, Sardenia, Emila-Romagna, Puglia, Marche, Lazio ..., and of course Abruzzo, were we finally bough a house!I can tell you that Italy is a wonderful country, with so many different regional difference's, that you must first start by trying to answer one basic questions like this one of mine.  When I have friends over wishing to make the move to Italy (and I had a few!), after some Pecorino cheese and wine on our huge terrasse over looking the Gran Sasso and the Maiella (Majella), I ask one question and we start from there, ..., until after midnight *smile* !Do you want to live "as" italian" or "in" Italy?Of course, like everything in Italy, there is no single, or simple, answer to this great question.But, if you tend to lean towards living "as" Italian, I can tell you that Abruzzo is a great choice because:- Still good deals there for houses and apartments- Possible to have the peaceful nature, traditionnal food, culture, old village, wheather, within 30 minutes from to big (but not too big) modern cities confort (Universities, Schools, Shopping Stores, IKEA!)- Not too many tourists- Strong but kind people- Mountains and seas within 30-45 minutes drives (especially in Teramo, Pescara, Chieti Province)- Transport: Pescara Airport, Rome within two hours drive, good bus schedules That said, for "stanieri", who want's to live "in" Italy with small kids, it can be difficult to find an english school.  tBut, if they are really young, they can do their "scuola elementare" among italian and go to the great Canadian/american college in Lanciano to complete their education ! Hope it help. If you choose Abruzzo, especially Pescara Province, let me know, I'm almost an expert now ! TreViste