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Sat, 02/04/2017 - 12:56

Hi,  Three years ago we bought a holiday apartment in a village two kilometres in from the coast and midway between Sanremo and Imperia. Being retired, we make 3 visits a year to Liguria, each of about 5 weeks. Our reasons for choosing that area were pretty much the same as yours: Easy access by road and air from the UK; best climate of anywhere in northern Italy; close proximity to both sea and mountains. We also wanted to buy in an area which was relatively unfrequented by English speaking visitors. This is because we wanted to be able to improve our Italian by practising on the locals, something which is very hard to do in areas where all the traders, waiters , etc. speak excellent English for the benefit of tourists.Prior to our purchase, we explored the coastal areas of Western Liguria pretty thoroughly, so may well be able to help with any queries about the pros and cons of particular locations. One thing to be aware of is that many of the villages with views down to the sea also have views of or noise from the Autostrada. This was something we very much wanted to avoid and so we made our purchase in one of the few villages not so affected.Please feel free to contact us about any aspect of buying or owning a holiday home in Western Liguria.

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 13:24

When I write or speak English, I try to avoid using the same noun more than once in a sentence. It seems neater that way. Sorry if it offends you, LargeLewis. I could have written 'Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian plug'  or even 'Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian plug appropriate to your Italian socket'.Back to sockets: I never said that the Italians do not have Shuko sockets, just that they are not in general use. In fact I have a couple of the combination Shuko/Italian sockets in my holiday apartment, with the rest being of the 3 pins in a row type. The catalogue of Bticino, seemingly the biggest maker of electrical fittings in Italy, describes the 3 pins in a row sockets as 'Prese Standard Italia'. The Shuko-only sockets are described as 'Prese Standard Tedesco' and the combination sockets, which accept both types of plug, are 'Prese Standard Tedesco e Italia'. I think the use of the name Tedesco (German) rather proves my point. A 'universal' travel adaptor bought in the UK can safely be used in a combination socket, but, as I stated previously, there is a potential hazard with the 3 pins in a row sockets.Channelislander1, You shouldn't need a professional electrician to advise on adaptors. A huge selection is for sale at large supermarkets as well as at DIY stores and electrical appliance stores. Just be aware of the power rating marked on the adaptor.If you are confident about fitting a UK plug to a flex, you should be able to cut off the plug and fit an Italian plug. It is slightly fiddlier as everything is smaller. Provided you fit the earth wire (if any) to the correct pin, the other two wires can be fitted either way round as, unlike the UK system, the Italian system is not polarised with specific pins for live and neutral.If you are talking about changing the actual sockets, yes, that is normally a job for a professional. I have changed most of the ones in my apartment myself, but I have 40 years experience of DIY electrical work in the UK, so understand the safety issues involved.

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 13:07

I would like to add a comment about the use of adaptors. The so-called universal Europe travel adaptors widely available in the UK are intended for the German Shuko sockets which are not yet in general use in Italy. They do not connect the earth pin of a UK plug to the centre earth of an Italian three in a row socket. This is not an issue for most small appliances which are double insulated and do not require an earth connection. However, for appliances which do require an earth, use of one of these adaptors on its own would be very hazardous. One of the following solutions would give a safe result, subject to the power rating of the adaptor not being exceeded:1. Use a UK to Italian 3 pin adaptor - available from Amazon and from Fai da Te shops in Italy;2. Use a "universal" adaptor plugged into a Shuko to Italian 3 pin adaptor. The latter are widely available in Italy.3. Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian one.