IRetiremenrt Fantasy-Italy

Old May 15th, 2016, 08:05 PM
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IRetiremenrt Fantasy-Italy

If you were going to retire to Italy, where would it be if:

1. An apartment or house could cost up to $250,000?
2. Not too far north, so the cold will not be a problem in winter but not Sicily for the brutal summers.
3. Preferably no car, but not a deal killer.
4. The Adriatic or the interior is fine.
5. No other real restrictions besides low crime.

We have been to Italy a few times and do not have one area that is preferable. Although I do love Cefalu, as noted above the summers are brutal.

Thanks.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 08:56 PM
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Hi IMDonehere,

I'm no fan of Italy, but I just spent 5 nights in Perugia, Umbria, with a friend who adores Itay and plays with the idea of buying an apartment somewhere there. So, we spent some time looking at apartments and prices at Perugia, Gubbio, and Orvieto.

Of those three, both of us favored Orvieto. It's small enough to walk from end to end, but large enough to have a good variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It is actually about the same size in population as Garmisch, Germany, where I live. In addition, my friend liked the ambiance of the town -- she said everyone there seemed happy, with smiling faces (which she said contrasted with Perugia). There is a train station in Orvieto, with frequent departures to Rome, which is about 2h by train away. Not sure of connections to other nearby towns. The apartment prices looked reasonable -- 50,000-100,000€ for a pied-à-terre under 100 sq m, or under 200,000€ for an apartment with 2 bedrooms and terrace.

Good luck to you!!

s
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Old May 15th, 2016, 09:08 PM
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Thanks will take a look at Orvieto and Gubbio. Have not been there.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 09:25 PM
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Hi again,

For what it's worth -- we both thought Gubbio was too small. It seemed that there weren't a lot of places to eat or enjoy a coffee. Also not sure of the train/bus connections out.

I'll have fun following this thread --

s
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Old May 15th, 2016, 10:27 PM
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Im following too!
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Old May 15th, 2016, 10:51 PM
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Speak any Italian?

If not, I would avoid a small town. It would be a very isolating experience.

Bigger places like Bologna may be more suitable.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 11:01 PM
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I would go to Torino. I just love this city.
I like Cuneo too, but it is too small, however prices would certainly be lower.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 12:10 AM
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One of my best, male friends retired early and moved to Treviso and is very comfortable there. I've been there to visit twice. I was just there last summer for a week. My friend has lived there for seven years now. He and his wife bought their place cash, some years before retirement, and then easily moved in permanently after retirement. It's a short train trip from Venice and my friend picks me up at the Venice (international) airport. However, there's a small airport in Treviso for European flights.

Happy Travels!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 12:17 AM
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Although I have no advice for you, my husband and I began to nurture the same retirement fantasy. I'd love to hear how it all works out for you.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 12:25 AM
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Bikerscott and I plan to retire to Italy (assuming Brits can still move freely by then!)

Our plan is a farmhouse in Le Marche near Urbino.

Seems like so long from now!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 01:00 AM
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Thanks all. we do not speak Italian, but speak enough Spanish to understand and get by. We are from NY and have many friends who are Italian-American, so our Italian accent is southern Italian. We get odd stares when we speak Italian in Italy. Most of my poker buddies are Italian, so I know how to say liar and few other choice words.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 01:48 AM
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I thought long and hard about buying a place in Italy many years ago. Settled on France because simple things, at the time, like getting a telephone, were far easier in France - less paperwork, less administrative BS in general. I don't know what the situation is now. I had 8 years of Italian study under my belt, so the language wasn't going to be that much of an issue (except it always is, anywhere, in small ways, no matter how well you speak). A "few choice words" is of no help when you buy property - you need to be able to discuss masonry and plumbing and roof tiles and gutters and car registration and power tools and electrical issues and landscaping and water leaks and insulation and stuff like that...or be prepared to be like one of those people on House Hunters International who forks over large sums to have a "property manager." I was only interested in inland Umbria, none of the hot spots that most visitors gravitate toward.

I'm glad I chose France, but Italy would have been a close second.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 04:14 AM
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It's easy to have the fantasy when you're there, but for most of us I suspect life will be a lot more like what St Cirq describes than like the experience of that Berkeley professor who has amazing Polish laborers dropping out of nowhere whenever she needs help.

I assume you have enough money to get a permanent resident visa, but dealing with the bureaucracy can consume a lot of energy and money. If you haven't read any of Donna Leon's Brunetti novels, they show an awful lot about the Italian "system" through detective stories written by a long-term expat.

Under the radar? I know someone who was born in America but grew up in Tuscany until he returned to the US for university. He is an artist, his Tuscan is better than his English, and he never considered that he needed to jump through legal hoops for his annual long term visits to Italy. It was home.

Last year he exited through Switzerland, where the ever-efficient Border Control arrested him for overstaying in the Schengen Zone. He had to pay a big fine (big for an artist) and was banned from Schengen for a year or eighteen months, I forget which.

He could have worked out a legal residence, I am sure, but it was too much trouble. My impression is that a lot of things are a lot of trouble in Italy.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:01 AM
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Thanks all. I have never read of any those Tuscany or Provence books. I know you need a lot of help to get through the sale procedure and renovations. It is a source of concern.

We know Spain much better and our Spanish is decent but even there we do not speak renovation and the sale procedure is filled with fraud and other problems as well.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:08 AM
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Well, I disagree with StCirq on this, and have said so before on these boards. If I had waited until I spoke/understood good German before I moved . . . well, I'd have never been able to move.

I bought my apartment when I understood about 10 sentences of German, and I had to have the floors, bathroom, and kitchen renovated. No, I didn't use any "property managers" (there is a "house manager" for the apartment house, but he speaks no English). I had taught an English class at an adult-education center in town and had made a few friends -- and one of them became a true friend and an invaluable resource. We still meet every week.

I would say that speaking the language is important (of course) but not insurmountable. Maybe equally important is the ability to make contacts and to make connections.

(I'll add that, since I'm on a retirement visa here in Germany, I had to get permission from the Landratsamt to teach that class; since it paid so little, I was allowed. I won't do anything to jeopardize my visa!!)

s
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:46 AM
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It's difficult to make contacts and connections without language skills. I would imagine Germany is a very different to Italy in terms of buying property, much more regulated. I would not buy a property without understanding local language, you need to understand the legal paperwork etc.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:57 AM
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Hi Odin -- I'm not sure what you mean. You would not buy a property in Italy (less regulation?) or in Germany (more regulated?) without understanding the language?

Well, I did, and it went fine. I think you need to acknowledge the risks, and if it's that important to you, you'll do it.

s
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:38 AM
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We bought a house in the Netherlands without speaking the language. We also had a lot of work done on it by people who did not speak English.
We did take Dutch lessons asap.

It is hard to become part of a community without the language. It is hard growing older somewhere without the shared memories of your youth - no shared TV programmes, very little shared pop music, no shared holiday destinations etc.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:52 AM
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Foreigners living in NL deserve deserve a medal. Blending in a country where culture dictates to drink carnemelk and restaurants close after 6 30 pm.
And worse : their beer is Heineken...
only the cheese and obviously the Tulips save the country.
(adding ;-) and LOL, some don't get it without it).
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Old May 16th, 2016, 08:31 AM
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Following along and curious about the responses. To detour a bit, where would you consider if you decided on Spain instead of Italy?
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