Where to live in Italy for 3 months?

Mar 24th, 2016, 02:27 PM
Original Poster
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Where to live in Italy for 3 months?

I am a middle aged woman looking for a medium sized Italian town to live in for 3 months by myself. I would like to belong to a community; walk to a market, to concerts, or restaurants. I am very active and like to hike, do yoga, and ski.

I would appreciate greatly any help. I am going the end of October through January.
juliejohn22 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 02:41 PM
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Do you speak/read Italian?
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:19 PM
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Check out Trento if you are interested in skiing. If you don't need skiing right at your doorstep, then Verona and smaller cities near there (Vicenza, Padova or even Ferrara) would give you fairly easy access to fast trains to get you to the slopes for a weekend. If you like to cycle, Ferrara is very nice.

Closer to France, you could consider Torino in Piemonte (bustling city though) or the really wonderful small mountain town of Aosta -- but you really get snow there. Pavia is a beautiful small city with a university quite near Milan that would give you a great experience + fairly easy access to skiing in both Italy and Switzerland. Stresa or Baveno would be much smaller, but you can hike and go skiing nearby, plus day trip to Milan.

Something to consider is what you like to eat. I very much enjoy the cuisine of Trento and Torino, but is more about potatoes and rice or polenta than pasta, or olive oil or pizza. If you want the food more associated with the southern parts of Italy, check out small cities in Abruzzo (Sulmona?) and I think (but am not sure) you can even ski in Sicily on Mt Etna


Have you ever lived in Italy and do you speak Italian? I know dozens of professionals who live part-time and full-time in Italy and don't speak Italian but are treated very warmly. It's not a requirement, not even to be accepted.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:29 PM
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>>It's not a requirement, not even to be accepted.<<

But it sure makes life easier.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:40 PM
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Thank you vincenzo.

It was a simple question. I said nothing about being treated poorly or not being accepted.

I HAVE lived in foreign countries and know that it is more difficult to do so if you don't know the language. The smaller the town/village, the less likely English will be spoken. Some of the more mundane acts of "living like a local" may call for the need to speak the local language.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:50 PM
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Here's a simple question, DebitNM:

Where have you lived in Italy?
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:54 PM
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Lucca !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:55 PM
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Or maybe an even better question:

Where did you live in a foreign country where you didn't speak the language and had trouble negotiating everyday living?

It is seldom a problem in Italy, even in small towns, where you are likely to find English speakers for emergencies and otherwise don't have much trouble getting understood in shops even if you don's share a language with the shope owners.

I really don't know why you quizzed the OP. Were you afraid to propose some town in Italy you personally know of that would suit her requirements but where nobody speaks English?

I wouldn't hesitate to go to Italy for 3 months with a phrasebook.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 03:56 PM
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Lucca is a nice suggestion and I think one can go skiing up in the Garfagnana, but I am not sure. If nothing else, you can hop a cheap flight from the Pisa airport to some world class skiing destinations.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 08:42 PM
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I have Never joined a chat like this. This is new and so wonderful. People who do not know me are offering advice and support. Thank you!

I do not know Italian; moderate Spanish. I intend to start now learning until Oct.

The food is wonderful everywhere is Italy. I do not have a preference with pasta vs. polenta.

My first desire is to belong to a community if I can. I love people and learning from them. I am newly widowed and am excited to spread my wings if you will.

I love skiing, but it is not a priority.

Please guide me to a town where I can walk and eventually feel at home.

I am not afraid. I love adventures.

Thank you blog angels.
juliejohn22 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 10:44 PM
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Italy is a very welcoming place but where in Italy you will feel 'at home' is often subjective There are truly dozens and dozens of medium sized Italian towns all over the country that were built centuries ago for walking and have everything you need to get by.

To help narrow the list, consider whether you want a town with a train station that is well situated for visiting other towns and cities for a day during your 3-month stay. If you want to explore more than just one town and don't want to rent a car, picking a town with good train connections is essential.

If you are more thinking of burrowing into just one place and rarely leaving it, then decide whether it is more important to you to be someplace beautiful and rural, or if you want the town itself to offer interesting activities. (For instance, Montepulciano is quite lovely, but the main activity in town is shopping and strolls, and there is no train station. By contrast, Pisa has rich array of museums and points of interest, plus activities that foreigners can plug into (like classes in language, art or cooking). You might find it easier to get plugged into a community that includes Italians if you take classes somewhere or go to a place that offers an organized activity.

Finally, it is easier to find comfortable rental apartments in towns accustomed to getting tourists. However, if you are really more interested in particupating in Italian life, you can also look at the possibility of work-stays in Italy, where you live in a community and do volunteer work in exchange for board and meals.

If your trip is beginning in October, ski season doesn't really start until late December. Both October and November can be rainy periods for much of Italy, with very heavy rains, so you might want to consider a place that is comfortable for indoor activities as well as outdoor strolling.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 10:50 PM
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Since you mentioned yoga being one of your interests, you might want to look for a town that has a yoga school (this site is in both Italian and English)

sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2016, 11:47 PM
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I use to want to live in Italy myself, so this is interesting. It is also interesting that the more I have been there, the more I changed what I like. I love Vicenza, but really thinking about living in a city, Paduva would be good - large enough to offer a lot, and many nearby places like Venice and Vincenza, yet small enough to learn the town and great for walking. It seems as if it would be a very good fit for you. Kind of a young, active vibe, and people were friendly.

Now, this is just from limited personal experience, so hope no one takes offense, but the further South I go, the friendlier people seem. You are wanting a smaller city, but at this point, I might even choose the big, sprawling, city of Naples (one of my favorite cities, mostly because of the friendliness) or look for some smaller town near there, but I am not familiar with other towns nearby except Herculaneum. No skiing though that I know of.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 12:01 AM
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I think the observation that people are "friendlier" in the south is not inaccurate or offensive. For the simple reason of hot weather alone, southern Italy has a more public, outdoorsy culture historically. Also, southern culture is more agrarian, governed by the rhythms of nature rather than an industrial clock, so it gives people a different attiitude about time during the day, including having time for others. This is can be true of other countries as well. Historically, the southern portion of the US was considered friendlier and more hospitable and open/trusting with strangers than the industrial north.

However, I am surprised you include Naples, because while Neapolitans can be very demonstrative and outgoing compared to many urban northern Italians, I've definitely experienced a lot of brusqueness/wariness too in Naples. It's a very fast moving place. Among the sweetest hosts I have encountered in Italy are the people of Puglia and Basilicata, and I enjoyed being in Salerno (in Campania) too.

But there are loads of cheerful Italians who enjoy talking with visitors all over Italy. I find Bologna, Torino, Verona, Ravenna, Mantova -- so many cities and then rural towns too in Umbria, Le Marche, Liguria -- to have been very welcoming and considerate, even beyond the professional tourist industry.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 02:20 AM
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>>Where to live in Italy for 3 months?<<

In Sandralist's apartment.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 04:24 AM
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My husband and I are planning to go for two months. Check out the cool apartments to rent on airbnb. We found San Gimignano to be a good location for us as where we are staying is within 30 minutes of cities like Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Verona. May be a place you would consider.
worldtraveler26 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 05:02 AM
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I am just reading and admire your willingness to just go and do! Where ever you go, enjoy. I feel sure it will be an amazing experience.
denisea is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 05:39 AM
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Good for you! I hope you will find, as I have, that background in Spanish really helps you pick up Italian. Because you have infinite choices, focusing on the skin and yoga will help you pinpoint a place.
yorkshire is offline  
Mar 25th, 2016, 06:17 AM
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This is my dream too - I am close to retirement - but I have a cat so I think the dream needs to wait another 7-8 years (she is 9) And like OP I'd be going by myself and would like to feel like I 'belong' -- not be alone and lonely. Best wishes, OP on your adventure!
Vicky is online now  
Mar 25th, 2016, 06:32 AM
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I would have suggested Mantova as a very suitable location but the period you have chosen is not the best for all those towns in the Val Padana such as Ferrara, Bologna, Modena etc. There is the double problem of fog and wet/cold weather.

A lot will depend on whether you intend to hire a car or not. Sulmona, Montepulciano, Lucca and other may be in themselves attractive but are not necessarily the best locations if you have to rely on public transport. Remember that waiting for a bus or train in the summer is different to waiting for them in the colder months.

Como or perhaps Cernobbio is in my opinion a better location. There are excellent connections (also to ski resorts), a sophisticated arts environment (and close to Milan, of course), good weather (no fog and generally in the winter months of a dry/cold weather), and the possibility of managing without a car at all (but would suggest a bike).
nochblad is offline  

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