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Six months in Italy: where?

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9 replies to this topic

#1 virtualaura

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:17 AM

Hi all -
My family and I may have the opportunity luxury of living in Italy for about six months, probably January-june 2012 for a variety of logistical reasons, but not for sure. We have total freedom as to where to live and our only constraints, if they are really constraints, are three small kids of 4, 2 and 6 months. We eat out a lot with them, just not at places we used to as a couple. We'd need an apartment/house in a city or town that is family friendly and where we could eat and live well. Ideally we would not spend the six months as quasi-tourists or perpetual expats, but might actually get to know our neighbors and our community. Siena, Monza, Parma have all been proposed so far - any other suggestions?
Thanks -

#2 heidih

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:00 PM

What types of food do you enjoy? Are there any regions whose cuisine you have particularly been wanting to explore in more depth? Do you have a favorite wine region or style that you currently enjoy and would like to check out in its native habitat? With some clarification on your food and wine preferences, we can more easily make suggestions.

#3 virtualaura

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

Hi Heidi -
We know - and like - Piemonte and Liguria; we also know Rome/Lazio, Umbria, Lombardy, Trentino-AA, having probably logged three months of travel/vacation in those regions in recent years and a month in Tuscany also. We'd be in Alba in a heartbeat if we were talking about the 2d half of the year for sure! Logistics would be easier if we stayed fairly north, but there is a lot of the north/northeast we don't know much about - and we'd prefer the new to the known. We are omnivorous, food wise, with maybe a preference for being near the sea as we dont get much in the way of fresh fish where we live now. Can't think of any other preferences save that if we are there in winter it would be nice to be near mountains to ski, but that is not a deal breaker... Thanks! //Laura

#4 ScoopKW

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:57 PM

probably January-june 2012

Sicily, because of the weather.

Anywhere between Ragusa and Siracusa. If it were me, I'd be on the first flight to Palermo, and take the train to Siracusa. Then I'd find an apartment with a view of the harbor.

Do a Google image search of Siracusa. It's the small city that has it all.
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#5 ambra

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 02:16 PM

Monza and Siena are two totally, totally different animals and it honestly really depends on what you're looking for.

Siena in winter is pretty dismal, but once Spring comes around you could have a lot of fun going to sagre, feste, open air markets etc. Honestly, the most exciting thing in winter might be the fritelle di riso in Piazza del Campo. The food in the area is excellent at all times of the year. Especially wonderful in the second half of the year when wine and oil is harvested.There is also very little to do in the Siena area for young (toddlers) children. Playgrounds consist of um...a slide and maybe a little tiny cabin. This is only my opinion after living here for four years with a toddler. :) Keep in mind there are tons of other pluses, clean air, kilometro 0 eating, no traffic, amazing historic center, access to Chianti and Montalcino and tons of others. It's like 4th on the list for best quality of life if I remember correctly!

Monza is your basic laaaaaaaaarge suburb. It's got an amazing park and access to lots of nice day trips towards the North. Lots more shopping and centro commerciale too. Food can be great, but oddly, just today, a fellow expat who lives in that area was telling me how wonderfully tasty and fresh our lettuce is compared to hers in the monza area.

If you are looking for variety in your cuisine, Siena would not be the right place.

If you are looking for "La Bella Vita," Monza would probably not be the right place either.

Know nothing about Parma except that lots of people say it's fantastic.

Edited by ambra, 03 June 2011 - 02:20 PM.

#6 Sampaguita

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:30 PM

Piedmont is not as warm as Sicily in winter, but obviously not as hot in summer. It may not have the cachet of Tuscany, but then also doesn't have the swarms of tourists either and you can't beat the food and wine. I would contact Toni Hilton, an American living here for many years and married to a Piedmontese who rents houses in small towns in the Northern Monferrato, an area of unspoilt beauty dotted with small hilltop villages and castles, closest city is Asti and within an hour drive to Turin for big city visits (or two hours to Milan) and an hour to the Mediterranean if you want a seaside excursion. But start on your Italian lessons for the whole family now!

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

#7 janeer

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:16 PM

Perugia. University town, good food, friendly, easy access to Rome for weekends. I like Lucca a lot, too, but not as convenient for getting around.

#8 Mjx

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:24 AM

I'd recommend nearly anyplace in Emilia Romagna; no skiing, as far as I know, but friendly, and the food is hard to top (and I'm speaking as someone who grew up in, and is much attached to Tuscany).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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#9 hathor

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 05:12 AM

I second Janeer on Perugia, or one of towns nearby, like Spoleto. I live in Umbria, so I'm biased.
Our town, Montone is a perfect town for settling in and getting to know EVERYONE. There are only 800 people within the walls, so it takes about 20 seconds before everyone knows you.
PM or email me if you have specific, non-food questions, I'm happy to share & to help.

#10 teonzo

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 09:32 PM

As the other people wrote, there are a lot of places where you can spend some great times, so it's impossible to give a unique answer.
If you are looking for a region which gives you a good variety of places to visit, then I think that Veneto is the best choice: you have the sea (the beaches on the Adriatic Sea are much safer than the ones on the Tyrrhenian Sea, for example at Caorle there is a little basin where the water is always less than 1 meter deep); you have the mountains (Cortina, Sappada, Alleghe, plenty of great places); you have lakes; you have Venice and many other small cities. So if you look for the best variety within the fewer distance, then I'd say Veneto is the first choice.
If you value more the hospitality and friendship, unfortunately I have to say that Veneto became quite cold welcoming in the last years, especially towards foreign people. In this case Emilia Romagna and Umbria would be safe bets. Southern Italy would be even better: it's a bit difficult at the beginning to get introduced with the locals, but after that they are the most friendly people you can find in Italy. Wherever you decide to go, avoid big cities like Turin, Milan, Rome, Naples and so on.
If you are looking for finding great food, as Mjx said Emilia Romagna is hard to top about consistency. But you find the best products in Southern Italy: nothing can top the vegetables and so on of Campania, Calabria, Puglia and Sicilia, and life there is quite cheaper than in Northern Italy. The problem with Southern Italy is that the services are quite poor.

My new blog: http://www.teonzo.com/