Coronavirus has halted many people’s plans, but our dreams of a better future will get us through it. Most Italians put the land, family, community and healthy living above work and money. It is this culture that will help us through these times and which means you should hold onto your dream of living here.
Protect your money for the next twelve months with a fixed exchange rate – find out how in the Property Buyers’ Guide to Currency.
I am writing this from my home in Puglia, where the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is almond blossom on the trees. We feel so fortunate to be living in the Italian countryside among the olive trees and vineyards. Although everyone has been told to stay at home, we are still able to walk around our land and eat lunch in the courtyard. Sounds we hadn’t really been aware of before, like the distant hum of traffic, we now notice aren’t there anymore. With less cars and less planes, I sense this is just the breather the planet needs. Even the canals of Venice are running clearer and northern cities are noticing a drop in air pollution.
I am writing this from my home in Puglia, where the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is almond blossom on the trees.
The land is still producing the fruit, nuts, grain and vegetables that are needed to feed both people and animals. Food is a necessity and as such food shopping is one of the few reasons that we are allowed to leave home and go into town. Under the rules of the lockdown only one of us can go shopping and they must carry a self-certification form declaring a good reason for being out. One thing we have learnt through living simply in the Italian countryside is that we don’t need to spend lots of money to live happily here.
Italian family life
I have spoken to friends in town via Skype, families with children and grandparents all living under one roof. They only have roof terraces and balconies, but they are making the best of their family time together. People are sharing photos and videos on social media, showing what they are doing. It is an interesting insight into an Italian home, as you see Nonna making pasta and bread and parents playing games, dancing and exercising with their children. One ten-year-old told me his favourite room in the apartment is the kitchen, because he has been spending time in there cooking with his father. Young people are still studying at home, as schools and universities have been quick to send out work and set up online lessons.
One ten-year-old told me his favourite room in the apartment is the kitchen, because he has been spending time in there cooking with his father.
Where possible other professionals are trying to work from home, including estate agents, lawyers and council workers. It’s not easy, when they are trying to juggle work with children, so please be patient when trying to contact them. They do want to hear from you, as it gives them hope that once this is all over they will still be able to make a living to support their families. There are many small family businesses in Italy, who have had to temporarily close. Some may be hoping to sell homes they have inherited because they need the money. I hope property buyers will think about this before making ridiculously low offers on properties.
Find out what mortgage rates you could expect buying in Italy by talking to an Italian mortgage specialist.
Italian community spirit
It is not money and business that makes a country great, it is the people. Young children across Italy have been painting rainbows and hanging them from their balconies to raise the spirits of their community. At six o’clock each day musicians come out onto the balconies and play popular Italian tunes, which the neighbourhood sing along to from their balconies. They also applaud those who need to continue working, especially in the emergency services. This community spirit is part of what makes living in Italy so wonderful.
The community spirit is part of what makes living in Italy so wonderful
Local community groups and small family run shops are making sure food gets to those who can’t get out. The Red Cross is delivering food and medicines, people are making masks to give away and a pizzeria is giving free pizza to the doctors and nurses. There has been no bulk buying at the supermarkets and food stocks have remained high. To ensure their customers can remain at a safe distance apart, they only let in five people at a time. Our local bars and restaurants are owned by locals. They put their customers’ safety before their own income and closed before being instructed to. Some do meal deliveries instead. Everyone hopes that by staying at home now, they will one day be able to go back out into the streets and piazzas and kiss every one of their friends. I hope you will join us.
The Italian people are very aware of how to keep healthy, whether it’s eating fresh local produce or keeping fit. Usually, at this time of year they would be out cycling, jogging, hiking, playing sports or tending their plots of land. They must be getting it right as the life expectancy in Italy is 83, compared to 81.3 in the UK and 78.6 in the United States. Healthcare in Italy is considered to be among the best in the world and emergency care is free for everyone. In normal circumstances there are plenty of hospitals and doctors. Personally, I can think of six big hospitals within 40 minutes’ drive of my home, and I can speak directly to my doctor by telephone and get an appointment within two days.
Download our Healthcare Guide to find out how to access medical care while in Italy.
According to OECD data in 2017, Italy had 3.2 hospital beds per 100,000 residents, the UK had 2.5 and the United States 2.8. OECD data also shows that Italy has a healthy number of doctors, four per 100,000 of the population. While the UK had 2.8 and the United States 2.6.
During the coming weeks we all need to brighten our days by looking at photos and videos of this beautiful country.
As I have said before, Italy is a great place to live and there is no place I would rather be. During the coming weeks we all need to brighten our days by looking at photos and videos of this beautiful country. Do some research and prepare to make your dreams of a life in Italy a reality. I hope one day to see you at the festa in the piazza.
The Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency will help you: