our life in TUSCANY
Living in Tuscany
Living in Italy has been everything we hoped for and more. Yes, there have been frustrations and challenges, but part of what we like about life here is the challenge of overcoming obstacles, learning a language, meeting new people and finding our place in a different culture. That, and the slower pace, delicious and healthy food and a plethora of other benefits. For a discussion of the features that make Italy special to us, start with this link and continue on: Top 10 reasons to come to Italy.
We have used a variety of means to learn Italian, and the process has been slow. We took some classes from the Dante Alighieri Society in Seattle, and then in Lucca at the Lucca Italian School. Both had excellent teachers, though we weren’t particularly excellent students. We also used Rosetta Stone, which we can recommend enthusiastically. Now we are mostly getting our language practice by speaking to Italians and watching Italian movies (with subtitles, when possible). We can measure slow progress over the years, but we still struggle to find all the right words, and we still can’t understand rapidly spoken Italian. To learn about some of the more amusing mistakes we’ve made or heard, you can read: New language blunders . . .
We didn’t intend to buy a house in Italy. From 2010 to 2015, we lived in Italy for about three months each year, staying in the same agriturismo in San Salvatore, a suburb of Montecarlo (about 25 minutes from Lucca). We purchased bikes for recreation, shopping and to get us to and from the train station. This proved sufficient, but we gradually realized that we were too far removed from city life to be actively involved in Italian culture on a daily basis. So we started house shopping and found our Italian dream home right on the main street of Montecarlo.
People have asked if it is hard to buy a house in Italy. Actually, it’s not difficult, because the process is not terribly different than it is in the United States. Our stuggles have come in other areas: opening a bank account, obtaining a codice fiscale, setting up utility payments, paying property taxes, figuring out how the trash service works, searching for repairmen for the heating and plumbing systems, applying for residency. These are all challenges we have had to overcome, and you can read about our experiences in our blog.