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Author Topic: Hello from Larfalot  (Read 1328 times)

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Offline Larfalot

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Hello from Larfalot
« on: March 20, 2016, 07:16:24 PM »
Hello,

Thank you for adding me to this great resource of information.

I'm Larfalot (Mrs and yes I do).  I'm early 50's, been learning Italian slowly over the past ten years (enough to get by but still working at it as I intend to become fluent).  I've popped in from time to time for a read/lurk about the area and been impressed with the amount of information held within here - so thanks for that.  But now I'm trying to make plans re Abruzzo and I haven't seen any questions like the ones I wish to ask, so I'm hoping someone will know some answers.

I know Ryan O'Air have thrown their toys out of the cot at Pescara airport but they'll be back after a few years (as seen at Lamezia Terme).

Been repeat visitors to Abruzzo and love the area.  We really love the TE area  (especially Pineto & Atri etc) but hope to also explore Chieti in the near future. Prior to this been regular visitors all over Italy (prefer the South).

Not sure if I should pose my first questions in this section or not, but I can re-post it elsewhere if anyone thinks it more appropriate.

My first question is:  Is there anyone on here who has spent time in Abruzzo solo and on a shoestring?  I'm talking about a small budget here.  I appreciate some folks might not want to answer this or I'm alone in this requirement.

The plan is to move permanently in a few years but prior to that I'd like to rent for say, 3 or 6 months over the Autumns and/or Winters.  Reason being is my health requires a warmer drier climate than the UK Winters.  As I've only spent Summers in Pineto by the seaside (and that wonderful seaside bike path that goes for miles and miles) I'd like to know whether I need to aim for seaside, inland a bit or if there are any micro-climates around?  Best to avoid cold winds, heavy (cold) damp days (warm humidity is fine).

I've no idea the cost of paying for bills for utilities for such short stays.  I know electric is expensive but how expensive for a small flat for 1/2 people with/without air con.  How are most flats heated for Winter? (Assuming heating is needed). I know how much food costs etc.

I know I should head to Sicily but I'm fond of Abruzzo.

Any thoughts most welcome.

Thank you.
Larfalot



Offline Orbito

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 08:18:11 PM »
Hi Larfalot and welcome to the forum  :)

I took early retirement and moved to Castel Frentano (Chieti) a month ago today woohoo! I'm renting a 2 bed apartment for 300 a month while my house gets a new K&B. I really love the location - 20 mins to the coast but without the coastal price tag, and there's lots of good shopping and facilities in nearby Lanciano.

Before I came, I compared notes with lots of friends here about living costs and worked out I'd need about 400 a month, to cover utilities, food, broadband and petrol - will have to report back to you on that once I've been here a bit longer.

Re heating - yes electricity is more expensive than the UK, but mains gas doesn't appear to be too bad, and a lot of people heat their homes with wood stoves - no idea how much the wood costs though, sorry.

All the best with whatever you decide to do!

Offline Shebar

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 08:48:32 PM »
Hi, and welcome.

I came to Castel Frentano, on my own, in 2004.  I lived in a campervan whilst my house was sorted, and was seriously short of cash.  Most day-to-day costs are cheaper or similar to the UK, but you'll certainly save on property taxes - the forty quid a week I save on council tax just about covers my weekly shop at eurospin. 

The only thing that I have found to be "over the top" is car insurance.  Despite an unblemished record (here in Italy and in England) I still pay 560 euros a year for just third party cover which is the normal cover here.

If you want a warmer and drier climate, Abruzzo could be perfect but stay fairly close to the sea - it gets cold and snowy in them there hills. 

Italians complain about the price of utilities but water and electricity seem cheap enough to me - gas isn't available where I live but I understand that it is an expensive option for heating.  I have air-con units to heat and/or cool, as required, and I don't get horrific electricity bills.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 08:52:06 PM by Shebar »

Offline Allan Mason

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 09:10:36 PM »
As I'm sure you know from having spent summers in Pineto, it can get very hot then. As everywhere, the rule is that the lower the altitude, the warmer it is.

What many people who haven't lived in Italy year-round often don't appreciate is that winters can be very chilly. On a few occasions in recent years, there has even been snow on Abruzzo's Adriatic beaches.

People used to the way the Atlantic Ocean moderates Britain's climate might assume that being close to the coast in Abruzzo would make a huge difference in climate, but the Adriatic is more like a big lake than an ocean; it warms quite rapidly in the summer and cools quickly in the winter. Also, the huge landmass north and east of Italy has a major impact on the climate in Abruzzo. The winds that come down from the north can be bitingly cold and significant snowfalls regularly occur at higher altitudes. At our place (about 500 m elevation) below the Gran Sasso, we normally had at least one period in the winters we lived there when a metre or more of snow accumulated.

Of course, the other side of this is that the summers at higher altitude are generally a bit less stifling than they can be at the coast and the summer breezes there are a bit cooler and less humid.

People who move to Italy can also be surprised by how soggy it can be. I recall looking at a European rainfall zone map years ago and being startled to see that the annual rainfall in central Italy is roughly the same as that of Glasgow. There's a very good reason Abruzzo is so green. Having lived in both Scotland and Abruzzo, my perception is that the main difference between the two areas is that, in Scotland, you get a bit of rain almost every day, whereas in Abruzzo, you get very heavy rain now and then.

Something I really liked about Abruzzo is that it was unusual - even in the middle of winter - to ever go more than a few days without at least a few hours of sunshine. And, even in December, the sun in Italy seems to me much stronger than the Scottish sun ever does. I always found it odd how hot I would get working outside during the winter in single-figure air temperatures if the sun was shining.

You are right that the climate in Abruzzo generally feels drier than that in Britain. One thing that has struck me since moving to SW Wales is just how damp the air is here compared to what I'd got used to in Italy.

There are, of course, microclimates, but I don't recall ever seeing a list of these. If you're determined to find the warmest possible location, one thing you can do when searching for a house is keep an eye out for citrus trees. These do not cope well with serious, prolonged cold, so seeing a lemon tree outside would suggest that it's in an area that's generally warmer, particularly if it's away from the shelter of buildings. I never noticed many citrus trees in Teramo province and the locals don't ever try to grow them in the area our house is in, but I have seen a few in the hills toward the coast.

Al
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 09:12:13 PM by Allan Mason »

thediggers

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 09:15:51 PM »
Welcome Larfalot I hope you realise your dream. I agree with Shebar re utilities, we find little difference between here and the UK (where we still spend a lot of time). As to the rest, it depends what kind of life you are looking for here. Based on where you would seem to like to be I would say anything much further in land than Castiglione Messer Raimondo (CMR) could have really cold weather in winter (not your NE of England cold). But saying that Atri is high up and we've seen snow there when there has been none in Pineto or beyond in CMR. So it can be localised...
Many heat houses by wood burners, pellet stoves, open fires with back boiler, gas combi boilers and or ground and air source heat pumps. From what I've read gas is expensive (town not as much) and I know wood burners are common and the cost of wood is cheaper than the UK, Downside of wood burning is storing, cleaning and lumping around. Pellet is likely not as dirty or quite as much work. It really does depend on how you want to live i.e. a lovely hot living room and not so hot bedroom or the entire house at what temperature you like. You will need heating where ever you are, unless you can live in a place below 15c... You may not need it every day, even in winter.  All in all I would guess it's cheaper living/renting here in winter than the UK, certainly nicer!
 


Offline Larfalot

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 12:56:11 AM »
Wow - thanks SO much to all of you who replied! So helpful - I really appreciate the time  you took to explain so many different things to me.  So much to take in - I will read them all again and make some notes and hopefully reply to you all individually soon.

I thought I'd the stay person to visit solo - little did I know  :P

I have a few other, er, restrictions that I need to take into consideration.  If I spend Autumn/Winter periods in your area/s I won't be driving - so I'd need public transport options (happy to cycle if its not too hilly though). 

Also, Conad in Pineto serves me well as I developed Coeliac 4 years ago - yes, boo-hiss to that but greatful for special section in Conad. Does anyone else know if other supermarkets sell gluten free foods (pastas, flour, bread, biscuits?).

Thanks again; so happy you all replied  - back soon. (Bizy baksun)

Larfalot xx

Offline Bubo

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 07:20:41 AM »
Most supermarkets seem to cater for gluten free products, and I know someone who shops at a health food shop near Casoli, went with her once, it was just like Holland & Barrett. Sorry cannot remember the name of it, but I am sure there are others. Will try and get the name and where it is.

For public transport it very much depends on where you will be. Try these web sites:

Arrpa
ssangritana

There will be more smaller companies. You have to do a bit of bus spotting, remember the name of the bus company ang google it. That's how I found out!

Renting. It is possible to rent a decent place for around 300 euros a month, many people are desperate to sell/rent homes they have inherited, so you don't have to pay the earth. A lot of homes are not on an agencies books. When people in my town knew I was looking, I could not pass through the town without being shown someone's home! I chose to go through an agency as i did not know these people then, you will find that even though most houses are up for sale, the agencies may be able to persuade them to let it to you especially if the place has been on the books for a while.



thediggers

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 10:16:36 AM »
Todis also do gluten free foods.

Not checked them all, but would suspect Roseto, Pineto and Vasto all have rail stations with a direct link to Pescara. A quick look here at TrenItalia you have a train almost every hour  from Pineto to Pescara starting from 1.90 one way. The Arpa site indicates a bus every half hour to Pescara from Pineto and I'm sure there is also a bus to Rome stops at Pineto. The other two coastal towns have the same rail links, but are a bit further out from Pescara and so a little more expensive.  I'm sure they will also have bus links, although it may not be Arpa.

Offline Allan Mason

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 12:31:08 PM »
We've never used the local trains along the coast, but we've certainly seen quite a few chuntering along when we've visited the beaches at Roseto, Pineto and similar, so I'm sure TheDiggers is right on that point.

A thought that occurred is that it might be wise to be very clear on the terms of your rental agreement if you get a place on the coastal strip. I don't know if it happens in Italy, but we know people here in SW Wales who stay in holiday lets during the off-season, but when the tourist season starts they get turfed out and replaced with holiday-makers who are willing to splash out a lot more for a week's rent than they pay for a month during the winter.

Al

Offline Bubo

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 02:48:42 PM »
If you rent from an agency there will be a clear contract that protects the tenant. The length of stay in the accommodation will be or should be clarified. Yes, some tourist areas have a higher rental in the summer months, hence be very careful and protect yourself. For a short stay that is fine, but better to feel secure.

Offline 2Heads

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 06:38:11 PM »
Larfalot, you mention cycling as a transport option. Well it's very popular here and therefore, as in France, much safer than in the UK IMHO.
The profile of the land can however be a problem. It is e.g. very easy to cycle from say Pineto to Pescara and there is, in fact, a cycle route which travels for considerable distances along the Adriatic coast in both direction. The same can be said for the route from Montesilvano to Castiglione Meser Raimondo as it is following a river. However - and its a big however - many routes are very hilly, as you will know when you've been to Atri. From where we are it's great cycling in almost every direction but it's difficult getting back home up the hills when you have finished and are tired!!!

Offline dolcevita

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Re: Hello from Larfalot
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 09:53:06 AM »
Hi there

I'm in my 50's and often stay at our house on my own and without a car.Our village has a very good bus service and luckily I'm still fit enough to climb the hill when I get off the bus! The thing I miss most without a car is being able to drop into a friends when things are a bit depressing (normally when its rained for a week and I can't even get out for a walk!) I plan to buy a bike from Subito.it this year and expect to grow enormous calf muscles.

I find the things that cost me less are eating out and coffees or a glass of wine ( paid 4.75 in Plymouth yesterday for a tiny glass or truly horrible Trebbiano) or a beer. I cook a lot so our food bill in the UK tends to only be about 50 for the 2 of us.I spend more in Abruzzo as we love the local bread and cheeses and I tend to shop in the village/market which is dearer than supermarkets.If I used Lidl I expect costs would be similar.

My other save in the UK is Charity Shops and Car Boots where I buy 80% of my clothes and also things like china and pans.
I have discovered Mercatino and bought some very nice trainers for 7 plus other bits for the house but Its still dearer than Car boots here.

I'd like to agree with other points about how wet it can be in Abruzzo once you get away from the coast.We have constant struggles with damp in our house -as many as we have in Cornwall! We do get months without rain but then it can rain for weeks and that is depressing.I also think lots of Italian homes have appalling lighting and can feel really dingy so for me good bright led daylight light fittings and plenty of them are essential to avoid the winter blues.

Finally I am not sure I know enough about this but personally I really enjoy doing things with my female friends and we even go on holidays together. I'm not sure I'd be able to find groups like Book Clubs or Walking Groups to join on my own in Italy as most women seem to socialise by visiting each other's homes rather than going out and doing stuff which particularly the over 50s.
a third rate mind follows the crowd