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Advice on moving to northern Italy....

(33 Posts)
TantiK Wed 21-Feb-07 13:34:17

We are moving to Northern Italy in April (to my husband's place of birth) so was wondering if anyone had any advice on the big move - what things do I need to think about?, what will I miss most?, how do I get my stuff to Italy? Also my DS is 13 months old - are there many mother + toddler groups? There seems to be such a good selection of groups that we can go to here and I am hoping that there will be similar groups in Italy.

franca70 Wed 21-Feb-07 13:50:50

TantiK, where exactly are you moving to? Is it a village-town or city? I'm afraid mother + toddler groups aren't really as popular as in England. Can you speak a bit of Italian? Are you going to be close to your dh's family? (and do you like them? ). Chances are that you will start to socialize through them. There are other ways to meet other mums, like swimming lessons for babies, or music lessons etc, although this again depends on where you live. Italian mothers tend to socialize a lot at parks, the little park behind my mum's house in Milano is always crowded (from may to october) and everytime I take the children there I always manage to chat with someone. But again, it depends on your Italian. Also from age three italian children are entitled to go to scuola materna (nursery school) virtually for free (in some areas is not v. easy to find a space though).
I really hope this move goes smoothly for you. I found it very traumatic to move to the uk after having lived for the first 28yrs of my life in the same place. I really hope you'll find it easier. . Italy is a weird place, I suppose it takes time to adjust

TantiK Wed 21-Feb-07 14:08:13

We are moving to a village - about 1 hour away from Trento in the Dolomites (near to the ski resorts of Marilleva, Folgarida and Madonna di Campiglio). I understand most Italian, but am a nervous/reluctant speaker! I've been assured that I will pick it up v. quickly - no pressure then!!! We are visiting next week so will check out the local park! My MIL has just moved there and has found (amazingly) another English mum living in the village - so she will be my first contact point!! I am a bit nervous about moving to a village as I am sure in Milan there would be more opportunities to mix with other mums - but if I do well with picking up the language it shouldn't take me too long!

franca70 Wed 21-Feb-07 14:14:47

Tantik this is where I used to go skying! The area is very beautiful (with lots of sporty things to do both in the summer and winter) and your ds might become a sky champion! I really wish you all the best. I don't know what life is like in a village though. I really hope it's one of those maintaining their community spirit etc etc. Has it got a school?
all the best!

Rosa5 Fri 23-Feb-07 10:12:45

Well you have a mumsnetter about 2 hrs away !
I have lived in mountain villages and found it quite a community . with its usual mix of gossipers and advice hander outers but also some really nice people. Be prepared for the differences on how you might do things from them but as it is a touristy area they might be used to it. As Franca says no mother and baby groups there are none even in the cities. BUt the park is a good polace to start. Also in village you might get to know people quicker as its smaller.
In Italy rather than HV or GP your DD will be a signed to a a paediatrician there will be a list of the ones nearby and you need to sign you dd in .Your DH will know where the USL ( bit like a general NH office). I have found this service excellent.The vaccination schedule is similar to that of the Uk they end up with the same as the Uk but at slightly different times.
As for getting your stuff over the cheapest way is via land. It takes a while however can be up to 6 weeks especially if you have lots of stuff.
If you are going over for a week make a list of the things you like and take for granted in the Uk e.g tea bags ( italian stuff is like dishwater) marmite , weetabix etc and then see if any local shops or maybe the supermarket - there will be a big one maybe at the bottom of the valley stocks them,then you know what to tell relatives/ friends to bring when they come and see you.
Amazon deliver to Italy and not much of an extra cost and if you have a favourite mag most do delivery to Italy its a bit expensive but you will find that most Uk mums keep magazines and swap even a few months later !
As for what you will miss most ..I miss my family terribly but thanks to Skype and Easy Jet we manage to see each other pretty regularly. I have a pact with my mum we know the next date we will meet before the present one ends.
On a positive just think your dd will grow up in splendid countryside, fantastic mountain air real Heidi stuff!
Shout if I can be of any help.

franca70 Fri 23-Feb-07 10:17:43

excellent advice rosa! I forgot about the paediatrician (which have to say I miss)...

Brangelina Fri 23-Feb-07 13:27:01

One other small bit of advice - get you DH or PILs to do your documents or you will go mad. Italian bureaucracy is horrific, although it has improved a bit over the years. Maybe things are not so bad in a small village, but in big towns for instance you have to be prepared to waste a lot of mornings.

I presume your DS has Italian nationality? Did your DH sort out docs when he was born? If not, to register with a paed you need to get him a codice fiscale (like a NI number), then apply for a tessera sanitaria. You get a piece of paper right away and the electronic card comes later through the post (or at least that's how it works in Lombardy, but Trentino shouldn't be much different). You can choose your paediatrician when you apply for the tessera sanitaria. You'll also need to get residency sorted if you want to try and put him in the local state nursery.

Agree with what Rosa says re stocking up on certain things, although you can get Marmite, PG Tips, Rowntrees jellies etc at ethnic shops (the Sri Lankans love them!) and weetabix and Twinings for instance is available at most big supermarkets. Or at least it's like that where I live...

Re telly, as everyone says you get most of the same US series as the UK, albeit a season or 2 behind. Don't know about original language, I watch everything in Italian anyway and to me it sounds really strange hearing the actors' voices in English. I'll never forget seeing ER in English years ago and being hugely disappointed by George Clooney's squeaky voice, it was much deeper and sexier in Italian!

Can't advise on the move as I came out here with a backpack only many years ago.

Anyway, good luck, it'll be a positive experience

Rosa5 Fri 23-Feb-07 13:43:01

Rosa makes note to try and find an ethnic shop next time she is allowed out on parole ... to hunt out Rowntrees Jellies

Brangelina Fri 23-Feb-07 13:53:22

Don't you have those little Sri Lankan groceries in Venice? Or Philippino shops? Does anyone you know have a Sri Lankan cleaner/babysitter? If so, just follow her the next time she goes shopping. It's amazing the stuff you find in there, Carnation milk, Bourbon biscuits, Birds custard, plus loads of other things that I remember vaguely from my 70s childhood but am sure are no longer available in the UK as deemed to be toxic.

How funny that these things are all that remain from the days of the British Empire....

Rosa5 Fri 23-Feb-07 14:08:50

Funny enough not . We have loads of chinese e.g fake bag shops with brands like Dolce and Garbana, Versice and also they have opened a few bars so as a consequence a few shops have opened I can now get sesame oil, decent noodles ( not Suzie Wan)and a few other bits along with wonderful plastic objects that flash and ping !
cleaners and baby sitters generally are more from the Ukraine / Romania but apparently there are some good Indian restaurants on the mainland and guess more ethnic shops but have not been there for ages unless its to baby shop !!
Have 1 tin of custard powder left and dd loves custard ( MIL shock horror)

Brangelina Fri 23-Feb-07 14:29:16

If she's horrified about custard, just wait till she sees the jellies! .

Rosa5 Fri 23-Feb-07 14:47:14

I am sorely tempted to go on a jelly hunt for DD 1st birthday party ...I am making a cake and attempting telletubbie land thing ..MIL said better get a proper cake just in case!!

Now where did I put that jelly mould????

franca70 Fri 23-Feb-07 16:51:28

Brangelina, there's a shop in via ripamonti called british grocery (but managed I think by people from the philippines) that sell all the things you mentioned!

Brangelina Sat 24-Feb-07 10:29:09

Franca - I know that shop, I used to go years ago when it was practically the only one in Milan. Now there are loads all over the place, there are at least 3 in Monza that I know of. Plus if you go to Paolo Sarpi there's a Chinese supermarket that sells food from all over Asia plus British things. I even buy my vaseline from there, in the same pots as you get in Boots. I use it as lip salve before you ask , but daren't ask for it in an Italian farmacia for the looks I might get!

franca70 Sat 24-Feb-07 13:24:38

. mind you that when I had ds (ds was born in Milano) I sent my zia all the way to a special farmacia omeopatica, to get a tub of vaseline for sore nipples! hope she didn't get those looks...
ah via paolo sarpi... have I already told you how I miss milano??????

franca70 Sat 24-Feb-07 13:25:06

how much

Brangelina Sat 24-Feb-07 14:04:32

Where was your DS born? At the Mangiagalli?

I can imagine you miss Milano. How often do you visit? I don't miss England that much, although now I have a child I sometimes wonder about the fact that things seem a bit more "a misura di bambino" in the UK. At the very least there are more shops with automatic doors and disabled access, so I have less trouble when I'm out with my pushchair. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to negotiate steps and hold the door open at the same time when out shopping in Milan or Monza.

franca70 Sat 24-Feb-07 16:54:10

Yes, he was born at the mangiagalli. and your dd?
Certainly Exeeter is much more a misura di bambino than Milano, and milano is a nightmare with the pushchair, with steps, dog poos, cars parked on the marciapiede, car fumes, etc bleah. I hate Italians addiction to cars. And I hate to notice, everytime we go back, how they are becoming ruder, and more aggressive. I do miss my friends a lot, they all have kids now and do lots of things together, which I think it's nice, I don't like to be too "trapped" in the family unit thing. But we do manage to go back often. So are you still working?

PoppyPie Sun 25-Feb-07 16:57:34

Hi Tantik,
I live in a small town outside of Milan and it has good points and bad points.You can be seen as a novelty and people will pay you more attention,especially with a ds to look at and coo over.It depends on the character of the people in that area I think. The Brianzoli where I live are mostly closed and not that keen on outsiders. My Italian MIL who is orginally from Parma says people in her town still refer to her as "the foreigner" even after she's been there 40 odd years.
When I was babysitting, the family used to spend weekends in Calceranica,near Lago di Caldonazzo, nr Trento where the family home was and it was a lovely place and the folk were friendly.

Brangelina Mon 26-Feb-07 10:02:12

Yes, my DD was born at the mangiagalli, although if I have another I might choose the Buzzi as my friends who had theirs there seemed to have a better experience.

I know what you mean about there being too many cars, that's one reason why I don't drive anymore as with all those rude drivers and the motorini zigzagging between the cars I'd probably go mad. Rudeness and aggressiveness has defnitely increased and one thing I've noticed here with respect to the UK is that there is absolutely no social conscience (although it's getting worse in the UK too) and it's usually gente "perbene" that are the worst offenders. Most of the dog poo is left by le sciure impelliciate and the inconsiderate parking is mainly from people with flash cars or SUVs and they're the rudest when you ask them to move.

I do still work full time but now it's from home as I have a new job teleworking for a foreign company. It's weird as I don't seem to have a great deal to do so I spend most of my time on here and then feel guilty as I ought to make better use of my time and do some housework or cook. More self discipline is definitely needed! Of course when my DP comes home I tell him I've been SO busy all day so didn't have time to prepare any dinner or vacuum or whatever needed doing

franca70 Mon 26-Feb-07 19:50:24

Hei I know lago di caldonazzo!
yes, giving birth at mangiagalli is not the best experience ever, although I had throughout my pregnancy the best obstetrician ever, i simply adore her! Yes, at buzzi they seem more keen on natural birth, but I've heard different experiences. A friend of mine claims that the best place is macedonio melloni. ah and my cousin was very happy at the hospital in sesto san giovanni...
agree also with sciure and suv (what the hell do they need an suv to drive around in Milano, where it doesn't even snow anymore????) grrrr. And also agree about the lack of social conscience. Which has never been an Italian strength (and therefore one of the reason of its many problems. or probably all thses problems have caused it? boh!). At least when I grew up there was certainly more sense of community, more affabilita'... (I like being a bit moralista at this time of the day ).
Anyway, is it spring already in my lovely hometown? That rosy smell of spring air mixed to the car fumes and the noise of the motorini? bliss!

PoppyPie Mon 26-Feb-07 21:30:56

Evening ladies,
Milan and other major towns had a traffic block to reduce smog levels on Sunday (don't thinkg it helped any judging by the smells today. Shame it rained and we couldn't make the most of it!!
I had my dd at Carate Brianza which was hailed as being reknown for natural births, birthing pool, etc etc. Unfortunately I had a dreadful experience so wouldn't recommend it to anyone and would definately go somewhere else next time (if there is one). I hear Monza San Gerardo old hospital is fantastic and also good things about Sesto.There even the father can stay over at night I believe!

franca70 Mon 26-Feb-07 21:58:59

yes, sesto is the one! as I said, my cousin had a lovely experience there, no doctors just midwives. why do they block the traffic on sundays, when nonone's around anyway, i don't understand...

PoppyPie Mon 26-Feb-07 22:07:31

Very ironic but I lived in Sesto until I was pregnant then we moved further out in Brianza and so we chose Carate due to these "recommendations" also because it was the nearest to us. I wish now I'd opted for Sesto.Might not have changed anything but its wishful thinking.
I think the block may have some effect in big cities but its really stupid to have it in the suburbs,imo, as the public tranport is bad, especially on a Sunday or non existent and many people are stuck at home or have to cancel plans which is v. annoying!

Brangelina Tue 27-Feb-07 10:49:25

Hiya, back again. Had an exciting afternoon on trains yesterday, visiting clients.

Yes the blocco was shite as usual, all the euro 4 could circulate anyway so the SUVs were still puffing out their poisons and everything was basically the same. I've never understood the point of blocchi if practically everyone (except us) is exempt. I mean, they're so worried avout the PM10, but what about the CO2, benzene and other stuff? Mind you, it was horrible weather so I didn't put my nose out all day so wouldn't have noticed anything anyway.

Oh dear, have I hijacked this thread? I hope we haven't put Tantik off with all this talk of dog poo, SUVs, rude people and dreadful childbirth experiences .

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