“We are living in paradise,” say Sonya Saldana and Adam Bowman about the town of Morgex, Italy, where they moved less than two years ago from San Diego, California. “Some of the most beautiful spots in the Italian Alps are a short walk away from our house.”
But it wasn’t just the beauty of the formidable mountains that attracted the couple to Morgex. The quiet Alpine town could not be more different from bustling San Diego with its sunny, sprawling beaches…and that is exactly what Sonya and Adam were looking for: “We wanted to slow down and live in a small, friendly community.”
With a population of less than 2,000 people, Morgex is small yet comfortable with excellent infrastructure, bars, and shops. There are several fantastic restaurants that serve hearty traditional dishes, a pizzeria, a tiny bakery selling delicious, freshly-baked bread, pizza slices, and cookies. For special occasions, locals and tourists go to Cafe Quinson, a Michelin-starred restaurant with a warm, Alpine ambiance and outstanding wine cellar.
At the lively weekly market, farmers sell fresh seasonal produce, cheeses, and charcuterie. On sunny days, you can sit at an outdoor table in one of the small bars in town, gorge on a rich creamy pastry, sip a coffee…and admire the snow-capped mountain peaks surrounding Morgex. The town is also home to high-altitude vineyards that produce exquisite white wines appreciated by connoisseurs across the world.
“Amazingly for our times, there is no crime here, so we often leave the front door unlocked when we go shopping”, says Sonya. There are very few foreigners living in town, however, the community is friendly and welcoming. “We have befriended many locals and the fact that some of them speak English really helped us at the start.”
Once or twice a month the couple participate in community dinners with the neighbors and friends and Adam enjoys skateboarding with the local kids. Sonya loves going for brisk walks with the couple’s dog Bella. “I often watch birds, deer, and foxes going on their daily business undisturbed.”
Although the cost of living in the Italian Alps is higher than in other parts of Italy, Sonya says it is only a quarter of what she used to spend in California. The couple rents a beautiful traditional chalet-style, two-bedroom house with two bathrooms, three balconies, and a small garden for just over $1,000 a month including utilities. Add the groceries and some household items, internet connection, and the total monthly cost for the couple comes to about $2,000.
They admit that eating out is not high on their agenda but they do enjoy hearty traditional dishes at a small local restaurant, Da Beppe. A three-course meal with wine never costs more than $25. “Here we spend more time outdoors rather than shopping and eating out,” says Sonya.
The couple decided not to buy a car, which saves them the cost of gas and maintenance. The supermarket, bakery, bars, and restaurants are all within a walking distance and going everywhere on foot gives them an excuse to meet the locals and chat. “When we want to go to the nearest city of Aosta, we get a train at the station that is less than five minutes from our house,” says Adam.
For a spot of snowboarding or skiing, they hop on a bus to the winter resort of Courmayeur at the foot of the formidable Mont Blanc, only six miles from Morgex.
A stress-free, comfortable life in the Italian Alps, what’s not to love about that?