It was on a trip to the central Italian region of Abruzzo in late autumn that David and Sharyn Collins stumbled upon their new home. “We stopped in Sulmona and fell in love with it. It is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Sulmona is right in the centre of a valley with lots of beautiful towns, unspoiled villages, castles and wineries scattered all around it in the mountains,” the couple say.
Elegant palaces, spacious squares, historic monuments, grand historic cafes with marble tables and gilt-framed mirrors, excellent restaurant serving delicious local dishes… This is Turin, the capital of the northern Italian region Piedmont...
A Mediterranean climate…fresh, simple, delicious cuisine…culture that surrounds you…wine, the very best of it… If this sounds like your paradise, then take a closer look at Italy. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the rolling hills of Tuscany to the culture-rich capital of Rome, Italy is a breathtaking country and one that has a lot to offer those looking for a retirement haven with an elegant twist.
It’s understandable why many people regard Italy as expensive. I would, too, if I’d ever paid $25 for an ice cream near Rome’s Trevi fountain or take a $160 gondola ride in Venice. Thankfully, I spend far more time outside “tourist Italy” than in it. Venture beyond the country’s big-ticket destinations and you’ll likely be amazed at just how inexpensive it can be.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, Piazza Garibaldi, the central square in the small Italian town of Sulmona, fills up with stands selling fresh farm produce, antiques, flowers, kitchen wear, baskets, clothes and artisan furniture. The setting of the weekly market is stunning: A large Baroque fountain in the middle of the old square, ancient noble palaces around it, the 12th-century medieval aqueduct and the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. I feel lucky to live near Sulmona and visit it as often as I can.
Rome is undeniably alluring with its historical monuments, jaw-dropping artwork, trendy restaurants and cultural events. But living in the city is expensive and sometimes just not desirable for those who prefer the rhythm of small town life. Luckily, you can have the best of both worlds. There are some beautiful towns where you can enjoy a laidback lifestyle while still being able to reach the centre of Italy’s capital city Rome in just an hour.
Cathy Pegolo loves cities with theatres, music, restaurants and culture. And she has found all that and more in her new home of Bologna, Italy. Cathy, 60, grew up in Brisbane. Her Italian heritage inspired her to visit the “old country” and she and her husband, Paul, 62, travelled widely in Italy before finally deciding to buy a place of their own there.