"Everyone wants to be your friend and chat - they want to learn English and hear about England and they want their children to play with yours to help them to learn English. On the downside, there is a certain lack of information due to the fact that everybody just knows whats going on! We can sometimes feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to whats what" (AT, March 2013)
What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Umbria?
My name is Amy Turner, Im 35 years old and I moved to Umbria in 2007.
Whereabouts do you live and what is the area like?
I live in the countryside near to Città di Castello. Its a beautiful area, very rural and quiet.
Why did you decide to move there?
I fell in love with Italy when I studied Italian at university. I had always wanted to live in the countryside and ended up here.
What nationality are you and your partner?
Were both British.
How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
We have a daughter called Chenin. She was born in Italy in February 2010.
What was your experience of having a baby in Umbria?
I had a great experience even though there were some complications. The hospital has a very small delivery unit and I was the only one in labour at the time. The care was very personal and in fact, I was never left alone. The facilities were very basic and no drugs (not even gas & air) were available. I didnt mind though and would do it again this way.
How well integrated would you say you and your daughter are?
Very! We have lots of friends and Chenin goes to nursery school which she absolutely loves.
What language do you speak to your daughter?
We speak English at home but Chenin is already bi-lingual at 3 years old.
How do you manage to juggle work and childcare?
My husband looks after Chenin when I am photographing. She is at school between 9 and 4 every day so childcare is not necessary.
Do you think it essential to speak Italian where you live? How good was your knowledge of Italian before you moved to Umbria?
My Italian was fairly good when we arrived having studied it at university. English is rarely spoken amongst the locals and so we have definitely had to get to grips with Italian to a good standard.
Do you rent or own a property and how did you find the renting/buying process?
Both! We own a house that we are renovating and are renting in the meantime. We found both processes pretty straight-forward.
How welcoming have the locals been towards you and your family?
The locals have been fabulous. We feel very welcome and get stopped to chat everywhere we go. We love our neighbours and the people of our local community.
How would you describe a typical local?
Theyre all so different that this one is too broad a question to answer.
What is your impression of childcare and education where you live?
The experience that I have of asilo so far is 100% excellent. The school is a wonderful place for the children to be. They are looked after brilliantly and exceptionally well-fed. (Ive been tempted to go in myself when saffron risotto is on the menu!) I have slight concerns about the teaching techniques in schools as the children get older but well have to cross that bridge when we come to it! Learning by rote is perhaps a little old-hat and the lack of school sports is disappointing. What school(s)/nursery(ies) do your children go to?
Why did you choose this school/these schools and are you happy with your choice?
Are there any services, activities for kids, day-trips for kids, family-friendly restaurants or kids’ shops you’d like to recommend?
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in the region?
Everyone wants to be your friend and chat - they want to learn English and hear about England and they want their children to play with yours to help them to learn English. On the downside, there is a certain lack of information due to the fact that everybody just knows whats going on! We can sometimes feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to whats what.
Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
More indoor activities - bowling / ice-skating / play centres - these dont exist.
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Umbria with children?
Go for it! Its a wonderful life.
What couldn´t you live without in Umbria?
My English friends and the backup of the ex-pat community. Skype.
What could you live without in Umbria?!
The bureaucracy, the crazy drivers and all of the people who keep their dogs in cages.