Your interactive family guide to Italy as recommended by local mums | Last updated 9 months ago

Interviews with Mums

Carmen Panuccio - Benevento

"I think my main disadvantage is the way people think here, my thoughts and attitude is a lot different for the way that they are, so sometimes my big mouth opens a lot of peoples eyes!!! I always say to them OPEN YOUR MIND, NOT YOUR MOUTH!!!" (CP, May 2012)

  • What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Italy?
    Hello, my name is Carmen I am 44, and I have been living in Italy now for over 20 years.

    Whereabouts do you live and why did you decide to move there?

    We live in Benevento, a city that is close to Naples, Salerno, and Avellino. I moved here when I
    decided to marry my husband.

    What nationality are you and your partner?
    I am an Australian with an Italian background and my husband comes from Benevento.

    How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?

    We have 2 boys, Arturo is 18 and Davide is 16, they were born here, but they both have Australian passports.

    Do you work and if so what do you do?

    I work in a supermarket, and I do English lessons, and translations in my spare time.

    What was your experience of having a baby/babies in Italy?

    It wasn’t the best experience, 18 years ago things were different, I had 2 C-sections, the first baby was after 18 hours of labor, he would come down as he had the ombiblical cord around his neck, he nearly died, when I first saw him we was blue!!!the second one was born with a planned C-section , I was just tooo scared to go through it again.

    How well integrated would you say you and your child(ren) are?
    Well, we are pretty much integrated here as the boys have grown up here. I think that it has taken me a long time, even if I do miss home every single day.

    What language do you speak to your child(ren)?

    In the house we speak both, my second son spoke really late, the doctors told me that it was because he was confused and didn’t know what language to speak!!!! Anyway, they both now talk too much, and speak both languages.

    Do you rent or own a property and how did you find the renting/buying process?

    We have our own house, it is freestanding and with a courtyard, so I can say that I am lucky.

    How welcoming have the locals have been towards you and your family?
    I would have to say that my arrival caused a stir as I was one of the first foreigner’s s in this city, everyone wanted to be my friend!!! After a while you just get tired of it all and just stick to my American and English friends.

    What school(s)/nursery(ies) do your children go to?
    My boys went to public schools, even if I would have preferred private, (I went to private colleges all through my schooling) but I find them not bad.

    Why did you choose this school/these schools and are you happy with your choice?

    Yes, I think that the public schools are not bad here, I am a very active parent in their schooling so when something goes wrong or I don’t like it, I let them know!!!

    Are there any services, activities for kids, day-trips for kids, family-friendly restaurants or kids’ shops you’d like to recommend?
    Well considering that my boys are now 16 and 18, they grew up at a local rugby club, which have heaps of activities all throughout the year, they are outside rain and shine and there is a great sense of family.

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Italy?
    I think my main disadvantage is the way people think here, my thoughts and attitude is a lot different for the way that they are, so sometimes my big mouth opens a lot of peoples eyes!!! I always say to them OPEN YOUR MIND, NOT YOUR MOUTH!!!

    Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
    Probably by moving them to a bigger city as we are a small one, there isn’t many opportunities here, but one advantage is that it is a tranquil place, so you don’t really have to worry when they go out at night.

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Italy with children?

    Think twice, and get ready for whole new way of life, it is TOTALLY different from the one you once had.

    What couldn´t you live without in Italy?

    Coffee, mozzarella, icecream!!! No, I think that the Italians are very warm friendly people, always willing to help you, and are always trying to speak those few English words they learnt at school.

    May 2012