"City=concrete playground. The center, luckily, if full of Piazzas, which are pedestrian friendly, thus kid friendly. We do have 4 parks near us, 2 are decent with pretty good parks toys and the others are more for strolling. There is some drug paraphnelia now and again or broken beer bottles to contend with and of course, the constant slew of dog poop. But the parks are kept in good condition and are open until at least 7 pm at night" (NS, May 2012)
What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Torino? Which part of Torino do you live in ?
My name is Natalie Stoffer and I am 36 years old. I have lived in Torino since the spring of 2008 and I live in the center of the city- the Quadrilatero Romano/Porto Palazzo area.
Why did you move there?
My husband and I had moved around Italy a lot and we finally decided to live in a big city.
What is the area like where you live?
Awesome! We are right in the heart of the city. We live above the largest outdoor market in Europe: Porto Palazzo, which is steps away from Piazza Castello and the beautiful porticos of Via Roma....
What nationality are you and your partner?
I am American and my husband is Italian.
How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
We have two children, Marcello who turns 3 on May 23rd (2009) and Emma, who just turned 1.
What was your experience of having a baby in Torino?
Positive, both times.
Do you work and if so what do you do?
I teach English. Right now, I have a consultant contract with FIAT, the car company.
Did you buy or rent your property? How did you find the process?
We rent our apartment and would LOVE to buy but the prices are very high in the center and it is hard to imagine moving outside of the heart of the city, so for now, renting our place is fine until we can afford something *better.*
How well integrated would you say you and your family are?
I would say that I am very well integrated, as much as one can be. Overall, I have been in Italy now for 7 years. Honestly, the first 3 years, even 4, were difficult-- the adjustment, the cultural shock, the language-- which I am still learning!, however, fortunately with time and patience and a change of *heart*/attitude, (and having kids definitly helps with an attitude adjustment), I can call Italy my home.
What language do you speak to your children?
I speak English to my children.
What is your impression of childcare and education in Torino?
So far, the nursery school that Marcello has atteneded since 18 months has been exceptional. We were lucky because the school is a block from our apartment and is brand new. But more importantly, the teachers and their assistents are incredible- professional, affectionate, available to the parents and provide many outside activities for the kids. Saying all that, applying for his preschool was a bit stressful, because Torino is going through a major financial upheavel with the schools, especially the nursery and pre schools. He got a place but now I am waiting to see when and where I can send Emma.
Right now, I have a babysitter come 3 times a week. She is a friend of a friend.
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Torino?
A: diversity for me is the norm, the uniqueness of not being from here, being able to pick and choose the best parts of the Italian and Torino culture
Dis: you are always a foreigner, sometimes I feel as is I am regarded as a passerby even if I am a city resident and am not a TOURIST<
How welcoming were the locals when you arrived in Torino?
Well, it is a big city so there is the normal, mind your own business, I have things to do attitude. However, overall Torino is a friendly city.
Would you say your area is family-friendly and is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
Yes and no. City=concrete playground. The center, luckily, if full of Piazzas, which are pedestrian friendly, thus kid friendly. We do have 4 parks near us, 2 are decent with pretty good parks toys and the others are more for strolling. There is some drug paraphnelia now and again or broken beer bottles to contend with and of course, the constant slew of dog poop. But the parks are kept in good condition and are open until at least 7 pm at night.
Are you able to recommend to other MumAbroad members in the area any local services (home delivery, plumbers, dentists, babysitters etc) or any activities, restaurants or shops for children in the area?
I would recommend my babysitter in a heart beat. In terms of shops-their is the market where you can find anything and everything.
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Torino with children?
Althought, Torino is known for the famous OBGYN SantAnna Hospital, try to check out Maria Vittora, which is becoming the preferred hospital to give birth. (My first baby was born there and I had a good exeperience overall).
What couldn´t you live without in Torino?
The neighboorhood markets, each area has one! They are fabulous.
What could you live without in Torino?!
Dog poop! :)