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

Interviews with Mums

Susan Avanzi - Rome

"I had both my children in hospital. Mixed feelings regarding my experience, on the one hand I felt in excellent hands as the midwives and obstetricians were very experienced and qualified, on the other, being such a busy hospital and with a good reputation for child birth it is overwhelmingly busy so there are the usual problems of not enough beds/rooms and I felt very much part of a chain process! One out, next one in! Unfortunately I had to have a c-section (which seems to almost be the norm here in Italy) and I found that this made the recovery process so much harder.
I also think one thing that is missing, at least from my experience, is a home visit to offer some advice and assistance for the first few days at home. I remember being at home, leaving the hospital just 48 hours after the c-section feeling very unsure of things from breatfeeding to nappy changing!"
(SA, March 2012)
 

  • What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Rome? Which part of Rome do you live in ?
    Susan Avanzi, I have been living in Rome for 10 years - we live in the area Salaria/Trieste in the North of Rome

    Why did you move there?
    I moved to Rome before I got married to start a new job in an advertising agency

    What is the area like where you live?
    I like our area very much. It is very residential but at the same time it offers a number of services - nice parks with play areas for children, a selection of good schools, nice fresh fruit and vegetable markets, some good shopping roads with the typical commercial stores but some nice little boutiques too, good bus services into the historic centre and to the train station and the additional bonus is that everything can be reached on foot.

    What nationality are you and your partner?
    I am English and my husband is Italian

    How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
    We have two girls, Sofia aged 4 and Elena aged 2 - they were both born in Rome

    What was your experience of having a baby in Rome (if relevant)?

    I had both my children in hospital. Mixed feelings regarding my experience, on the one hand I felt in excellent hands as the midwives and obstetricians were very experienced and qualified, on the other, being such a busy hospital and with a good reputation for child birth it is overwhelmingly busy so there are the usual problems of not enough beds/rooms and I felt very much part of a chain process! One out, next one in! Unfortunately I had to have a c-section (which seems to almost be the norm here in Italy) and I found that this made the recovery process so much harder.
    I also think one thing that is missing, at least from my experience, is a home visit to offer some advice and assistance for the first few days at home. I remember being at home, leaving the hospital just 48 hours after the c-section feeling very unsure of things from breatfeeding to nappy changing!
     

    Do you work and if so what do you do?
    I worked in marketing and advertising but since having the girls I have worked freelance in event management

    Did you buy or rent your property? How did you find the process?
    We bought our house - finding the right house envolved alot of patience and research. House prices in Rome are very high too.

    How well integrated would you say you and your family are?
    Having married an Italian, integrating has not been difficult. We have also been extremely fortunate to find a wonderful school for our children and we have greated some very strong friendships with other families from school who also live in our area.

    What language do you speak to your children?
    Despite my attempts to teach the girls English they talk Italian. I speak to them in English and my husband talks to them in Italian. They understand English completely but reply to me in Italian.

    Do you think it essential to speak Italian when relocating to Rome?
    It certainly makes life much easier!

    What is your impression of childcare and education in Rome?
    This depends very much on your choice of school and the teacher - I have to say our experience has been extremely positive. Particularly when the children started nursery when they were 15 months, the teachers were very caring, affectionate and maternal.

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Rome?
    The only real disadvantage I can think of is the difficulty in adapting to the Roman way of live - the city logistically is very difficult and it can be chaotic and dirty. If you are not used to this it can be quite overbearing. In terms of advantages, sharing the "Roman" experience with other English Mums has given me a sense of home abroad.
    How welcoming were the locals when you arrived in Rome?
    I didnt experience many difficulties when I arrived and Romans were welcoming but consider that I didnt have the problem of the language barrier as I already spoke Italian.
    Would you say your area is family-friendly and is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
    Yes it is family-friendly but improvements are needed, particularly in terms of keeping the parks clean and specifically the childrens play areas and traffic is terrible with mad parking solutions so just crossing the road with a pram can be an adventure!

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Rome with children?
    Think about where you would like to live in the city. Traffic is intense and it can take forever to get to places so choose an area that is not far from work/office and choose a school that is in your area, preferably in walking distance.
    In terms of having a baby, pregnancy here is very "medicalised", so be prepared for endless blood tests once a month, testing for anything and everything! Should you want an alternative experience such as a home birth or a water birth there really isnt that much on offer here in Rome.

    What couldn´t you live without in Rome?

    The blue sky and sunshine, the wonderful parks and a good cappucino in the morning after Ive dropped the girls at school - my motorino has also become quite indispensable! ... and most importantly the friendships we have made.

    What could you live without in Rome?!
    The Roman traffic and the dirty pavements
     

    March 2012