Living in Italy is giving us the chance to visit Pompeii – a dream come true! It was a trip back through time, and a great break as we settle here.
This week was dedicated to taking care of life’s needs – primarily housing. Keeping the kids entertained, looking for a second car, surviving living in a hotel and having a family adventure were all needed as well.
Living in Italy, getting a house
Living in Italy sounds like a dream, right? It is, but we still have to think about reality and all the logistics that make life happen. Two heavy parts of that reality: moving into a house usually takes 60-90 days, and arriving in July meant we were in a serious time crunch – Italy shuts down in August for Ferragosto, and that would delay us even further!
I have to admit that my anxiety has been through the roof. Living in a hotel for a month, jetlag, and uncertain daily routines have kept stress high. We have done our best and it hasn’t been horrible, but since we found a house in our second week, I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting for months before moving in.
I have been going into the housing office each day making sure things are getting done ASAP. The Italians will get things done, but they aren’t in a hurry to do it. By being a constant presence in the housing office, I moved our document review appointment up from Aug 22 to July 24!
Our landlords passed the document review and arranged an inspection for the next day. The inspection makes sure the house meets important criteria, but it failed because of a minor issue. One of the criteria is that each home has a security system. Our house does, but the garage was not connected when the inspector came, and now we have to wait for another inspection next week. After that is the final contract signing, and then we will move in!
A lot has gone into us moving in as soon as possible!
Keeping the kids entertained
This has been the hardest part out of everything I’ve done so far. It’s so hot here, we’ve had a crazy heat wave come through so unless we are at the pool being outside has been unbearable. Staying in our hotel room is not a good option, so what have we done?
Bowling: The military has a great program on many bases where during the summer kids bowl for free.
Library: the library here isn’t huge, but it is air-conditioned. We have read nearly all the Berenstain Bear books and have taught several lessons from them.
Swimming: we’ve actually only gone swimming for fun a couple of times, but we did start swimming lessons. The swim instructors are all awesome Italian guys that are great with the kids. Jeannie has gone from screaming when her face gets wet to running and jumping in!
Finding a car in Naples while living in Italy
We already found a family car but as soon as we move into our house, Matt will no longer be taking the shuttle so we needed to get a second car. When buying a car in Naples, you want to be careful – often you are buying a car that has been used for several years by military members before you.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a good car. It’s only been 4 weeks but we feel very fortunate that we got the car we did. Make sure you ask about the maintenance history, take it for a drive, and consider having a mechanic look at it.
When you finally do find a car, you’ll need to have an appointment set up for registering the car. If you’re actively looking for a car, it might be a good idea to set up an appointment in advance so you don’t have to wait when you finally find the car you want.
Family Adventure to Pompeii
Matt and I have always dreamed of visiting Pompeii. We are so excited to think that any normal week living in Italy can include a trip to this amazingly preserved city! We will do a dedicated post about Pompeii in the future after we’ve gone several times.
I’ve always been obsessed with natural disasters and finally seeing the city that was preserved and discovered after a volcano erupted and destroyed 2000 years earlier was incredible.
We were told to make sure and grab a guide for a tour and it was great advice. The guide was knowledgeable and understanding of those with tired children. There were many people who chose to do the audio tour, that will be something we will do in the future just to see which tour we like best.
There is so much to see that we only saw less than ⅓ of the exposed area, and there is still so much left to be unearthed from the volcanic ash. As we walked the streets we imagined what it would have been like to live there 2000 years ago. With Mount Vesuvius towering over the city walls, the eruption in 79 AD felt close enough to touch.
The homes that we saw were beautiful. Murals covered the walls, mosaics lined the floors, and beautiful statues stood to greet us. Walking into a home like that today would still feel impressive – imagine what it must have felt like back then!
Something interesting was the plethora of phalluses, usually highlighted by the God Priapus, whether in the form of a statue, painting or mosaic. Priapus was used as a symbol of protection, and our guide emphasized that there wasn’t an erotic connotation with them. There was plenty of that elsewhere – we saw “shops” with beds in them – but we didn’t tour the famous brothels yet. Next time!
Plan your trip:
Check out any of our previous adventures when planning your trip to Italy.