I am constantly surprised by the wonderful people I am meeting and the connections I am making thanks to my blog. Not only do I give my flabby writing muscles a work out but I also seem to be meeting friends and perhaps even will get some paid work out of it.
I am even doing my part in helping new expats make the move to Sicily, even if it never was my intention, but I’ve become a surprise font of information.
A few weeks ago I got a letter from a lady who is in the process of moving to Catania, Sicily for work purposes and she seemed really concerned her email read:
‘I have serious doubts about living in Catania.I am afraid of the Etna, the earthquakes, the old not so earthquake-resistant buildings, the dirt and pollution. I have never been to Sicily so those might be pointless fears but I do not know. My question is what is the safest place to live in Sicily?’
Here is what I told her:
I am happy that you stumbled upon my blog and I feel honoured that you would ask me for advice. It sounds like your life is currently filled with wonderful new beginnings and new adventures which you should embrace. It is a scary prospect to move to a new country but don’t let yourself become too overwhelmed.
Catania is a big major city and I’m sure it will make a good home for your family. You needn’t be afraid of Etna as it really is too far away from the city to create any problems at the most you could have a little ash dirtying your laundry on the line, there is no imminent danger. Etna may be often smoking but the areas around it are mostly National Park.
Yes, there are occasional tremors but the whole island feels them and all buildings built after the 1960’s are constructed according to strict anti-earthquake requirements, unlike northern Italy, Sicily has always experienced seismic action and so its buildings aren’t going to crumble down. Some parts of Catania can be dirty and polluted but all big cities have problems with this.
I suggest you ask your future employer about the better neighborhoods of Catania, I imagine somewhere near the centre would be lovely as long as you avoid the dingy outskirts which can be a little dodgy.
The beauty of living in Sicily is that you will find you will be quickly adopted into a local community if you try, be sure to learn the language, reach out to other expats, there are plenty of them at Catania for sure!
There are many smaller towns nearby Catania if you don’t like the idea of living in a big city, again I suggest you talk to your future employer depending if your place of work is central or if it is more convenient to look into smaller towns like Biancavilla, Paterno, Adrano or Motta Sant’Anastasia.
I know of a brilliant blogger (Kate, from Driving like a Maniac) who lives in the Catania area, perhaps she could give you more specific advice, as I live in the Province of Messina. Why not check out her blog and send another email: http://www.katebailward.com/drivinglikeamaniac/
Here are a couple of helpful sites about living and moving to Italy that you might find helpful too:
Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions or problems I’m more than happy to help.
Be sure to enjoy this adventure, living in Sicily is a challenge but its beauties will make you fall in love with the place.
(images taken from Google)