True or False stories and rumours on living in Apulia?

Hello All,

My wife and I have a home in Liguria but as we get older we want to extend the summer and have been thinking about selling that property and moving to Puglia, with the view to full time retirement eventually. At the moment we only use that house between mid-May and Mid-Sep. We are 49 and 54 years old.

My wife met a friend last night who scared her by telling her horror stories of her friends experiences living in Puglia, they were:

1) Her house is so damp that in the winter months she has to raise the furniture off the floor - this to me sounded ludicrous, but if this is common issue with some forms of building, like Trulli, please let me know.

2) Her friends house was burgled and completely cleaned out, even though she had a security company. She said it was because she was not paying the mafia's security company and that when she switched to that company she has not been bothered since. Does this ring true, or did she just have a rubbish security company?

3) She said that her friend thought there is a general issue with the Mafia and mini Mafia in general in the area, is this true? People said this about where we live in LIguria, but we have found the people there super friendly and as long as your are careful, don't make assumptions, as with anywhere, we have had good experiences.

We are visiting Puglia in Oct and will be staying in an Airbnb for a week in the Carovigno area.

Thanks all for any replies.

Cheers, J&L.

I heard these rumours too. I live in Lombardy ( after 5 years in Sardinia which in my experience is a safe island) and I want to buy in Puglia. Would be good to know what other people’s experiences are.

I have very limited experience, nevertheless...I am Italian, from the North. I am in love with the south of my country and, therefore, we bought a flat in Ostuni, very close to Carovigno, two years ago. We loved Apulia and everything it had to offer.

I also decided to buy in Apulia as I have a lot of friends who come from that region, beautiful human beings the lot of them. 

But, unfortunately, or adventure turned out to be a nightmarish one.

Our flat is still unfinished, despite having paid all the money. The builder hasn't run away, still answers the phone, but just lies, incredible, fabulous and in your face lies. I've asked around, in Ostuni, for a more reliable builder, and everyone has recounted the same story.

They all got dooped at some point, bear in mind, these are locals. So, I've realised that this is not an exception, I haven't been defrauded, this is a way of life for some. There's little work, so people do what they can to secure it and they keep promising "Tomorrow, tomorrow...".

I don't want to dissuade you from living there, but you have to understand that the South of Italy, as beautiful as it is, is very different. A friend of mine, from Calabria, told me that there is a saying in her region that people wake up in the morning and say :" Who am I going to fool today?". 

People do what they can to survive, they might not need it as much now, but it is a habit. they could never count on the government, they had to make it on their own.

You will have to learn to be a bit more suspicious, befriend the local important people as you might need a favour or two in the future. The favour might just be, as it happened to a relative, to put some money in a form just so it could be looked at by the relevant authority. So just that someone would do their job. If this is what your friend called mini-mafia, then definitely. It's a relational society, 'una mano lava l'altra'.

My fear, as I too had thought about growing older there, is, how can I safeguard myself as I become more and more senile?

And, speaking of age, check out the hospitals. For some specialisms, for example, ophthalmology, but others too,  you will have to travel far away. An the quality of hospitals is not comparable to the north.

Having said all of the above, you will be part, even as an old person, of society, people will stop to chat to you in the street and you can spend many an afternoon siting on a little chair watching the world go by and chatting to all. You won't be hiding at home, sad and alone.

It's a different way of life, way different than in the North. And, lastly, if you buy a property in carovogno, avoid a builder called Salvatore, from Carovigno. Unless you want to hear fantastic lies!

I love your description although I have come to think the worst of people too unless they prove otherwise. I am British, so I tended to trust a lot in the past. I live in Lombardy, I see Italy as being many different countries. I am also attracted to Puglia for summer holidays but I’m worried about leaving a place unattended for months.

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