December 24, 2015, 12:27 AM
Lucca--possible place to retire?
My husband and I are thinking about retiring to Italy from the US in the near future. We've visited many areas over the past years and I also have dual-citizenship with Italy. Can anyone share any experiences with a city such as Lucca? Pros or cons as a possible place to retire? We would be renting, would be interested in a 2-3 bedroom apartment. I guess our most pressing concerns would medical care and a good vet...hoping we can find doctors and a vet who could speak even a little English as our Italian is far from perfect (at the moment).
Another cause for concern for us is we will not have a car. Is this a walkable town to get to markets and other amenities? We will have to visit in person of course but would like to know some opinions about the city or any other city that is good for people who will not be able to drive for that matter! Lucca looks just lovely though and we're hoping it may be a good fit for us.
Many thanks in advance!
January 1, 2016, 12:57 AM
Lucca would be a perfect town to retire in - and really great for anyone who wouldn't have a car at all as trains and buses connect you to the rest of the region.
It is a great, relatively quiet town, but with lots going on year round. I think there are enough foreigners that you might not have too much of a problem in finding other english speakers including doctors (maybe less for vets?). Once you're here, you'll get to practice your Italian on a regular basis so you will get better at communicating in Italian as well. I'd recommend getting in touch with any expats in the area who you might meet if you do come for a visit, and get recommendations from them.
If you can come for an extended visit, like 2 weeks, I would highly recommend you try Lucca out so that you can see how it would be as a "local". As long as you stay in the more "main" towns in Tuscany, you should be fine with the no car problem.... and always be within walking distance from markets and stores.
If you have dual-citizenship, you will have access to national health care here.
As far as cons - I have heard good things about those who live there, there are tourists so your amount of contact with them will depend a lot whether you end up choosing an apartment in the historic center or just outside. What I mean by that is whether you will feel there are more foreigners around than locals ;-) Florence, for example, at times can feel overwhelming full of visitors rather than locals, but that is in the very high season and only downtown. Lucca is not as big, so I imagine that impression should be more limited.
January 3, 2016, 01:25 AM
Lucca in Retirement
Lucca definitely has the advantage since it not a large metropolitan city but rather it is very livable and very provincial...meaning that it is easy to blend in with the community, partecipate in activities and find things to do. Not to mention that it is fairly easy to use the public transport, close enough to Pisa for the airport and not far off from the beautiful sandy beaches of Tuscany.
Lourdes has a good idea to try and put yourself in contact before you come with some expats in the area, not only will they have more helpful hints about renting (or buying) but they can start to connect you with the community so you don't feel so overwhelmed when you move. However, it would be very helpful to do a trail stay fora month or two - even just to see what part of Lucca you would prefer to live in.