I received a comment on my blog from a woman named Ashley who is an R.N.  She is considering moving to Salerno and is looking for information about living and working here.

I stopped for a moment and really assessed what I think about living in Salerno.  This is my reply to Ashley.

Ciao Ashley,

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to assess what I really think about living in Salerno.   It has not always been an easy road for me.   I believe that speaking Italian is essential or you will feel isolated. Most people do not speak English well.   However, it is possible to learn the language and I have found that the most people are very supportive of foreigners’ attempts to speak Italian.  Some people will even very politely correct you.  I have run into the odd grump here and there but I don’t worry myself about it.   There is also an excellent Italian language school which I attended called Academia Italiana (http://www.accademia-italiana.it/?lang=en).  

I can’t speak to the job market.  There are several hospitals around and a large population so I would think that you would be able to find work.   If you seriously consider moving, I can get the names of the hospitals to give you a start.

Salerno is a nice city with a good sized historic center.  The city isn’t large but it is big enough to have theater, a wide range of restaurants and a night life.   It runs along the sea with a well kept lungomare (promenade) which is a busy place when the weather is nice.   The government seems progressive and the city is kept clean.  (In the South of Italy, people feel free to throw garbage everywhere.  It’s disgusting.)    Apartments cost more than we expected but there is a wide range of housing.  You can live in the historic center close to everything but parking is difficult.  We chose to live in a more residential area since we have small children.    I can still walk to the center within ½ hour. 

The weather is great, especially when you come from a climate like New England.   It’s rainy in late fall and early spring but beautiful other than that.  You have easy access to the Amalfi Coast and other beautiful and historic places.    There is a small airport outside Salerno and one in Naples, about an hour away. 

Food is cheap, delicious and fresh.

The people here are generally friendly and kind, except when they drive.  Traffic is annoying and constant.  Driving is terrible.  In my opinion, it ranks up there with South American cities.    Scooters are a good option if you like to live dangerously. 

For me, the negatives have more to do with raising a family and missing my family in the US.  I’m not impressed with the schools, at least not yet.    In any case, I will supplement the boys’ education at home so they learn to read and write English properly.  Also, I would like them to learn about their American heritage.   I find there are less family related activities here such as playgrounds, museums and libraries.  Also, organization is not a strong part of the southern Italian culture and governmental bureaucracy is a nightmare.    

In summary, I would recommend living in Salerno.  Life is an adventure.  Nothing ventured; nothing gained.