27 August 2011

Southern Bounty

Basilicata - Less Expensive

I wrote before about the difficulties international financial issues can have on us, but we have found that life here in Basilicata is relatively inexpensive. Utilities, fuel and anything dealing with an oil product can be expensive. However, many of the day-to-day items we need are much cheaper.

The Italian national statistical agency (Istituto nazionale di statistica) regularly puts out reports and the Potenza province is frequently cited as one with the lowest grocery costs, especially produce. Why, because Basilicata has a wide Ionian coast and the Val d’Agri area that are major producers of fruits, citrus and vegetables. These items only have to travel a short distance to make it to our table.

Another interesting statistic I saw recently was that the Lombardy Region (Milan) had almost double the household expenditures for food and services that the southern regions have. At first this may look like the poor south again, but if you know the south, there are other factors in play. “Campagna”. Most of the people we know have their own campagna where they may have a vegetable garden, vineyard, fruit orchard and/or raise a few animals. This supplements, or for some replaces, their weekly trips to the grocery store by providing fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and wine.

Another factor in the cost of living is, of course, housing. There are many small towns where you can find a good buy on a house or apartment for a fraction of the cost in other more populated areas. For example our house cost less than many of the large SUVs prowling US highways; a habitable house in a historic center.

So, despite the turmoil in the international markets there are definite positives about life in Italy, especially Basilicata.


Val said...

Love following you guys in the south and reading about a more peaceful Italy. I'm so over the big touristy places - they seemed ruined almost. Plus they all want to speak English, which annoys me. When I went back to my ancestral village in Abruzzo, I saw signs of it, but not as pervasive. I guess I'll keep exploring further south ... until I'm immersed in something more genuine.

Bryan said...

In our travels around Italy we have found that Basilicata is most like what we think of as Americans of what Italy should be like.